It’s finally here. Opening week of the NBA season is upon us, and although the off-season now challenges the actual season in terms of excitement, it will be nice to have actual games to chew over.
It begins tomorrow with a fairly tasty TNT double-header. Raps-Pels has lost a bit of luster since an injured Zion Williamson will not make his debut, and of course the defending champion Raps are not the same team they were four months ago. Still, it’s basketball, and the first game of the season. That’s followed by an early intra-L.A. battle between the Lakers and Clippers, both of whom have their own injury issues but are expected to be among the contenders in the West.
The Wolves of course open in Brooklyn on Wednesday, and we’ll have plenty more over the next couple of days, including our highly anticipated Always Correct Predictions.*
Zach Lowe thinks much of the Wolves season will be about roster changes, predicting the Wolves will make multiple trades.
Minnesota makes at least two trades, including one involving Robert Covington -- if he’s healthy
I don’t think Minnesota wants to trade Covington. Rosas was part of the Houston front office that first signed him. But if Covington plays well, Minnesota could net a decent haul for him -- in a solo deal, or as part of something bigger. There aren’t many big wings who: are good; make in the $10 million-$14 million range (i.e. super-tradable, not overpaid); and are at least semi-expendable because their team isn’t a contender.
How handy would Covington be in Utah (that same Exum-centric package?), Portland, Houston or Denver against the L.A. teams? Will Covington and other stuff for D’Angelo Russell ever become a thing?
Beyond Covington, the Wolves have a tasty mix of expirings (Jeff Teague) and rotation guys earning between $1.6 million and $3.5 million -- Jake Layman, Noah Vonleh, Jordan Bell, Treveon Graham and Shabazz Napier.
Minnesota can nose its way into almost any trade discussion, even as a third wheel. It will hunt for point guards.
Sounds about right to me.
The current Wolves line is 36.5 wins, which...I took the over in the SBN preview piece, but now that the season is upon us, my natural pessimism is kicking in and the under is looking pretty good.
Been thinking about this: What are the five teams you are most interested in this season other than the Wolves? In no order:
Pelicans: Fascinating roster, love Jrue Holiday. Williamson. Plus one of my favorite rookies in Alexander-Walker. How good can they be right now?
Jazz: Sad Ricky is gone, but a fun style, I really enjoy Conley, Gobert, and Ingles. Can it come together?
Bucks: We’re a Bucks blog. (Actually, I really enjoy Giannis.)
Hawks: Lots of young talent which I’m not entirely sure about. Worth watching.
Mavs: Why not? Doncic is a fantastic watch, and the pairing with Porzingis should be enjoyable.
Who ya got?
Elsewhere, the Loons’ season came to a sad end last night in a home playoff loss to the L.A. Galaxy. The Loons controlled much of the match but were unable to create enough good chances in the final third. The Galaxy scored two second half goals in fairly quick succession, and the Loons were only able to pull one back late, and fell 2-1. It was a fun season, but changes are clearly necessary.
Happy opening week everyone. More to come.