2019-2020 NBA season: What fans should anticipate after week one

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Highlights of the past week (Tyler Perry)

Four teams took part in the opening game on Wednesday. The New Orleans Pelicans went against the Toronto Raptors and the Los Angeles Lakers played the Los Angeles Clippers. The Raptors and the Clippers were favorites in both matchups coming into the season and the Clippers are favorite to win the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. I was surprised as Lonzo Ball, from the Pelicans, made a few three-pointers as he has been known as someone who typically can not shoot. I was also surprised when Lebron James struggled offensively and only scored 18 points.

The second day provided fans for more matchups as 22 teams played. Rookie player P.J. Washington surprised us all as he made seven three-pointers. This broke the NBA record of most three-point shots made in a player’s debut. The previous record was four three-point shots made by another former Kentucky player Tony Delk. Andre Drummond proved to be the rebounding king as he grabbed 23 rebounds while his teammate Derrick Rose put up 18 points. Gordon Hayward showed that he can be just as good as he was pre-injury. Hayward put up 25 points and Kemba Walker struggled with his new team as he went 4-18 and scored only 12 points. The Minnesota Timberwolves and the Brooklyn Nets added to an exciting day of basketball. Both teams had players that showed that they can lead their respective teams. Kyrie Irving dropped 50 points and almost won the game on a last-second shot that bounced off the rim giving the Timberwolves the win. Center Karl Anthony-Towns also scored a lot as he went 11-22 and scored 36 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Luka Doncic led his team to a 108-100 as he scored an almost career-high of 34 points. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the Thunder surprised us as the Thunder were the clear favorite to lose the game but kept the game close. Gilgeous-Alexander helped out the Thunder after he dropped 26 points and made three three-pointers throughout the game. The Phoenix Suns played the Sacramento Kings which was assumed to be one of the lesser watched games of the day. The Suns exceeded my expectations and proceeded thrash the Kings as Devin Booker put up a double-double in his season opener.

The third day had fewer games than the second but showcased two very anticipated games as the Houston Rockets played the Milwaukee Bucks and the Golden State Warriors played the Los Angeles Clippers. Giannis Antetokounmpo, the reigning MVP, started off the season in a tight win with a triple-double. He fouled out in the fourth quarter, but the rest of the team helped make sure they would get the win. The Warriors debuted the season in their new arena, the Chase Center. Kawhi worked on his play-making abilities and had a near double-double with nine assists. Lou Williams started the game on the bench but shockingly led the team in scoring as he dropped 22 points.

The fourth day was the first day that showed no new teams. There were nine games played and second-year players like Devonte’ Graham, Jaren Jackson Jr., Luka Doncic, Allonzo Trier, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander got to show off their skills on Friday. Karl Anthony-Towns had another great game as the team’s primary scorer. He scored 37 points and led his team to a win over the Charlotte Hornets. Gilgeous-Alexander extended his career-high to 28 points, that was not enough though as they fell to the Washington Wizards. The Suns and Denver Nuggets battled against each other as Jamal Murray’s 27 points and the loss of Deandre Ayton was just too much for the Nuggets. The game was the second game of the season to go into overtime and the Nuggets ended up winning by one point. Damian Lillard and De’Aaron Fox went head-to-head against each other. Lillard and the Portland Trailblazers outmatched Fox and scored 35 points while Fox scored 28 points. After Lebron’s struggle in the season opener, he showed out in his second game against the Utah Jazz. He ended the game with 32 points in 31 minutes of game time. Anthony Davis also helped with the Lakers’ win as he scored 21 points. 

The fifth day of action gave viewers interesting results as favorite teams like the Bucks, Pacers, and Clippers all lost. Giannis Antetokounmpo had a near triple-double as he scored 29 points, grabbed 17 rebounds, and tallied 9 assists in a loss to the Miami Heat. The Indiana Pacers faced the Cavaliers in Cleveland. The Pacers and the Cavs kept going back and forth throughout the first quarter and halfway through the second quarter. The Cavaliers then proceeded to take off and dominate the rest of the game. The Suns have surprised us all as they won their first game vs the Kings and almost won against the Nuggets. The Clippers were clear favorites in this matchup, but that proved to be wrong. Montrezl Harrell had a great game as he scored 28 points and Kawhi Leanord proceeded to get a career-best 10 assists. Devin Bookers 30 points kept the Clippers from winning and now we could see the Suns as a playoff team.

