This team is playing insanely fast (first in pace) and scoring in bunches. They are also giving up points faster than they can score them, and that has led to a 3-3 record but a -3.1 net rating. Jalen Smith has taken on a large role as the backup for both Obi Toppin and Myles Turner, while Andrew Nembhard has taken the mantle of backup point guard from T.J. McConnell.
It’s possible that no further analysis is needed here. The No. 1 overall pick has been tremendous to start the season, breaking the court with his height and length. His teammates are still learning that they can throw lobs into the stratosphere and he will come down with them, and on defense opponents are spooked not knowing just how much ground he can cover. This group lacks spacing, especially with Devin Vassell out with an injury for a few weeks, but they have logged a couple of impressive wins and don’t look like a bottom-feeder; that’s the Wembanyama effect.
The story of the early season for the Brooklyn Nets has been the ascendancy of Cam Thomas, their young scoring guard who is currently averaging 26 points per game and generating offense against any defensive front. Mikal Bridges and Ben Simmons are a dangerous defensive combination and will be even more lethal once Nic Claxton is healthy, and Dorian Finney-Smith has been on a heater from 3-point range and will be an attractive trade candidate for contenders.
The Toronto Raptors started the season with a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, a victory that looks even better as time has gone on. They also have a 19-point win over the Milwaukee Bucks to their ledger. Somehow they have also lost games to the Chicago Bulls and Portland Trail Blazers. Their late-game execution has been abysmal, their offense is as anemic as expected, and rookie Gradey Dick hasn’t found his shot yet. On the other hand, Scottie Barnes is having a true bounce-back season and looks like a Most Improved Candidate as the best Raptors player through the early going.