Through just one week of the NBA season, I feel confident enough to make extreme judgments of players that will likely last the entire season. Whether their teams are thriving or struggling, the following are some players I love and hate through one week of NBA basketball:
Entering his second NBA season, the expectations for Josh Hart were rather low as most assumed he would be a solid shooter who can bring the ball up the court and help contribute off the bench. However, through three games, Hart has averaged 17 points per game on 53.8% shooting and 47.1% from behind the arc. Incredibly efficient numbers, Hart is also averaging over six rebounds and two steals per game. Obviously, these numbers are going to drop off as the season continues but Hart’s aggressiveness and nack for scoring will likely not. Attacking the rim at will while also knocking down his jumper, the Lakers biggest worry going forward should be whether or not they will be able to find Hart enough minutes. A mid-season trade wouldn’t shock me.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 23, 2018
Also a second-year player, Fox was a former top-10 pick with incredible athleticism. And through four games this season, Fox is averaging 20.3 points and 7.7 assists per game on 52.5% shooting. Now obviously, he’s on the Kings so any hope for wins is likely gone. But with the confidence and aggression Fox is currently playing with, I don’t see any reason he can’t hold numbers similar to this throughout the season. Some have even referred to him as “Mike Conley but more athletic.” And although I see some similarities in their passing, Fox’s aggression when attacking the basket is much more comparable to a player such as Russell Westbrook.
Most Improved Player candidate?
De'Aaron Fox's 1st 3 games of the season:
– 21 PTS, 7 AST, 3 STL (8-16 FG)
– 18 PTS, 6 AST, 7 REB (6-12 FG)
– 22 PTS, 10 AST (7-12 FG)pic.twitter.com/tYyDC5Fr1A
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) October 22, 2018
Now in his fourth NBA season, Devin Booker has made it clear to everyone he is one of the premier guards in the NBA. Already having two seasons where he averaged over 20 points per game, Booker has appeared to have taken his game to the next level this year. Averaging nearly 30 points per game through three games, Booker is much more than a shooter. In addition to his beautiful stroke, he has improved drastically in taking defenders off the dribble and taking advantage of mismatches when coming off of a pick and roll. Also already under contract until 2024, Booker’s terrible defense remains the one flaw in his otherwise outstanding game.
I remain unfazed in my claim that Tobias Harris is the most underrated small forward in the NBA. After nearly a decade in the NBA, Harris remains a consistent scorer who could be a great third option on a championship contender. And through three games, Harris is proving to be the Clippers main scoring option. Averaging 23.5 points per game on 50% shooting, Harris’ lack of recognition likely stems from the lack of “flashiness” in his game. Especially in an age of Twitter clips, there is a very real chance Harris could lead this team to a playoff spot by simpling putting the ball in the basket.
One of the Warriors few offseason additions, Jonas Jerebko is a stretch four that was not expected to see any more than ten minutes per game for the Warriors this season. However, in just his second game as a Warrior, Jerebko played 24 minutes, scored 10 points on 4-5 shooting from the field, and oh yeah, bailed the Warriors out of a sure-fire loss to the Utah Jazz with a last second tip-in off of a Kevin Durant missed jumper.
And the worst part is that Jerebko shouldn’t have even been in the game. Even while with teams much less stacked than the Warriors such as the Pistons and Jazz, Jerebko scarcely saw clutch-time minutes. But of course, Steve Kerr just has to be so much smarter than everyone else and somehow let who is now the Warriors scarcely known savior (Jerebko) in the game during a star-studded shootout.
— TheWarriorsTalk (@TheWarriorsTalk) October 20, 2018