Five Most Surprising and Disappointing Players from The NBA’s first Two Weeks

A week into 2021 the real world looks like it is going to be exactly like 2020, which is to say very very shitty, but thankfully the NBA is not the real world. The first two weeks of the 2020-21 NBA season are going exactly how people thought it would go. The Knicks are 5-3 lead by perennial MVP candidate Julius Randle, while the Raptors might actually be the worst team in the league. In the West the Suns are atop the early standings, and if the season ended today the Mavericks and Nuggets would miss the playoffs altogether. See, exactly like we all thought it would go down. In this topsy-turvey season there have been plenty of fun surprises, and sad disappointments across the league. Today we’re going to run through the top five most surprising players during the start of the season, and then we’ll lament the top five most disappointing players to begin 2021. So sit back, get excited, and most importantly remain indoors.


1.) Julius Randle, New York Knicks

Who had Julius Randle breaking out as a legitimate MVP candidate for the Knicks after the first eight games of the season? Be honest absolutely nobody saw this coming from the eighth year point forward. Randle looks like baby LeBron out there running the offense in the Garden. Randle is averaging 23.1 ppg, 12 rpg, and 7.4 apg in 38.6 minutes per game, all career highs, and has led the Knicks to a 5-3 record early on. New coach and NBA fashion icon Tom Thibodeau’s constant yelling from the sideline must be working for the first time since he coached the Bulls to 62 wins in 2011 (we don’t speak of his time in Minnesota). Julius Randle has always been a solid player with the post-Kobe Lakers and pre-Zion Pelicans, but after seven seasons in the NBA most people assumed we had seen everything the Kentucky product had to offer. In his eighth season Randle has, out of nowhere, become a point-forward under Thibodeau’s yelling. His 7.4 assists per game is more than twice his career average of 2.9. If he keeps it up Randle will be a frontrunner for most improved player in 2021. It is the Knicks so Spike Lee, if you’re reading, just brace yourself for the eventual collapse, we all know it’s coming.

2.) Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers

The leader of the SexLand backcourt sparked the Cavaliers to a 3-0 start this season and has looked like a bonafide all-star in his third season, and carried what many people thought might be the worst team in the league to a 5-4 record. The third-year guard is averaging a very efficient 25.1 on 53.1 percent from the field and 51.6 percent from three. After major struggles last year, the SexLand backcourt made up of Sexton and second-year point guard Darius Garland is thriving this season as Garland is also one of the most surprising players to start the year. The one missing piece for the Cavs is Kevin Love, not because he’s still an all-star, but because he completes Cleveland’s full sex lineup.

3.) Christian Wood, Houston Rockets

Speaking of sex lineup, Christian Wood might single-handedly keep James Harden in Houston if he continues to play the way he has to start the season. After a breakout season in 2020 in Detroit, Houston acquired Wood in a sign and trade with the Pistons and Wood signed a three-year $41 million contract. Wood has risen to the task of getting Harden to at least have to think about staying in Houston, becoming a potential all-star this season with 23.6 points and 10 rebounds per game. The Rockets have been a little slow out of the gate this season and are just 2-4, but Wood is exciting Rockets fans for another potential deep playoff run if they can keep Harden and Wood together all season. Even if Harden leaves Houston, Wood looks like he can be a franchise building block going forward and should keep the Rockets interesting with whoever they get back in a Harden trade. A list of players I would like to see traded for James Harden for the sake of a smooth transition are: either of LaMelo or Lonzo Ball, Devontae Cacok, Kevin Love, Rudy Gay, Nassir Little, or Shake Milton. Those are my terms.

4.) Jerami Grant, Detroit Pistons

Essentially Wood’s replacement in the Motor City, Jerami Grant has been the lone bright spot in a sea of troubles for the Detroit Pistons this season. The Pistons are probably the worst team in the league, but Grant is having a breakout season. The leading scorer for the Pistons is averaging 24 points and six rebounds in Detroit’s 1-7 start. He’s going to have to do even more since rookie Killian Hayes has been sidelined indefinitely with a hip injury. Grant looks great, but it is fair to say that he wouldn’t look as attractive if he was on any other team, a classic conundrum that I know all about cheering for guys like Al Jefferson, Kevin Love and Karl-Anthony Towns on a Timberwolves all these years.

