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NBA

NBA Opening Day Overreactions from Thursday

Kyrie Irving, Andre Drummond, Luka Doncic
Kyrie Irving, Andre Drummond, Luka Doncic (NBA Getty)

Nothing warms my heart quite like drawing grand conclusions based off the first full day of the regular season.

Wednesday's appetizer set the bar high for Thursday's main course. After the defending champs squeaked by in overtime on ring night and Kawhi Leonard toppled LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the table was set for an 11-course extravaganza featuring 22 teams starving to put aside the menus and get down to business.

It did not disappoint and I am stuffed.

And so, here are 11 wild overreactions that are sure to be 100% true as the rest of the regular season unfolds.

Kyrie Irving will break Wilt's scoring record

Kyrie Irving is now averaging 50 points per game as a member of the Brooklyn Nets. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no player in NBA history has ever scored more points in a team debut.

So there's that.

Did you know that Wilt Chamberlain once averaged 50.4 points per game for an entire season? He did that in the 1961-62 season which began with Chamberlain scoring 48... also in a loss.

MORE: Every 50-point season opener in NBA history

Obviously, now that Irving is ahead of Chamberlain's pace it's only a formality that over the next 81 games he'll continue to light the record books on fire.

But that doesn't mean he'll win the MVP.

Chamberlain didn't. In fact, he ended up finishing second behind a dominant center named Bill Russell.

Naturally, that means a dominant center - and not Irving - must be in the driver's seat for the MVP.

Andre Drummond will win the MVP

I'm big on historical precedent.

Which is why Andre Drummond's Tour de Force in the Pistons' season-opening win over the Pacers ensures that he will now win the MVP.

32 points on 12-18 shooting, 23 rebounds, four blocks and three steals.. how's that to get the party started! Drummond controlled the opening tip and never looked back, channeling his inner Charles Barkley to lead Detroit who was playing without All-Star Blake Griffin.

Drummond became the first player since Barkley in 1992-93 to finish with at least 30 points and 20 rebounds in a season opener. Barkley went on to claim the MVP award that season which of course means that Drummond will now win the 2020 MVP award.

I didn't make the rules, but that's how it works.

The Sixers are exactly who we thought they were

Awesome defensively? Check.

Not so awesome at shooting? Check.

Here's the thing about the Philadelphia 76ers. They are huge and they will win with defence. Judging by the roster, there really shouldn't be too many surprises.

It certainly looked that way against the Boston Celtics as the Sixers engaged in what could early on be described generously as a rock fight. At one point in the first half, the 76ers were 3-18 on shots outside the paint including 1-11 from beyond the arc. They struggled to find much of a half-court identity and couldn't buy anything for long stretches, finishing just 7-29 from the 3-point line.

And yet it just didn't matter in a game they held the Celtics to 93 points and ultimately cruised to a double-digit win. They finished with seven blocks and held the potentially explosive Celtics to 37 percent shooting including 46 percent inside the paint. All three of those figures would have easily led the NBA last season.

The Sixers are going to be really, really good... even if Ben Simmons still isn't shooting 3s.

MORE: Inside Philly's season-opening win over Boston

P.J. Washington will be the 12th-best player ever

The rookie got the start. And then the rookie cooked.

Over... and over... and over... and over... and over... and over... and over again.

That's seven "overs", one for every one of his made 3s. Why is that significant? It's the most made 3s ever by a player in an NBA debut.

He did more than bury the Bulls beneath an avalanche of treys as he finished with 27 points. Only 11 players in NBA history have ever scored more points in a career debut which of course means that Washington is undisputedly destined to be the 12th-best player ever.

It's math.

Derrick Jones Jr. will follow in the footsteps of Michael Jordan

The 2020 All-Star Game will be played in Chicago for the first time since 1988 when Jordan won All-Star Game MVP honors.

But forget the All-Star Game itself because that All-Star weekend is better remembered for the epic dunk contest between Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins.

What does that have to do with the Miami Heat Skywalker?

Well... anyone who can do this...

... should probably be in the dunk contest when it returns to the scene of that Jordan-Wilkins duel.

Lauri Markkanen will be better than Dirk Nowitzki

Markkanen had a better rookie season than Nowitzki.

Markkanen had a better second season than Nowitzki.

Markkanen will now have a better third season than Nowitzki.

The Finnisher couldn't quite finish off the Hornets, but he was sensational in Charlotte as he tallied 35 and 17 rebounds despite shooting just 1-7 from beyond the 3-point line.

35-15 is nothing to sneeze at and it's a game that Nowitzki didn't put together until midway through his third year when he averaged 21.8 points per game. The Mavericks legend didn't make his first All-Star team until his fourth season, meaning that if Wednesday's season opener is a sign of things to come this season, Markkanen will once again be ahead of the pace set forth by the German Race Car.

Luka Doncic and Donovan Mitchell are locks for the All-Star team

There's no doubt that both of them were getting some buzz prior to the start of the actual season.

But you can just plan book it right now that they'll be in Chicago in February.

Doncic dropped 34 points on just 19 shots in a dominant win over Washington. Were it not for a late Wizards run, Doncic would have been done for good at the end of the third quarter at which point in time he had about the most effortless 32 points possible in leading Dallas to a 23-point lead.

As for Mitchell... here's some spice...

And a little bit more...

And OHMYGOODNESSHOLDTHEPHONES!!!!

22 of his 32 points in the second half to go along with 12 rebounds against a frisky OKC squad on a night his new backcourt mate Mike Conley shot just 1-16 from the floor.

Markelle Fultz is all of the way back, baby

Here's what happened within the first three and a half minutes after Orlando's ultimate reclamation project entered the game.

  • Layup
  • Floater
  • Layup
  • Alley-oop dime

In the end, Fultz finished with perhaps the loudest 12-point, six-assist game humanly possible if only for the fact that he looked every bit the part after appearing lost over the last two years. Fultz is someone worth rooting for and if he continues to play as he did on Wednesday, he'll offer up one of the better feel-good stories in recent memory.

(Also... don't look now but he was the best point guard on the floor in a game that featured two other recent lottery picks.)

Make it 14 straight seasons without the playoffs

This was supposed to be the year.

And instead... well, there's 81 games left but it doesn't look good.

The Sacramento Kings have the NBA's longest playoff drought as they haven't participated in the postseason since 2006. But with De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley and Bogdan Bogdanovic and a cupboard full of vets, this year would be different.

At halftime in their season opener, the Kings led by five on the road against a Suns team that's won 22 fewer games than any team over the last four seasons and is coming off a 19-63 campaign.

So what happened next? They proceeded to get outscored 70-36 and finished with eight more turnovers (19) than made shots (11) in the second half.

The road through the West is perilous and filled with dangerous teams. Sacramento's season-long climb towards the top eight would be an uphill battle regardless, but this was certainly not the right way to start. One step up the mountain and the Kings lost a shoe, sprained an ankle and dumped out their canteen of water.

The views here do not represent those of the NBA or its clubs.

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