- The Lakers are 0-2. Steve Nash is hobbling. And they lost a game where they shot 50% and out-rebounded Portland 45-30. I'd say we have issues in LA! It's way too early for panic, especially when Dwight (33 and 14) and Kobe (30 points) look fine, but the bench is still non-existent, and they need to run things through a healthy Nash more.
- James Harden made a big-time splash in his debut with the Rockets. 37 points, 12 assists and a monster run in the 4th quarter to topple Detroit. I think Jeremy Lin is a huge beneficiary of the Harden show, and that will continue.
- Anthony Davis scored 21 points in his debut.... but the Hornets lost to the Spurs. Tim Duncan was Tim Duncan with 24 and 11 for San Antonio, and they dominated the 2nd half to secure a comeback victory.
- And finally from the box score world, Utah used a 37-13 3rd quarter advantage to blitz Dallas by a score of 113-94. Marvin Williams and Mo Williams each led the way with 21 points, and Utah got double-digit rebounding games from the Jefferson/Millsap/Favors trio in the win.
- There have been several contract extensions in the last couple of days in the NBA.
- First, Ty Lawson inked for 4 years and $48 million with Denver. I love this deal for the Nuggets as Lawson is a budding star who has improved every season. He averaged 16 points and 7 assists a year ago with efficient percentages and at 24 years, a 4-year deal is perfectly safe for him. $12 million a year isn't small, but even if he simply maintains the production from last season, that's enough to justify it.
- The second deal is more interesting to me and it surrounds Steph Curry. The Warriors guard received a 4-year, $44 million deal and if you simply look at his numbers (career 18 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 48/44/90 percentages) and age (24), you're thinking this is an absolute steal... and you'd be right. But, Curry played only 26 games last season due to ankle issues and he's already hurt this season with another ankle issue on his right side. I absolutely love Curry's offensive game, and I think he's one of the most efficient guards in the entire league on that end while obviously being an elite shooter. If he can even play 60-70 games a season, he's worth this money, but it's a pretty bold move to guarantee 4 years at this kind of rate given his serious durability concerns. That said, Eric Gordon just signed for THE MAX(!) with even longer injury track record and I actually think Curry is a comparable (if not better) player. Should be interesting to follow.
- Thirdly, Demar Derozan inked a 4-year, $40 million contract last night with Toronto. This one strikes me as a pretty serious overpayment. I actually like Derozan as a player, but he still can't shoot (at all), and $10 million wing players need to be your primary wing option (at least), and I'm not sure he's that. The potential/athleticism is there, but he'll need to improve a decent amount to match that contract.
- James Harden got his 5-year, $80 million max contract from Houston. We've covered this deal ad nauseum, but just know that a) I think he's worth it, and b) he would've gotten it from at least 10 different teams in the off-season anyway.
- Jrue Holiday received 4 years and $41 million from Philadelphia in another deadline deal. The good? Holiday is only 22 years old and he's been a starter for nearly all of his first 3 seasons. That said, this is a purely speculative deal in the same line as Derozan. Holiday's PER was actually below league-average last season (14.74) and had a ghastly true shooting % of under 50%. The system in Philly doesn't necessarily augment his skills, but he doesn't have a great "strength" other than his pure athleticism. He's not a great shooter, not a pure point guard, and doesn't finish particularly well. If he refines even one of those areas? He could be worth it, but he's going to have to improve his play to justify the deal.
- Finally, Taj Gibson got 4 years and $38 million from Chicago. First, I absolutely love Gibson and think he's worth this deal in a vacuum... except for the fact that Carlos Boozer is still employed by the Bulls. At any rate, if given the opportunity, I think Gibson will play up to the deal and I'd much rather have him for 38 than Derozan for 40. Done and done.
- In baseball, the Royals acquired Ervin Santana from the Angels for a minor-league lefty. This is the type of move that KC has to make to try and secure some effective pitching, and I've always been a Santana believer (to a fault, admittedly). Love this move for the Royals.
What to watch for on Thursday... One thing to note is the cancellation of the Nets/Knicks game that would've been the opener of the Barclays Center... prayers to everyone in the Northeast affected by the hurricane...
- NBA - Thunder @ Spurs - 9:30 TNT - Our first look at the Harden-less Thunder in a rematch of the Western conf. finals. I'm all-in on the Spurs this year and I can't fathom how everyone has suddenly forgot about them. Remember when Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins went nuts in that playoff game? That's all that stood between the Spurs and the Finals, and I think they could be better this year with improvements from Leonard and Splitter, and a full season of Boris Diaw. I'm fired up.
- NFL - Kansas City @ San Diego - 8:20 NFL Network - This is a really bad Thursday night game. Kansas City is the worst team in the league and they haven't led for a single snap all season (the one game they won was an OT victory that they never led). San Diego, on the other hand, has a disaster season from Philip Rivers going and Norv Turner still coaching. Eesh. The Chargers should win here, but if you like both sports, everyone should be watching basketball once that game tips off.
- NCAAF - Virginia Tech @ Miami - 7:30 ESPN - I'm gonna imagine that the ACC thought this might be a bigger game at the beginning of the season. Both teams are 4-4 and really have not a lot to play for except bowl consideration, but hey, two big name schools!