The NBA preseason started early on Monday morning for us here in Manila, and it’s been great to see the best basketball in the league on the air again. With the regular season still a couple of weeks away, we’re at least getting that taste of NBA balls that we’ve been craving since Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks won the title in July.
I’ve been watching a bunch of the games this week, and here are some of things that have been running through my head so far.
Ja Morant is going to tear up the league this season
Ja Morant arguably had his breakout season in 2020-21, when he led the scrappy young Memphis Grizzlies to two play-in victories against the San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies to force their way into the eighth and final playoff seed in the loaded Western Conference.
If his early preseason returns are any indication, he’s going to be trying to top things this year. If anything, getting a taste of the playoffs so early in his career may just make Morant hungrier to make it past the first round.
Morant dropped 27 points in three quarters against the Milwaukee Bucks before the game was called off after a fire alarm went off in the building. Granted, Milwaukee’s big guns weren’t playing, but it’s a big deal for your young star to be trying that hard in a preseason game.
He followed that up with 16 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists against fellow point guard of the future LaMelo Ball and the Charlotte Hornets, and it was during a 128-98 blowout. Ja has become one of my favorite players to watch, and that’s not going to change any time soon.
If all Melo has to do is be a scoring threat off the bench, he’s going to be a big asset for the Lakers
Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James have wanted to play together for a long time, and they’re finally getting the chance to do so at the twilight of their careers. Melo, who was frozen out of the NBA for a bit before getting a shot at redemption with the Portland Trail Blazers, has grown into someone who is comfortable with contributing from the bench.
He averaged 13.4 PPG for the Blazers season, and 15.4 PPG in the one before that, showing that he can still do what he does best: get buckets. He finally made his debut in purple and gold this week, and guess what he did.
No one’s going to like getting defended by Davion Mitchell
The Sacramento Kings turned some heads in this year’s draft when they selected six-foot point guard Davion Mitchell in this year’s draft. After all, they already have borderline All-Star De’Aaron Fox on the roster, and they got the steal of the 2021 draft in Tyrese Haliburton.
However, Mitchell has since become a darling among Kings fans because of his hard defense. ‘Off Night’ certainly deserves his nickname, and it looks like he’s going to be a pest for opposing ball handlers all season long. He’s also shown that his high three point field goal percentage in college may not be a fluke, as he’s still hitting deep shots in the NBA.