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Way too Early NBA Observations

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This and that

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Indiana Pacers Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday night I got some grief on Twitter after posting this:

Which, fair enough. I didn’t mean to pee in anyone’s Cheerios. Still, they had double-digit leads they lost in both games they wound up winning, and let’s face it, the end of the Thunder game had a significant element of luck.

Still, 2-1 against the Spurs, Jazz, and Thunder is nothing to scoff at, and certainly a nice start to the season. I thought they were clearly the better team through the bulk of the Thunder game, and probably the Jazz game as well.

The Wolves host the Indiana Pacers tonight at Target Center, and I’m having a fairly rare feeling. It’s that the Wolves are the better team. I can’t say I have a lot of experience with this over the past decade or so, but I kind of like it.

Of course, just when you are sure this time you’re gonna kick the football...

The Pacers will be without their most interesting young player (non-T.J. Leaf division) in Myles Turner, who is out with concussion-like symptoms. The rebuilding Pacers have started the year 1-2, with a victory against Brooklyn on opening night, followed by losses to the Blazers and Heat.

The trade of Paul George has left them bereft of star power, but their biggest struggles so far have been on defense, where they are getting shredded to the tune of a 114.7 defensive rating. Of course it’s insanely early, and opponents have been crazy hot from three against them, but they are really lacking in talent.

Some things I’ve noticed so far around the NBA:

The Grizzlies might be better than I expected. I knew they wouldn’t capitulate, not with Marc Gasol and Mike Conley around, but they started 2-0 including a win over the Warriors, and as of this writing are hanging around with the Rockets. They might not be quite done. (Also, Dillion Brooks. Is it just me, or are we seeing more rookies than usual get off to strong starts?)

Speaking of rookies, the Sixers got their first win tonight in Detroit behind an Ben Simmons triple double (21-12-10.) And Joel Embiid’s 30. Lots of people predicted playoffs in the east for them, and it could happen still, but I suspect they are a year away. Still, there is a lot of talent.

The big story this week is the Phoenix Suns. They were always going to be bad, but an 0-3 start with embarrassing losses has led to the firing of Earl Watson and the apparently immanent trade of Eric Bledsoe, who clearly wants out. I’m not exactly sure what management was expecting, but the lack of effort has been appalling. Of course, right now they are up 10 in the third against the Kings. The fired coach bounce.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is having another monster game tonight. That guy...it’s hard to describe him. He’s an evolutionary KG. Or something. At any rate, he’s the most interesting thing happening in the Eastern Conference as far as I can tell. Unfortunately it’s very difficult for me to watch him, since the Bucks are blacked out in Madison on League Pass. Tough choice whether to stay here with my kid or move somewhere I can watch Giannis.

UPDATE: Amazing. The Grizz beat the Rockets in Houston. Three of their starters are named Jarell Martin, James Ennis, and Andrew Harrison. Conclusions: a) Those guys know how to put a roster together, b) Fizdale can really freaking coach, and c) Gasol and Conley are magnificent.

After tonight, with the Raptors losing to the Spurs and the Wizards beating the Nuggets, Washington is the only remaining unbeaten team in the Eastern Conference.

What ya got?