5.) Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics

It’s not surprising whatsoever that Jaylen Brown is playing well to start the season. Everyone knows he was playing at an all-star level last year, but he’s arguably been the best all-around players in the NBA this season. Brown is averaging 26.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game while shooting 54.7 percent from the field and 41.2 from three for the 6-3 Celtics. Brown looks like he’s finally taken the leap and should contend for at least second team All-NBA. Jayson Tatum is still their superstar, but Brown might be a much better sidekick than any of us thought he would be.


1.) Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors

At this time last year Siakam was playing his best basketball of his career, with a hot start in 2019-2020 propelling him to a third team All-NBA nod. Since play resumed inside the NBA Bubble in July, Siakam simply hasn’t been the same player. Last year he averaged 22.9 points per game and 7.3 rebounds, but dropped to 16.9 and 5.3 in the regular season bubble, and 17 and 7.5 in the playoffs. Siakam’s slow start to the season is one of the many reasons why the Raptors are 1-6 in the first two weeks, the second worst record in the league. The 26-year-old from Cameroon won Most Improved Player in 2019, was a candidate again last year, and was on the verge of becoming a superstar, but has completely regressed to start the season.

2.) Kelly Oubre, Golden State Warriors

Jesus Christ Kelly Oubre has been just about the worst player in the league to start the season. When Klay Thompson went down with an Achillies injury this offseason, the Warriors traded for Oubre hoping he could bolster the team’s wing depth and provide a spark in Thompson’s absence alongside fellow high flyer Andrew Wiggins. If Steph Curry and Thompson were the Splash Brothers during their dynasty run, Wiggins and especially Oubre have been the trash brothers in the Bay Area. In the first three games this season Oubre shot 7-40 from the field and 0-17 from three. Nobody in the history of the sport has had such a lopsided correlation between how many absolutely insane highlights he’s produced so far this season, while being the worst player in the league through two weeks.

3.) Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat

Butler’s struggles this season are probably mostly due to exhaustion rather than actual regression. Butler’s Heat had less than two months in between losing the NBA Finals to the Lakers, and opening the 2020-21 season against the Magic. Butler played his ass off in the finals, averaging 43 minutes and trying to single-handedly lead the Heat to a championship. Now Butler and the Heat are struggling in 2021. Miami is just 3-4 and Butler averaging just 13.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game on 40.7 percent shooting. He is seemingly managing his load as he’s missed two games already and is just getting 27.6 minutes per game. Butler is one of the best players in the league, but it’s possibly his heavy minutes under Tom Thibodeau in Chicago and that other place ( remember what we don’t talk about here) is finally catching up with the 31-year-old.

4.) Blake Griffin, Detroit Pistons

Blake Griffin’s quick decline this year is really more sad than it is disappointing. After playing just 18 games last season because of a knee injury. This year Griffin has been sapped of his most important traits in his athleticism and has turned into a spot up shooter. Griffin is attempting 7.8 threes per game, the most in his career. Griffin, who turns 32 in March is currently on the worst team in the league and will be name people bring up at the trade deadline. The one time human highlight reel has seemingly left his best basketball in the past, so lets not remember this Blake Griffin, lets remember the guy who jumped over a Kia and dated Kendall Jenner, that’s the Blake Griffin I’ll always remember.

