We got to see some live NBA basketball yesterday. Wasn't that just a beautiful sentence to read? Allow it to marinate for a while...Just feels right again.
While yesterday was only the "scrimmage" phase of the NBA returning to action, it's still an exciting time to see NBA players back on the hardwood. Yes, we don't like to chase the "overreaction" aspect of these games...but it's still exciting to point out some of the notable storylines throughout the process.
THE BOL BOL SHOW
NBA fans worldwide watched in awe as the Denver Nuggets rookie put on an impressive "debut". Showing the dominant two-way potential that had so many NBA teams intrigued with his skillset, the 7'3 rookie went on to put up 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 blocks in his first performance alongside NBA talent. Bol had spent the majority of the year developing in the G-League while playing for the Windy City Bulls.
If you were on the line after the Bol performance, you might be convinced that Bol Bol is a favorite for the 2020-21 MVP award. Although we want to encourage everyone to pump the breaks, it's a great reminder of how much of a Unicorn Bol was as a prospect. An athletic freak with an extremely rare combination of size and fluidity, Bol has the potential to be a game-changing presence on the basketball court IF his body can hold up. There's a reason why Bol fell in the draft to the 44th overall selection and there's also a reason why the Nuggets organization has been so patient with allowing Bol to develop during his rookie year. It's an exciting development in the basketball world and it will be interesting to see what Bol can do in his next game.
It shouldn't surprise a lot of people that the Los Angeles teams are going to get plenty of attention throughout the "Bubble" experience. In their first Scrimmage yesterday against the Orlando Magic, the Clippers looked solid but one of their star player stood out with his play. It's always interesting to monitor the performance of Paul George, as he's had his fair share of issues with injuries over the last couple of recent years. PG13 will be a player who could gain a lot from the time off before the NBA season. If George is finally healthy heading into the potentially deep playoff run for the Clippers, it's an important development to monitor.
THE SET UP
NBA fans were anxiously awaiting to see what the in-game set up would look like and while some might have some mixed reviews...I personally think the NBA has done a fantastic job with everything. While these scrimmage games will be interesting to see if the NBA tries to make some changes when it comes to the in-game experience...so far it seems to be off to a great start. One of the notable changes that stood out was the social distancing on the benches. Each player seemed to have their own assigned seat that was appropriately distanced away from the other players and the coaches as well.
The NBA has continued to change the graphics in the background to try and give some of the home court advantage type of feel and it's a good start. A team like the Miami Heat even had a graphic that memicked their home crowd with fans chanting "Let's go Heat!." The result was much better than expected and the game at least seemed completely fine without fans...which was a pleasant surprise. Other sports may struggle to create a similar type of product, but the basketball experience didn't suffer too much...especially if you have watched Summer League before. If anything, it make some of the game sounds better than before, including a "YEET" sound effect during a missed technical foul.
Jerome Robinson missed the technical free throw and they played the “yeet” sound effect. Can y’all imagine them doing this for LeBron?? pic.twitter.com/oR6LoLr0vL— Michael Mockler (@mockler_michael) July 22, 2020
THE TALL LINEUP
The Denver Nuggets released a new version of the Death Lineup and it was the definition of the electric factory. Yes ladies and gentlemen you are reading that correctly...Nikola Jokic...POINT Guard.
THIS LINEUP 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/0hIsGvXB8v— Backcourt Violation (@backcourtv) July 22, 2020
Miami Heat wing Duncan Robinson reminded us last night that he's a fan of fire. In all seriousness, Robinson has become one of the top outside threats in the league over the course of the 2019-20 season and reminded last night of just how quickly he can get hot. The combination of Duncan and rookie wing Tyler Herro will be a big combination to keep an eye-on for the Miami Heat as the playoffs near.
Day one gave us plenty of highlights to get us smiling with basketball being back in our lives again. As we officially have 7 more days until the season "officially" resumes...it feels amazing to have the NBA back in our lives on a daily basis.