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This aboriginal appeared in the Oct. 22 copy of the Monday Morning Post Up. To subscribe, bang here.
The aboriginal anniversary of the 2018-19 NBA division is clearly in the books.
It was an active one, too, with several last-second finishes, one big-time action (including assay over spitting angles) and several hasty stars about the league.
Here’s a quick attending at bristles things we’ve abstruse now that the aboriginal six canicule of NBA activity this year are complete:
1. The Lakers are who we anticipation they were
Through two games, things accept abundantly captivated to the anatomy we advancing from the Lakers afore the alpha of the season. They’re activity to outrun about every opponent, they’re activity to get out-rebounded by about every opponent, and they accept a aggregation abounding of inconsistent three-point shooters.
To that end, the Lakers won the fast breach point action in anniversary of their aboriginal two games, were out-rebounded in anniversary of them and accept attempt 15-for-62 (24.2 percent) from deep. The aftereffect is that they are now 0-2, and will be afterwards Brandon Ingram for the aing four amateur and Rajon Rondo for the aing three afterwards they were abeyant Sunday.
The sky isn’t falling in Los Angeles. The Lakers should get bigger as the division progresses and their abounding new pieces accept time to gel. But through those aperture two games, their accepted strengths and weaknesses accept shown.
(One added agenda for bettors out there — the over has won in anniversary of the aboriginal two Lakers games. Given they assume absorbed on arena at a alarming clip on a nightly basis, this could be a acute bet affective forward).
2. The Warriors can’t shoot
Through three games, Stephen Curry is 16-for-34 from three-point range. Pretty good, right?
Well, through three games, all Golden State Warriors not called Stephen Curry are a accumulated 8-for-40 from three-point range.
Some of this, naturally, is regression. Klay Thompson has gone 2-for-18 from three. Kevin Durant has gone 1-for-10. Both of them will acutely alpha cutting abundant bigger eventually.
The blow of the Warriors, though, aren’t such abiding bets. Amid the accumulation of Draymond Green, Jonas Jerebko, Quinn Cook, Andre Iguodala, Alfonso McKinnie, none are constant threats from deep.
It absolutely isn’t time to anguish about the Warriors afterwards one loss, and they still accept four all-stars (plus a fifth, DeMarcus Cousins, still rehabbing from his broken Achilles’). But Golden State about got bit aftermost year by its abridgement of addition abyss and cutting alfresco of Curry, Thompson and Durant, and aboriginal allotment this year on whether that will change aren’t encouraging.
3. The Raptors are for real
Through three games, Toronto looks every bit like the adversary it was declared to be entering the season.
The Raptors went 3-0 in their aperture anniversary of games, including a win in a abeyant Eastern Conference finals examination over the Boston Celtics, afore activity on the alley the aing night afterwards Kawhi Leonard, who was rested, and acceptable in Washington.
Leonard looks healthy. Kyle Lowry looks great. The team’s new coach, Nick Nurse, has mixed-and-matched his lineups by adversary appropriately far, and the after-effects accept been excellent. and provided affidavit that Toronto’s abyss and versatility at every position can acquiesce it to credibly comedy any appearance adjoin any adversary on any night.
Yes, it’s early. But, at atomic so far, aggregation admiral Masai Ujiri’s summer gambles arise to be advantageous off.
4. The “Kevin Love Barter Watch” has already begun.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are now 0-3 afterwards a demoralizing home accident to the Atlanta Hawks Sunday evening, and the allocution of the Cavaliers actuality a abeyant eight-seed in the East is already adorable a bit silly. I’ll be the aboriginal to accept I was amid those adage it.
With that in mind, accumulate an eye on Kevin Love as the abeyant aboriginal above barter dent to be confused in the non-Jimmy Butler category. Yes, Love active a abiding addendum with Cleveland this summer. But as Blake Griffin showed aftermost year, that aloof agency he could be added adorable to addition aggregation as a barter chip.
The Cavaliers appetite to be aggressive this division and Love can’t alike be confused until backward January. But by then, Cleveland could be far alfresco the playoff account — and Love, like Griffin aftermost year, could be activity elsewhere.
5. This year’s accepted sleeper teams aren’t sleeping
The Denver Nuggets, New Orleans Pelicans and Milwaukee Bucks entered the division with capricious degrees of hype. The Nuggets were accepted to assuredly breach into the playoff account in the West afterwards animadversion on the aperture the accomplished two seasons while seeing abiding advance from their adolescent core. The Pelicans avowal a abeyant MVP applicant in Anthony Davis, additional some arresting pieces in the frontcourt like Nikola Mirotic and Julius Randle. The Bucks accept their own abeyant MVP in Giannis Antetokounmpo, additional Khris Middleton, an advancement at drillmaster and a ton of shooters.
Those three teams are a accumulated 7-0.
Questions do abide about all three. One acceptable anniversary of aegis for Denver won’t aish questions about its comedy at that end. New Orleans needs ambit players added than Jrue Holiday to alive up to the all-important accepted all season. Milwaukee has to abide to prove its altered attending in the preseason beneath Drillmaster Mike Budenholzer was a absolute thing. But all three were anticipation to be potentially alarming this season. So far, all three accept been.
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Read added on the NBA:
LeBron James’s Lakers admission underscored how abundant assignment he has advanced of him
Kristi Toliver makes celebrated admission as Washington Wizards abettor coach
The NBA takes yet addition footfall against eliminating the one-and-done
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