5.) D’Angelo Russell, Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves have a knack for being really, soul crushingly, terrible in every way imaginable. Whether it be defense, coaching, shooting, or just plain old basketball, the Wolves have not been good in almost two decades and have had a revolving door of B-list stars coming through the Target Center doors since our one true savior Kevin Garnett left in 2007. Enter D’Angelo Russell, the second overall pick behind Karl-Anthony Towns in 2015, who was traded to Minnesota last February for D-list star Andrew Wiggins and Minnesota’s top three protected first round pick in 2021. Wolves fans imagined Russell perfecting the pick-and-roll with his good pal Towns, giving this era of wolves fans their version of KG and Stephon Marbury, and the Wolves would finally be cool, and more importantly they’d be good for the first time in a generation. Alas for they are the Timberwolves bad things have to happen, it’s the law. Towns injured his wrist in game two, and Russell has fucking sucked ever since. Minnesota has completely cratered without Towns and are in the midst of a horrifying six game losing streak that will seemingly go on forever. While Russell’s stats aren’t far off of where they’ve been the last few years, he’s shown he’s incapable of really impacting winning in any significant way during the skid. Russell was brought in to be the second star in Minnesota, played like a fourth role player, and the Wolves are going to tank and still lose their 2021 draft pick because we live in a random and chaotic universe.

There we go, this NBA season boys have become men, men have become wolves, and there have been a lot of strange things happening in 2021. Here’s to more surprises and fewer disappointments as we get into the meat of 2021, but most importantly, remain indoors.

Steph Curry is an All-Time Great you Morons

What the hell are we doing here people? It’s four days into 2021 and we have to defend Steph Curry against people like this dumb fuck, are you kidding me? Dudes like this who would airball 10-10 NBA threes came out of the Twitter woodwork on Friday after Steph’s once dominant Warriors were destroyed at the hands of the Portland Trail Blazers, making me angrier than Tony Perkis just trying to shoot a god damn weight loss infomercial .

Damian Lillard piled more dirt on Steph’s grave with his postgame comments suggesting that Curry is struggling this season because he’s not getting the easy, wide open shots that he was accustomed to during the Warriors dynasty. Sobering words from the guy who is currently on the verge of taking Steph’s place as the new Steph Curry of the NBA.

Well the executive producer of Holey Moley read your dumbass tweets apparently (congratulations) because he went full Super Saiyan during Sunday night’s rematch going for a career high 62 points and blasted the Blazers 137-122.

The Steph slander mostly revolved around the oft quoted bad take that Chef Curry is the greatest shooter of all-time by far, but when it comes to true impact on the game, he’s much farther down the list and can’t ultimately be compared to the real greats like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Allen Iverson of all people.

First of all, Iverson, really? Nobody was a bigger Iverson fan than 12-year-old me wearing Iverson’s Reebok Answer IVs and bricking 10+ shots a game, but he’s somewhere between the 35th and 60th best player of all-time, so he’s not even close to the Steph Curry conversation. People 5-10 years older than me bringing up AI in all-time conversations have the same energy as anyone 5-10 years younger than me arguing that Carmelo Anthony is actually one of the inner circle greatest players ever. Yea, sounds pretty dumb doesn’t it?

Next let’s look at Steph’s resume next to LeBron, Kobe, and I’ll throw in Durant to compare the four best wing players of their generations.

Steph Curry:

705 games 23.6ppg 6.6apg 4.5rpg 47.6FG% 43.4 3P% 90.7FT% 63.3TS% 23.9PER 104WS 50.7 VORP

3x NBA Champion, 2x NBA MVP, 6x All-Star, 3x First Team All-NBA, 2x Second Team, 1x Third Team

Kevin Durant:

855 games 27ppg 4.1apg 7.1rpg 49.3FG% 38.1 3P% 88.3FT% 61.3TS% 25.2PER 142.8WS 69VORP

2x NBA Champion, 1x NBA MVP, 2x Finals MVP, 10x All-Star, 6x First Team All-NBA, 3x Second Team

Kobe Bryant:

1346 games 25ppg 4.7apg 5.2rpg 44.7FG% 32.9 3P% 83.7FG% 55TS% 22.9PER 172.7WS 80.1VORP

5x NBA Champion, 1x NBA MVP, 2x Finals MVP, 18x All-Star, 11x First Team All-NBA, 2x Second Team, 2x Third Team

LeBron James:

1272 games 27ppg 7.4apg 7.4rpg 50.3FG% 34.4 3P% 73.4FT% 58.6TS% 27.5PER 237.4WS 133.7VORP

