The NBA’s opening night is a time for celebration, fanfare, and more often than naught, insane overreactions. Fans and talking heads alike tend to go overboard with their hot takes, placing far too much importance on sample sizes that are far too small.
We hate being the voice of reason (seriously, it’s kind of a bummer), but we feel it’s time to pump the breaks on some of the craziest declarations from the NBA’s first two days of action. We’ve rounded up the most glaring overreactions and have come up with level-headed rebuttals rooted in cold hard reality.
Let us know what you think, and please share your own hot takes in the comment section below.
Nick Young is going to win Sixth Man of the Year
The overreaction: “Swaggy P. looked amazeballs on opening night! Dude couldn’t miss in the first quarter and had 20 points by half time. Throw away the ballots and just give him the Sixth Man of the Year award already.”
The reality: We like Nick Young, we really do. We like the way he steals passes from teammates and celebrates missed three-pointers. But let’s be honest, Young isn’t even the eighth-best player on the Warriors. Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and David West are all more valuable members of the team’s deep bench. The Rockets also have a pretty dynamic sixth man of their own who may have something to add to the conversation. Eric Gordon won the award last season and looked dynamite on Tuesday night, scoring 24 points in 29 minutes.
Odds Nick Young wins Sixth Man of the Year in 2017-18: 15/1
It’s time to break up the Hawks
The overreaction: “Who needs Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard? The Baby Birds hung 117 on the Mavs and are already firing on all cylinders. No one can stop Dennis Schroeder, and Marco Belinelli has the sweetest stroke this side of Oakland. Hotlanta is back!”
The reality: We were as surprised as anyone that the Mavs lost to the Hawks at home, but it doesn’t change our perception of Atlanta. The team is still totally devoid of star power and features more retreads and rejects than a Jersey Shore casting call. The Hawks may have looked good on opening night, but this team has been painstakingly designed to tank.
Over/under Atlanta Hawks win total in 2017-18: 23.5
The Pacers are playoff bound
The overreaction: “The Pacers are the beasts of the East, baby! They outscored every team in the NBA on opening night, and Victor Oladipo and Darren Collison are the best backcourt in the league. Playoffs, here we come!!!”
The reality: Let’s dial it down a notch, shall we? The Pacers may have scored 140 points, but they did so against the Brooklyn Nets, a moribund team that’s barely a notch above the Washington Generals. The Nets have averaged just 20.5 wins over the past two seasons and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has set their 2017-18 win total at a meagre 28.5. Oh, and by the way, the Pacers also gave up 131 points to the Nets. Indiana was outscored in the first quarter and the team’s disinterested defenders managed to make D’Angelo Russell look like the second coming of Steph Curry. Expect the Pacers to fall back to earth with a thud this weekend when they take on the Trail Blazers and Heat.
Over/under Indiana Pacers win total in 2017-18: 29.5
The Suns are going to be worse than the 1973 Philadelphia 76ers
The overreaction: “The Suns’ 124-76 loss to the Blazers was a trainwreck! It was the biggest opening-night loss in NBA history and the Blazers were missing CJ McCollum. Mark my words, this team is going to be worse than that 9-73 Sixers team that’s been stinking up the record books since 1973.”
The reality: Yes, the Suns are going to be bad this season. Really bad, in fact. But they won’t be as miserable as the ’73 Sixers. That team was so bad it would have struggled to win nine games in the Big East. The Suns, meanwhile, have a borderline All-Star in Eric Bledsoe, the league’s most explosive young scorer in Devin Booker, a Rookie of the Year candidate in Josh Jackson, and a Defensive Player of the Year contender in Tyson Chandler. The pieces may not fit seamlessly, but there’s enough firepower and skill on the 2017-18 Suns to win ten games or more.
Over/under Phoenix Suns win total in 2017-18: 24.5
Gordon Hayward’s career is over
The overreaction: “Oh my God! Look at his foot! It’s at a #@!% right angle (barfs into hands). Oh the humanity … the humanity … The Celtics just threw away $128 million.”
The reality: We’re not going to sugar coat this one. Gordon Hayward’s injury was gruesome. We’re talking “hide the women and children” gruesome. And yet, as horrifying as it may have been, there’s no reason to think his injury will be career-ending. Hayward underwent surgery on his dislocated ankle and fractured tibia on Wednesday evening and, according to all reports, it went well. His agent, Mark Bartelstein, told reporters that “We expect him to make a full recovery and return to his All-Star form.” We understand that Bartelstein has to say that kind of stuff since his career (and boat payments) rely on the health of his clients, but we really do believe him. Hayward is young and healthy and he’ll receive the best care and attention that money can buy as he begins his long road to recovery.
Odds Gordon Hayward returns for the 2018-19 season: 1/3
The Rockets are the best team in the NBA
The overreaction: “Golden State’s dynasty is done! The Rockets exposed their weaknesses on opening night and are the NBA’s real favorites. Strike up the band and prepare the parade route!”
The reality: We can’t deny the fact that the Rockets showed a lot of grit on opening night, but we’re not ready to inscribe their name on the Larry O’Brien Trophy just yet. Lest we forget, Houston trailed by as many as 17 points in the first half, and looked lost and out of sync for long stretches of the game. You also can’t overlook the impact of the extended ring ceremony before the game. The Warriors had to stand around and participate in the overblown fanfare for nearly thirty minutes while the Rockets patiently waited in the seclusion of their locker room. That can have a dire effect on a player’s stamina, as we’ve seen in past years in Miami. Bovada has the Warriors listed at -150 and the Rockets at +1200 to win the championship, and Tuesday’s night game didn’t do a thing to move the needle.
Odds the Houston Rockets win the 2018 NBA Championship: 12/1