Day One of NBA Exhibition Games: What we Learned (Part One)

We'll start off with the Magic vs. Nuggets. It's clear that Nikola Vucevic hasn't lost a step through the hiatus, as he poured in 18 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 61.5% from the field on 13 attempts and 40% from three on 5 attempts. Aaron Gordon put up his average statline of 13 points and 7 rebounds off of 55.6% shooting from the field. A bit of a surprise came from Michael Carter-Williams as he put in a solid 16 points to help the team as well. However, they didn't get what they were looking for from Evan Fournier and DJ Augustin, and I do believe that if they both played better, they would have overcome the 9 point deficit that they lost by. DJ Augustin only took 1 shot throughout the whole game, so I'm sure the Magic coaching staff will want that to change in the future. Evan Fournier just flat out struggled the entire game going 0/5 the entire game with 4 three point shots. He only ended up with 2 points, both coming from the free throw line. As the second option scorer of this team, Magic fans and coaching staff are hoping that this slump will turn around by their next game.

Lou Williams was the man of the afternoon with 22 points in just 16:46. He shot great from the field, especially since he's a guard. 53.8% from the field and 40% from three on 5 attempts. I know fans were worried about Paul George's production but he was firing on all cylinders as he went for 18 points in 19 minutes while shooting 46.2% from the field and 50% from three with 8 attempts! It was an odd game for Kawhi as he only hit 3 three pointers and he actually was 3/6 from three, which is impressive. If Kawhi can keep up that shooting, he can be an even better player as he would add that to his arsenal of driving to the hoop and his mid-range game. The Clippers definitely gave their 3rd string bench players some serious playing time as JaMychal Green played the most minutes with 25 followed by Amir Coffey with 22. Bothe did not play well, as Green only scored 5 points and Coffey scored 6. Both shot 33.3% from the field and significantly lower than 30% from three. Although Coffey had 2 steals and a block, he had 5 turnovers and 4 fouls. Overall, it was the better shooting team that won, and the Magic shot absolutely horrible from three, the Clippers shot very well from three, and they came away with the win.

The second man of the afternoon was, obviously, Bol Bol. The 7'2 SF, yes, SF, went off in his NBA debut with 16 points 10 rebounds and 6 blocks. I hate to dash on the Nuggets, but they really need to turn things around. I'll first say that Jokic at the point guard was a big fail. We finally all saw that Jokic isn't the passer everyone really thought he was. It also silenced all the rumors that "Jokic could be a PG on day". Jokic led the team with 8 turnovers. He also had 4 fouls called on him. Now, Jokic wasn't the only one turning the ball over, the team had 25 turnovers which they absolutely need to get under control even with their bench players. Once Harris, Murray, and Barton get back, I believe that it will be better, but this is a time to see what you need to work on, and with that second unit, turnovers should definitely be the main focus. Paul Millsap had a very poor performance as he only went 3/10 from the field and 0/5 from three. Another thing to work on is Mason Plumlee's fouling. I know he's 30 and might not be in the league for much longer, but short-term, this is an issue the Nuggets training staff and Plumlee need to work on. He had 5 fouls in the game while only playing 18 and a half minutes. Now, I don't want to hate on Bol Bol, but he only added to the team turnovers, as he had 5. To be honest, it looked like he was just out there actually playing in a scrimmage game at the local rec center. He was careless with the ball and he often had trouble handling the ball when he grabbed a board because he would always want to take it cross-court. Many fans and sports groups like Bleacher Report were all over Bol Bol's "great game", but does nobody know how many shots he actually took? The man is 7'2, and he was out there taking 8 threes. He needs to use his body and work what works best for him. Having a stroke from deep is a gift, but he didn't have that yesterday, so when you're missing almost all your shots, he needs to realise he should get in the paint. Here are the shooting percentages, he took a total of 14 shots (8 of those were threes, he only made two of them) and made 6. That's 42.9% from the field and 25% from three. The two bright spots from the afternoon, Tyler Cook and Troy Daniels. They both had great games. Tyler Cook had only played in 11 games with the Cavs and only played 3.2 MPG, he hadn't yet played for the Nuggets until today. He had a solid game for an undrafted rookie as he went 2/4 from the field and knocked down all 4 of his free throws. This is a very good sign because when he played in the G-League he only shot an average of 59.5% from the free throw line between the two teams. Troy Daniels straight up went off. 7/15 from the field (that's 46.7%) and 4/9 from three (that's 44.4%!), plus, he made all 4 of his free throws. Despite being 6'4, he still managed to grab 6 rebounds.

The Wizards, simply put, had a mediocre game. They shot poorly from the field, which ultimately lost them the game. They needed a lot of players like Troy Brown Jr., Isaac Bonga, and Jerome Robinson to step up, and really, they're the ones who did the worst. Troy Brown went 1/7 (14.3%) from three and 5/13 (38.5%) from the field, a very poor showing for a young guy that the Wizards are hoping will get going. Jerome Robinson didn't do any better, only shooting 3/11 (27.3%) from the field and 1/4 (25%) from three. Another guy that just needed to stop shooting was Admiral Schofield, who missed all three of his threes and also missed the two other shots he took. They needed Shabazz Napier to be shooting the ball more, as he hit all three of his threes. He also had 5 assists in just 17 and a half minutes, so it was clear he needed more playing time. Two other players who needed more playing time was Thomas Bryant and Jerian Grant. Both played under 8 minutes but Thomas Bryant had already scored 4 points off of 50% shooting, he also had 2 rebounds already, but instead they went with Anzejs Pasecniks who only shot 43% from the field. I don't know about you, but I think a 7'2 player should shoot better than that. Meanwhile, Jerian Grant was providing the defense they needed and was actually looking sharp on the offensive end. He only took one shot, which was a buzzer beating step back jumper, pretty nice as it was his first shot as a Wizard. Their newly acquired forward Jarrod Uthoff just couldn't get anything to go, 0/3 from three and his only other shot got obliterated by Bol Bol. The Wizards will be looking to see more of him in Saturday's scrimmage against the Clippers.

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