Assessing Wemby’s point guard potential, previewing CP3 with the Warriors + how deep are the Nets?

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Someone should teach Dillon Brooks to keep his hands to himself.

Point Wemby? Will he be another Jokić? We were all dazzled by Victor Wembanyama’s first preseason game for the Spurs in a way we weren’t during his Summer League debut in Las Vegas. Wemby was smooth in everything he did against the Thunder the other night, including jaw-dropping moments that left basketball geeks giggling and snorting at the sport’s mutation happening in front of us. I’ve broken my own rule when it comes to describing Wemby as a player. Generally, I try to treat much of this stuff like I’m watching a “Who done it?” type of movie. There’s no need to actually solve the mystery as I’m watching it — I like to just experience what’s in front of me. With a player like Wembanyama, we don’t need to know what he’ll become right away. Let’s just see the raw talent develop in real time as he reacts to new scenarios, schemes, and opponents. Wait, what am I even saying? With a player like Wembanyama? There hasn’t been a player like him! The anomaly of his style has my brain’s hamster on a wheel running a damn marathon right now. I was reading Tom Haberstroh’s latest on “Tom The Finder,” and he blew my mind with his Wemby assertion: “Victor Wembanyama is a point guard. The 7-5 Frenchman will soon join the wave of Point Gargantuans.” At the end of his pro days in France, Wemby flashed improved court vision. He showed some of it the other night, too. And, while nobody will say he’s going to be a passer of Nikola Jokić’s caliber, Wemby’s skill set does beg for the Spurs to run their entire offense through him, as a playmaker for himself or others. Just when it feels like his game can’t get crazier, this very possibility has me thinking even more.

Onto Shams for some league news!

The Latest From Shams

Utah adds more young talent

Recent first-round pick Josh Christopher and the Utah Jazz are nearing an agreement on a two-way NBA deal, league sources tell me and Tony Jones. The 21-year-old guard averaged 6.9 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 15.4 minutes across two seasons in Houston. Josh’s brother, Patrick, played four games for the Jazz in 2014-15. Josh started four games in 138 appearances with the Rockets, who selected him 24th overall in 2021. In July, he was traded from the Rockets to the Memphis Grizzlies. He was waived by Memphis on Sept. 30. Back to you, Zach.

Dillon Brooks Already Fined

Immediately ejected from preseason game

Yesterday, the NBA fined Dillon Brooks $25,000 after he was ejected four minutes into his Houston Rockets preseason debut. That’s right — ejected four minutes in and $25,000 lighter in the bank account. Good thing he signed for $80 million? The NBA described the fine as Brooks “recklessly making contact with Indiana Pacers center Daniel Theis in the groin area.” When Brooks was asked about the ejection, his explanation was simple: “I tried to navigate a screen. I might have tapped him below the waist. But he got right back up. I don’t know. It’s weird that every time it happens to me, I get picked on. I guess it’s part of reputation.” When asked if he feels targeted by refs, Brooks shared his thoughts: “What’s my name? My name is Dillon the Villain, so I guess.”  You could just stop hitting opponents in the penis, Dillon. (“I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson”)

Warriors Preview

Does Chris Paul make them a champion?

Team previews for the 2023-24 season have begun! For the next three weeks, we’re doing a team from the West and the East each day while going in reverse order of last season’s standings. Catch up here, if you’ve missed any.

A season of drama and disappointment left the defending champion Warriors with a 44-38 record, the sixth spot in the West, and a second-round loss to the Lakers. So, does Chris Paul replacing Jordan Poole fix all of that?

Player to watch: CP3

We’re all wondering how this will go, right? He plays the same position as the team’s best player. He has a history of beef with this organization. Paul (38) doesn’t seem to love the idea of coming off the bench. And we might see his contract used in a big trade at some point. Sign me up.

Contract year guy: Klay Thompson

He makes $43 million this year, and, while he’s been good since returning from missing two seasons in a row, the 33-year-old Thompson hasn’t been the guy we once knew. He rarely needs extra motivation, but it would be great to see a contract year fuel his resurgence to the two-way weapon we’ve enjoyed.

Big question: Did Jordan Poole’s exodus fix their road issues?

Only Detroit, Houston, and San Antonio were worse on the road than the Warriors last season. I don’t think Poole should be blamed for all of it, but his incident with Draymond Green certainly hung a cloud over the team. With Poole gone and everybody moving on, do we see the dangerous Warriors we’re so accustomed to?

Big obstacle: Finding high-quality role players

Between Gary Payton II, Rudy Gay, Dario Šarić, and Cory Joseph, do the Warriors have the right mix of veterans off the bench? Can Jonathan Kuminga or Moses Moody finally carve out consistency in this rotation to impact the floor?


Best: The magic returns as the Warriors’ two-way execution reaches elite levels again. They win 50-plus games and compete for their fifth title in a decade.

Worst: Their road problems aren’t fixed, the young guys aren’t ready, and Stephen Curry just can’t do enough to elevate this team to title aspirations.

Win total over/under: 48.5

The last six times the Warriors won 50-plus games, they made the Finals. So, do you believe they can make the Finals again?

Prediction: Not quite 50 wins, but 47 and returning to title-contention mode sounds right.

Nets Preview

Can they make Ben Simmons a thing again?

The Nets went into last season with massive questions and found themselves moving their stars at the trade deadline. They went 45-37 and made the top six in the East before losing a first-round elimination by the 76ers. Now, what are they?

Player to watch: Ben Simmons

It must be him. He still has star potential if he reverts to the player we saw from 2018-2021, which shouldn’t be difficult. He needs to play physical basketball and not be afraid of shooting free throws. If he becomes that guy, the Nets have a real player next to Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson.

Contract year guy: Nicolas Claxton

Claxton finds himself in plenty of odds for Defensive Player of the Year, so this couldn’t be a bigger season for him. Remember when Jarrett Allen earned a five-year, $100 million deal with the Cavs? Claxton could approach that if he has a monster defensive season to help the Nets be solid.

Big question: Where does the offense’s focus come from?

Bridges emerged as the scorer we saw at Villanova, just on the NBA level, after he was dealt to Brooklyn. Johnson is a great shooter who can do a little more off the bounce than he used to. Spencer Dinwiddie can be a good lead guard, and Simmons can be a good point forward. Does all that generate enough offense?

Big obstacle: Remaining competitive in the East

The East isn’t as clogged as the West is, but it’s still going to take ample work for Brooklyn to find its way to the Play-In Tournament. This could be a good team, but there are a few other clubs that should make significant improvements.


Best: Simmons looks like his old self, Bridges continues to build, and this team challenges for the top six in the East.

Worst: Simmons looks like his newer self, the team can’t score, and the East is just too


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