Teams all over the Association are constantly making changes and adjustments, always looking to add new pieces to their core to get better and fight for a playoff spot or even for the right to be called World Champions at the end of the year.
A lot of good moves happened throughout the prior offseason and some of them seem to be already paying off for their new teams, with All-Stars and prospects making an instant impact now that they’re dressed in different clothes.
It’s still pretty soon and it’s probable that the ones that have gotten off to a slow start will only get better, while some of the hottest new arrivals may tend to diminish a bit, but considering what we’ve seen so far, we’re bound to rate them right now.
Rudy Gay: 7.5
Rudy Gay has been extremely productive so far despite coming off a season-ending injury the prior campaign, embracing a substitute role to lead the San Antonio Spurs off the bench with very good performances during their winning streak.
So far, the veteran forward has been pretty solid with averages of 11.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and almost 2 assists per game in 45% from the floor and he’s adapted perfectly to Popovich’ system, and will be a key factor off the bench as soon as Leonard comes back and the team starts winning again.
Dwight Howard: 8.5
The Charlotte Hornets haven’t been really impressive so far this season, but Dwight Howard has been a major improvement in their roster and a huge factor in the team’s wins alongside Kemba Walker, proving that he’s still got a lot to offer in this league.
The veteran big guy has posted averages of 14 points and 14 rebounds to go along with 1.5 blocks per game, and he seems determined to prove his worth this season after being dumped by the Atlanta Hawks.
Ricky Rubio: 8
Ricky Rubio has been shooting the ball quite well lately, and even though that may not be sustainable throughout the whole campaign, he’s looked quicker, more aggressive and well determined to become a 15+ point scorer on a nightly basis.
So far, he’s failed to develop chemistry with Rudy Gobert, but both being extremely good in the Pick and Roll, it’s only a matter of time before those 6.5 assists per game will reach double digits, so let’s hope he doesn’t lose his touch and continues to average those 17.5 points as well.
Jimmy Butler: 8
The Minnesota Timberwolves are one of the hottest teams right now (5 wins in a row) and it seems that Jeff Teague, Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson fit well with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
Butler has been pretty good during his last couple of matchups after a very slow start, and so far he’s averaged 15.1 points 5.3 rebounds and 4 dimes per game, although he is more focused to improve team defense because Minnesota were one of the worst defenses in the league in the last 5 years.
Paul George: 7
Off all of the members of the OK3, Paul George has been by far the less effective, and even though he’s still had some pretty good games and it seems like all of them have clicked and build up some chemistry, he’s still got some catching up to do.
The All-Star small forward has averaged 19.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.1 helpers per game in over 43% from the floor and 40% from deep, but he really let us down when he got the chance to play against his former team, with Melo taunting him stating that he was a “no-show”.
Carmelo Anthony: 7.5
Carmelo Anthony has looked like a whole new player playing besides Russell Westbrook and Paul George, and he finally looks happy and motivated again, being willing to give up touches on offense to do what’s best for the team.
Averaging 22.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game in over 46% from the hardwood, Melo had even nailed the game-winning shot against the Timberwolves before an impressive buzzer beater by Andrew Wiggins in a nail-biting matchup.
Jeff Teague: 7
Nobody was expecting much out of an 29 years old Jeff Teague after his mediocre Indiana Pacers tenure, but even so, he’s been pretty much a bust for the Minnesota Timberwolves except for one good game where he tied his career high with 6 steals.
Still, he’s been quite effective when handling the playmaking duties and he’s been quite good in the pick and roll with Karl-Anthony Towns as well, averaging almost 8 assists to go along with 13.1 points and 3.1 boards.
Kyrie Irving: 8.5
After a very lousy debut, Kyrie Irving hasn’t missed a bit and has effectively lived up to the responsibility that represents being the Boston Celtics’ go-to guy on offense, especially with Gordon Hayward in the bleachers for a very long time.
Uncle Drew has been a pretty willing facilitator and we all know he can score at will and in bunches, and he’s posted averages of 21.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.6 steals per game, showing a new and fierce commitment on defense as well.
Domantas Sabonis: 8
We all felt like Domantas Sabonis wasn’t getting much love the past campaign, after being sent to the bench in favor of Taj Gibson and then dealt away alongside Victor Oladipo to get a one year rental for Paul George.
You just can’t give away the son of a legend, and his proven to be extremely intelligent and crafty with the ball in his hands. He’s thrived as the team’s center with Myles Turner sidelined, recording several double-doubles with a lot of efficiency from the floor and even spreading the floor with his stroke from downtown. Averaging 13 and 11 in almost 67% from the floor, he’s looking like a steal right now.
Victor Oladipo: 9.5
It seems like Victor Oladipo has finally found his home, and he’s been balling lights out ever since becoming a member of the Indiana Pacers, outplaying Paul George and being extremely important in that mini-surge the Pacers have shown during the early going.
Indiana isn’t going to compete anyways, but they’ve got to be extremely happy with the player they got in Victor Oladipo, who’s currently averaging a career-high 23.8 points to go along with 4.1 boards, 3.5 dimes and 1.6 steals in 48% from the floor and 50% from beyond the arc, so let’s hope he winds up being as good as everybody expected when he came out of the NCAA.