NBA Weekly Player Report
By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast
Start Hot and Stay Hot
At long last, it’s opening week in the NBA and basketball is back. While the NBA offseason continues to reign supreme in the sports gossip world, now that we’ve got regular season games at our front door it‘s time to focus on HOOP and the hoopers that will get us in the winner’s circle. This season we’re stretching our wings and introducing a tiered format for NBA contests that takes basketball forecasting to the next level. After all, the NBA is a player-run league, so it only makes sense that we lock in on movers and shakers on NBA rosters…and make it count for our wallets. It’s week one of action in the association and it’s time for the first installment of the Trenders Report, where we focus in on players who are priming an upswinging and those who are overvalued heading into the start of the season.
Anthony Edwards - Edwards is incrementally amassing an impressive career and he’s just 22 years young with so much more room for growth. The young Minnesota shooting guard is challenging to be the league’s best at that position in the coming years, and his defense for 94 fett has improved dramatically from this time last year. It’s not hard to hop on the bandwagon of a fun-loving player who is a walking highlight factory, but I’m gladly buying a ticket. Edwards stands to bring energy to Wolves fans that we haven’t seen since the Kevin Garnett days.
Devin Booker - Simply put, Booker answered the call in the playoffs last year, despite the shortcomings of the rest of his team. He won over a decent amount of haters putting up over 33 points a game in the postseason and lifting the Suns up on his shoulders at times. Things should foreseeably open up for his offense production, but after there is only one basketball, KD and Bradley Beal will be getting their share of shots up as well. It’s a bit of a crossroads year for Booker to see if he’s indeed a leader in addition to being a star in the game.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander - Every year as the season begins, there’s always one surprise name that’s quietly risen to borderline top-10 player status, and this year the Thunder guard takes that role. The former Kentucky Wildcat had some early growing pains in the league, but last year the pain was relieved and he unleashed a scoring campaign to remember. At just 25 years old and with an All-Star campaign in his back pocket, the sky's the limit this season for OKC and 50 wins is not out of the question.
Honorable Mention - De’Aaron Fox: Keep your peepers peeled on the Kings!
Kevin Durant - As far as the big-name superstars go, this may be the only one that’s beginning a downward trend heading into the new season mainly because the youth are passing him. Names like Luca, Tatum, and Jokic have surpassed him in production and The Joker got the championship to match as well. KD now has Bradley Beal on one wing and Devin Booker a year wiser up top, so is THIS finally the big three that gets him back to the KD we all know for a full season? I’m emphasizing word full as we all watch his fragile lower body health and injury status throughout 82 games.
Kawhi Leonard - If you’re a pattern guy, you’re in on Kawhi to win one every five years. He got his first with the PSurs in 2014 and the second with the Raptors in 2019…so are The Clippers right on schedule for a championship year? Doubtful. Kawhi is the spokesman for a load-managed player who has become less of a lethal killer and more of a part-time bruiser. Then, when the Clippers needed him in the playoffs last season he got hurt. You can do the math there, but there’s not a ton of evidence telling me he hits on that five-year pattern for Los Angeles.
Kyrie Irving - What is there to say about the greatest franchise destroyer of this modern NBA era? He’s gone from city to city in recent seasons looking for the magical connection to get him back in championship games, without any success and leaving behind turmoil at each stop. Now in Dallas, the moments of greatness alongside Luca were there, but few and far between as injuries and personal matters kept him from playing. He’ll be under the microscope even further this season, and his stability and availability will be heavily speculated from game one.
Honorable Mention - Ja Morant: Goes without saying.
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