Time is flying and the second week of the NBA season is over already. Some developments of the first week just continued, like the Warriors staying hot or Lebron picking up his game and improving to 6-1 with the Cavs. Other teams showed some worrying signs.
Chicago finished the second week of action with a 1-2 record. And while the win over the struggling Oklahoma City Thunder provided a rare highlight, the overall situation looks rather grim. Giving up 112 points on average is never a good sign, certainly not for a team that takes pride in playing hard on the less glamorous end of the court. Of course rookie coach Hoiberg employs a more free flowing style of offense and is not as focused on D as Tom Thibodeau. Starting Mirotic over Noah emphasizes that shift in priorities. All the more worrying that Derrick Rose isn’t playing up to his potential: having shooting bigs around him should give him more space and perfectly support his basket driven style. In contrast he looks disjointed and seems to perceive his personal highlights in disbelief. Maybe he is really crumbling to the extreme pressure: Chicago media and fans expect the 2011 version of their city’s native and even when he has very good games it feels like a neglected promise. On top of that the Bulls look more and more like Jimmy Butler’s team and D Rose trade rumors are starting to creep in.
In the west OKC took three consecutive losses to even out their promising start to the season. A lot of things that looked better under rookie coach Donovan for the first few games reversed this week. While they started off using multiple picks to get more players involved on offense initially, they regressed to more single pick and rolls for Durant or Westbrook to let their talent take over. Of course that tactic promises some success with two superstars, specially with Durant looking nice after an injury plagued season, but in the tough Western Conference it could put too much strain on them for a deep playoff run. In addition, role players need to have substantial touches to buy into OKC’s contention chances and stay invested in the franchise. Guys like Dion Waiters are offensive options that need to be utilized, particularly since he’s looking like the best version of himself at the moment. Donovan knows what’s necessary, but at times seems intimidated by OKC’s franchise players. Let’s hope he gets them to buy in and doesn’t go back to the old one-dimensional Scot Brooks offense.