The Warriors played the Thunder in Oklahoma to start off the day on Sunday. The game started out with forwarding Danillo Gallinari scoring the first eight points in the game. Warriors point guard, Stephen Curry brought the game close by making a couple of three-pointers, but ultimately the Warriors could not strike back. D’Angelo Russell got ejected and the Thunder ended up dominating the Warriors by 28 points. In what was probably the most exciting game of the day, rookie Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies were challenged by Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets. The Grizzlies surprisingly took control of the first half, everyone on the team was making their shots up until the late second quarter. Kyrie Irving lifted his team and helped the storm back and used that momentum to gain the lead. Morant came clutch and made a game-tying layup and quickly after blocked Irving’s potentially game-winning shot. The game went to overtime where the power forward Jae Crowder came up clutch and hit the game-winning three-pointer as time expired. Irving and Morant were not the only ones to have great games as Anthony Davis came out of the game with 29 points and 14 rebounds. Lebron showed off his passing skills as he only scored four points through the first half and 14 assists throughout the whole game. He also had us scared as he was in danger of losing his record-breaking streak of 929 straight games with at least 10 points.

As the first week of NBA action is done, we will get to see how well the Lakers backcourt does against Jaren Jackson and Jonas Valanciunas. Fans will also see the matchup of shooters as Trae Young and rookie Tyler Herro face off tonight.

Standings (Tyler Perry)

There were teams that did a lot better than they were expected to do. On the other hand, there were teams that did worse than I expected. My updated rankings still have the Clippers on top and the Knicks at the bottom. Teams like the Suns and Jazz have risen up from my previous thoughts. If the Suns keep playing like they are now, do not be surprised if they make it to the second round of the playoffs. 

Los Angeles Clippers

Los AngelesLakers

Philadelphia 76ers

Milwaukee Bucks

Denver Nuggets

Utah Jazz

Houston Rockets

Portland Trailblazers

Boston Celtics

Minnesota Timberwolves

Toronto Raptors

Phoenix Suns

Miami Heat

San Antonio Spurs

Atlanta Hawks

Dallas Mavericks

Orlando Magic

Brooklyn Nets

Oklahoma City Thunder

New Orleans Pelicans

Detroit Pistons

Memphis Grizzlies

Washington Wizards

Golden State Warriors

Chicago Bulls

Cleveland Cavaliers

Indiana Pacers

Charlotte Hornets

Sacramento Kings

New York Knicks

 

Early Season Awards (Jose Collado)

My Most Valuable Player for the first week of the season is Kyrie Irving. He set a new Brooklyn Nets scoring record with 50 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves, who could not find an answer for his shifty and crafty moves to the rim, as well as his flawless three-point shooting. Irving finished the night with 51 percent shooting from the field and 50 percent shooting from three. The following night, Irving found a way to take it to another level. The in-state rival New York Knicks visited Brooklyn and clawed their way back into the game after being down ten in the fourth quarter. However, it was Irving who secured Brooklyn’s bragging rights. With under a minute left and already having a great performance, Kyrie hit a slick step-back three-point shot in the face of Knicks’ third overall pick RJ Barrett, to put the final dagger in the heart of Knicks fans. Although his all-star teammate Kevin Durant is most likely out for the season still recovering from his torn Achilles tendon, Irving is fighting to get this Nets team into the playoffs without receiving much help from his other teammates. 

The best rookie performer, in my opinion, has been the Chicago Bulls’ point-guard, Coby White. He has not missed a beat from his North Carolina days, coming in looking like an NBA caliber player in his debut against the Charlotte Hornets. Although it came in a Bulls loss, White put up 17 points coming off the bench, shooting 46% on 13 attempts. The following night, Coby caught fire, putting up 25 points in a comeback win against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Bulls floor general has made an instant impact on his backcourt teammate Zach Lavine, by forcing defenses to guard them one-on-one instead of being able to double team Lavine like last year. 

