Every NBA team has played a minimum of two games to start the 2017-18 regular season, so that means it’s time to take incredibly small sample sizes and stretch them as far as possible.
No wasting time. No allowing for regression toward the mean. We need some hot overreactions. Here’s what we got from the first week of NBA action…
The Warriors are going to fall this year
The Magic (2-1) are a better team than the Warriors (1-2). That is a factual statement based on their records. You can say that.
We did it, guys! The Warriors’ reign of terror is over! Cats and dogs living together! Wait, Golden State still has Stephen Curry? And Kevin Durant? And Draymond Green? And Klay Thompson? Ah, right.
Yes, the Warriors have dropped two of their first three games, and yes, Curry and Durant got ejected against the Grizzlies out of frustration with the officiating crew. This is still the team to beat. Golden State will fix its defense (third-worst defensive rating in the NBA) and move away from isolation on offense (8.4 percent of possessions end in isolations this season vs. 5.7 percent in 2016-17) in order to return to its identity.
But hey rival fans, enjoy the losses while you can!
Giannis Antetokounmpo is the best player in the NBA
The one called “Greek Freak” may become the league’s top player sooner rather than later, but let’s not push LeBron James off his throne just yet. Still, Antetokounmpo deserves credit for his hot start.
Through three games, Antetokounmpo is leading the NBA in scoring (38.3 points per game), usage percentage (36.0), and player efficiency rating (43.1). He’s doing this while shooting 67.2 percent from the field, and he’s only averaging 3.0 turnovers despite the increase in usage.
All signs point to Antetokounmpo being a legitimate MVP candidate both this season and for the foreseeable future. Let’s allow him to get there.
Lonzo Ball is the greatest/worst rookie of all time
The former UCLA star had a rough outing in his NBA debut, finishing with only three points on 1-of-6 shooting as Clippers guard Patrick Beverley focused on making his night miserable. Ball followed the loss with a near triple-double, posting 29 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in a win against the Suns. On Sunday night against the Pelicans, Ball dropped 13 dimes but again struggled from the field (3-of-13 shooting from the field, 0-of-5 from 3-point line).
So, what do we make of this kid? Well, he’s a rookie point guard. That’s basically it. He will have ups and downs throughout the season as he battles some of the best players the league has to offer. He will learn important lessons — like don’t challenge Anthony Davis at the rim.