So, yeah. That Lonzo Ball debut didn’t go exactly as hoped…
I took the L while Lonzo took the “holy crap I hope every night doesn’t feature Patrick Beverly on defense” welcome to the NBA lesson. It isn’t a fun one to learn, but I am still bullish on Lonzo’s rookie season and potential impact on both the Lakers and the NBA.
In the meantime, the Clippers sent a strong statement that the city is still there’s – for now, Chris Paul or no Chris Paul. We shall see how long that feel-good lasts in Clipper Nation.
Elsewhere, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony blended well with Russ and the Thunder won their debut with ease over the destined-to-struggle Knicks, and the Raptors won their scrimmage against the simply decimated Bulls. I liked some of the long sleeper value of their super-young roster, but with Lavine hurt, Mirotic’s face broken and Bobby Portis, well, being the breaker of said face, it is hard to see the Bulls avoiding falling into a massive hole spiraling on a trajectory towards the #1 pick odds-on-favorite.
It’s a nice slate of action tonight, highlighted by LeBron vs. Giannis on ESPN and the Warriors looking to avoid an 0-2 start to the season in New Orleans against The Brow, Boogie and the Pelicans. Let’s see if we can get things cooking with a winner tonight.
Today’s NBA Pick:
Utah Jazz at Minnesota Timberwolves -4.5
The Jazz looked excellent in their opener, and the Wolves struggled a bit. But Minny was on the road at San Antonio in their very first real game with an almost entirely new core to their roster. I wouldn’t read too much into the result. Minnesota is loaded and poised to breakthrough this season. I think this is a 50-win team, both in terms of talent and coaching/effort. I expect them to defend intensely at home and expose some of Utah’s offensive weaknesses – especially with the departure of Gordon Hayward.
Ricky Rubio makes his return to Minnesota tonight, and his offensive creativity will be missed by the Wolves. But his mediocre defense, fragile health, and terrible outside shooting will not. I think they upgraded with the less-flashy Teague, and I expect him to win the head-to-head matchup after a pedestrian opener which saw Tyus Jones get a lot of the late minutes in his stead
Minnesota has better scoring and better depth. They are at home tonight as well, a big advantage. Look the Wolves to get their first win of the season and cover the 4.5 margin.
Today’s NBA Pick: MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES -4.5