The 2016-2017 NBA season has begun. Check out some early headlines and thoughts from the young season.
Joel Embiid is for real
Even in limited minutes in both losses, the Sixers Embiid didn’t disappoint. Embiid displayed what everyone has been waiting for. That is an all-around game that he provides at the center position anywhere from spin moves with the fade away to stepping out for a three-pointer and blocking shots in the lane. The Philly fans will be foaming at the mouth ready and eager to see his minutes restriction come off after the all-star break.
His conditioning still needs to come along, but it looks more than promising. Embiid’s frame compared to teammate Jahlil Okafor forces opponents driving the lane is too hard to get a good shot in the paint while he is ready to swat your shot to ignite a fast break. Former General Manager Sam Hinkie is looking closer to a genius than a goat by drafting him.
Russell Westbrook will stay on this pace
Through three games Westbrook is averaging a triple double, he is playing like a man possessed, and the team is winning what more can the Thunder ask for. Kevin Durant who?? Westbrook is true to his game by driving to the rim at warp speed pulling up with his elbow jumper, watching Victor Oladipo create too many problems for opposing guards in the backcourt, igniting fast breaks that end in dunks with lots of screaming and yelling causing opposing coaches to call timeout and run with their tail between their legs.
This version of the Thunder looks different and Head Coach Billy Donovan will have to figure out the rotation throughout the season but so far so good. Kudos to General Manager Sam Presti for trading the dead carcass that is Ersan Ilyasova and a protected 1st round pick to Philadelphia for a competent young player in Jerami Grant. This goes to show if you dangle a 1st round pick at Philly they will do anything to obtain that pick.
Anthony Davis is the whole offense
Davis will get the ball passed to him in the post, at the top of the key, even from section 105 and with a green light to shoot each time the Pelicans are not wrong to implement this offense. So far it’s painful to watch players who are reserves and a superstar try to run anything to resemble an offense. The Pelicans might as well have the mascot play shooting the guard and see if that is better than what they can muster up.
When Lance Stephenson is getting close to 30 minutes and E’twaun Moore starting, this is a big problem when a team needs Tyreke Evans and True Holiday back in a hurry. This is the only time an NBA team will spin to their fan base “When we get Tyreke Evans back injury we will good.” No fan base should experience that kind of depression while watching the “Brow” in action.
Damian Lillard is carrying the Blazers
Have you seen what Lillard has been doing?? Leading the team in all major categories and hitting game winners. If Lillard keeps this pace, he could beat Chris Paul out for an all-star selection. Lillard is showed his fearless scoring in the comeback win vs. Utah on opening night and his clutchness vs. Denver last Saturday night.
With Mason Plumlee, Evan Turner and Meyers Leonard struggling. Maurice Harkless stepped up in the overtime win vs. Denver and the loss vs. the Clippers. Lillard has been taking over when the Blazers needs him the most. That’s why in Portland during the fourth quarter everyone knows what time it is and the league is taking notice.
Can James Harden lead the league in assists this season?
Before you pick your jaw off the floor with this statement, just watch Houston play basketball. Harden has full control of the offense and is putting on a passing clinic each possession. Head Coach Mike Di’Antoni says that Harden is one of the best passers he has ever seen. Even with his high usage rate we can expect to see 5-6 turnovers per game.
All of that aside, Harden is putting up backbreaking numbers on a nightly basis. Can this lead Houston to overtake Minnesota for the number eight seed?? Who knows, but what we do know is that Harden is a video game and could average 12 assists per game and duke it out for the league lead.