Takeaways From Night One
We can all breathe now. The NBA season is officially underway. The Celtics defeated the Sixers and the Warriors beat the Westbrook-less Thunder. In case you missed the games here’s a few takeaways from the two performances.
Al Horford Is Still Really Freaking Good
The Boston big man continues to have his way with Embiid and the Sixers. The savvy center continues to be one of the most versatile front court players in the NBA on both ends of the floor. If the Celtics continue their dominance there’s every chance that he gets some Defensive Player of the Year love.
Ben Simmons and Jayson Tatum Will Be All Stars
The notion of the two sophomore stars landing All Star appearances was brought up months ago by Dennis Dow. Their games on opening night showed that they’re not only near-locks to do so but will be stars for years to come.
Seriously, how many players make this pass?
Tatum may not have called bank yet this was still damn impressive.
Headband Kyrie Struggled
Kyrie started the game 0-8 from the field before finishing with a relatively meagre performance by his standards: 7 points, 4 rebounds and 7 assists. His shooting struggles didn’t deter him from making an impact otherwise.
The Celtics Depth Is Scary (Terry) Good
Boston had 13 players who saw playing time against the Sixers. Stunningly, all of them were a positive in +/-. Rozier headed that with +22 while Jaylen Brown was +11. With Irving not his usual self on the offensive end they still had a multitude of options to turn to. Their depth will continue to be a massive weapon through the grind of the 82-game season.
Simmons May Not Need a Jumper
When you can impact the game on such a variety of levels who needs a jump shot? In transition he’s an absolute beast and can bend defenses at his own will.
He’s also an incredible defender, finishing the game with 4 steals. Don’t be surprised if you see him in the All Defensive Team conversation come the end of the season.
Fultz Is a Work In Progress
His mid range jumper is so smooth but there’s still plenty of work to do. He didn’t attempt a perimeter shot and was the Sixers worst player in +/- (-16). It’s only game one so let’s not rush to any conclusions. Fultz has plenty of time to get his offensive game working. He showed confidence in the 3-point shot in the offseason. Here’s hoping he can translate that form onto the court.
Hayward Was a Steadying Presence
What a difference 12 months makes. Time heals all wounds and while Hayward might not be perfect physically it was awesome to see him out there doing his thing.
His hair looked as slick as ever, as did the jumper. There was some rust that will be ironed out as the season progresses. A fully fit Hayward is going to be a menace for opposing teams as he continues to reach that peak.
The Warriors Got Some Really Big Rings
The Warriors were presented with their championship rings and boy did they pop.
They might be the most flashy rings ever created for a championship winning team. Also, notably, Kevin Durant was given his last. Was it a subtle homage to keep KD around come free agency? Time will tell.
Dennis Schröder’s Fit Is Better Than His Hairstyle
In the absence of OKC’s franchise point guard, Schröder stepped up with a more than serviceable night (21 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 1 block).
When Westbrook returns they’ll have a nice one two backcourt punch. His oncourt exploits certainly paled in comparison to his new hairdo.
Stephen Curry Might Win MVP
One of the game’s most dazzlingly talented players put on a show for the crowd in Oakland. His full repertoire of tricks was on display and unfortunately OKC were on the wrong end of it.
Steph is the most impactful player on one of the game’s most dominant teams. If he can play 65 games or more he’s definitely an MVP candidate. He made an All NBA Team on the back of just 51 games. Chef Curry is gonna be cooking up plenty for the other 29 teams over the next few months.