National Basketball Association season kicks off with some surpises and let-downs
With the NBA season finally kicking off, I can finally not feel like a bum for only writing about the NBA in the pro sports section of this paper. As I write this on Saturday morning, there have been few games playes and I want to speak about some of the biggest surprises and letdowns of the NBA season.
LeBron James! He had a very passive first game where he deferred to his teammates and they expectedly lost to a Los Angeles Clippers team that knew this was the biggest game they had ever played in their franchise’s history. After the “totally surprising” loss, the Los Angeles Lakers rallied, and LeBron had 32 points, ten rebounds and seven assists,in a game that served as a reminder that LeBron is not washed and is still the best player in the league.
The Suite Life of Zack and Coby! Quite possibly the best backcourt nickname in NBA history belongs to Zach LaVine and Coby White. This Chicago Bulls duo has been amazing this season, combining for 62 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in a great win against the Memphis Grizzlies. They also lost a crazy game 126–125 against the Charlotte Hornets where rookie PJ Washington hit seven 3-pointer shots. If the Bulls keep this up, they might make a run at the eighth seed.
Kyrie Irving! Irving had 50 points in the first game of the season and still lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves. If you haven’t seen his final shot in that game you should Google it because it was insane. The Brooklyn Nets would win their second game against the New York Knicks by a margin that was too close for comfort. The Nets are not looking as good as expected, though Kyrie is looking like one of the best players in the league. This team will figure it out, especially once Durant comes back and Kyrie figures out his shooters better. Also a pleasant surprise for the Nets has been Taurean Prince, playing some great defense and hitting his 3-point shots at an above 40% clip.
The Houston Rockets! This team has had a rocky start, but I can’t even be sarcastic about it. They have probably the hardest adjustment of any team in the league right now, it’s not surprising they are losing games; it’s not surprising Russell Westbrook and James Harden are arguing on the court a bit; it’s not surprising that the team isn’t in their groove. Westbrook and Harden both posted the only seasons in NBA history with usage percentage of over 40%. Usage percentage measures how many plays end with the observed player shooting the ball or turning it over. Having two of the most ball-dominant superstars in their prime, on the same team is going to take some adjusting. Let’s all calm down and wait a bit before we proclaim that the sky is falling.
The Phoenix Suns! The Suns surprisingly don’t suck. They beat the Sacramento Kings by 30 points, and lost in overtime to the Denver Nuggets by one point, without first overall draft pick DeAndre Ayton. Ricky Rubio has made a huge difference, averaging ten points, ten assists and seven rebounds a game so far, as he’s helped pickup a lot of the slack from Devin Booker’s rusty start. A big positive from Booker’s rough start is he is averaging 8.5 assists per game so far, much more than his career average of 4.3. This season can be really interesting in Phoenix if this winds up being more than a hot streak.
Patrick Beverly! Beverly is still a total bum. A Golden State Warriors Beat reporter tweeted that Beverly was bullying the janitors at Chase Arena, home of the Golden State Warriors, about Kevin Durant leaving. These janitors are just trying to make a living, stop being a bum. At least he hasn’t injured Russell Westbrook for a third time yet…
Double Dirks! Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis of the Dallas Mavericks have been going off. Combining to average over 50 points per game, both look like they haven’t lost a step since last playing on the NBA stage and intend to make their names heard this year. Sunday, they play the Portland Trailblazers, which will be their first real test of the season.
While we’re talking about the Blazers, I want to give a quick shoutout to my guy Anfernee Simons. He’s been a real solid guy off the Blazers’ bench and looks like he’ll be a big part of their rotation this year. More life and more blessings.
Clippers! This team has been really, really good: They already look like a well oiled machine. The effects of the continuity of this team was underrated before the season by many, myself included. Kawhi Leonard fits in perfectly and everyone else continues to just do their job. Also, Patrick Patterson just scored 20 points last game, I didn’t even realize he was in the league until I opened up the box score and saw it with my own eyes. I still feel like it must have been a mistake, maybe someone in a Patrick Patterson costume.
Toronto Raptors! Doing worse than last season but Pascal Siakam looks to be worth every bit of the max contract he just signed. Sacramento Kings! Plummeting, and Luke Walton’s coaching ability is still totally in question. Firing Joerger looks like a mistake. Young guards! Trae Young and Shai Gilgous-Alexander both are looking absolutely amazing, with the former looking more and more like a superstar by the game. Mike Conley! Is actually playing badly which is weird because he’s always been so consistent. I imagine he’ll get better later, for now he’s not doing well.