The most surprising performer thus far has been Charlotte Hornets’ guard, Devonte Graham, who barely made the Hornets roster last year. Graham has stepped up for the Hornets, who lost all-star point guard Kemba Walker over the summer. Devonte made an instant impact off the bench, putting up 23 points to go along with eight assists and four rebounds on 7-9 shooting. Graham followed that up with another solid performance, putting up 24 points, two rebounds, and four assists. When he lets the ball go, you can feel the confidence spewing from him. This season, he has displayed his unreal NBA range, shooting at will and scoring in whatever way he wants to. The crafty guard is putting up great numbers and although it is unlikely that he will be able to keep these numbers up, it is great to see Graham balling out in the NBA. 

So far, the worst performance belongs to Detroit Pistons center Thon Maker. He has had yet another disappointing start to the season, averaging 2.3 points, three rebounds, and only one block per game. The most curious part about Maker’s disastrous season is the fact that he is shooting only 25 percent from the field and zero percent from three. When Maker made his NBA debut for the Milwaukee Bucks, he was seen as the next great NBA big man. Standing at seven feet, one inch, it is almost impossible to believe that he is unable to score more than three points in over 19 minutes of playing time. In the season opener, Thon scored four points and gathered two rebounds. The following night, he did not even score a basket from open play. His only point of the night was one free throw. Three games into the season, the “big man” has yet to grab 10 total rebounds in 58 minutes of play. It is starting to become evident that Thon was never NBA ready, and in only his third season, his career is starting to run out of gas.

 

In-depth analysis of teams and predictions for rest of the Season (Alex Bedore)

Atlanta Hawks:

The Hawks have played two games against the Pistons and the Magic, winning both games. Trae Young has shown out, as expected. The young team has performed well, but this most likely will not last for the majority of the season due to the youth of their team. They will land right outside of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.

Boston Celtics:

The Celtics have played three games resulting in two wins and one loss. The newly added Kemba Walker has performed very well as expected, with 32 points in a win against the Knicks. Jason Tatum and Gordon Hayward have also been an upside for the Celtics. Their one loss was to a very stellar 76ers team. The Celtics will most likely continue to win and be a playoff team.

Brooklyn Nets:

The Brooklyn Nets have had some ups and downs resulting in one win and two losses in the first week. All of their games have been close, with all the games being decided by four points or less. The new addition of Kyrie Irving has been on fire scoring 50 points in a heartbreaking loss to the Timberwolves. He is all in for his new team, as he became emotional after the first loss. He scored 37 points in another overtime loss, this time to the Grizzlies. The Nets will have a season filled with highs and lows if the other players on the team can’t contribute how Irving has.

Charlotte Hornets:

The Hornets came out of the gates, surprisingly, with a win against the Bulls. This didn’t last long as they are now looking at one win and a two-loss record.. They might have a few bright spots with young players PJ Washington who set the record for three-point shots made in a debut with five, he also ended up with 27 points. The Hornets will most likely won’t perform well over the course of the season, as expected.

Chicago Bulls:

The Bulls have gotten out to a slow start having a record of one win and two losses. The most evident problem, which has been an issue in previous years, is the Bulls’ lack of defense in the first few games. In their first loss against the Hornets, the Bulls had an obvious lack of defense on the three-point line, their defensive woes will probably continue for the remainder of the season unless Coach Jim Boylen can bring some of the defensive success from his previous job in San Antonio. The upsides for the Bulls have been Lauri Markkanen and Zach Lavine both having 30 point games, and Coby White’s performances have also been stellar.

Cleveland Cavaliers:

The Cavaliers didn’t have much to look forward to going into the season, other than growth and development for their younger players. Both young guards, Collin Sexton and Darius Garland have gotten off to a decent start. Sexton had a 25 point game in his debut, and Garland had 12 points in his second game. The veterans on the team like Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson have performed well, but both will probably be on the move to new teams, due to the team’s performance throughout the course of the year.

Dallas Mavericks:

The Mavericks have had a decent start to the season. The new addition of Kristaps Porzingas has performed up to his previous all-star level against the Blazers, scoring 32 points and 9 rebounds in his third game back from an ACL tear over a year ago. The sophomore NBA season has started well for Luka Dončić as well, scoring 29 points in the game against the Trailblazers with a double-double, almost getting a triple-double. The Mavs stars should carry the team making them a possible playoff team.

Denver Nuggets:

The Nuggets have performed well starting out with two wins and no losses. Nikola Jokic has been great having a triple-double against the Suns with 23 points, 12 assists, and 14 rebounds. Jamal Murray has also performed well with 27 points against the suns. These stellar performances will most likely continue throughout the year and make them a playoff team. 

