It hasn’t been a full week of the NBA season just yet but I wanted to write a The Good, Bad, & Ugly piece.
· Teams that started the season undefeated. The Detroit Pistons, Toronto Raptors, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors didn’t lose during the opening week. Every team on this list is 3-0 except the Timberwolves who are 2-0.
· The Pistons are my surprise team on this list. They beat a good Hawks team on the road on opening night, followed by a victory over last season’s best defensive team the Utah Jazz. On Friday night they beat a Bulls team that was 2-0 in a close overtime game. Andre Drummond looks like an All-Star averaging 18 ppg, 16 rpg and 2 blks. He is also making 58% of his free throws which would be a career high. Their starters are very good and the bench will be shorthanded because Jodie Meeks will be out 3-4 months after undergoing foot surgery.
· It remains to be seen if Kevin Durant is actually back but he is averaging 30 ppg for this Thunder team. He struggled in his debut against Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs but has been more efficient in the two games since then. Billy Donovan is really pushing Durant as he is second in the league in minutes. In a double overtime victory over the Magic Durant dropped 43 points on 50% shooting. However the Thunder were led by Russell Westbrook late in the game and the overtimes as he scored 48 points. It’s fun to see the Thunder back to their old ways.
· Steph Curry is letting people know that he is the real deal and last season was not a fluke. He opened the year up by scoring 24 points in the first quarter against the Pelicans. He finished with 40 points on 53% shooting. He followed that up with a solid performance against the Rockets. Curry wasn’t done as he faced the Pelicans again, this time he outscored the Pelicans 28-26 in the 3rd quarter. Steph finished the game with 53 points while shooting 63% from the field. The man shot 8-14 from 3-point range and still managed to dish out nine assists and get four steals and four rebounds.
· The New York Knicks are 2-1 on the season. It’s early but they do look like a basketball team. They opened the season with a good road victory against a solid Bucks team. They were beat up in their home opener against the Hawks but showed some fight late in the game. They bounced back and ruined the Wizards home opener on Saturday night. Carmelo Anthony scored a season high 37 points. Surprisingly Melo leads the team in assists and Derrick Williams is second in scoring. Langston Galloway hit some big shots against Washington and is averaging 12 ppg of the bench while shooting 50% from the field and 66% from 3-point range.
· The rookies have looked alright to start the year. Of course each one of them will go through their struggles as the season progresses but we have seen some good performances so far. Jahlil Okafor had a very good debut posting 26 points and 7 rebounds. Emmanuel Mudiay did have 11 turnovers in his debut but the Nuggets beat the Rockets by 20 points and he 17 points, nine assists and four rebounds. The number one pick Karl Anthony Towns had 14 points and 12 rebounds in his debut for the Wolves. He followed that up with a 28 point, 14 rebound and four block performance against the Nuggets. If you get a chance try to watch some of these rookies.
· We knew it would be hard for Kobe Bryant to bounce back but this is depressing. In the first game of the season Kobe threw up 24 shots to score 24 points. On the season he only has five assists while shooting 31% from the field and 20% from 3-point range. Oh and by the way the Lakers are 0-3, not surprise there. In their recent loss Kobe shot 3-15 from the field. For some reason Bryant is shooting a lot more 3-pointers, he’s taken 29 in just three games.
· James Harden is in a funk to start the season. The runner-up to the MVP award last season is only averaging 18 ppg while shooting 22% from the field and .094% from 3-point range. His effective field goal percentage is 25%. The Rockets go as far as Harden takes them and right now with his play the Rockets are 0-3.
· There are a handful of teams with no victories on the season but one team in particular stands out, the Houston Rockets. After going to the Western Conference Finals the Rockets have started the season 0-3 and they have loss all three games by 20 points. They are the first team in NBA history to start a season with three straight 20 point losses. Dwight Howard missed the first game due to suspension but many thought the Rockets would handle the Nuggets. The Nuggets came into Houston and punched the Rockets in the face. Their next game which Howard played in was against the defending champs. While Steph Curry had an efficient night with 9-15 shooting for 25 points, the Rockets leader James Harden was 4-18 from the field and 1-10 from 3-point range and scored only 16 points. On Sunday night the Rockets were up 21 points against the Heat in South Beach. In the second half the Heat outscored the Rockets 65-24 and won by 20 points. Harden again struggled shooting 2-15 from the field and was 0-10 from downtown.