Last night, I got to have the unique experience of watching Nikola Jokic with someone who’d never watched him before, having it on my TV with my wife and 14-year-old daughter.   I loved every comment.  It makes you appreciate the Joker’s greatness from a different lens.  A sampling of the comments:

Why are they starting the slow white guy?

How does an NBA player run like that?

He looks so tired.

Wait, that was a really nice move.

How come he’s dribbling up the court if he’s so slow?  Wait, wasn’t that a great pass?

He can shoot 3s too?

They went from laughing to all out appreciation.  I finally told them at halftime that he’s the best player in the world and they should stop besmirching his name.

Oh yeah, he had a 29-13-11 triple double.  Even chipped in a steal and a block to go with 3 treys.  Of course you drafted him number one and he’s a cheat code.

Aaron Gordon was a very active man in this game.  15 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and a block will get you what you paid.  I am really high on Gordon this year.  With Bruce Brown’s departure there are a lot of minutes and production that can be had because Kentavious Caldwell-Pope  (20 points, 3 steals) will be much more streaky than Brown was.  Gordon will return value and then some from his late draft pick.

Jamaal Murray (21 pts, 6 ast) looked healthy to start the season which is all you can ask for.  Nothing to worry about, just kinda validating why you drafted him.  Roll out with confidence for a career year.

The Nuggets bench at this point doesn’t have anyone I would look at to roster.  You start their starters and that’s about all you get.

The Big News from Laker country was LeBron James‘ 29 minutes played, and the coach saying that will be the norm for this year.  I’m conflicted on what this means for his value.  It probably will help keep him healthier, which means more games played, which means better production if he plays 80 games compared to 50.  Crack analysis, you can only get that here.  21-8-5 is still quite nice, and if that’s where he performs for more games then you take it.  I mean, you are the one who drafted a guy who’s almost my age, so you get what you get and don’t get upset.  Now watch him go ironman and play 40 next game but I think they’re going to manage his load like this all year, but not sit out games.

Anthony Davis had a monster first half with 17 points.  He followed this up with a zero point second half which is weird.  I only counted 3 times that he fell in the first half and he didn’t act like he was about to die in any of them, so I’m chalking it up to just a weird game.  Davis will be fine if healthy and he decides to attack more instead of shooting jumpers for an entire half.

DeAngelo Russell played a terrible real life game.  So did Austin Reeves.  Those two were routinely targeted on defense and that can’t be making LBJ happy!  Then this happened:


LeBron, you know, the all time great, tells DLo to look for him at the elbow.  Russell proceeds to shoot a three without looking to pass.  We’ll see how it plays out there.  Honestly Cam Reddish of all people was the best wing.  If he can settle into a defense first mindset and just concentrates on that and just making plays he can have a pretty solid role.  I doubt it, but he’s onlyt 24 and fighting for a career at this point so keep an eye on it for now.


The first thing everyone’s wanting to know is how Chris Paul did in his debut.  He did fine.  Shot was a little off, but chalk that up to variance and you have a 14-6-9 line anyway.  If he shoots 40%  he scores 20.   If he shoots 100% he scores 36.  I could do this all day but won’t.   Paul looks like a locked and loaded fantasy starter.

Steph Curry was only 4-14 from deep, but otherwise was Steph Curry.

Klay Thompson, man, the poor guy has had major leg injuries and is a threes specialist this year who won’t add much else.  Looks like an aging player to this untrained eye.

What happened to Andrew Wiggins?  10 points and 1 board?  Keep rolling him out there, it’s just one night.  If Jonathan Kuminga keeps finishing games we can worry, but I’m guessing it’s just a one night thing.

Speaking of Kuminga, he was ACTIVE.  12 points, 6 boards, 3 stocks, and 5 fouls (doesn’t count but he was aggressive all night) in 20 minutes.  I like Kuminga, but I’m thinking for now this was a few extra minutes because Wiggy wasn’t getting Wiggy with anything except the bench, so Kuminga got some extra minutes.  He’s a decent stash until they’re all healthy.

For the Suns Devin Booker of course is going to return first round value.  8 assists is a bonus, although it came with 6 TO in this one.  Booker I think is the clear top dawg for the Rising Suns.

No Bradley Beal for this one as the Suns so Eric Gordon got to shoot and shoot and shoot and shoot in his 31 minutes.  He won’t get up 9 threes every night but it won’t be for lack of trying.  He’s probably the only non starter worth thinking about as Grayson Allen logged 20 minutes and didn’t make any of his 5 threes.

Nurk Alert!  Guy put up big man numbers with his 14 rebounds and he can’t jump but somehow logged a block.  I’m guessing someone fell, the shot clock was about to go off, Joseph Nurkic was standing over him, the guy had to get it up, and accidentally hit Nurk’s ankle with it or something.  But he’ll be plenty productive if he’s healthy for big man stats.





Of course I jumped at the opportunity to recap a two game night.  Work smarter not harder everyone.  Follow me on Twitter @theeducator23 for these kinds of thoughts during the rest of the week and keep pounding.