NBA Week 1: 5 things we learned
It’s been a crazy start to the 2017/18 NBA Season, so let’s take a look at 5 things that stood out in Week 1.
1. The Boston Celtics could struggle
The Boston Celtics’ season got off to the worst possible start when new recruit Gordon Hayward suffered a season-ending leg injury inside six minutes of his debut.
Hayward landed awkwardly trying to get on the end of an alley-oop pass from fellow new boy Kyrie Irving, dislocating his ankle and fracturing his tibia. The former Utah star’s absence was felt, and the Celtics lost their season opener against the Cavaliers 102-99 before going down to the Bucks the following night. It was third time lucky for Boston as they finally got their name in the winners column by defeating Philly 102-92.
If the first week is anything to go by, the Celtics could be in for a long season, however. Without Hayward, the team has lacked a sense of balance. Irving has taken – and missed – way too many shots, shooting 37% in the first three games. Irving needs to trust his teammates more if they are to have success without the 27-year-old.
2. LeBron is still the King
Averages of 27.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 7.0 assists across the first three games. Need I say more?
The King started right where he left off last season and is set for another year of dominance. LeBron came within one assist of recording his second opening-night triple-double in two years, and then backed up his performance with tidy games against Milwaukee and Orlando where he finished with 24 and 22 points, respectively.
With new teammates Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Jae Crowder, Jeff Green and eventually Isaiah Thomas on board, the King will look to do all he can to ensure the loss of Irving isn’t felt.
3. Houston are the real deal
Houston meant business when they went out and added nine-time All-Star Chris Paul to their roster to form a dynamic backcourt duo with James Harden. Rockets fans will be hoping the
point guard’s bruised left knee doesn’t cause him too many issues in what is shaping up to be an exciting season for the franchise.
Re-signing Nene and adding P. J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute gives the team nice depth as they look to contend for a Championship, and the Rockets are certainly on the right path following a 3-0 start.
4. Warriors fans shouldn’t panic… yet
Why would you panic when Nick Young just dropped 23 points on 8 of 9 shooting? The fact the Warriors went down 122-121 to the Rockets on opening night is nothing to worry about. They will play in the playoffs.
Golden State showed their strength against New Orleans in their second game. Despite trailing by 13 points at quarter time, they outscored the Pelicans by 21 points in the second and third terms.Yet that was followed by defeat to the Grizzlies, prompting accusations of a championship hangover.
Don’t fret, Warriors fans, the talent in this team is there. Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green signify the strongest core of any NBA outfit. Once they get in their groove, which they will, the Warriors will be a tough team to beat.
5. Giannis is the MVP frontrunner
Early days, but no other player has started the season as impressively as Giannis Antetokounmpo. Through three games, the Greek Freak is averaging 38.3 points whilst shooting at over 67%. This is impressive even before you throw in a casual 9.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.7 steals.
The 2013 first-round pick has gone from strength-to-strength since his NBA debut, and you can understand why he has drawn comparisons to King James in recent times – he is arguably the NBA’s most complete player and the future of the league.