The NBA is BACK. Let’s get the season started with old John Tesh footage.
BTW, if NBA on NBC song makes you misty-eyed, check out John Tesh go HAM performing it live. pic.twitter.com/Vf4C749OSF— Jim Weber (@JimMWeber) May 30, 2016
Get some, John Tesh!
Sacramento opened the season with a visit to Utah Wednesday night on the first full night of games. Murray started fast, scoring 6 points immediately as Sacramento ran away for Utah and kept them at arm’s length all night in a 130-114 win for the Kings. His production slowed some due to foul trouble in the first quarter, but he finished with a stat-stuffing performance - 15 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 blocks, and no turnovers while going +12.
Keegan had an excellent preseason, especially in the final preseason warm-up with Golden State (24 points, 8 rebounds) so the expectation is that a big second season jump is in the cards for Keegan. The Western Conference will be a more difficult road this year than last - last year was a weird one for the conference, between the Warriors’ struggles in preseason, the Lakers struggles, and the ongoing situation with Ja Morant and Memphis - but the Kings will remain in the playoff picture. Their top 8 is as good as anyone in the West save Denver.
Keegan’s twin? I’m a little more worried about this situation for Kris. Since being drafted 23rd overall earlier this summer, the Portland roster has changed dramatically. Out went Damian Lillard, in came a slew of players in Robert Williams III, Deandre Ayton, and Malcolm Brogdon.
Then Kris’s preseason didn’t go well. Like Keegan, his best preseason game was their final tune-up, a 117-106 loss to Phoenix. He finished that game with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, a block, and 4 steals. But he was 0-8 from 3 and didn’t make a 3 in his three preseason games against NBA competition, going a dreadful 0-11.
The Blazers started their season with the Los Angeles Clippers and things did not go well for the Blazers almost immediately. They never led in a 123-111 loss, trailing by as much as 30 in a game that was not as close as the final score indicated. Kris made his NBA debut in the final 5 minutes of the game with the game well out of reach. He logged a single rebound in those 5 minutes.
He’s stuck on a team that had a major shift in personnel late in the summer and I don’t know if he fits anywhere, at least not right away. It’s a mish-mash roster and their coaching situation isn’t the best. He has to get his shooting on track if he’s going to play more than a 5-minute cameo that was on track for a DNP-Coaches Decision for much of the night.
Last up is Mr. Wieskamp. He signed a two-way deal with Dallas, but was waived by the Mavs on October 15 and is a free agent again.
Let’s do some quick gambling tips for the league this year. Denver’s over/under with Draft Kings is 53.5 right now. I saw it other places at an obscenely low 51.5 Tuesday night during the Lakers game. Smash the hell out of the over. If they stay healthy, they have the best starting five in the league. They have the best player, and the best 1-2 punch with Jokic and Murray. Michael Porter isn’t a defensive nightmare anymore and contributes in other ways if his shooting isn’t on point. Aaron Gordon is the perfect big to play alongside Jokic - he doesn’t need the ball, he’s physical, he is still an awesome athlete and is great in the dunker spot - and KCP is a do-everything guard, a fantastic on-ball defender, and another guy that doesn’t require the ball. Best starting five, easily. If they stay healthy, they’re sailing past 51.5, and maybe up toward 60 wins. I took the over Tuesday night and you should too.
On the other end of the spectrum - Washington’s over/under was 24.5. Hammer the under. That team stinks.