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NBA Week One in Review

By November 5, 2012

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If, like me, you missed the first week of the NBA regular season, you missed a lot. (There was this big freakin' hurricane... knocked out my power for a week. You may have seen something about it on the news.) The Knicks and Magic are in first place. The Celtics and Lakers are struggling. James Harden is making Sam Presti look foolish; Monty Williams is looking foolish without any help, and Anthony Davis may have some serious competition for the Rookie of the Year award.

  • The Knicks struggled to score for most of the preseason, but they've been very impressive in their first two games, blowing out Miami and Philadelphia. Their newfound depth at point guard is a big reason why. Mike Woodson has been using Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd in the starting backcourt, two quality passers that have helped keep the ball moving and preventing the team from falling back into the isolation-heavy attack we saw for much of last season. The Knicks also appear to be one of the league's deeper squads; Mike Woodson's rotation has been going nine-deep, and that's with Amar'e Stoudemire, Marcus Camby and Iman Shumpert sidelined due to injury.
  • Orlando is playing a much more open, free-flowing offense under new coach Jacque Vaughn. Fantasy players will want to take a look at shooting guard JJ Redick, who has been playing very well in the new system and who will have lots of opportunities to score while Hedo Turkoglu (broken hand) and Jameer Nelson (hamstring, ankle) are sidelined.
  • The Lakers are struggling to figure out how Steve Nash and Dwight Howard will fit with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. They lost all eight of their preseason games and their first three regular-season contests before getting some relief - a game against a dismal Detroit Pistons club. Nash didn't play in the win; he's out for at least a week with a non-displaced fracture in his leg. Coach Mike Brown could be in serious trouble if he doesn't right the ship soon.
  • Doc Rivers' job is safe, but like the Lakers, his Celtics struggled through the season's first week. The Celtics were blown out by Miami in their opener, then lost to the Bucks by double digits before scratching out a win over the Wizards. The C's are a much deeper team than in years past, but Rivers has yet to settle on a starting lineup or regular rotation pattern... and they don't have much size or interior presence when Kevin Garnett is out of the game. It is nice to see Jeff Green back in action after he missed the entire 2011-12 season due to a heart condition.
  • James Harden has been tremendous since his arrival in Houston; he exploded for a combined 82 points in his first two games as a Rocket. And the Thunder - Russell Westbrook in particular - may be having a hard time adjusting to his absence.

Harden and Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings were named Players of the Week for the Western and Eastern conferences, respectively. The "Knucklehead of the Week" award goes to Hornets coach Monty Williams. After rookie center Anthony Davis sustained a possible concussion and was forced to miss the Hornets' game in Chicago, Williams had this to say about the NBA's policy on head injuries:

He got touched up a little bit last night. That happens a lot in basketball. It's just that now they treat everybody like they have white gloves and pink drawers and it's getting old. It's just the way the league is now.

Not cool, Monty. It's that sort of attitude - from people like you and LeBron James - that leads entirely too many people to try to play through concussions. It's unfortunate that Davis missed the game - the only one New Orleans will play in his hometown this year. But wouldn't you rather have him healthy?

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