WELCOME TO “THE HOOPS SAGA” EPISODE II!
So. Ten games. Twenty teams. And most definitely, Tons of action. In today’s edition of “The Hoops Saga” we’re gonna dive into our TOP TEN biggest, yet most overlooked performances of Wednesday night. You’re gonna enjoy this one!
#1. Harrison Barnes.
Barnes truly had something to prove last night, and it wasn’t an easy challenge for him nevertheless. On this second day of NBA #OpeningNight, Barnes played a very efficient game of basketball against the Indiana Pacers. It didn’t help that his match-up was not only against one of most versatile defenders in the game, but also against one of the best two-way Small Forwards around, Paul George.
In a very competitive overtime thriller, Barnes delivered 19 points on 8-14 (57% field goal) attempts, but unfortunately resulted in a losing effort. You really can’t deny that Barnes will be able to thrive in a up-tempo system like Dallas (Its crazy that I say this, because it’s not like the Warriors were the best offensive team in the league by far anyway — right?). It’s different not just because they’re leaning on Barnes to be a bigger option than he was with the Warriors, but the opportunities for the former North Carolina Tarheel, are endless.
People forget that Barnes is coming right out of his shell from Golden State, as to where his cup of tea was stand, catch, shoot, and play defense. It’s really disgraceful of how NBA fans can virtualy “rename” a player due to his worst performances. But simply enough, Barnes is ready to prove the doubters wrong.
#2. Justise Winslow.
So the Winslow-era begins. 15 points (46.7% shooting), 8 boards, 4 dimes, one steal and two blocks? And also a Heat win over the Magic?
The Department of Justise has been concluded. All rise!
Justise did his thing. He did go 0-2 from deep and was tagged with four fouls, but the versatility Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra has been preaching about him is really adding up to be true. Watching Winslow develop has been interesting, and lord knows how good he’ll be once his offensive abilities (particularly his jumper) catches up with his defense.
The Heat ultimately came away with a 108-96 victory due to their outstanding defense, and Justise led the way in that area tonight.
It’s like sliced bread: He just makes the winning plays.
#3. Justin Hamilton.
As a Heat fan who enjoyed having him in Sioux Falls and on our main roster in 2013, I’ll always be a big follower of Justin. He has all the intangibles to become a solid backup big-man in our league.
Hamilton finished with 19 points in 25 minutes, and added 10 rebounds plus 2 assists against Boston.
Even though the Celtics came away with a 122-117 victory (their most in an opener since 1990), they didn’t have a single answer for Hamilton, as he was 7-12 from the floor and 3-6 from the three-point line.
#4. Jae Crowder.
You couldn’t tell me another Celtic who was more excited to start the season than Forward Jae Crowder. Because he was absolutely ready to play last night. He torched the Nets with 21 points (9-15 shooting), 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and one block.
Very under-appreciated as a player. He just understands how big of a goal winning is. I feel if he can continue improving as a scorer and especially as a passer, his game could reach some serious heights.
#5. Tobias Harris.
Harris opened his campaign in hot-fashion, and he makes my list as an “overlooked” performance. In a a 91-109 defeat against the Toronto Raptors, Harris led his team in scoring with 22 points and 5 rebounds. He shot 61% from the floor and was able to be aggressive, making 5/5 from the stripe.
Harris isn’t the most complete Small Forward we’ve seen, but he can really play multiple positions on the floor and that alone gives Detroit a great option. I’ve always stated that his rebounding will never be viewed as highly, but that’s fine.
Keep sleeping on Tobias!
#6. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
He’s here. Again.
MKG is back and fully healthy from that shoulder injury. He’s always going to be a gritty player, and his jumper continues to improve. His 23-point, 14 rebound performance propelled the Hornets to a big opening night win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
People don’t get it. This guy is ready to become an impact player for these Hornets. General Manager Michael Jordan has made questionable moves in his time in the front-office, but this was no mistake from him. You can really feel that MKG is hungry, and that he’s ready to win this year, even with Charlotte losing key players over the summer.
#7. Andrew Wiggins.
I was shocked at how many people reacted to Wiggins’ 25 point/7 rebound performance. I understand that it resulted to a 98-102 loss to the Grizzlies, but Wiggins showed a lot in this game.
He shot 7-14 from the field and really drew himself to the line, he was 10-14 on free-throw attempts.
I bleieve the KAT hype shouldn’t be the only thing Minnesota is about. I also believe that Andrew Wiggins can be much more than “Andrew Wiggins” himself. Expect a big season from Maple Jordan.
#8 and #9. Deron Williams/JJ Barea.
The Maverick’s backcourt looked elite in last night’s loss. D-Will looked like his old Utah self, dropping 25 points, 3 rebounds, and 7 assists in the loss. But Jose Barea. Yes, the breakout performer in the 2011 NBA Finals, finished with 22 points, 2 rebounds, and 7 assists.
However, both players committed a combined 9 turnovers, which might have did the Mavericks in, with their loss to Indiana. But even still, these two were really fun to watch, and they should be the rest of the season. They’ve just gotta stay healthy.
#10. Myles Turner.
30 points. 16 rebounds. 2 steals. 4 blocks.
This, is Myles Turner.
You couldn’t have asked for a better way to officially label yourself as not only a new sophomore, but a new rising-star. Turner was everywhere in this game. He crashed the boards at will (SIX offensive rebounds!!!),was a scorching hot 68% (13-19) from the floor, and his only three-pointer came when it was needed most, and it was at the 1:18 mark of the overtime period. Turner came up clutch on both ends tonight, and he capped off his recital with a wide-open one-handed dunk in transition.
Again, this is Myles Turner.
That just about wraps up episode two of the “Hoops Saga”! What reactions/content would you like to see next???
Let me know in the comments!
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