For this post, I’m just going to rattle off some thoughts from what we saw with the Lakers, Warriors, Nets, and Bucks. Four teams that a lot of people believe could make the Finals this season. Well, here are some of the way-too-soon thoughts from just one game for each…
RUSSELL WESTBROOK looked lost out there. We all know he will step up and they will figure this out, but we also know he’s not a great perimeter shooter, which the Lakers sorely needed. One podcast described Russ as an “innings eater” who can carry the team for stretches during the season when Lebron or AD are out. But they do need him to play more like Russ, and he will.
JORDAN NWORA looked fantastic for a young kid who is brand new to Milwaukee’s rotation. His confidence, defense, and energy were a breath of fresh air to a team that could really use his athleticism against other teams with wings like Phoenix. Maybe I sold Nwora’s Prizm auto one day too soon.
JORDAN POOLE is yet another “Jordan” who looked at home in his role as a scorer and energy guy. Golden State found a good one here, and he will continue to shine even after Klay’s return.
PATTY MILLS made a lot of threes. Maybe one of the least-appreciated stars in the NBA during his career, Patty is solid and exactly the kind of shooter the Nets need in this sans-Kyrie era.
GIANNIS looked like a GOAT.
LEBRON looked like another GOAT.
Is it mathematically possible to have two GOATS?
KHRIS MIDDLETON remains an under-rated investment in basketball cards. How many more all-star appearances, championship trophies, or gold medals will a guy need before we start talking about him as a terrific “buy” and one of the top 20 players in the NBA?
STEPH CURRY missed a wide open layup, but nailed a triple-double and a big road win on opening night. It’s hard not to love the guy and what he brings to the League.
NIC CLAXTON was fun to watch and reminds me of a raw Clint Capela. I think Clint is still raw, so that’s saying something.
TALEN HORTON-TUCKER didn’t play, but I missed him and so did the Lakers.
LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE still hasn’t come out of retirement. Sorry, but it was painful to watch and he clogs the lane on both ends of the court.
KEVIN DURANT and JAMES HARDEN both had terrific nights, and we expect that of them. But we remember how the Nets struggled at first when adding Harden, working through chemistry issues. It’s fair to give the LAKERS a similar grace period as they adjust to adding RUSS, MELO, DWIGHT, RAJON, MALIK, DEANDRE, KENDRICK, TREVOR, and at least three other dudes I forgot already. Sorry, BAZEMORE.
PAT CONNAUGHTON looked like another GOAT. “GREAT OFFENSE AND TEAMWORK!” This guy embodies the hustle and “fit” that every Bucks player seems to thrive in, from BROOK LOPEZ to BOBBY PORTIS.
JRUE HOLIDAY bruised his right heel, and only got 17 minutes of action. But this allowed the Bucks to show off their depth and their new defensive weapon, GRAYSON ALLEN.
We will remember this year’s Opening Night with Giannis at the forefront. Milwaukee received their championship rings and played like champions. Without question, they are ready to defend the title.