With the NBA limbering up for a full swing return to its play-in tournament and then playoffs, the league has provided its basketball famished fanbase with some preseason level, friendly scrimmages. And you know what that means: jumping head-first into largely unsolicited predictions and over-reactions to a tiny sample size of mostly meaningless basketball.
Andre Roberson is now a 3-point shooting assassin?
This is a great story regardless; Oklahoma City’s Andre Roberson has now returned the NBA floor for the first time since rupturing his left patellar tendon in January 2018. That enough is cause for celebration, but after two games of action Roberson is now averaging a G.O.A.T. level 75% from the 3-point arc, including a couple of back-to-back clutch threes to seal the win over the 76ers. Now, is this filthy 3-point percentage based on only four attempts? Yes. And did those makes look to have only just rattled in? For sure. But, it’s still cause for over-excitement! Roberson, throughout his career has only had an unfortunate 25.7% average from three and a cringe-worthy airball after a wave off by his now-teammate, Chris Paul. So, in hopes of him completing the true hero’s journey: from poor shooting to a seemingly endless injury, to his triumphant return; I naively predict that Andre Roberson is now a 3-point sniper.
Bol Bol was the steal of last year’s draft
The 44th pick in the NBA draft, belonging to the Denver Nuggets, was Bol Bol. Son of Manute Bol, the tallest player in NBA history at 7ft 7ins, Bol Bol was a tantalising draft prospect as a skilled big man but, he plummeted to Denver due, in part, to injury fears. Bol did not play for the Nuggets during the regular season but, in his Orlando Bubble debut, with the Nugget’s depleted roster (only 8 players were available/present), he put up an impressive 16pts, 10reb, 6blks, 1ast and 2 three-pointers against the Washington Wizards. With the Nuggets putting out their almost-hilariously supersized lineup (Nikola Jokic, 7’0, Jerami Grant, 6’8, Bol Bol, 7’2, Paul Millsap, 6’7, Mason Plumlee, 6’11), Bol showed of some exciting guard skills, sinking a pull-up three on the break and throwing a beautiful dime to a cutting Noah Vonleh. Although, in the following loss to New Orleans on Saturday he shot a less impressive 31%FG and his plus/minus dropped from a +18 to a +3. Yet, the versatility he has displayed thus far makes one dare to predict that Bol Bol is well on his way to becoming the leagues next unicorn.
Step aside San Antonio, The Toronto Raptors are the next generational stalwart
For over 20 years the San Antonio Spurs, led by R.C. Buford and my imaginary choice for the next U.S. president, Gregg Popovich, have seemed to create something out of nothing. They won it all repeatedly over the years, staying afloat drafting from later in the draft (see Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Kawhi Leonard, Patty Mills etc.) and developing them into stars and studs. Yet, following Kawhi Leonard’s tumultuous departure from San Antonio in 2018, their stability has crumbled somewhat.
The recipient of Kawhi, the Raptors, won it all last year thanks to his superhuman play, only to lose him in free agency last summer. But, the Raptors are still thriving with a 46-18 record, due to the development of Pascal Siakam (picked 27th) into a superstar, the undrafted Fred VanVleet and a number of other productive role players. Amongst those role players is OG Anunoby, like Siakam, he came in as a raw athletic talent, thought to in all likelihood to just fill a defensive roll. But, he’s now shooting 38% from three and, now in the scrimmages he appears to have developed some nasty handles and passing ability. So, based on these few plays, I am predicting that OG is the next superstar to come from the Raptors development and to bring them to further greatness. No pressure…
- R. Smith will cause the Lakers to lose the championship, because I saw him miss a half-court shot in JaVale McGee’s vlog.
- After the refs called an offensive foul on Drew Eubank’s murderous dunk on Thanasis Antetokounmpo, the league is clearly fixed for the Bucks to win.
- Kyle Kuzma has continued his streak of thriving in unimportant games, since his summer league MVP win, by putting up 25pts on 77% shooting. Is he the 3rd star the Lakers have been begging for him to become? Probably not, but let’s predict it anyway.