The NBA regular season is off and running and it has become apparent that no team is holding back. The LA Lakers lost earlier in the week to the LA Clippers in a game that should have been a slam dunk and the action continues hot and heavy. As the excitement continues, and wins out over the World Series, expect a lot more excitement and record-setting games.
The Brooklyn Nets took on the Minnesota Timberwolves last night and it would take overtime before a winner was decided. The Nets ended up losing by a single point, but things would have been much worse if it hadn’t been for Kylie Irving. He came in with his own mojo and the mojo of everyone who lives on his street, racking up a massive 50 points and shooting 7 for 14 from beyond the paint. Add the fact that he had no turnovers and it’s easy to see the Nets wanted him so badly.
Irving’s performance set a record for the league. His 50 points topped the 47 made by Kiki Vangeweghe when he made his first appearance with the Portland Trail Blazers in 1984, allowing Irving to now hold the title for scoring the most points by any player in his first game with a team. Unfortunately, what will hound him most is the fact that he missed the shot that would have allowed his team to win the game.
Irving had emerged before the game as a Rockstar and took a few minutes to address the crowd, thanking them for their support. It was all he could do to keep his composure, choking up more than a few times, and he ended up giving fans the show they wanted.
Across to the other side of the country, the Golden State Warriors are all but convinced they’ll be without guard Klay Thompson for the entire season. He had surgery on July 2 to repair a torn ACL in his left knee and, although he’s doing better, it doesn’t look like he’ll be back anytime this year. Recuperation from the surgery is expected to take 9-12 months and that would put his return, if he came back at the nine-month mark, right at the end of the season. With that being the case, it would make more sense to let him ride it out, recover completely and be stronger for next year. However, coach Steve Kerr asserts that he isn’t ready to wave the white flag and call the All-Star out for the entire season.
Staying in California, the Lakers have Anthony Davis and can keep him, as long as they don’t screw up – paraphrasing a more colorful take on the matter by someone close to him. Davis is coming to the end of a two-year contract and will enter free agency, and would welcome the chance to stay with the team. However, he wouldn’t be opposed to make a move if the Lakers don’t make him an offer he can’t refuse.
Up in Canada, the Toronto Raptors have a similar situation they will have to contend with. Fred VanVleet is also in the final season of a two-year contract and is reportedly going to be a top free agent. That could mean he is picked up by any of several teams, but he’s happy where he is – as long as he’s treated right. He explained on Tim and Sid yesterday, “I’ve been here. This is the team that gave me my chance, I think we understand that. I’m not gonna speak too much on free agency this year just ’cause it’s a business and I have to do what’s best for me and my family.” He added that “in a perfect world,” his current home is going to stay his home. His definition of perfect is probably easy to figure out.