Early Takeaways from the First Week of the NBA Regular Season
It is never too early to give some early thoughts.
Through the first week of the NBA season, it has been incredibly interesting to see how each team got out the gate. Some teams have come out hot, while others are still looking for answers. Nevertheless, it is still extremely early, but not early enough to have some initial takes on what has been an exciting start to the 2019-20 campaign.
Of course, some things stand out more than others, which led us to compiling a list of talking points through the first seven day period.
End of a Dynasty?
The Golden State Warriors are struggling mightily.
Starting off the season, the Warriors have been outscored by a total of 47 points, which is not just bad, it’s embarrassing. With Kevin Durant now gone and Klay Thompson on the shelf for what seems to be the remainder of the year, the Warriors have looked flat coming out the gate and the concern is already starting to build. It is easy to tell that the Warriors are not particularly used to being in this sort of situation, but with a far younger team and an injury to one of the game’s best player, the former champs are in for a long year if they can’t make adjustments on the fly.
Draymond Green summed things up in San Francisco better than I can by stating that his team “f***ing sucks right now”. Well said.
Over the weekend, Atlanta Hawks owner had some interesting comments in regards to last year’s franchise altering Draft night trade made by the Hawks and the Dallas Mavericks.
“I have to be honest, but I didn’t think Luka would be this good,” Ressler said. “I didn’t think Trae was going to be this good. They are both better than I expected. I think they’re both really special players and have a shot to be for a really long time if they stay focused. I think this trade is going to have a nice, long history of discussion. I wouldn’t completely, again, declare success or whether we won it or lost it today because I do think both teams have someone they can really help build around for years and years to come.”
Early takeaways would suggest that both teams should be extremely happy with what they have. Trae Young’s game is reminiscent to that of Steph Curry, only Young’s numbers seem to be more Curry-esque earlier in his career. Meanwhile, Luka Doncic has very clearly established himself as a franchise star in Dallas, showing the ability to become one of the game’s craftiest scorers and playmakers.
Through two games, Luka is averaging 27 points, 11 rebounds and near 10 assists, while Young has been lights out putting up 38 points in his season debut and 39 points on Saturday against the Orlando Magic to go with seven rebounds and nine assists in each of his first two games.
KAT is Scary Good
Not much was expected from the Minnesota Timberwolves entering this season, yet the Wolves are currently the only 3-0 squad in the NBA.
What has sparked such a great start?
The play of Karl-Anthony Towns, who to this point has easily been the best basketball player on the floor across the NBA. Averaging 32 points, 13 boards and racking up a PER of 40.60, Towns has been unstoppable with the ball in his hands. Already one of the most versatile big men in the entire league, Towns is very much part of the best big man in the league discussions and if this level of play persists, it will be extremely difficult to disagree with his case.
If the Wolves hope to make a surprise playoff push, Towns will, simply put, be required to be superhuman.
Don’t Sleep on the Raptors
No Kawhi Leonard. No Danny Green. The champs are still equipped to make some noise in the Eastern.
Starting out at 2-1 through their first three games, it appears as though the franchise has found its new centrepiece in Pascal Siakam who has averaged 29 points and 11 rebounds over that span. The ball-handling has improved and Siakam is far more confident with his jumper and even stepping out beyond the three-point line.
Moreover, OG Anunoby seems poised for a breakout year and to this point has been exactly as advertised and more on both end of the floor. His performance against the Chicago Bulls on Saturday may have only been the young swingman’s coming out party and Raptor fans should be very excited to see what else is in store for the Indiana alum. With the duo of Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry playing incredibly well and Serge Ibaka seemingly revering back to his younger Oklahoma City Thunder days, this Raptors team is very quickly beginning to form a new identity.
Do not sleep on the reigning champs.
LeBron James may never retire.
In his 17th career season, James continues to break new ground, still very much on top of his game. As he continues to get acclimated to his full-time point guard roll, the Los Angeles Lakers are 2-1 and James is averaging a near triple-double through three games. It was too easy to claim the Los Angeles Clippers as the kings of LA following the first game of the season, but it is far too early to definitively count out LeBron and the Lakers.
When all is said and done, expect the Lakers to be right there in the mix and it will be largely part to King James’ play.
The Indiana Pacers are patiently awaiting for the return of Victor Oladipo from his knee injury. The former All-Star tore his ACL in a game against the Toronto Raptors last season and has been on the shelf ever since.
But the question that I have is this: is Oladipo still the best player on the Pacers? Or is it someone else?
Through two games, Malcolm Brogdon seems to be the best under-the-radar acquisition of the offseason. Which so much noise being made around the Clippers’ summer, or the Lakers acquiring Anthony Davis, a lot of people have forgotten that Malcolm Brogdon was the second best player on a 60-win Milwaukee Bucks team – a team that was two wins away from advancing to the NBA Finals.
Averaging 26 points and 10.5 assists per game, Brogdon has very clearly taken his game to a whole new level. One of the more versatile guards in the entire NBA, Brogdon is one of the most underrated shooters and playmakers in the league, while also a formidable defender.
The Pacers did real good this offseason, the rest of the league just doesn’t quite seem to know it yet.