Detroit Pistons:

The Detroit Pistons have had a pretty rocky start without their star player Blake Griffin. They have a record of one win and two losses. Andre Drummond has been great for the team having three double-doubles scoring 32 points and 23 rebounds in the debut game against the pacers. The Pistons season will most likely be filled with ebbs and flows, most likely being a fringe playoff team.

Golden State Warriors:

The Warriors have started off poorly with no wins and two losses. Steph Curry has performed well scoring over 20 points in both games. Newly acquired D’Angelo Russell has been average at best, scoring only eight points in a 21 point loss to the Clippers. The Warriors were also down 70 to 37 at the half in a game against a bad Thunder team. Klay Thompson being out with injury and a lackluster bench, the Warriors have struggled so far, and this may continue over the course of the season.

Houston Rockets:

The Rockets have had a fair start to the season resulting in one win and one loss. Newly signed and former MVP, Russell Westbrook, and previous MVP James Harden have both performed well on the stat sheet, but Harden short an atrocious two for 18 from the three-point line. With two ball dominant guards on the floor at the same time, the Rockets might need some time to build chemistry before they start winning. They will definitely be a playoff team, but the development of the team is key.

Indiana Pacers:

The Pacers have been relatively disappointing so far starting with no wins and three losses. The Pacers lost two poor teams in the Pistons and Cavs. Malcolm Brogdon has been a bright spot with a 30 point double-double. The Pacers are without all-star Victor Oladipo, for the time being, who won’t be returning until January. The team will probably struggle early in the year without their star player, but will still end up being a playoff team in the Eastern Conference.

Los Angeles Clippers:

One of the better teams to start off this year is the Clippers. They have a record of two wins and one loss. Kawhi Leonard, Montrezl Harrell, and Lou Williams have all performed as well as expected. Kawhi Leonard had 30 points in a win against a tough lakers team. The Clippers will continue winning throughout the remainder of the season and will become even better when Paul George comes back from injury. The Clippers will be a top seed in the Western Conference.

Los Angeles Lakers:

The Lakers are another team that has started off well with a record of two wins and one loss coming to a tough Clippers team. The two-star players, Lebron James, and Anthony Davis have carried the team through the first few games. Lebron secured 32 points against the Jazz, and Davis scoring 29 points against the Hornets. The Lakers will be a powerhouse in the Western Conference, and with Demarcus Cousins still being a possibility to return to the team, the Lakers will be a top seed in the West.

Memphis Grizzlies:

The Grizzlies have been okay to start off the season with one win and two losses to their name. A tandem of young players has been effective for the team including Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks, and Brandon Clarke. Ja Morant scored 30 points and had a key block in an overtime win against the Nets. The Grizzlies are a young team that will lose a decent amount of games due to their youth and inexperience putting them a little bit out of the playoffs.

Miami Heat:

The Heat currently holds two wins and one loss. Justise Winslow has played well, and a surprising candidate, Kendrick Nunn, has also played well. Nunn scored 25 points in a loss to a good Timberwolves team, and Winslow scored 27 against the Grizzlies. This team might be a surprisingly high seeded playoff team in the Eastern Conference, and their star free agent, Jimmy Butler hasn’t even played yet.

Milwaukee Bucks:

The Bucks have started off pretty average with one win and one loss to their name. Reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo has been on fire to start the season, almost having a triple-double in both games. The surrounding players on the Bucks must perform well to keep them as a competitor in the Eastern Conference. They will most likely be a high seed in the Eastern Conference.

Minnesota Timberwolves:

The Timberwolves have been the team to watch out for in the Western Conference, having three wins and zero losses so far. All-Star Karl Anthony-Towns has been on fire for the Timberwolves scoring 37 points in a win against the Hornets. The Wolves may be a surprise playoff team in the West if surrounding players like Andrew Wiggins and Robert Covington can perform up to par with Anthony-Towns.

New Orleans Pelicans:

One of the most disappointing teams so far has been the Pelicans having no wins and three losses all in close games. The bright spots for the team are recently acquired young stars Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram. Ingram scored 35 points and Ball a double-double in a loss against the Rockets. This is a young team missing their first pick Zion Williamson. The Pelicans will be a team most likely outside of the playoffs in a tough Western Conference.

