The best NBA photos of 2015
With 2015 in the books, it's time to take a look at the highlights and lowlights of this calendar year in the NBA.
The Golden State Warriors have dominated the conversation for most of the summer and all of the fall. But below, we dive deep into not only the most impressive, but most depressing honors of the year in basketball.
Best Moment: Klay Thompson's 37-point quarter
It's been an eventful 2015 for the Dubs, but while Stephen Curry has dominated the headlines as of late, it was fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson who stole the show just over three weeks into 2015 on Jan. 23.
In a record-smashing third quarter against the Kings, Thompson shot a perfect 13-of-13 shooting to move the Warriors to 35-6 on the season.
Biggest Surprise: Warriors' 24-0 start
These won't all have to do with the Warriors, we promise.
But if you claim to have expected Golden State to go on a 24-straight-win rampage to begin their title defense, you're lying. Even if you didn't by into the argument that luck played an overwhelming role in their title run.
Biggest Choke: Los Angeles Clippers
It's easy to forget unless you're a Clippers fan, but LA should've been the team to take on the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals last season.
With 2:16 left in the third quarter, the Clips led the Houston Rockets in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals by 19 -- 89-70. They were then outscored 49-18 -- including 40-15 in the fourth quarter, to drop the game and be forced to play a Game 7 in Houston, which the Rockets won handily by 13, and the Clips were sent packing.
Biggest Flop: Joel Embiid
You're BAE for real... Great seeing you last night😍😍😍 @rihanna
— Joel “Do a 180” Embiid??? (@JoelEmbiid) May 3, 2015
The 76ers' third-overall selection in the 2014 NBA draft, Joel Embiid missed the entirety of the 2014-15 NBA season after undergoing foot surgery. In a lost season, this was more or less fine -- so long as he recovered in time to play the following year with Nerlens Noel and a draft pick that turned out to be Jahlil Okafor.
But then, it happened again.
Another foot surgery will likely sideline him for the second year of his rookie contract. One of the most intriguing prospects of his draft class is still yet to play an NBA game, and likely won't until October 2016 at the very earliest.
Funniest Quote: Gregg Popovich
Just finished Pop's pregame presser. Honest to goodness this exchange happened: pic.twitter.com/x2QvbsxTkX
— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) January 18, 2015
Sure, Pop. Sure.
Best Vine: Steve Ballmer
With a special honorable mention to Stan Van Gundy (Caution: NSFW language).
Best Tweet: Chris Paul
— Chris Paul (@CP3) July 8, 2015
The context here is what makes this one gold.
You remember the famous banana boat outing from this past NBA offseason. You'll also remember the emoji war among NBA players fueled by the Clippers' courtship of DeAndre Jordan. Well, timing paid Chris Paul a favor, and helped him (or whoever tweets for him) craft Emoji Day's funniest tweet.
Best Uniform Change: Milwaukee Bucks
A number of teams switched up their looks this season, but Milwaukee -- ditching the Christmas theme and going with a much better look.
Least Valuable Player: Anthony Bennett
Poor guy. The former first-overall pick in the NBA Draft ranked 472nd out of 474 players in ESPN's Real Plus-Minus statistic that weighs a player's overall value on offense and defense. This season, with the Toronto Raptors, he's improved to 305th out of 420. The Raps are still 22 points per 100 possessions worse with him on the floor.
Most Valuable Player: Stephen Curry
The NBA got this one right back in May. And they'll probably get it right next spring, too, when they hand Stephen Curry his second consecutive MVP trophy.
Leading the league with a career-high 32.3 point-per-game average, Curry is revolutionizing the game by taking 11.4 threes per game and making more than five -- on a team that currently sits at 24-1.
Not bad, Steph.