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What if I told you the Celtics were 3-0 and Jayson Tatum is the way too early MVP leader? Believable, sure. Now, what if I told you the Jazz and Blazers joined them as the only other 3-0 teams and are tied atop the Western Conference? You’d call me insane. Yes, it’s only been 1 week and everyone (almost) has only played 3 games, but the NBA is diving headfirst into chaos this year, and I for one, love to see it.
Staying on theme, here are 3 kneejerk reactions to week 1 that are sure to stand the test of time come April.
The Blazers are back
Everyone and their grandmother were getting on Dame for sticking it out with the Blazers in spite of them seemingly blowing up the roster last season. I mean, who could blame him, he has 176 million reasons to ride it out in Rose City. Yet here we are and the Blazers are 3-0 with an impressive win in Phoenix under their belts, and Dame has quickly reminded us just how good he is after a year away from the hardwood. Not to mention, surrounding an elite scorer like Dame with big wings who are capable (albeit not great) shooters and great on defense is a smart way to build a roster. Maybe other GMs in the West should take note (Hi Rob Pelinka!). Long story short, are they title contenders? Probably not, but a team that had a preseason win total of o/u 39.5 should be fighting for the playoffs in a crowded Western Conference.
The Sixers are in trouble
Was Embiid the problem all along? Should they bring back Simmons and build around him? Jokes aside, something is up in Philly. Losing to the Celtics and Bucks isn’t cause for alarm, but dropping a game at home, to the Spurs, coming off an 0-2 start to the season, is. They’re bottom 20 in the league in ORTG and DRTG and might be falling behind the times as they rank dead last in Pace. PJ Tucker looks old, and we can all agree Doc Rivers is maybe the most overrated coach of all time. They’ll probably get it turned around here soon, but this team went from potential title contender to yet another expected 2nd round exit pretty quickly.
The Pelicans are here baby, the Pelicans are here!
Unlike Knicks fans overreacting to a game 1 win over the Hawks last year, the young, upstart Pelicans are for real, and they’re here to stay. Yes, they just lost to the Jazz in OT but started the season off with impressive wins over the Nets and Hornets. They currently rank top 5 in ORTG, and top 12 in DRTG. Oh and they’re turning back the clock a bit, all of this while being dead last in 3PA in the league. This hot start can be attributed to high-energy defensive and attacking the rim on offense. The young core 3 of CJ McCollum, Brandon Ingram, and Zion Williamson look like one of the best in the league and these guys will be in the running for a top 4 seed out west.
Week 1 Pick Recap
Spread – Season (2-1)
Warriors -6.5 – W
Knicks +6.5 – W
Nuggets -7.5 – L
Survivor Season (1-1)
T-Wolves over Jazz – L
Nuggets over Thunder – W
Survivor Traps (1-1)
Hawks – L but this was close through 3 quarters
Nets – W
Overall, not a terrible week at 4-3. I do however owe an apology to the Jazz and their fans. You’re good, even if you won’t want to be!
Week 2 Pool Picks
Pelicans vs Mavericks – Give me the Pels! This is a matchup of two exciting teams in the West with young stars, the starkest difference? The Pels have more than one. Ride with the birds at home this week. (Update: Zion and Ingram are out, take the Mavs!)
Bucks vs Hawks – The Hawks look good, more like the team that went to the ECF than the team that got gentleman’s swept by the Heat in round 1. Dejounte Murray is a great addition and DeAndre Hunter continues to impress, that being said, they aren’t beating Giannis at home, ride with the Greek Freak.
Mavs over Thunder – A theme might start cropping up as the Thunder continue their tanking ways. The Mavs are off to a decent start in spite of blowing a big lead in Phoenix and a home matchup with OKC is just what the doctor ordered for a get-right game.
Cavs over Knicks – One week in and the Donovan Mitchell trade looks like the perfect move for the Cavs, he is bringing them a much-needed and reliable scoring punch night in and night out. Lock them in confidently at home over a middling Knicks roster.
Mavs vs Magic – I know I just picked the Mavs to win like 10 lines up, but make sure you’re picking the right game. Will they win against Orlando too? Probably, but on the second night of a back-to-back against a team with young and hungry talent, I’m staying away.
Nets vs Pacers – Another early season theme popping up, the Nets will be hard to trust. The Pacers aren’t very good but they have talent. Haliburton and Benedict are both playing very well to start the year, and with the Nets, you just never know what you’ll get outside of KD. Avoid them until things settle down.