We've seen 3 basketball games so far. One hard fought victory over the Cavs and two blowout victories over borderline playoff teams. What could we possibly glean from such a small sample size? Here are a few things I've picked up.
- Injuries happen at the least expected time. Before the team even played a game, they suffered a setback by losing Glen (Wyc won't call me Baby) Davis for 8 weeks.
- Shelden Williams can play. He's not Leon Powe and he's not Big Baby, but he can play if he sticks to his role. That role is to rebound, rebound, and rebound some more. People say he has no offensive game, but offensive rebounds and free throws help you score points. And as he gains confidence, he might just develop that midrange jumper. But no need to rush it. He just needs to focus on what he does well.
- Rondo will be an All Star this year. He's playing out of his mind. He doesn't even care about scoring (though he's not scared to shoot). I've seen players get in "the zone" shooting before, but I seldom have seen a guard get in the zone with passing like Rondo has at times this year. The clinic he put on in the third quarter of the Bulls game was ridiculous. He has a total of 37 assists and 5 turnovers over 3 games. Crazy.
- Kevin Garnett is back. Is he full speed? Will he ever be again? Is he 90%, 85%, 75%, 60%, less? No idea. He's probably a step slow (whatever that means) but he's still very, very, very good. He might just win defensive player of the year again. He can hit that midrange jumper. He will pick his spots and keep this team motivated and focused. What more can you really ask?
- The Point Forward experiment is working. I was a skeptic. I didn't like the mad scientist ideas. I also didn't know Marquis very well. Also, what I didn't understand was the impact this plan would have on Eddie House. It has freed House to be who he is without worrying about the ball handling responsibilities. I hate to admit it, but I like it ...so far.
- The killer instinct is back. Doc complained during the first part of last year that even though the team was winning at an amazing pace, they weren't really playing all that well. When they ran up against the Lakers, things fell apart. Last year they were winning, but not putting teams away that often. So far this year, they are destroying teams. A good sign.
There's a lot of games left and a lot of lessons left to learn, but that's a pretty good start if you ask me.
Oh yeah, and one bonus lesson. The Cavs aren't as big and bad as many experts led us to believe. At least not so far.