5 mega over-reactions to early action across the NBA
The 2019-20 NBA season is still in its infancy; at most, teams have played a handful of games. That hasn’t stopped fans and media members alike from letting loose some egregiously hot takes.
Here’s what we’ve learned about the NBA so far, from the people who love the Association the most. I won’t name names, but go ahead and note the sarcasm.
Devin Booker for MVP
No Ayton, no Rubio, no problem. The short-handed Suns may have been without two of their premiere players, but that didn’t stop Devin Booker and Co. from putting a hurt on the Los Angeles Clippers in Phoenix’s third game of the year.
Devin Booker dropped a cool 30 points on the night, including 16 in the final frame of action. Underrated no longer, Book has arrived.
The Suns were only expected to win around 27 games this season. But clearly the Bothans in Vegas hadn’t accounted for Devin Booker’s new dominance over the league.
Phoenix has a rather brutal schedule over the next few weeks, with six of its next 10 games coming against 2019 playoff teams. Surely early-MVP lock Devin Booker is up to the task.
Should the Rockets trade James Harden?
USA TODAY Sports
As our own @wjax99__ pointed out, the Rockets eked out a win over the New Orleans Pelicans in the early goings despite James Harden’s 2-18 from three. No, that’s not a typo. Thankfully, Rusell Westbrook turned in a trademark triple double to save the day.
Now, was Harden a +7 on the night overall? You bet. And was Westrbook a -7? Absolutely. But what does +/- even mean?
(Per ESPN: +/- denotes team's net points while the player is on the court.)
What’s abundantly clear is Harden has deferred to Westbrook. He’s nothing more than a glorified spot-up shooter, and when the shots aren’t falling, it’ll be on Russ to pick up the pieces.
Are the Sixers better without Joel Embiid?
Go ahead and watch this play here:
It’s a beautiful pick and pop executed by Ben Simmons and Al Horford. The shear gravity of a Simmo drive leaves Horford dangerously open behind the arch.
Why, though, would Sixers head coach Brett Brown not run the same set with Joel Embiid in the mix? Well, because Embiid missed the above game with a sprained ankle.
Al Horford has been in the league for nine more years and has knee problems, and he still has played in more games in each of Embiid’s four seasons in the NBA. Trying to compensate for a player who struggles to stay on the court is difficult.
How Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid will coexist this season remains unclear. Clearly, though Simmo and Horford have things going smoothly. Is Embiid the odd man out in Philadelphia?
Trae Young is the best point guard in the Eastern Conference
Look out, Eastern Conference. There’s a new hot team looking to upend the status quo. Enter: Trae Young’s Atlanta Hawks.
At the time of this writing, Trae Young is the third most efficient player in the entire Association. This puts Young in some rarified air.
What we can safely deduce is that Young has indeed arrived. And from the looks of it, this puts him atop the point guard food chain in the East. Players like Kyrie Irving will be hard-pressed to earn the starting job for the All-Star game in Chicago this February.
The Timberwolves are for real
Karl-Anthony Towns too has been a man possessed in the early goings of this NBA season. He posted 32 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 5. assists per game during Minnesota’s first few tilts of the year. As one national writer astutely pointed out, “the last guy to put up 32-13-5 for a season: Wilt, 54 years ago.”
Star power is the most powerful commodity in the NBA. Analytics be damned, you need elite talent to carry the banner. It looks as if the Timberwolves All-Star big man is up to the task.
Ignoring Andrew Wiggins’ abysmal showing, or chronic pessimism in Minnesota, the early returns prove this year will be different for the T-Wolves.
Sample sizes are overrated. All of the above is as true today as it will be in April. I’m right about this.