New York Knicks:

The Knicks have performed expectantly poor so far having no wins and three losses. Second overall pick RJ Barrett has been the bright spot for the Knicks putting up 26 points in a loss to the Celtics. A team with a lot of young players including RJ Barret, Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson, Kevin Knox, and Dennis Smith Jr. just to name a few, will result in a bottom tier team in the Eastern Conference due to the evident inexperience of the team.

Oklahoma City Thunder:

The Thunder are the average team that has had an average start to the season with one win and two losses. Shai Giligeous-Alexander has been a great addition to the team scoring 28 points in his debut game for the team. The team will have a lot of chemistry issues due to the recent trades of Russell Westbrook and Paul George. The Thunder will be a team near the bottom of the Western Conference.

Orlando Magic:

The Magic have had a lackluster start to the season with one win and two losses to their name. Some bright spots on the team have been all-star Nikola Vucevic and former number 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz. Vucevic scored 21 points and a double-double against the Cavs and Fultz is averaging 12 points which is stellar considering his previous injury history. The Magic will be a mid-tier playoff team in the Eastern Conference due to their superb defense even though they have had a pretty rough start.

Philadelphia 76ers:

The 76ers have been one of the best teams coming out of the gate having two wins and zero losses. The team has performed well collectively but new addition Al Horford has stood out with 24 points in a win against the Pistons. Tobias Harris and Ben Simmon have also been great for the team, Harris scoring 29 against the Pistons and Simmons scoring 23 against the Celtics. The Sixers will be a top tier Eastern Conference team especially if Joel Embiid starts performing at his all-star status throughout the course of the season.

Phoenix Suns:

The Suns have been by far the most pleasantly surprising team with two wins and one loss. Rising star Devin Booker has been great for the team, as well as young prospect Kelly Oubre. Booker scored 30 points in a win against the Clippers, and Oubre scored 23 points in an overtime loss against a good Nuggets team. The Suns may have finally put it together after years of struggle. They might be a fringe playoff team in the West, but the loss of former number one overall pick Deandre Ayton will hurt the team drastically.

Portland Trail Blazers:

The Trail Blazers have a good start to their year with a record of two wins and one loss. The dynamic duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum has carried the team. Lillard scored 35 points in a win against the Kings, and McCollum 35 points in a win against Mavericks. The question that remains for the Blazers is if their role players can be consistent throughout the season. The blazers will be a middle-tier playoff team in the Western Conference.

Sacramento Kings:

One of the most disappointing teams so far is the Kings had no wins and three losses. The most consistent player for the Kings has been Buddy Heild. Scoring 28 against the Suns and 21 against the Blazers. Young players Marvin Bagley and De’Aaron Fox will have to be consistent if the team expects to win any games. The Kings might be right outside of the playoffs in the Western Conference.

San Antonio Spurs:

The Spurs have started off well with two wins and no losses. Legendary Coach Popavich always finds a way to get wins and this has shown early in the season. Some of the best performers have been LaMarcus Aldridge and Dejounte Murray. Aldridge scored 27 points and Murray scored 19 points against the Wizards. Great coaching and a mix of veteran and young players will lead the Spurs to their 23rd straight playoff bout in the West.

Toronto Raptors:

The Raptors have gotten off to a great start after losing All-Star and Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard resulting in three wins and one loss. The best performances have come from last year’s Most Improved Player Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet. Both Siakam and VanVleet scored 34 points in the team’s debut overtime win against the Pelicans. The Raptors will be a middle-tier playoff team in the Eastern Conference even with the free-agent loss of Kawhi Leonard.  

Utah Jazz:

The Jazz has started the season off pretty well with two wins and one loss. Star player Donovon Mitchell has been great for the team scoring 32 points in the debut win against the Thunder. The Jazz will end up being a high tier playoff team due to their amazing defense, but new additions such as Mike Conley need to start performing better if the team wants to make it far in the playoffs.

Washington Wizards:

The Wizards have started off pretty poorly with only one win and two losses to their name. All-Star Bradley Beal has performed well with 25 points in a loss against the Spurs. Young players Rui Hachimura and Thomas Bryant have also been key for the team. Hachimura scoring 19 points and Bryant 21 in the teams only win against the Thunder. The Wizards will be out of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference due to their little star power and the injury to John Wall.