4x NBA Champion, 4x NBA MVP, 4x Finals MVP, 16x All-Star, 13x First Team All-NBA, 2x Second Team, 1x Third Team

A few things jump out here: Kobe and LeBron far outpace Curry and Durant in games played, which is why the counting stats like win shares and all-star appearances are so far ahead. The other is that Curry totally belongs in this conversation with these three absolute giants of NBA history in LeBron, Kobe, and Durant. Obviously LeBron is regarded as the first, or for most people, second best player in history with Kobe somewhere in the top 10, and both Durant and Curry not far behind.

One interesting note not seen in the stats is how interconnected these generational talents are. Steph Curry is the sole reason why Durant is a two-time champion, and also the reason why LeBron James is not a seven-time champion, while conversly, Durant and James are the reason why Curry did not win five championships in a row. Curry’s Warriors beat LeBron’s newly formed super team in Cleveland with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in 2015. Durant joined the 73-win Warriors who were fresh off of blowing a 3-1 lead to LeBron’s Cavs in the 2016 NBA Finals. Curry and Durant then teamed up for two of the most pre-ordained back-to-back championships in NBA history in 2017 and 2018. The next year the Warriors were once again the favorite the three-peat, and if not for Durant going down in game 5 of the 2019 Finals against the Raptors, Curry and Golden State could have been the first team to five-peat since Bill Russell’s ’60s Celtics teams. Curry is very arguably the most important player in the NBA in the past 10 years.

The really annoying part about some of the online trash being spewed about Steph’s legacy is that according to online numbskulls, Curry by himself doesn’t make a bad team good, as LeBron and Kobe and other greats would do. They’d take the crappy group of players on their back deep into the playoffs, something Curry apparently has proven that he can’t do, except that’s totally wrong.

Yes the Warriors sucked last year but apparently we all forgot that Curry broke his hand four games in and missed all but one game the rest of the season. So are we judging him because they were 1-3 in those four games with losses to the Clippers, OKC and Phoenix? Or the fact that the Warriors started this season 2-3 before his 62-point eruption? Is that what we’re doing now, saying an absolute baller has proven time and again that he is incapable of dragging a shitty team to a respectable record all by himself because he’s 3-6 the last two seasons? The Fucking Timberwolves were 10-8 last year before going 5-37 to end the season. Who gives a shit what anyone does in any nine game span, especially at the beginning of the season. Or, god forbid, does this argument hinge on the first three years of his career in which the Warriors won 26, 36, and 23 games respectively? If that’s the case we’re going to need a new internet because I will go full fucking Network on everyone’s online asses. Who fucking cares if Golden State struggled in his first three seasons, when he was struggling through injuries and was no where near his prime? Do we forget that Kobe lead the lakers to all of 34 wins the year after Shaq was traded? If the Warriors are 12-34 at some point in March and Steph looks terrible, ok yea maybe he was just a shooter all these years, until that happens let’s all shut the hell up and enjoy his greatness for one god damn minute.

Lastly any argument that begins with the phrase “well if he had come around 10 years earlier he wouldn’t jack up 12 threes a game, or if he was 10 years later people would be ready for the three-point barrage” are made by people who know nothing about basketball. Guess what assholes, Steph Curry was drafted in 2009, as a Timberwolves I’ll never forget it. You don’t get to play that hypothetical bullshit and assume he wouldn’t fit into another era, and therefore he’s not actually that good. This is like saying that if Michael Jordan was playing today he would suck because he couldn’t shoot threes, or Bill Russell would be a benchwarmer today because he was 6’9″. Not sure if we know this, but I’m sad to say that here in 2021, we don’t have fucking time machines so until it’s possible to pluck Bill Russell out of 1962 and put him on the current Washington Wizards and see if he’s actually a better player than Rui Hachimura, let’s leave these guys in their era and assume any hall of famer would adapt to play to the style of the time.

