Westbrook, Hayward highlight night full of debuts with new teams
Russell Westbrook and Gordon Hayward get off to fast starts, Boston's free agent acquisitions come up big, and some rookies flash their NBA potential.
Thursday marked opening night for 87% of the league, with several highly anticipated first impressions taking place. Superstars, missing pieces and rookies all took the court for the first time with their new teams. NBA.com takes a look at some of the more notable newcomers and how they did:
Jrue Holiday | Milwaukee Bucks
Stat line: 25 points (10-16 FG), 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block
How he did: Milwaukee paid a boat-load to acquire Holiday in the offseason, and Thursday night showed why. The versatile guard joined forces with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, the three of whom combined for 87 points. The Bucks didn’t win, a statement that won’t be uttered too often in the regular season.
Jeff Teague, Tristan Thompson | Boston Celtics
Stat line: 31 points (13-25 FG), 11 rebounds, 5 assists
How they did: Boston desperately needed veteran insurance at point guard and more muscle in the middle. Teague and Thompson provided exactly that in a statement win over the Bucks, a team they will be battling for Eastern Conference supremacy in the months ahead.
Russell Westbrook | Washington Wizards
Stat line: 21 points (9-22 FG), 11 rebounds, 15 assists
How he did: The former Kia MVP didn’t bother easing into things with his new team, and it worked for most of the game. Only a late-game team collapse prevented Westbrook from enjoying a completely successful debut in a Wizards uniform.
Danny Green, Seth Curry | Philadelphia 76ers
Stat line: 15 points (5-14 FG), 4 steals
How they did: Philadelphia rallied to beat Washington, but they’ll bank on better outside shooting from their new guards, who combine to make just one of their nine attempts from 3-point range.
Gordon Hayward | Charlotte Hornets
Stat line: 28 points (11-18 FG), 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 stealGordon Hayward looked like a new man in his first game with the Hornets.
How he did: Is the All-Star version of Hayward back? If so, Charlotte might be friskier than expected out East. Hayward appeared completely healthy and comfortable, a combination that will hopefully help the Hornets make up for their opening-night loss to Cleveland.
Isaac Okoro | Cleveland Cavaliers
Stat line: 11 points (4-5 FG), 3 rebounds, 5 assists
How he did: The Cavs could get very exciting very soon if Okoro’s NBA debut is any indication. The fifth overall pick from this year’s Draft ran the floor, cut and attacked, and spotted up for 3. His early chemistry with third-year guard Collin Sexton is especially promising.
Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe | New Orleans Pelicans
Stat line: 26 points (10-18 FG), 10 rebounds, 9 assists, 5 steals, 3 blocks
How they did: Young teams need veterans they can count on. In their first game with the Pelicans, Adams and Bledsoe showed proof they can be that. Bledsoe’s debut in particular was encouraging. The veteran guard shot 4-for-8 from deep, a welcome development for a team in desperate need of spacing.
Aron Baynes | Toronto Raptors
Stat line: 11 points (5-9 FG), 9 rebounds
How he did: The center spot is Toronto’s big question mark this season. Baynes held his own, but was under constant pressure trying to protect the defensive glass from Zion Williamson and Steven Adams. He’ll play a significant role in Toronto remaining a title contender.
Danilo Gallinari, Bogdan Bogdanovic | Atlanta Hawks
Stat line: 28 points (9-18 FG), 11 rebounds, 5 assists
How they did: Gallinari and Bogdanovic were Atlanta’s headline offseason additions, and they proved plenty capable of stepping up and knocking shots down in what should be one of the league’s most explosive offenses this season. Bogdanovic didn’t shoot as well (5-12 FG), but was active on the glass to help make up for it.
Patrick Williams | Chicago Bulls
Stat line: 16 points (5-11 FG), 4 rebounds
How he did: The fourth overall pick of the Draft got valuable reps from the get-go. And though it wasn’t a pleasant night for the Bulls, Williams acquitted himself well and was the only Bulls starter that didn’t commit a turnover.
Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee, Killian Hayes, Josh Jackson, Jahlil Okafor | Detroit Pistons
Stat line: See full stats here
How they did: It’s easy to forget Plumlee was once a Team USA senior team center, but he reminded some people with 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Free agent headliner Grant and top draft pick Hayes each struggled, but Jackson and Okafor (27 points, 13 rebounds combined) were pleasant surprises off the bench.
Anthony Edwards | Minnesota Timberwolves
Stat line: 15 points (5-12 FG), 4 rebounds, 4 assistsAnthony Edwards drills his first NBA basket.
How he did: The fit in a crowded backcourt will develop in time, but 25 minutes of playing time in a win made for a solid debut for the No. 1 overall pick. Edwards showed his elite knack for getting to the rim, but he made just one of his six shot attempts outside the paint.
Derrick Favors | Utah Jazz
Stat line: 10 points (5-5 FG), 7 rebounds, 3 assists
How he did: Favor’s feel-good return to Utah felt even better after Utah’s opening-night waxing of the Blazers. The veteran big man was only gone for a year, but immediately reminded everyone why he’s an immediate upgrade to the Jazz’s frontcourt.
Robert Covington, Derrick Jones | Portland Trail Blazers
Stat line: 10 points (3-12 FG), 8 rebounds
How they did: A new system against one of the best defenses in the league did no favors to Covington and Jones, who will undoubtedly have better games ahead. Interesting to note was Covington’s three shot attempts, tied for eighth-most on the team.
Chris Paul, Jae Crowder | Phoenix Suns
Stat line: 12 points (4-15 FG), 13 rebounds, 9 assistsChris Paul sinks his first shot as a Phoenix Sun.
How they did: The Suns’ key veteran additions didn’t shoot well, but they made big plays in a nationally televised win over the Mavericks. Paul in particular came up predictably clutch, picking off a pass and hitting a big-time shot in the final minutes to help Phoenix hold off Dallas.
Josh Richardson | Dallas Mavericks
Stat line: 12 points (5-11 FG), 7 rebounds
How he did: Richardson will be especially relied on while Kristaps Porzingis is out. He played good defense on Devin Booker, but Dallas will need better shooting to help ease the defensive attention on Luka Doncic.