One week in, and the season already has a ton of exciting storylines. Every week, I will be writing a Weekly Dimes blog post, ten things that I like/dislike/have noticed in the past week of basketball action. Let’s get to it and start dropping dimes!
1) DeMar DeRozan is playing at an MVP-level
DeRozan is averages 35 PPG over his first three games, and that’s without hitting a single 3 pointer! That’s absolutely incredible, he barely played for Team U.S.A. this past summer, but apparently he just needed the practice time against upper-echelon players to take another step forward. Plus, only one week in and we already have a great Lowry-DeRozan bromance moment captured in a post-game interview. The 6 is looking pretty darn good.
2) Joel Embiid is must watch basketball, even with limited minutes
Embiid’s minutes are capped for now at 20 minutes per game, but those 20 minutes are absolutely amazing. For anyone who didn’t get to watch Hakeem Olajuwan (so anyone born in the ’90s onwards), this is your chance to watch a low post stud. Once Simmons is back, this 76er’s team will become a League Pass favourite.
3) Oklahoma City Thunder will be playing in a lot of close games
Russell Westbrook has back-to-back triple doubles, and will probably have the best stat line at the end of the season, but this team doesn’t look great past him. Steven Adams is a beast, but Oladipo hasn’t looked like a great backcourt mate for Russ. Roberson is one of the best perimeter defenders in the league, but his jumpshot is broken. Unless one of Ilyasova, Singler, or Sabonis steps up, this team’s production will stay low. Good work extending Adams and Oladipo though (even though they could’ve just paid this money to a certain bearded player a few years back…).
4) The Bulls might be a lot better than I thought
Wade has already hit more 3’s in three games, then he did all last season, and they are 3-0. I don’t want to overreact, but they might be better off than I originally expected. I doubt the shooting will keep up, but they should continue beating bad teams.
5) For a league that has been dominated by Point Guards, there are a ton of great, young Centers
Karl-Anthony Towns, Myles Turner, Jusuf Nurkic, Steven Adams, Joel Embiid, just to name a few. Myles Turner is having a breakout season, Towns should be get All-Star consideration, Nurkic is the building block in Denver, and Adams just signed for 25.5 million per year. Oh, and I think I’ve made it clear how I feel about Embiid. SMALL BALL IS DEAD, CALL IT THE RETURN OF THE BIG MEN!
6) I really like the young Phoenix Suns
Yes, they’re 0-4, but until their loss to the Clippers all the previous losses were very close. Devin Booker is amazing, Brandon Knight would be starting for half of the league’s teams, Alex Len has shown flashes, and Marquees Chriss may have a baby face, but he plays like a man. They’ll be in the bottom four/five teams this year, but that’s okay. Get another top pick, make some moves, and this team could be back in Playoff contention quickly.
7) Kawhi Leonard should not be allowed to play defense
It’s just not fair, he steals the ball before players can even think about what they want to do. I still think he’s an alien, or a robot.
8) Indiana’s backcourt has some questions to answer
Teague and Ellis aren’t known as great defenders, but they aren’t providing on the offensive end either. I really like the upside this team has, they have the potential to make the Eastern Conference Finals, but not with how poorly their backcourt is playing. Plus, Teague looks gross in a #44 jersey, it took me a second to realize that was him.
9) T.J. Warren is already the Most Improved Player
Through the first three games he was averaging over 20 points per game, and he’s clearly been working out. His body fits the three-and-D mould that every team in the NBA is looking for, and his jump shot has drastically improved. Another reason to watch and enjoy this Suns team.
10) IT’S ONLY 1 WEEK! DON’T OVERREACT!
Alright, and now the realist in me comes out. Most teams have played 3 games, some have played 4. The season is a marathon, not a sprint, so while DeRozan is 3rd in scoring, and Minnesota is 0-3, and Chicago is 3-0, all of this really doesn’t mean much. Getting off to a good/bad start is important, but it’s still early. Early into the season though, it’s clear that it will be fun to follow along.