EVERYONE in sports media loves to overreact, it’s part of the business. In a results-based industry, you’re only as good as your last at-bat and for some this new NBA season has/hasn’t started how they hoped it would. So, there’s no better time than now for another edition of: it’s only been one-week but…
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…Khris Middleton will be an All-Star
I’VE always been a fan of Khris Middleton and after he averaged a career-high 20.1 PPG a season ago I had high hopes for him this season. He seems to have found his niche as Giannis’ sidekick pouring in 19, 23 and 30 in the Bucks three matches so far, converting a stupid 65% of his 3-point tires. Even though that astronomical percentage will come back down to Earth before long, these point totals seem set to stay as Milwaukee continues to play at a faster pace and jack up a bunch more shots from behind the arc. The Bucks swingman has already shown enough for me to believe he’ll be on the East team in Charlotte.
…the Lakers are punting this season
I do believe the 0-3 Lakers are going to be fine, but they look anything but in the early going. This isn’t your standard 0-3 start though, with missed free throws, brawls and a new nucleus still taking shape leading to LA’s winless start. Giving LeBron time to find how his new teammates tick and for the youngsters to develop might be the story of their season if they can’t find their winning ways. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, especially if the cast of misfits they signed last offseason can be replaced with another All-Star in the summer of 2019.
…the Nuggets have fixed their defense
IF I had have told you the Denver Nuggets would be the 23rd in the league for offensive efficiency after one week you would expect them to be winless instead of undefeated. Mike Malone’s men have bucked the trend from a year ago on the other side of the ball though, which has fueled a 3-0 start to the year, despite their offensive inconsistencies. A healthy Paul Millsap makes things a lot easier after the 4x All-Star missed over half of last season and Gary Harris is developing into one of the best two-way players in the league right before our eyes. Denver will recapture the vibe on offense before long, but their defensive dominance is what could really separate them from the pack.
…my Rookie of the Year pick is safe
UNFORTUNATELY, it came against my Cavs, but I knew it wouldn’t be long before Trae Young wowed us with an impressive performance. Young canned six of his 14 tries from behind the arc en route to 35 points and 11 assists against Cleveland in just his third pro outing. A 3-17 shooting performance in the future is inevitable and like any rookie, Young will have his ups and downs. As long as there are more box scores like Sunday night, then Young’s ROY chance will continue to soar.
…Kemba Walker can’t be traded
THERE will be speculation about Kemba Walker’s upcoming free agency all season long, but one thing is for sure; the Hornets won’t be trading him away. Despite rumours swirling last year and partially through the offseason, Charlotte’s point guard has erupted to start the year reemphasising his worth to the franchise. Walker set an NBA record for the most 3’s made through three games to start the season (19) and after watching him personally last night, I find it hard to envision a trade offer that forces Charlotte to move their floor general.
..Masai Ujiri can sleep easier
WATCHING Kemba last night was impressive, but not as impressive as the Toronto Raptors. Through four matches, they look better than ever with a healthy Kawhi Leonard wreaking havoc once again. Acquiring him for fan favourite DeMar DeRozan could still blow up in their face if Leonard doesn’t stick around long-term after this year. Still, they should be one of the final teams standing come May/June and they will have Masai Ujiri to thank. Danny Green has been awesome to start the season too, helping to transform this Raptors team from LeBron’s little brother into an Eastern Conference powerhouse. For the next nine months at least.
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