The 2021 NBA season is two weeks old and for the love of god can we wait a month until we make gigantic assumptions about the state of one of the two greatest players of his generation, and a top-15 player all-time? Nobody is saying he’s better than LeBron, Kobe, or even Durant, but god dammit if he isn’t well ahead of Allen Iverson you twats (had to get some British insults in here). If you think anyone has impacted the game more than Steph Curry over the last decade, then you truly haven’t been paying attention.

2020-21 NBA Preseason Rookie Juice Rankings

The 2020-21 NBA season is going to be one of the weirdest years in sports history. After Covid-19 ravaged the globe and stopped professional sports in March, the NBA bubbled up in July after four months off. The Bubble ended in October, and led to the most compressed offseason we’ll ever see. On top of all of this, the 2020 Rookie class is one of the weirdest in recent history. While there is a nice amount of talent, there is no clear cut superstar in this crop, leading to a lot of mystery surrounding the draft. While there is no Zion Williamson or Ja Morant or bonafide stars right away in this class, there are plenty of players who will get a lot of action early on this season. For me the action is the juice so this season we’re introducing the NBA Rookie Juice Rankings.

Movie quotes - Forums

One part rookie of the year rankings, one part swag rating, one part team impact, one part popularity. The rookie juice rating takes this all into account and lets you know which rookie is having the biggest impact on the NBA this season. Past winners of the rookie juice ratings if that were a thing before right now would have been Ja Morant, Joel Embiid, Kyrie Irving, and Darius Miles.

1.) LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets

Speaking of juice, the youngest Ball brother will likely have the keys to the Hornets offense from the tip this season. The third pick in the draft is the biggest enigma of this season’s rookie class. During the pre-draft process, teams couldn’t decide if Lonzo’s brother was the next coming of Magic Johnson, or Michael Carter-Williams. Michael Jordan and the Hornets will give Ball every opportunity to show what kind of player he can be as a rookie. While the volume will be there, the quality of play will be interesting to watch. LaMelo struggled in his first preseason game going 0-5 with four turnovers, but grabbed 10 rebounds. Preseason stats don’t matter at all but watching him play you really notice two things: his shot looks like mine which is to say it’s really bad, like you’re trying to throw a football with two hands, but he is already one of the sexiest passers in the game. He is already throwing up transition lobs and half court dimes to his new teammates. Time will tell if he actually has what it takes to become a star, but it’s going to be a pretty fun ride for the next few years.

2.) Isaac Okoro, Cleveland Cavaliers

This might surprise a lot of people because Okoro wasn’t the flashiest draft pick this year but he’s in a great situation to make an impact immediately in Cleveland. The rookie from Auburn will likely start for the Cavs this season and had looked great in his first two preseason games. Cleveland is devoid of any other real talent on the roster. Kevin Love is still somehow there but hasn’t been relevant for about four years. The Cavs do have their two young point guards in Collin Sexton and Darius Garland who have both had an up-and-down start to their careers. Apart from probably LaMelo Ball in Charlotte, Okoro will get the biggest opportunity to showout in his first season.

3.) Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves

The number one pick in the draft is usually the guy most people bet on to win rookie of the year. Not so fast this season as the draft had no clear cut superstar in the making. Edwards was the pick for a Timberwolves franchise that has gone through a complete overhaul the last 18 months. Edwards will not be expected to be the man right away in Minnesota and will be able to progress slowly into his role. The early returns on Edwards in the preseason have been a mixed bag, but like I wrote earlier this week, don’t panic about it just yet. Edwards will have to contend with about six other guys for minutes on the wing, so his numbers may not be what you typically expect from a first overall pick. Four years from now I’ll hopefully look foolish for not believing in him 100 percent right away, but for now all I can see is an inconsistent rookie season from Ant-Man.

