Monday 23 October 2017 / 09:41 AM

BALL DON’T LIE: EDITION No.1

The NBA season is now in full swing, with teams across the NBA quickly realizing their dreams are doomed, or thinking they are the team of destiny (looking at you, Knicks).

With the start of the season upon us, and some meaningful basketball to actually watch (the preseason stinks, go ahead and admit it), we are going to try something new here!

Each week, I’ll be scouring around the NBA and looking at some things I like (Ball Don’t Lie), some things I don’t (Ball Lies), and some highlights, lowlights, and upcoming matchups. It’ll be a small spreadsheet for everything you may have missed, or didn’t’ see in the NBA.

 

BALL DON’T LIE

AD and Russ Show Out

Well, we all knew that Russell Westbrook would be on a ‘revenge tour’ this season, but I don’t think anyone quite saw this coming. I mean, sure, we knew he was going to go bananas, but he’s averaging a triple-double, he’s already scored 50, and the guy is something you’d dream up on your MyTeam on NBA 2k and restart because it got too easy.

Anthony Davis is another example of this. Who would have guessed that a 6’11 guy who came up as a point guard before growing 9 inches, who can dribble, shoot from anywhere, and play defense on guards could thoroughly dominate the league? Anyways, he’s carrying his team, which is really just some guys you’d find at the local YMCA. Davis deserves teammates!

D-Wade’s Jumpshot

No one can honestly say that they thought the Dwyane Wade jumper we saw in the postseason was the one we’d get this season, and if you do – shut up, no you didn’t. Wade is shooting a blistering clip for three, and while it may not last, this version of Wade is incredibly fun. When asked about it, Wade said, “I just made it a point of emphasis in my training over the last nine months.”

That makes you wonder, if it’s that easy, why he didn’t do that four years ago. Or better yet, why DeAndre still can’t shoot free throws – 30% is embarrassing, man!

Ray-Ray Calls it a Day

I don’t think there has been a team close to winning a championship in the last two years that hasn’t had the rumor that Ray Allen was joining the team. Finally, those were brought to rest as the NBA’s leader in three-pointers (until Steph and Klay shatter it) finally hung it up.

Allen was always one of my favorite players growing up, and he hit the most legendary three in Finals history with Miami. Long live the deadeye! Oh, and he saved LeBron’s legacy.

LeBron the Troll

Welcome to 2016, where D-Wade hits jumpers, the Warriors can’t shoot, and LeBron trash talks. King James had some fun at the Warriors’ expense over Halloween weekend, decorating his party with themed cookies and a drum cover mocking the Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead in the Finals.

I hope troll LeBron continues, because this is hilarious. And if you don’t think Jordan isn’t doing this back in his day, you’ve lost your mind.

Also, equally hilarious is Cleveland making these jokes all summer before the Indians blew a 3-1 lead in the World Series to the Cubs. Only Cleveland.

Jesus, the Spurs are Good Again

There was a small crevice, a glimmer of hope that maybe the Spurs would take a step back. I mean, Tim Duncan retired, the roster got shaken up, and some fresh faces joined the roster. Plus, Kawhi hasn’t lived up to his MVP hype, and the best player they have off the bench is Patty freaking Mills.

But then Jonathan Simmons turned into a beast, Kawhi started scoring, LaMarcus started passing, and the offense lit things up. They only beat the Warriors so bad on opening night that they had KD talking to himself in an open gym afterwards. Not kidding.

The Spurs are terrifying again, because of course they are. Well, except Danny Green.

Harden the Point Guard

When the news broke this offseason that James Harden was going to take over as the starting point guard for Houston, I was pretty ‘meh’. I mean, you need to understand, Harden has already been the primary ball handler the last two years. So D’Antoni is just stating the obvious.

And then Harden decided to come out leading the league in assists. When on the floor, the guy is shooting a shot, drawing a foul, or turning it over on 58% of plays. And he’s assisting on 36% of the others. I’m no math major, but holy crap.

BALL LIES

Warriors Can’t Shoot, or Play Defense

I get it, internet. You think the Warriors are overhyped. And while they are, if there is one thing you shouldn’t mock the Warriors over, it’s their ability to shoot. Sure, the percentages are pretty bad, but they are still scoring at an alarming rate. Curry and Durant look great. And Klay isn’t going to shoot 1/16 all season. On this particular gripe, relax.

HOWEVER, don’t relax on the poor defense. Andrew Bogut’s departure left a hole the size of a Mack truck on the interior, and they just aren’t defending like they should. Teams are scoring massive amounts. But the Warriors are still scoring enough to get by. Still, the defense is terrible.

The Top 3PT Shooting Teams Are WHO?

I love early-season overreactions, and this little nugget just takes the cake. The top five three-point shooting teams in the NBA (currently) are: Spurs, Grizzlies, Bulls, Celtics and Pacers. Two of those three belong – but the Grizz, Bulls and Celtics?

Those are three of the worst shooting teams from last year. Surely things aren’t going to continue this way, but that’s awesome. Also, rapid overreaction: Warriors rank 26th.

Big-money Youngsters

Listen, I’m all about getting paid. Get yours, young fella, all day long. But how did the Thunder just give Steven Adams and Victor Oladipo $184 million? Better yet, of all the contracts given out, not one All-Star got paid. Sure, I get it, they’ll grow. But that’s huge money on some pretty middling players.

The cap rose, but this is way over market value. Gorgui Dieng got $64 million and he’s a bench guy! The Hornets may have got the best steal of anyone, locking up their starting center in Cody Zeller for $8 million less than Dieng got. Yeesh.

Knicks Super-Bust

That whole ‘Knicks are a Superteam’ thing was a joke the second we heard it. And nobody in the NBA world that knows anything had them doing anything meaningful. But still, seeing them fall so far against Cleveland was still pretty comical. A 1-2 start isn’t how they drew it up, and you have to feel for the talent on this team. If it was 2010, they’d be LETHAL. And Porzingis would be 13.

Pacers’ Comical Defense

We’ve already touched on the Warriors’ D, but boy, the Pacers look rough. They were the trendy pick to contend with Cleveland in the East (including me…), but this defense is really, really bad. Al Jefferson hasn’t blocked a shot since he came into the league, Monta Ellis can’t guard anybody, and Jeff Teague has been pretty bad. There’s still plenty of ball left, but they look like a cheap version of the old Suns teams. Oh, and they lost to the Nets. SHAME!

QUICK HITS

LeBron’s Pass (and Air-Ball)

This assist was so mind-boggling that I still can’t understand how he connected.

And this miss is the reverse. Come on, LBJ!

Joakim’s Jumper

It’s been a rough start to the year for Joakim Noah. But this has to be the highlight.

Barnes Earns His Money

Harrison Barnes was pretty bad in the preseason. And he could be going forward. But he scored 30 and hit a game-winner, so deal with it, haters!

Cousins’ Six-Foul Flurry


Everyone who watched the Kings-Heat got a treat of Whiteside v. Cousins. And over 10 fouls between them in the fourth quarter. Yay!

Games to Watch This Week:

OKC v. Golden State – Friday (AEDT)

Who doesn’t want to watch Russ versus KD?

Spurs v. Jazz – Saturday (AEDT)

The Jazz get the chance to prove they belong.

Pacers v. Hornets – Tuesday (AEDT)

The surprising Hornets get the stumbling Pacers.

And now for something funny:

We’ll see you next week!

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About the author

Austin Albertson

Austin is CBS' senior NFL and NBA analyst, bringing you commentary on everything between the lines and inside the hashes, from the film room to the scoreboard.

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