If you’re like me, you are on cloud 9 this morning. The NBA season returned last night, and I couldn’t be happier. There were only 3 games last night, but they were fantastic. There were statements made, surprises, and questions formed. We learned a lot from those 3 games, and here’s a few things to take away:
- The Miami Heat are angry-
The Heat are being counted out of the Finals by everyone in the media, and it is assumed that they won’t make a 4th straight Finals. After LeBron James and company got their rings, they immediately got to work. The Heat looked like they are angry, and took it personal that the Bulls are being picked to win the East. They had 7 players in double figures, and they moved the ball well. They were aggressive on defense, and the Bulls could never find rhythm on offense. They got out and ran, and they dominated the Bulls. It seems as if the Heat are going to take this regular season very seriously, and they are playing with a chip on their shoulder–and that’s scary.
- Derrick Rose has some rust to shake off-
4 of 15 shooting and 5 turnovers are probably not the stats Derrick Rose wanted in his return. He looked as explosive as ever, but he seemed as if he was pressing at times. He has talked about passing when he needs to pass, and take over when it’s time. He seemed as if he were trying too hard, and didn’t let the game come to him. This probably isn’t the best team for Rose to return against, but he needs to get back in the flow of things. This is practically a different team he’s playing with, and they all need to get acclimated with his teammates. He will be fine, but all the people expecting him to score 30 and lead them to victory last night should slow down a little bit.
- Paul George hasn’t missed a beat-
Paul George isn’t a top ten player in the NBA yet. He had a great season last year, and it has some people calling him a superstar. George is a great player, but he still has some growing to do. That said, he was fantastic last night. He had 24 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists on 50% shooting. He was the leader for a Pacers team who played phenomenal defense, and looked strong. With Danny Granger still out, George is proving that he can carry the load. We will see if Granger and George can coexist.
- Victor Oladipo is going to be a stud-
I know it’s only one game, but I like what I’ve seen from Oladipo thus far. He’s my pick for Rookie of the Year, and he is going to be an all-star one day. He came off the bench and scored 12 points, and brought good energy. He will be tried at point guard and shooting guard this season–and depending on if they trade Aaron Afflalo or Jameer Nelson–he will start in one of those spots. Look for Victor to put up some good numbers on a bad team. He will have some ups and downs, he is a rookie after all.
- The Pacers bench looks improved-
The Pacers had a terrible bench last season, and it was a downfall for them. They added Chris Copeland, Luis Scola, and C.J. Watson, and that is a huge upgrade. They scored 26 points off the bench, and Orlando Johnson led the reserves with 9 points, and it seems as if they will be able to hold the fort when the starters hit the bench. Luis Scola scored well, but he will need to play better defense if he wants to see extended minutes.
- DeAndre Jordan has improved-
One of the players who will benefit the most from Doc Rivers going to the Clippers is DeAndre Jordan. Jordan is a freak athlete who has a lot of potential, but hasn’t seen a lot of playing time in the 4th quarter. Rivers has given him the confidence to be a defensive anchor, and reach his potential. He had 17 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 3 steals, and he outplayed Blake Griffin. If he can keep this kind of play up, the Clippers could benefit immensely.
- The Lakers are going to surprise people-
The Lakers won’t win the title, but they will be better than people expected. I think they will make the playoffs, and they showed what they could be last night. Steve Nash and the starters didn’t play the 4th quarter, but they didn’t need too. The bench played with a lot of energy, and these young guys who have a lot to prove played amazing. The Lakers made 48% of their threes, and this is a foreign Lakers team. They were jumping up and down on the bench, screaming and yelling on the floor, and they played with a lot of excitement. This was just one game, but the Lakers are better than most people think.
- The Clippers still need to work on their defense-
The Clippers actually weren’t bad on defense last season, but they broke down late in games. Last night was a perfect example of their problems. Doc Rivers will help them improve, but they will need to break their bad habits. If they want to be serious contenders, then they have to commit to executing on the defensive side in the 4th quarter, and not letting a bench outplay their starters.
What a great time of the year it is, with football and basketball going in full swing. We here at Fansided will bring you top-notch coverage. The NBA is back, and that is music to my ears.