1st Edition (2016-17)
“NBA NEWS TODAY” is a weekly post regarding the hot NBA topics of the week. We highly encourage comments, either positive or negative. Let us know what you think and/or what you would like us to write about so we can make this page a fun and entertaining read for all the NBA fans out there.
HARDEN’S MOVE TO PG PAYING OFF
New Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni thought long and hard this off-season on how best to use superstar James Harden. His decision, in our opinion, to move him to PG has been brilliant. D’Antoni had a rough going as Knicks coach after a stellar run with the Suns in the mid to late 2000’s.
By moving Harden to PG full-time, he has now out the ball in his best players hands and so far the results have been outstanding. Through the first 2 weeks of the regular season, the former Arizona State star has averaged 31.5pts, 7.3reb, and 12.3ast per game. The number of assists he is averaging are staggering to us.
Long known as a volume shooter, Harden has shown the league and us, that he is up to the challenge of making his teammates better, which has always been a knock on him. The Rockets will go as far as James Harden takes them, and so far so good. We will have to wait and see if his play at the PG position can continue.
DeROZAN STARTS OFF ON FIRE
Raptors SG DeMar DeRozan has started off the young season as well as any player can. Averaging 35 points per game though the first 6 contests, the former USC star looks like a different player. Having made Team USA last season, it looks the DeRozan has more confidence to his game. The ultra-athletic SG always had the natural ability. It is his improved jump-shot that has the Toronto fans giddy.
DeRozan teams with PG Kyle Lowry, a fellow Team USA member and All-Star to form one of the NBA’s most talented back-courts. It will be the play of these 2 that will keep Toronto in contention for the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference all season long.
LAKERS LOOK MUCH IMPROVED
After the Kobe Bryant farewell tour and the fiasco that was the 2015-16 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers have played some pretty good basketball in the early going. The main highlight has to be the convincing win over the Golden State Warriors last Friday, 11-4-16.
The 117-97 win over the Warriors showcased the Lakers young bunch of talented players. 3rd year big-man Julius Randle scored 20 points and had 14 rebounds. 2nd year PG D’Angelo Russell had 17 points and looks like a completely different player than last season, when he was the #2 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. And Brandon Ingram, the #2 selection in the 2016 NBA Draft shook off a rusty opening week to his NBA career to score 12 points.
LA has a very nice combination of young talent. Randle, Russell, Ingram, Jordan Clarkson, and surprising 2nd year player, PF Larry Nance Jr., has given the Lakers fans something to look forward too. We really like the collection of talent embattled general manager Mitch Kupchak has assembled.
First year head coach Luke Walton showed last year at Golden State that he could coach. Now in LA, it will be his job to mold all the young talent together. It will take a few years, but things look to be finally heading in the right direction and we believe Walton is the perfect person to be leading this young group.
OKC LOCKS UP 2 MAIN COGS
This is not a rumor but a factual reality. The Thunder have locked up 2 of their main pieces in young and talented SG Victor Oladipo and C Steven Adams. Oladipo, who came to the Thunder in a summer trade, signed a 4-year, $84-million dollar extension. Adams, who really came on during last year’s playoffs, got a 4-yeat, $100-million dollar extension. These 2 players are expected to play main roles next to all world PG Russell Westbrook. We expect big things from both players this season as they aren’t even in their prime. They both made our “NBA Breakout Players” list as well. Click on their names to access that article.
HORNETS RE-SIGN CODY ZELLER
The Charlotte Hornets have locked up big-man Cody Zeller with a 4-year, $56-million dollar extension. The 4th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft hasn’t performed up to the lofty expectations that were placed on him as he entered the league.
However, big-man with ability nowadays get paid handsomely and the former Indiana Hoosier is proof. He has career averages of 7.4pts and 5.4reb in 22 minutes per game. In our opinion, he is a role player or a fringe starter at best. To us, he will never come close to the star projections that many had placed on him when he entered the draft as a sophomore in 2013.
Let’s take a look at how some of the NBA rookies are adjusting from college to the NBA. We all know making the jump is very hard as it takes longer for some players than others to adjust to the speed and physicality of the game. And not to mention the difference of talent they are playing against on a nightly basis.
Joel Embiid is leading all rookies in scoring. Although drafted in 2014, Embiid missed his first 2 seasons because of injuries, which as led him to reclaim his rookie status. He also leads all rookie in rebounds. So far in the early going, the former Kansas star is averaging 18.5pts, and 6.3 rebounds per game.
Point Guard Kris Dunn is leading all rookies in assists through the first 2 weeks of the regular season. The former Providence star and Minnesota Timberwolves rookie is averaging 4.6 assists per game. Dunn was our pre-season pick for NBA Rookie of the Year.
We will delve into the “Rookies Report” more next week. It is very early into the NBA regular season. Let’s give these youngsters a little more time on the court before we fully evaluate their game.
To view all 70 of our NBA Rookie Player profiles, CLICK HERE.
To view our 2nd edition (11-15-16) of “NNT” please CLICK HERE.
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