After the shortest offseason in memory the NBA is back. Some players have changed teams, other stars are looking to ascend, the veterans of the game are looking to further solidify their legacies and many are just hoping to get paid this offseason when the new CBA kicks in. It’s still early(way too early in fact) but let’s do a status report on each team according to their first game result.
The Golden State Warriors;
I believe this was the third time that I walked into a season believing the career highs Andrew Wiggins put up in meaningless March games as his team missed the playoff’s would translate into next season greatness. Wiggins has all the physical tools to be a dominant scorer and defender in this league but is just to inconsistent with his scoring bursts, often appears disinterested on the defensive end and can drift lifelessly through games if he doesn’t feel involved, the problem lies in the fact Wiggins involvement is dribbling the air out the ball before settling for a contested mid range Jumper. I thought the Warriors environment would be beneficial for him but as opening nights game showed Wiggins is still as inconsistent as ever. With Curry in desperate need for any kind of help the #2 spot was right there for Wiggins to take but the game didn’t go well for him early and he slowly drifted away like he usually does only occasionally showing flashes to remind you what he could be, why he is still out there and why some other team will take a chance on him based on some more meaningless March tape. I always thought he could be the poor man’s Kobe but it’s looking like he’ll settle for being the billionaire Gerald Green.
Brooklyn Nets; Kyrie Irving, KD and others
The Brooklyn Nets cleared a lot of doubts opening night. Kevin Durant proved the severity of the Achilles injury is being greatly cut down due to advances in medicine. The scoring machine looked rusty but that’s due to readjusting to NBA game speed rather than being hobbled by his injury, if KD can return to even just 90% of the player he was before the injury then the Nets become the favorites to come out the east. Kyrie Irving has settled well as the Nets 2nd Banana and without the need to be “The” leader on the squad can just concentrate on what he does best which is putting the ball in the basket.
The Harden question?
Is James Harden worth all the Nets supporting cast? Last seasons numbers show the Nets have a solid supporting cast and during a title run maybe that’s more important than a superstar you’ll have to forcefully fit in with 2 other superstars and an off the street supporting cast.
The Washington Wizards and Russell Westbrook;
Russell Westbrook got a triple double and his team lost it felt like 2017 all over again. It is simply inhuman for Westbrook to be doing this at such a high level. Westbrook’s triple double obsession is a double edge sword for his team. On one hand he turns into a one man dynamo whose energetic playstyle has a ripple effect on his teammates causing them to play harder, on the other hand Westbrook tries to carry too much of the burden of the team on his own shoulders usually collapsing under the weight come playoff time. Last night Westbrook logged 75% of the Wizards assists by himself!!! not only is that extremely impressive it’s also very unsustainable. In a vital game 6 or game 7 you can’t have one man carry 75% of the playmaking burden, you also can’t have this machine carrying three fourths of the playmaking burden looking to log over 10 boards and drop 30 as well. Russell Westbrook plays such entertaining basketball that many overlook that his playstyle is not playoff conducive. Westbrook may just retire as the greatest player to never win a ring but at least he has his triple double obsession to take his mind off that.