10 NBA Opening Night Overreactons That Just Feel Right
Entering today, 28 of the 30 NBA teams have played their first game. We get the final two with MIL and LAC kicking things off tonight, but we know who those teams are and what to expect. Based on how your favorite team played in their debut, you probably find yourself in one of two camps.
1. They looked awesome and you can't help but think a title is on the way
2. You're going with the patented "it's only Game 1 of 82, congrats on the parade" line because you're embarrassed your team lost
That's the beauty of the start of the NBA season. Everything is on the table and you can't help but allow your brain to go to dangerous places all based off one mid October game. How could we forget what happened this time last year
It's a dangerous game to play given the fact there there is still 99% of the season left, but I say who cares. We all love overreactions and being a prisoner of the moment. A time where logic and reason are nowhere to be found. That's why sports are fun.
So after 2 nights of NBA basketball, I'm ready to overreact. There's a strong chance the majority of these will age poorly, but again, who cares. All we can do is form decisions based on the body of work we have to use. Let's dive in
1. Rudy Gobert is worth the price for the Wolves
When you give up what MIN paid to bring in Rudy Gobert, you need to see immediate returns on that investment. They basically mortgaged their future in hopes that Rudy would help solve some of their biggest issues. After one game against the tanking Thunder, it's hard to argue he didn't make a big time impact
I was really intrigued by the KAT/Gobert two man game with KAT repeatedly making plays off the dribble that resulted in easy Gobert lobs. That's an element to their offense that most certainly did not exist last year. KAT is such a talented offensive player, I think we're going to see a completely new element to his game this year as a playmaker in lineups with Gobert. Yes I know the Thunder are awful, but I thought I established already that I do not care for the sake of this blog.
2. The Pelicans look like a lock for a Top 6 seed and have a top young duo in the entire league
Few teams entered the season with more hype than the Pelicans. They were the sexy team that everyone agreed was on the verge of taking a leap this season. The talent on their roster is legit, and that's before you even added Zion to the mix. It took this team about 3 minutes last night to blow out the Nets and they did it without making a billion threes. They only made 12 3PM last night and it didn't matter one bit. Why? Because Zion and Brandon Ingram exist
I'm not sure why, but I feel like when people debate the best duos in the NBA, nobody really brings up Ingram/Zion. That seem foolish to me given the fact that they are both awesome. In terms of "young" duos it's probably Tatum/Brown and Zion/Ingram right? I mean they went right into Brooklyn and completely outplayed KD/Kyrie who are a duo you often see ranked ahead of what they have in NO. I'm thinking that stops this year and Ingram/Zion get their proper respect.
3. Jayson Tatum is going to win MVP and Jaylen Brown will make All NBA
Listen, you knew something like this was coming. I apologize for nothing. Few teams looked as dominant as the Celts did in their opener against the Sixers and when Tatum/Brown combine for a historic 70 points on efficient splits, of course I'm going to overreact. Welcome to the world.
4. Jalen Brunson is the exact point guard the Knicks needed
A tough loss in their opener to the Grizzlies which wasn't without some controversy that Reags broke down, but given that I don't really care about the result of this game my biggest takeaway was what a perfect fit Jalen Brunson was right from the jump. For years the Knicks have needed a guy to help them stay organized, move the ball and just be solid at the point guard position. People gave them shit for the contract they gave Brunson despite that being the point guard market, and I dunno, I saw a guy that gives the team exactly what they need
9 assists, 0 TOs, and the Knicks actually looked like a team that knew what the hell they were doing. That's what having good point guard play can do. The Knicks didn't need a score first guard like Mitchell in my opinion. They just needed someone to help set the table and get the most out of guys like Randle/Barrett which is exactly what Brunson did last night and can do in the future.
5. The Heat need to bring Kyle Lowry off the bench
Last year, we were told that Kyle Lowry's decline was more about his injury issues and not the fact that he's actually cooked. OK, fine. I suppose that could be true. That's why I was interested to see how he looked against the shorthanded Bulls (both Lonzo and LaVine did not pay). The result?
