Oct. 15-Oct. 21: Let’s NBA
After a historically-eventful off-season, the NBA is back. The first week, however, was bittersweet.
Welcome to the Zeitgeist Chronicle. Every weekend we catch you up on the past week’s most interesting pop culture and news events. Sometimes it’ll be what everybody’s talking about, other times it may be something we’d like to bring attention to. Our goal is keep you informed enough to be able to have a conversation about any of these current events. This week:
Basketball Is Back, Baby
It was one heck of an off-season for the NBA. The following all-stars were all traded within a three-month period: Jimmy Butler, Paul George, Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving, and Carmelo Anthony. And that doesn’t even include the players that changed teams through Free Agency. This summer, the NBA officially overtook the NFL as the league that owns the largest chunk of the calendar. The NBA is now a 12-month league.
Sports are increasingly transactional, in the sense that fans are more and more obsessed with trades and player movement. A large part of that can be attributed to the rise of fantasy sports, which has extended fandom beyond the team you ride and die for and to the players dispersed around the league that make up your fantasy team. This increased infatuation with transactions is how you get the endless stream of analysis that’s pervasive now.
All of that discussion about what the new-look Thunder, Rockets, and Celtics will look like, all of the shoulda-coulda-wouldas, and all the daydreaming of knocking off the Warriors went out the window about five minutes into the first game of opening night, when Gordon Hayward leaped into the air on his way to finishing an alley-oop from Kyrie Irving and landed awkwardly, dislocating his ankle and fracturing his tibia, ending his first season in Boston five minutes after it began.
The following day, Jeremy Lin would suffer his own season-ending injury. The day after that, Lonzo Ball made his long-awaited debut, with a whimper to the tune of 3 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists, thanks to Patrick Beverley. Off-season fantasies were once again rudely awoken by reality.
Things would turn around, though. Giannis Antetokounmpo is picking up where he left off last season, and then some, looking more like a Greek God than a Greek Freak. The new-look Oklahoma City Thunder did not disappoint in their debut, albeit their competition was the Knicks. Lonzo Ball would also bounce back in his second career game, recording 29 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists, and 4 3-pointers. With the rough start we’ve had, there’s nowhere to go from here than up.
Here are some quick observations:
- Giannis is unstoppable.
- Lonzo Ball is the real deal, but his best quality may be his temperament.
- This is going to be one heck of a rookie class. Lonzo, Dennis Smith Jr., Jayson Tatum, De’Aaron Fox, and Lauri Markkanen all look solid, but the favorite to win Rookie of the Year, after week one, should be Ben Simmons.
- While we’re talking about rookies…should we be concerned about Markelle Fultz?
- The Celtics may have lost Gordon Hayward, but they’re still interesting, thanks to the young Jay-Jay duo (the aforementioned Jayson Tatum and second-year Jaylen Brown).
- Could the shortened pre-season be to blame for the abundance of first-week injuries?
- The Suns’ 48-point home opener loss to the Blazers was disgraceful.
- The phenomenon that is Fake-Klay is absolutely glorious.