4.) James Wiseman, Golden State Warriors

Wiseman is the true wildcard here. He’s yet to see any action during the preseason with rumors spreading that it was due to Covid, so we don’t have any clue as to how the Warriors are going to use the second pick in the draft. He could and probably should be the starting center right off the bat, but Steve Kerr could get wonky now that Klay Thompson is out for the year and play super small ball with Draymond Green at the five. Wiseman also could be trash or could be really good, I have no fucking clue. He was one of the most scrutinized players in the draft, mostly because he only played three college games that all came more than a year ago. Is he Shaq? Obviously not right now but could he come out right away and average 16 and 10 and have a similar rookie year to Deandre Ayton two years ago? Probably. Or he could be Hasheem Thabeet and out of the league in three years, honestly who knows. I have a feeling after the season starts he’s either going to fly up or down this list very quickly.

5.) Obi Toppin, New York Knicks

Obi Toppin is my pick for Rookie of the Year so it’s a little weird that I have him all the way down at number five on my preseason rookie juice rankings. Toppin is probably the most NBA ready of any lottery pick this season, but I just don’t trust the Knicks to do anything right. While I envision him being the starting small forward and scoring about 15 points per game with six or seven rebounds, the Knicks could fuck it up by trying to force him to be a big and keep him on the bench behind Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson. I think Toppin ends up as the Rookie of the Year, but the fifth ranking right now shows just how wide open the race really is.

6.) Tyrese Haliburton, Sacramento Kings

The Iowa State (Go Clones!) combo guard was arguably the best value pick in the draft when he slid to Sacramento at 12. He should be the third guard already behind De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield. Haliburton might be the most steady rookie in the class on a team that could use a steady influence. He’s one of those rookies that doesn’t have any eye-popping stats, but you could see averaging something like 13 points, six rebounds, and five assists as a rookie, and in a weaker class that could be good enough to win rookie of the year. He’s this year’s Malcolm Brogdon, maybe a little boring but a safe bet to be at least pretty good.

7.) Killian Hayes, Detroit Pistons

How do you say DE-TROIT BASKETBALL! in French? Killian Hayes is the Pistons’ second French first round pick in as many after selecting Sekou Doumbouya 15th in 2019. Hayes will likely start allowing Derrick Rose to come off the bench. He’s had a rough start to the preseason shooting 4-18 in two games with eight turnovers. Good thing for Hayes fans (Hayes heads?) out there because this is the most meaningless preseason in which to judge NBA rookies in league history so who cares if he looks bad. The Pistons are going to be trash this season so they might as well see what they have in Hayes. Also he’s 19 so he’s got about 4-6 years until we really find out if he’s bad or not. This season could go down the drain quickly for Hayes, but there should be no pressure on him as a rookie.

8.) Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic

I think people forget that this time last year Cole Anthony’s name was being thrown around as a potential number one pick in the draft. He had a shaky freshman season with an overmatched North Carolina team so his draft stock fell pretty far. Orlando took him 15th and he’ll likely start out as the backup point guard to Markelle Fultz, who is fine, I guess, but it’s not like he’s backing up Damian Lillard and will only see 10 minutes a game. Anthony should get good minutes off the bench and he can score in the NBA, we’ll see if he can do much else running with the Magic’s second unit. Also he had Spike Lee at his draft party, that’s the most juice any 15th pick has ever had in any sport ever.

9.) Patrick Williams, Chicago Bulls

To be honest, I really don’t know that much about Patrick Williams. The Bulls took him fourth overall and Williams will be slotted behind Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. in the front court and has the opportunity to make a real impact right away. He’s likely a project as Williams only played 22 minutes a game in his lone season with Florida State. Chicago might be the best spot for a project big. He won’t have to carry the team and do too much too quick, but should find a role in the rotation and play some meaningful minutes early on. I highly doubt he’s going to rise much farther up the rankings, but in a weaker year Williams could be one of the most solid rookies this season.

10.) Onyeka Okongwu, Atlanta Hawks

Honestly Okongwu might only play like eight minutes a game this season, but if he gets 15-25 he’s going to do the most with it. He’s behind Clint Capela and John Collins in the front court and will likely cede minutes early on to Danilo Gallinari and De’Andre Hunter at the power forward spot. His foot injury might force him to miss a few games to start the season, and he’ll get brought along slowly, but he could very easily find himself in the top three by the end of the season.