It’s late October. We’re barely five percent deep into the NBA season. Some of us are still going through the “Wait, Chandler Parsons plays for the Hawks?” stage of our NBA fandom (yes, he actually does play for the Hawks now).
There is no better time to overreact than right now. Even that statement might be an overreaction, but it doesn’t matter. This point of the season is the perfect moment where we have the bare minimum of data to say stuff like “per game” and “averages” in statements about players and/or teams – statements which we should know better to be ridiculous. The best thing about it all? There is still plenty of time left in the season for everyone to forget about that stupid thing you said late in October.
I know there’s a lot of wild ones out there, but here are some of my personal favorites so far.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are the best team in the NBA. Here we go 82-0 season. Karl-Anthony Towns for MVP
As a Timberwolves fan, this one is personal.
The Wolves are off to a three-game winning streak for the first time since 2014. Josh Okogie has been a plus-minus monster. Shabazz Napier is playing like the Shabazz Napier that LeBron James begged the Miami Heat to draft. The way that Robert Covington is playing makes Minnesota looks like they will come out as winners of the Jimmy Butler trade. Andrew Wiggins is ready to take the title as the clutchest of clutch players in the league. Baby-faced, baby-aged coach Ryan Saunders is a genius sent from the heavens to lead this team to five straight titles.
The Wolves are actually top five in offense (111.6 Offensive Rating, 5th) and barely above average on defense (102.4 Defensive Rating, 14th).
Everything is flowers, rainbows, unicorns, butterflies, and all of that rolled into one.
This won’t last.
These are the three teams that the Wolves have beaten so far:
- The Brooklyn Nets who are still trying to figure out who they are without their potential best player and whose only win has been against the Knicks. Kyrie Irving dumped 50 points on the Wolves so badly that no one cared about the fact that the Wolves actually won the game.
- The Charlotte Hornets who are led by PJ Washington, Cody Zeller, Miles Bridges, and Dwayne Bacon. Honestly, I just wanted a reason to bring up bacon and that isn’t easy to come by.
- The Miami Heat who have actually been pretty good so far but are still missing Jimmy Butler and relying on two rookies for the bulk of their production.
The schedule will get tougher. Their defense will keep them from winning some games. Most likely, they will finally lose their first game against the Sixers on Thursday. But you know what? For a franchise that hasn’t had much to feel good about, the start of the 2019-2020 season has been a nice change of pace.
Karl-Anthony Towns as an early MVP candidate, however, is not an overreaction. KAT has morphed into a two-way force with averages of 32.0 points, 13.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 3.0 steals, and 2.0 blocks per game while shooting 53.5 percent from the field and 50.0 percent from downtown. He’s taking nearly 10 threes a game and has knocked down at least four in each of these first three games.
He will cool down a bit, but there’s no denying that KAT has certainly become one of the best bigs – if not one of the best players – in this league.
The Golden State Warriors dynasty is done. Steph Curry, Steve Kerr and Draymond Green are overrated.
Everyone who wasn’t rooting for the Warriors over the past half of a decade is certainly enjoying how the Warriors are starting this season. After watching them shimmy and steamroll their way year after year to the Finals, the Warriors suddenly look vulnerable and, well, Draymond probably said it best:
The Warriors defense took a slight dip over the past two years after a long stretch as one of the best in the business, but the start to this season has seen them drop them all the way down to the bottom. Losing 141 points to the Clippers was understandable (because the Clippers are so good, no overreaction there), but allowing the Thunder to drop 120 points is less than ideal.
Stephen Curry is shooting only 26.7 percent from beyond the arc. Draymond Green is looking less annoying because he’s not really impacting the game as much.
Are the Warriors done?
Let me help you pump the brakes a bit there. Or completely. Actually, just start going into reverse already.
The Warriors aren’t looking their best, but aside from the aforementioned Green and Curry, who are they working with? Eric Paschall – I repeat, ERIC PASCHALL – is playing the third most amount of minutes. Guys like Glenn Robinson III, Jordan Poole, and Jacob Evens are all playing over 20 minutes per game. With Kevin Durant, Shaun Livingston, and Andre Iguodala all gone, and Thompson out injured, this was pretty much what was to be expected.
Make no mistake, there will be a drop-off compared to the past few years. But with talents like Curry and Green still on the team, they won’t fall off the face of the NBA world and stay at the bottom of the standings for long.
In fact, they’re already back on track, claiming their first win against the New Orleans Pelicans this morning. If you listen carefully, you can hear a collective sign of relief from the entire Dub Nation.
The Los Angeles Clippers are Lockdown Town and they’re going to win the NBA title and it’s not even going to be close.
What a start it has been for the Clippers. They convincingly took down LeBron and the Lakers. They pounded out all signs of life from the Warriors. All of this being done with Paul George still in his weird limousine driver suit on the bench, nursing his shoulder injury.
Okay, so the Clippers are looking like the best team coming out of the gates so far in the NBA even if their blip against the Suns was totally weird. They have arguably the best player in the world in Kawhi Leonard who has suddenly found a passion for play-making and is averaging 8.0 assists per game after notching a career-high of 10. Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell are averaging 20 points off the bench. Patrick Beverley is as annoying as ever and trash talking on everyone in his path.
Also, PAUL GEORGE STILL HASN’T PLAYED A GAME and the Clippers are already THIS good.
You know what? This might not be an actually overreaction after all. The Clippers are by far the best team on offense this season and making it look easy.
The preseason “Lockdown Town” claims, however, might have been a bit too early to claim (sorry about that).
The Clippers may have the top offensive rating in the NBA at 121.9, but they are also all the way down at 26th on the defensive end with 115.1. Doc Rivers might have a gaggle of long wings and guards to make things uncomfortable for opposing offenses on the perimeter, but playing great defense without a solid defensive big man is not going to be a walk in the park.
Still, we’ll just have to wait and see how that all plays out when Paul Geroge finally returns to the court.
It’s still early in the season, so maybe just take a step back and bit and take a breather before overreacting to a very small sample size of information, a lot of which may or may not matter at all later next year as teams make their playoff runs.
Still, don’t forget to enjoy the game because basketball is the greatest sport ever and the NBA is the best.
And no, that is totally not an overreaction.