Baseline to Baseline: October 20th

Andy Lyons
  1. Boogie Cousins, point God.

Sometimes I don’t even know what game we are watching anymore. A svelte Cousins can grab a loose ball, bulldoze down the court with the grace of a man a foot and 70 something pounds his junior and drop off a dime to a running gazelle named Anthony Davis. I don’t know what to make of it, but it is so much fun to watch.

The Pelicans gave the Warriors a fit for much of the first half last night before a flurry of three-pointers put the kibosh on that bid. I am bullish on the Pelicans as a playoff team — I think they know that they only chance they have are if Cousins and Davis are at the helm 95% of the time. Whether they make the playoffs or not, watching the two of them put on an all-around display of basketball wizardry will be well worth your time.

2. Sightings of a Warriorgasm.

Love them or hate them, no team is more fun to watch while percolating than Golden State. They can beat you in the simplest ways (a Steph Curry wiggle into three-point combo or a Kevin Durant “I’m taller than you” pull-up jumper). But they can also beat you in the most whizzing of ways when their ball movement is on point.

The symmetry they exhibit is a pleasure, knowing exactly which holes to pierce in order to crack the defense. Having Durant as the spot-up shooter in the corner should be outlawed.

3. Giannis Antetokounmpo, pump-faking his way to glory.

Most of Giannis’ game is a 2k glitch, but this may be the most realistic one yet. Dude kept tapping the “B” button trying to get his shot up, but the action just wouldn’t register. The only thing missing from this is the inevitable block party that takes place after this many pump fakes and the thrown controller to punctuate it. Giannis somehow gets the shot to go anyway — that’s why he’s a freak.

4. C.J. McCollum, on balance.

McCollum is perhaps the most crafty mid-range artist in the league packing a litany of floaters, leans, and touch that makes that area of the floor a source of a efficiency for him. He has a herky-jerkiness to his game, but always ends up on balance and squared up towards his target.

The Blazers are playing more physical on both ends of floor now that Jusuf Nurkic is in the fold, and they will be a tough out on any given night because of McCollum and Damian Lillard’s capacity to pour in 30 at a moment’s notice.

5. Donovan Mitchell under control.

Mitchell is going to be the source of a lot of envy throughout the league for years to come. He reminds me of Lillard when he was a rookie — you can tell immediately that he belongs and the pace in which he plays with is tailor-made for the league. Nothing is too big for him, and he knows how to jitterbug his way to open alleys.

Here he attacks a wall of Timberwolves, packing a mean hop-step that leads to the and-1. I feel like most rookies would have a deer-in-the-headlights look about them if put in a similar situation during their second NBA game. Mitchell could be a star.