Team USA began it’s quest for the FIBA World Cup title, the Houston Rockets solidified their future with an important player, and the Clippers continue to get the love in NBA future books. Check out the big stories this week in the National Basketball Association!
NBA Updates of the Week – Sep. 2nd Edition
Kemba, Jason Tatum, Bring Celtics Play to Team USA
Team USA won a rather pedestrian first match against the Czech Republic this past weekend. The key to the victory? A Spurs-Celtics type style. Coach Gregg Popovich preaches possession basketball while Brad Anderson over in Boston does the same.
The defense was in full force. Both Kemba Walker and Jason Tatum excelled. Walker scored 14, had 4 assists and a rebound in around 18 minutes. Tatum played less than 18 minutes. He scored 10, had 4 boards, and 2 assists. The U.S.’s top scorer was Donovan Mitchell with 16.
Although the United States played well enough to win, they weren’t close to being the top team on Matchday 1. Five teams broke the century mark: Lithuania, Serbia, Spain, Italy, and Australia.
Those 5 teams could challenge Team USA in the next few weeks. Pop’s probably figuring out his team still. Hopefully, the Americans can figure things out quickly because this year’s FIBA World Cup is deep.
Giannis and Jokic Dominate at FIBA World Cup
Two of the most impressive teams in their first games were Serbia, led by Nikola Jokic, and Greece, led by Giannis Antetokounmpo. Giannis played less than 16 minutes. He still almost managed a double-double versus Montenegro with 10 points and 8 boards.
Jokic had 14 points, 6 assists, and 5 boards versus Angola. Bogdan Bogdanovich scored 24 against Angola. Serbia looked comfortable. They remain the biggest threat to Team USA’s quest for the hardware.
Rockets Pay Up to Keep Eric Gordon
The Houston Rockets gave Eric Gordon a 3-year, $54.5 million deal over the weekend. Gordon is a key piece of the Rockets squad. He’s expected to start at shooting guard this season. That will allow James Harden to move to small forward while Russell Westbrook takes over at point-guard.
It also gives Houston 3 exceptional ball-handlers on the court at the same time. Whether or not that makes a different during the season remains to be seen. Signing Gordon to a longer deal is a good move, though. It keeps Houston’s starting 5 intact for a while.
Clippers Become No Holds Barred Favorites to Win the NBA Championship
The Clippers were only about a +50 favorite over the L.A. Lakers to win the NBA Championship. But, then, DeMarcus Cousins got hurt, and is now in some legal trouble. Cousins, who was going to reunite with Anthony Davis in SoCal, might not play at all this season.
The Lakers did sign Dwight Howard. That didn’t impress future bettors. Everyone has laid off the Lakers while money has flown onto the Clippers. LAC is now a solid +333 favorite. The Lakers are at +400 while the Milwaukee Bucks are at +450.
Have a great week!