Concern: Chandler Parsons
In the 15 minutes that Parsons played against the Pelicans on Wednesday, he took two shots, missed four of five free throws, and was booed. The game was in Memphis.
Since Parsons has been in the NBA, his identity has been that of a club-frequenting, model-acquainting bro who was so much fun that even his former owner, Mark Cuban, wanted to be pals. (Owners and players aren’t typically that close. Parsons’s case, of course, was no different, and ended predictably poorly when the Mavericks did not offer him a maximum contract. And it was awkward!) Now, with his injury history and the weight of being a max player who doesn’t play much weighing on him, he is no longer such a chill bro.
The soon-to-be 29-year-old called his home crowd “tasteless,” and said he will “just go into every game with the mentality that it’s a road game.”
Being out of action for so long led Parsons to an, um, dark place. Trying to bounce back is even more difficult when your own “fans” turn against you. (His bud Joel Embiid surely knows this). Hoping for the best for Parsons, but he’s not off to the most encouraging start.
Concern Meter: 7/10
Concern: Not Enough Support Around Boogie and the Brow
You’ll be surprised to find out that this doesn’t include Rajon Rondo, who is out for a month-plus with a sports hernia, but the Pelicans other than DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis shot 34.6 percent in their season-opening loss to Memphis on Wednesday. Dante Cunningham and Jrue Holiday combined for 11 points, and E’Twaun Moore himself had just 11; the bench contributed eight.
Boogie and the Brow flexed, putting up a combined 61 of New Orleans’s 91 total points. The concern before may have been whether or not two dominant bigs are enough to win in the NBA (are you watching, Nugs?), but it always circles back to this for the Pelicans: What help does the duo have?
Concern Meter: 7.5/10
Concern: Kevin Love Was Reportedly Unhappy Playing Center
Last week, J.R. Smith shared that he was “absolutely” frustrated by Tyronn Lue’s (LeBron’s?) decision to bring him off the bench. On Friday, Love revealed that he was also initially upset with the lineup shuffle, which slots him at center and moved last season’s starter, Tristan Thompson, to the bench.
“It’s been a little bit of a change for me,” Love told Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I still find myself spacing a little bit wanting to roll a little bit more and on the defensive end just playing the primary big on their team the whole time on the defensive end.”
Lue said Love was “frustrated at first, but now he’s enjoying it.” (I’m sure Dwight Howard, who has an affection for terrible puns, would’ve winked and said that he was “Love-ing it.”) One game in, there’s no verdict on whether or not it’s better for the Cavaliers to have Love more at power forward (he finished Tueday’s win over Boston, a game in which he started at the 5, with 15 points on 4-for-9 shooting, 11 rebounds, and no blocks). But it’s not the first time Cleveland needed Love to change his game to make things work around him, and he seems hopeful this adjustment can work.
Concern Meter: 3/10
Hype: OG Anunoby Says Hello
No one outside of Toronto is talking about OG, and it seems OG isn’t doing much talking himself:
How did your first game feel?— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) October 20, 2017
OG: "It felt good"
Was it different than your preseason debut?
OG: "Yes. There were more people here"
When The Sports Network’s Josh Lewenberg asked Kyle Lowry if the rookie was opening up more, the franchise guard replied, “Yeah, he says good morning now.” There are other reserved guys in this draft class, like Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball, but that’s largely masked by the spotlight of being the first or second overall picks (and in the case of the latter, the son of LaVar Ball).
Anunoby’s season opener spoke up for him; C.J. Miles called his first dunk, a two-handed jam over Quincy Pondexter, “a big boy move, that’s a showtime move.” Anunoby finished with nine points, three rebounds, and two assists in 17 minutes of playing time, and the Raptors had their second-best defensive rating with him on the floor.
Other teams may have shied away from Anunoby in the draft because of concerns over an ACL injury he suffered at Indiana, but he’s already creeping toward Where Did This Kid Come From status. I can’t wait to hear what he has to say about that if it happens.
Hype Meter: 6/10