2021-22 NBA Regular Season Thread

Well, the 2021-22 NBA regular season has begun. My Pacers started out with losses to Charlotte in regulation and Washington in overtime, before winning against Miami in overtime in our home opener thanks to some superb play by the underrated Oshea Brissett. Coach Rick Carlisle later said that he’d made a mistake not playing Brissett in Charlotte.

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A highlight has been the play of the 24-year-old rookie guard from Oregon, Chris Duarte. He became the first Pacers rookie to start in the season opener since Jamaal Tinsley in 2001, and scored a Pacers-rookie-debut-record 27 points in that game.

Fuck Trae Young and his cheaty play style. Boo-hoo he’s not getting all the bullshit calls he used to get! The James Harden Rule is the best thing to happen to the game in decades.

The Dallas Mavericks only have 56 points to start the 4th quarter against the Nuggets, that is pathetic.

I have no idea how the Raptors are 5-3, but here we are.

I mean, this team looks like it was thrown together more or less the day before the season started, and they don’t have Pascal Siakam yet. Last night their star rookie was out with a bad thumb, and they still won. Nick Nurse and Masai Ujiri are geniuses.

As a connected aside, the company that owns the Raptors, a telecommunications superpower called Rogers, is going rhough a very ugly, public and hilarious ownership battle with various members of the Rogers family sniping at each other in the media. It came out that the former chairman - Edward Rogers, son the company founder and, by all accounts, a spoiled rich boy with the brains of a fish - was angry that Ujiri was given a $15 million / year contract.

If I am not mistaken, Ujiri is the highest paid GM in professional sports. (His title isn’t GM, but that’s what he is.) His salary is REALLY high - by way of comparison, Brian Cashman, who runs the Yankees, makes $3 million a year. Apparently Rogers not only fought giving Ujiri that deal but called Ujiri afterwards and told him he wasn’t worth it.

While Ujiri’s deal is comparatively gigantic, it strikes me as obvious that it’s not too much. In fact, it’s a bargain. Ujiri is clearly brilliant at his job - he turned the Denver Nuggets into a good team, built up the Raptors to a championship despite having no high draft picks on the team, and appears to be rebuilding them with astounding speed.

The thing about a GM’s salary is it’s not part of the salary cap. Given Masai Ujiri a pile of money has no effect at all on what the Raptors can spend on players, so is he worth the marginal cost? Well… I mean, what does $15 million get you in a player? The Raptors are paying that to Gary Trent Jr., who is a fine young player. He’s the fifth highest paid player on the team, which is about level with his value. To my mind, Masai Ujiri is worth a LOT more than Gary Trent. I would unhesitatingly, if I were the GM of any other team, trade you two or three Gary Trents to get Masai Ujiri. A GM who can find astounding value low in the draft, with Ujiri’s track record, is worth more than ANY player in the league except truly historic talents like LeBron. Ujiri gets you quality players.

Not saying you’re a bad team, but two games against my Pacers will inflate anyone’s record. At least Sabonis and Duarte are doing well. And we beat the Spurs last night.

I’m shocked they’re 3-3 against non-Pacers opponents.

I am not Nick Nurse.

First couple games I saw Anunoby play, he did not do well. Couldn’t sink the ball for love or money.

Wondered about some of the Raptors after the first couple home games too.

I do not know what Masai is worth. But he knows what he is doing. With Siakam on the sidelines, the team really came alive in the third quarter - which tended to be their weakest quarter. It was a fun game to watch, and Anunoby scored 36 points somehow. Did not think he had that in him, but he and Steady Fred are now the team leaders. Sure, it’s the Knicks, but they lead the East.

Well, now Chicago does.

Miami looks tremendous in the early going. They managed to lose to the Pacers somehow, but they’ve won their other five games and all in dominant fashion. This despite the fact Kyle Lowry has been shooting terribly; if he picks up the offense the team could be unbeatable. Bam Adebayo looks better than ever and he’s still only 24 years old, a little small at center but holy smokes he can play.

ESPN says Siakam is expected to return to play within two weeks. They’ll need him. Nurse is getting sone good play from the bench. But what will it take to waken the Dragic?

Washington crushing it to open the season. Hasn’t been all against weak opposition either; they beat the Bucks, Grizzlies, Cavs, and Raptors.

Last year GM Tommy Sheppard traded John Wall’s “untradeable contract” for Russell Westbrook, then a year later flipped Russ’s “untradeable contract” for basically the Lakers’ entire bench and a few other quality players from elsewhere. He has to be at the top of the short list for GM of the Year, if they can keep it up.

The Trailblazers are sucking hard at this point in the season. Lillard is in a bad slump, although he seems to be pulling out of it. The change in head coach is partly to blame, as Billups’ style of ball and people movement is very different than Stotts’ methods. The Blazers have a good lineup and a fairly strong bench, but they need to concentrate on consistency, particularly at the defensive end.

I’d like to say a hearty ‘amen’ to that. Harden’s flailing and flopping bullshit should have come to an end long ago when the NBA outlawed the jump-shot kick that injured a lot of players. Next up should be a penalty for the “take” foul. It should be a one-shot technical foul and possession, unless the other team is in the penalty situation, in which case it should be three shots and possession. Play the goddamn game; don’t take cheap shots.

Well, if you’re ever gonna be 6-8, having it happen immediately after a coaching change and while your best player’s shots aren’t dropping is a good time to be 6-8; it suggests things will almost certainly improve.

Lillard’s shooting has been dreadful, but that cannot continue. It’s a fluke.

Last night’s game against Denver was clang city. Even the assistant coach, during a halftime interview, said that the team wasn’t putting in enough effort. Lillard was out with some sort of abdominal problem, but I don’t think he would have made much difference in the outcome. Jokic just does whatever he wants inside and is now a three-point threat. Denver had seven people in double figures compared to Portland’s four.

Very impressive win by the Washington Wizards, coming back down by 19 without Beal.

https://www.nba.com/game/nop-vs-was-0022100201#story

They’ve been a fun team to follow so far.

I can’t believe they are leading the East and appear to be legit. Brought in a bunch of hungry guys who’d been playing in other’s shadows, but for winners out West, so they know how to win. They actually play good team defense :astonished: and they put teams away. It’s not always a race to 125 points and a 1-point game going into the final minutes of every game, like it was last season with Russ.

Portland beat Toronto last night in a pretty hotly contested match. They were sluggish in the first quarter and then suddenly came to life. Nassir Little is part of the reason. The guy can really ignite the offense and is ruthless on defense. McCollum and Lillard combined for 53 points.

Toronto started well but were a little inconsistent in some quarters. The Raptors have been hamstrung at home and rambunctious on the road, but Portland is good at home and they played a consistent game all night. They deserved the W, but TO played well. The Raptors sometimes struggle with repeated missed threes, and when this happens must learn to drive through and consistently get points in the paint.

The same scenario played out against Chicago. The Bulls ran Portland ragged in the first half, ahead 20 points at one juncture; I don’t think either McCollum or Lillard scored a single point in the half. I was ready to turn it off but then the Blazers lit it up in the second half and eked out a win much to my amazement. McCollum never did get his mojo working, but Larry Nance suddenly came to life and made up for it.

I see this thread is getting the same lack of participation as previous NBA threads. I thought basketball was more popular. :smile: The Blazers have come alive, at least in their home games and are now 10-8 (9-1 at home). Now they need to carry this effort to the road against some tough teams.