There has plenty of exciting action happening around the NBA through the first few weeks of the season. There have been surprise teams, and then there have been disappointments. With the health and safety protocols, several players are still in quarantine.
Here is some of the top NBA News after the first week of 2021.
LaMelo Ball Looking like a Star
At the beginning of the year, Charlotte decided they would stick with last year’s starting backcourt and have LaMelo Ball come off the bench. He would be their sixth man, while Devonte Graham and Terry Rozier get most of the burn at the two guard positions. As the season has winded on, he has become a dominant player.
Ball became the youngest player ever to record a triple-double, and in doing so, led his Hornets to a win over the Hawks. He has been playing incredible basketball to start his rookie season. Ball is averaging 12 points, six rebounds, and six assists per game this season, playing around 25 minutes per game.
Ball is a perfect complement to the Hornets’ young talent, backing up Devonte’ Graham and providing reliable depth scoring behind Gordon Hayward. It is still relatively early in the year, but Charlotte’s 5-5 start is encouraging. Given their recent lack of success, this is just what the team wanted to see. Good things may be on the horizon.
Shorthanded Cavs Have NBA’s Top-Ranked D
If you look at who has been getting minutes for the Cavs in the past week, you’d have expected them to have been blown out in every game. They used a lineup for an extended period against Milwaukee on Saturday night that featured three centers on the court together. Surprisingly, that was one of their best stretches of the game.
Cleveland was without both of their starting guards, power forward, and several key reserves, but they only lost to the Bucks by 10 points. They had chances to win the game had they just been able to get a few more stops. Andre Drummond and JaVale McGee log significant minutes at the same time, and they are playing well in tandem.
The Cavs’ defensive rating is the best in the NBA, allowing a league-best 103 points per game. Their stellar defense has remained while playing without a true point guard for back-to-back games. Give a ton of credit to J.B. Bickerstaff and his incredible system that have the guys at the end of the bench playing effectively.
KAT Finally Makes his Return
It was great to see Karl-Anthony Towns back in the Timberwolves lineup against San Antonio on Saturday, but Minnesota came up short in overtime and lost 125-122. Towns’ wrist seems to be healed, as he put up a big game. The loss was Minnesota’s seventh in a row after starting the season with a pair of wins.
It doesn’t seem that wins will be coming any time soon for this struggling franchise, so we’ll see how long they let Ryan Saunders remain at the helm. Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and first overall pick Anthony Edwards are a great core to build around, but it may be a few years before the Wolves are back in the mix. Minnesota has made the playoffs once since 2004.
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