35 minutes / 2 points / 4 assists / 3 TOs / 1-7 (0-5) shooting / -13
Is that $30M a year production? I can't help but think they'd be much better starting Herro/Vincent or Herro/Strus until Oladipo is back and ready. It looks like maybe Masai Ujiri knew what he was doing and considering the Heat didn't really make any offseason additions so it's up to Spo to figure out his rotations. It feels like they are keeping Lowry in the starting lineup for what he once was, and not who he currently is.
6. Christian Wood is the best Mavs big on the roster
The thing about Christian Wood is he truly believes he's the best player on every team he's ever been on. It doesn't always go well and he tends to wear out his welcome relatively quickly. Well, even though it came in the loss last night, maybe Wood was right this whole time?
Before the Mavs choked this game away, there was a stretch where Wood had 16 consecutive points for the Mavs and even threw up a Jordan shrug. In this extremely small sample size, he appears to be the perfect offensive big to pair with Luka. He brings them an element that they certainly didn't have last season, and I see no reason why JaVale McGee is starting over him. I can't imagine that lasts all that long if this is the Christian Wood the Mavs are going to get.
7. Tyrese Maxey is the 2nd best player on the Sixers
I know James Harden didn't look completely washed in his opener, but my biggest takeaway from that PHI/BOS game for the Philly side is the fact that Tyrese Maxey is ready to take his leap…again
He's just so fucking fast. Not only that, but I don't think I've ever seen him miss a contested layup (outside of the one Tatum sent to the moon). His ability to finish around the rim paired with that blazing speed is pretty lethal. Add in the fact that he's a proven consistent outside shooter and the only thing that's holding him back in my opinion is Doc Rivers. The guy simply refuses to use Tyrese Maxey for whatever reason. Classic Doc.
8. The Pistons are making the Play In
This is a take I had entering the season, and after watching them last night I feel even better about it. I am IN on the rebuilding Pistons. Their roster intrigues me. I think they have about as legit young talent as any rebuilding team in the league. They showed real signs of progress to end last season despite the record being shitty.
Cade is the real deal. Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duran had awesome rookie debuts. Bogdanovic provides some veteran shooting. Bey and Isaiah Stewart continue to develop and look good. This team plays hard as shit at all times, and usually when you see a team make a jump it's because they spend the regular season actually trying whereas other teams pace themselves.
They continue to look like this you could even talk me into homecourt in the Play In. That's how much I believe in this rebuild.
9. Scottie Barnes is going to make his first All Star team
The Raptors and their fans may annoy me, but I have eyes. It's not exactly a hot take to say that Scottie Barnes rules given the fact that he just won ROY, but after seeing him in a few preseason games and then again last night in his opener
I can't help but feel like he's going to break through and make his first All Star team. His combination of speed/size is rare as shit. He can guard any position on one end, and then on the other he's still finding ways to be effective even without a consistent jumper. I feel confident in saying that Barnes looks every bit the franchise player that the Raptors are going to need him to be. Whether he makes the All Star team outright or maybe as an injury replacement we'll have to see, but I expect him to make it one way or another. If the Raptors are able to stay in the top 6, it's largely going to be due to the play of Barnes, and that will be rewarded.
10. The Jazz are going to play themselves out of the Wembanyama Sweepstakes unless they make more trades
The biggest surprise of the night was easily the Jazz kicking the shit out the Nuggets. Nobody could have seen that coming. And while it's only 1 game, I'll remind you that all the other tanking teams lost last night. This is the problem Ainge currently has and needs to figure out immediately. There are still too many actual NBA rotation players on this roster. They are prideful vets and it's hard to truly tank with those. You have to go the OKC or HOU route and get all those dudes as far away from your team as possible. The Thunder shut their guys down. The Rockets told John Wall to stay home. If the Jazz keep their vets on the roster, you can probably kiss Wembanyama goodbye and that would be a disaster.
So that's my 10. I could go on, but I think you get the point. I'll now ask you, what stood out most to you after the openers? There is no take too outrageous at this point of the year. That's the beauty of it, so lemme hear em.