While this is primarily a scouting website, I thought it would be a good idea to post some thoughts on the college and NBA games as the season moves along. I’ll try to make this a daily series and get this out as early as I can the following morning. Ok. Longwinded explanation of why this post exists now out of the way. On to some actual basketball.
Charlotte Hornets (91) vs Detroit Pistons (102)
- Stanley Johnson played 40 minutes and shot the ball 13 times. You know how many points he scored? Two. And only on free-throws. Yes, Johnson is a good defender (he had four steals last night). But, I’m just about done with thinking he’s a starting caliber player.
- Malik Monk claimed he should be in the starting line-up before the season started. He preceded to open his first NBA game by scoring three points on 1-9 shooting and 1-6 from 3, didn’t grab a rebound, and had a 1-3 assist to turnover ratio. Not yet, Malik
- This was the first game in Detroit’s new arena. It’s nice to see the Pistons back in Detroit where they belong.
Brooklyn Nets (131) vs Indiana Pacers (140)
- D’Angelo Russell scored 30 points in 30 minutes. I predicted on the podcast that Russell would win Most Improved Player this year, and it looks like Magic sending him away really lit a fire under him, at least in this one game.
- Jeremy Lin was one of the best players on the Nets last year and one of the reasons they were able to win some games. It sucks to see him go down like that in the fourth. Hopefully, he’ll be able to come back next year at full strength.
- Solid nights for Myles Turner, Victor Oladipo, and Darren Collison. When the Pacers win games this year, it will probably be because of good performances from those three.
Miami Heat (109) vs Orlando Magic (116)
- How can Hassan Whiteside not be the first thing mentioned here? 26 points on 61% shooting and 100% from the line. Oh yeah, and he grabbed 22 rebounds too. While his game is slightly more limited than Anthony Davis or Joel Embiid, Whiteside might be the most effective big man at what he does: grab rebounds, score easy points, and block shots.
- Evan Fournier had a pretty big dip in efficiency last year, so it was nice to see him shoot above 50% from the field and 60% from three. I think he’s Orlando’s best player.
- The Heat shot 26% from three collectively. They will need to shoot better if they want to be competitive in the Eastern playoffs.
Philadelphia 76ers (115) vs Washington Wizards (120)
- It’s hard to overstate how great Wall and Beal were last night. Did they shoot the ball very well? No, not really. But, they were really tough for the Sixers backcourt to handle last night and were the reason for the Wizards win.
- I’m tired of nobody mentioning Robert Covington as one of the NBA’s better players. He scored 29 points in 29 minutes, made seven threes, and played his customary great defense. Stop sleeping on Cov.
- Ben Simmons had 18 points, 10 rebounds, and a 5-1 assist to turnover ratio in his first NBA game. He’s a special player. Just imagine what happens when he learns to shoot.
Milwaukee Bucks (108) vs Boston Celtics (100)
- I thought Giannis was one of three players who could win MVP before the start of the season and he did his best to prove that there was no one else to consider. 37-13 and three steals, 16 points in the fourth quarter, win on the road in Boston. Watch out NBA. Giannis doesn’t care about the Warrior’s dynasty. He’s coming for you.
- Rebounding is one thing that translates very well from college to the NBA, so I’m not surprised to see Jayson Tatum’s rebounding numbers where they’ve been at over the past few games. He will need to score more than 8 points now that Gordon Hayward is out for the year.
- If Kyrie Irving is the man in Boston, he can’t be shooting 25% from the field with a 1-1 assist to turnover ratio and expect to win games. The Celtics will win or die on Kyrie, which is not something Danny Ainge thought would be the case this year.
New Orleans Pelicans (91) vs Memphis Grizzlies (103)
- Anthony Davis and Demarcus cousins combined for 61 points, 28 rebounds and 8 blocks and the Pelicans lost by 12. They should both be pleading to get out of there as fast as humanly possible.
- The big reason for the Pelicans loss: the bench. They combined for 8 points. Let me repeat that. The Pelicans bench HAD 8 POINTS. Chandler Parsons almost outscored the entire Pelicans bench in 15 minutes and he only took two shots.
- Dillon Brooks had 19 points in his NBA debut. He should see a lot of run playing for a Memphis team that desperately needs young blood.
Atlanta Hawks (117) vs Dallas Mavericks (111)
- Maybe I should apologize to Dennis Schroder after I ripped him on the podcast. 28 points, 7 assists and 2 steals in a game where he was clearly the best player on the court. I still don’t like the Hawks this year, but Schroder has my attention.
- Dennis Smith Jr. logged a double-double in his debut, posting 16 and 10 with only three turnovers. He’ll be one of the leaders for Rookie of the Year.
- Can Dallas start Nerlens Noel already? 16 points, 11 rebounds, 100% from the floor, can switch on anybody. Dirk is falling apart. Yogi Ferrel had 9 points in 31 minutes. Just play big. Be contrarian.
Denver Nuggets (96) vs Utah Jazz (106)
- Nikola Jokic had some impressive numbers (12 rebounds and 8 assists), but he needs to take more than 10 shots a night if the Nuggets want to be a playoff team.
- I like the Jamal Murray at point-guard experiment. Jokic should be the primary playmaker, so get as much shooting out on the court as you can.
- Interesting to see Utah starting Donovan Mitchell. I think he’s more than earned it, even though last night wasn’t the greatest performance. He’ll provide some great perimeter defense for a Jazz team that will win on their defense.
Minnesota Timberwolves (99) vs San Antonio Spurs (107)
- The Timberwolves lost to the Kawahi-less Spurs when they had everyone healthy. This team will take time to gel. Give them some time. And pray you don’t bet the Vegas over.
- Pop starting Dejounte Murray over Patty Mills is a great decision. Murray is your Tony Parker replacement, not Mills. Let him get the developmental minutes he needs.
- Karl-Anthony Towns played a really good game last night and finished with a plus/minus of zero. Every other starter was -17 or worse. Is there really a doubt who the best player on the T-Wolves is?
Portland Trail Blazers (124) vs Phoenix Suns (76)
- If a near 50 point loss on opening night isn’t enough to convince Phoenix it should be tanking the crap out of this year, I don’t know what is.
- Pat Connaughton scoring 24 points has to be the surprise of the night. He looks like he’ll fill the Alan Crabbe role nicely.
- Devin Booker and Eric Bledsoe both shot under 36% from the field. They’re the only real scorers on Phoenix, so it’s no surprise that when they can’t get it going, the team isn’t going to play well.
Houston Rockets (105) vs Sacramento Kings (100)
- If you were looking for a letdown after the comeback against the defending champs and losing Chris Paul for the game, it didn’t happen. That’s the positive of having two Hall of Fame point-guards on the same team.
- Interesting that the rookie the King’s start is not De’Aaron Fox, the fifth overall pick, but Justin Jackson, the fifteenth overall pick. Why not just play Fox, George Hill, and Buddy Hield at the same time?
- Terrific game from Clint Capela, who had 22 points and 17 rebounds to go with 3 steals and a block. I wouldn’t be surprised if Capela made the leap into the Rocket’s version of DeAndre Jordan.