The Kerfuffle, Ep. 4: The Thunder Are Toast & The Warriors Are Champs

Far and few between are the moments when, in this human life of struggle, one can say with the utmost veracity, “My greatest dreams have come true.” Alas, as a Dallas Mavericks fan I — with the start of the 2018-2019 NBA season and the subsequent beginning of the 100-percent sure-to-be Hall-of-Fame career of Luka Doncic — can definitely say all my greatest dreams have come true, at least for this month and as dreams relate to basketball.

Anyway, here’s the salient point: The teen sensation from Slovenia, the No. 77-wearing, lion-tattooed beacon of hope for the Mavs is very good at basketball. (Were it not for the infernal branding that Dallas continues to wear I’d probably own at least three Doncic jerseys.)

Look, he’s not perfect, but he’s been pretty darn good. 

I. Appreciated Fashion Statement Of The Week: Damian Lillard

I can’t say I’m a big fan of Halloween, but I can say I’m a big fan of the confidence with which Damian Lillard sports this costume. 

II. Extremely Subjective Power Rankings Top 10: Montana Is Involved

1. Golden State Warriors

[chasm the size of Montana]

2. Toronto Raptors

[chasm the size of Delaware]

3. New Orleans Pelicans

4. Milwaukee Bucks

5. Boston Celtics

6. Los Angeles Lakers

7. Denver Nuggets

8. Portland Trail Blazers

9. Houston Rockets

10. Philadelphia 76ers

Steph Curry looks like the least anxious human being alive, and all opponents can really do — as wonderfully demonstrated by Kelly Oubre — is balk in disbelief. The 30-year-old dropped 51 points in three quarters this week and the performance took less of an effort than me making my coffee in the morning. 

Look, DeMarcus Cousins isn’t even back. I know there are all sorts of amazing things happening in the NBA right now — Giannis is MVP, a pretty fabulous rookie class, LeBron in LA, WTF Timberwolves, LOL Thunder (more on this in a second) — but let’s not skirt the truth: The Warriors are going to win the NBA title.

Heck, if Steph Curry went down with an injury, the Warriors would still win the title. I’d even say that if both Steph and Klay Thompson went down with injuries, the Warriors still could be the favorite for the NBA title

This world will only change when Kevin Durant, out of sheer boredom, bolts for New York or something like that.

III. Stats Are Important But Not Everything: Or So OKC Hopes

The Thunder are 0-4. They managed, somehow, to retain Paul George, and they for sure lost the James Harden trade — may this be etched in the annals of hoops history forever — and as soon as Durant left that fateful July 4 of a few years ago it seemed like the franchise would be treading water with Russell Westbrook fervor for a long, long time. PG13 certainly didn’t join a sinking ship, but he didn’t necessarily really join a speedboat, either.

Is 0-4 bad? Yes! It’s bad. But as our very own Fri Lavey points out in his recent work on early-season records, it doesn’t tell us all that much.

To read Fri's article, click here.

IV: Get Off My Parquet, As Told By Adam Oestreich

By Adam Ostreich, duh.

Having fun is underrated. What’s better than having fun? Nothing. And who will have more fun than Trae Young this year? No one. 

Trae Young plays a fun sport, for a fun team who does fun things, in a fun city, and they wear some of the most fun jerseys in the entire league. Also, his team is bad. Which you would think is not fun, but for someone who has a game like Trae Young, it couldn’t be more fun. 

You get to play with guys like Vince Carter and, uh... Vince Carter. You get to play as much pressure-free basketball you want — the Hawks season over/under for wins is 23.5. You get to throw up as many three balls you want — he’s currently averaging eight per game; expect that to go way up by the end of the year. Plus, next year you will have Zion Williamson will be on your team. And that will be fun, too! 

This is all why — with all due respect to my man Hunter and his guy Luka Doncic — I believe Trae Young will without a doubt win Rookie of the Year. I think you need to have fun to have a good enough season to be Rookie of the Year. And repeat after me, no one will have more fun than Trae Young this year.

So best of luck this year, Trae Young. Stay out of trouble in Atlanta… but have fun.

The Euro Step: Clutch Cory Higgins & Scouting Goga Bitadze

Give Cory Higgins his respect.

North Carolina Central Earns NCAA Tournament Berth For Third Year In A Row

A tagline to summarize North Carolina Central’s 2018-19 season could be 3AC. 

Duke A 9/4 Favorite To Win 2019 NCAA Tournament According To Betting Odds

Duke phenom Zion Williamson and the Blue Devils are favored to win the NCAA Tournament, according to the latest odds from BetOnline.Ag.

Led By RJ Barrett, 9 Montverde Alumni Feature In 2019 NCAA Tournament

Prep basketball powerhouse Montverde Academy sends numerous recruits to the NCAA ranks every year. No surprise, then, that the Eagles are well-represented in the 2019 NCAA Tournament field. 

Gatorade Names Finalists For Boys Basketball Player Of The Year Award

James Wiseman, Nico Mannion and R.J. Hampton were named Friday as the three finalists for the 2018-2019 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year award.

So Far, So Good For MEAC Regular Season Champ Norfolk State

The t-shirts—gold with “Cut The Net” in green block lettering—were printed over the summer. That’s when Norfolk State coach Robert Jones said he saw the potential for something special in the 2018-19 Spartans.

Keion Brooks Will Announce His College Decision Friday

In one of the most highly anticipated announcements in the Class of 2019, Keion Brooks will reveal his college decision Friday night.

Greatest NCAA Tournament Upsets By MEAC Teams

The game clock at CHI Health Center Omaha ticked below 40 seconds when Norfolk State guard Chris McEachin fired a pull-up jump shot from the baseline.

Kristaps Porzingis & Luka Doncic Create A Fierce Euro Duo In Dallas

With Anthony Davis staying put in New Orleans, the biggest name from the NBA trade deadline may have been Latvian superstar Kristaps Porzingis. In a nearly unprecedented move, the New York Knicks decided to trade the 2018 All-Star before the end of his rookie contract to the Dallas Mavericks for Dennis Smith Jr., Wesley Matthews, DeAndre Jordan and two future first-round picks.

Franz Wagner Stars In EuroCup, Considers NCAA Career

Basketball media buzzed with praise for Moritz Wager in March 2018, as the current Los Angeles Laker led his Michigan Wolverines to the NCAA Tournament championship game.