PG - Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Eric Bledsoe was the best performer in what was ultimately a laughable performance by the young Phoenix Suns as they were blown away by 48 points to a Blazers team that was without its second-best player.
Expect some sort of reaction from the Suns and their leader Bledsoe, though. He’ll have the perfect opportunity to redeem himself against an equally young Lakers team that is on a back-to-back and was spanked by the Clippers in their home opener.
Bledsoe absolutely loved playing the Lakers last season, as did just about every other NBA point guard. He averaged nearly 22 points, six rebounds, seven assists, and two steals against them. And seeing how the Lakers defense still looks in bad shape, it’s not a stretch for Bledsoe to reach those sorts of numbers again.
SG - Buddy Hield, Sacramento Kings @ Dallas Mavericks
Buddy Hield had a very strong performance in his home opener against the Houston Rockets. The second-year Kings guard put up a well-rounded stat line of 19 points (8-17 FG, 3-7 3-PT FG), with five rebounds and four assists.
Hield had the most shots for Sacramento, and that figures to be the way it goes for basically the entire season. He’ll have a favorable matchup going up against a shorthanded Mavericks backcourt that’s currently playing barely six-foot Yogi Ferrell and rookie Dennis Smith Jr. in the backcourt. It’ll be a good opportunity for Hield to build off that strong showing and put up another fine performance.
SF - Tobias Harris, Detroit Pistons @ Washington Wizards
Tobias Harris absolutely torched the Charlotte Hornets as he made off with 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting (4-of-7 from beyond the arc) and ten rebounds. Harris had five more shots than the nearest Piston, Stanley Johnson, who went 0-of-13. It’s looking clear that with Reggie Jackson (13 points in 27 minutes) still far from full strength, Harris will be the main man offensively moving forward.
Harris will have a nice matchup against the Washington Wizards up next. Neither Otto Porter nor Kelly Oubre (who’s playing bigger minutes with Markieff Morris out injured) is a great defender, as the Sixers’ duo of Robert Covington and Ben Simmons showed as they completely torched the Wizards' frontcourt. Harris will have a similar mismatch against whoever is assigned to him, which could lead to another big night.
PF - Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans vs. Golden State Warriors
For the second year in a row, Anthony Davis put up a 30-15 performance on his season opener as he mauled Memphis for 33 points and 18 boards. Davis followed up last season’s big game with a 45-point, 17-rebound masterclass against the Golden State Warriors in his following game. And who do the Pelicans have next up? The Warriors again.
But not just any Warriors, though. It could be Warriors team without Draymond Green, who suffered a knee strain against the Houston Rockets and is still questionable to play against the Pelicans. Davis already dominated the Warriors with Green in the lineup last year, so he might have an even bigger night without him. Just start Davis and look for him to deliver.
C - Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic @ Brooklyn Nets
Vucevic had a very promising line in Orlando’s home opener against the Miami Heat. The Montenegrin big man stuffed the stat sheet with 19 points, 13 boards, two blocks, and two steals to help the Magic to the win.
A second straight monster performance is hardly out of the question, especially with the Brooklyn Nets up next. Brooklyn showed how generous they still are against opposing big men when they let the Pacers’ Myles Turner run loose for 21 points, 14 boards, and four blocks. Vucevic should similarly take advantage of the Nets’ generosity, particularly on the boards.
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