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Around the NBA: Early Days

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A few notes around the league for your Thursday.

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Some random notes to get us started:

The Pelicans starters scored 19 points in their 89-83 overtime loss to the Grizzlies. (Every word of that previous sentence is depressing.) How close is that to a record low? Amazingly, that 19 points includes Anthony Davis playing 36 minutes (and scoring 10.)

It’s early days, but the Mavs are winless in four games so far. They were one of the likely teams to drop off in the Western Conference, and it looks like that’s happening. They are paying a lot of money for what looks like a pretty poor team. Of course things might turn around, but it isn’t looking good.

Speaking of winless teams: In addition to the Pels and Mavs in the West, the Sixers and Wizards in the East still haven’t won. The Wiz might be in a very tough spot; they look to be capped out (or very close to it) for this season and the following two, with a group that seems unlikely to achieve a ton.

At the other end of things, the Thunder are 4-0, which surprises the hell out of me. They won in L.A. against the Clippers last night. Russell Westbrook is going to be the must-see guy everyone expected this season. I don’t know how much they can keep winning, but so far so good.

I loved the George Hill trade for Utah when it happened, and love it even more now. He’s exactly what they needed. Even without the injured Gordon Hayward, they beat the Spurs last night to move to 3-2 on the season. They were everybody’s pick to make another big step forward this season, and I think they will.

As for the Wolves, they are currently 4th in the league in net rating. Of course, they are also 1-2 and probably haven’t played any good teams yet, but hey! I’ll take it. As long as this doesn’t turn into a repeat of the 2013-14 season.

Tonight they host the Nuggets, also 1-2 on the season. Obviously stats have not yet settled into any sort of normalcy, but we might see a lot of free throws tonight, as both of these teams have shown adeptness at getting to the line. Another thing to watch is the rebounding; the Wolves are second in the league in offensive rebound percentage, while the Nuggets lead the league in defensive rebound percentage. These are two teams that play big; the Nuggets have been starting both Nurkic and Jokic and bring Kenneth Faried off the bench. They will be thin on the wing tonight, with Will Barton (out following an ankle injury in their last game) and Gary Harris (still out with a groin strain) missing tonight. We’ll have more on the game later.

Oh hey! The Cubs won the World Series!