It was a fairly successful Sunday for Northwest Division teams, as the Thunder and Jazz pulled out wins against the Pacers and Lakers, respectively, while the Nuggets lost a close one to the Knicks in New York. With the Trail Blazers the only Northwest team in action tonight, let's round up a few links out of the division....
Between the Dwight Howard sweepstakes and the implementation of the new CBA, this offseason was one to rememeber. While we are barely a week into the new season, it is only natural for glowing reports to emerge of players who have shined with their new teams. They are premature for sure, but so many players changed teams that keeping tabs on them is always useful:
- Now coming off the bench for the Heat, Rashard Lewis is healthy for the first time in two years, writes Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports. Lewis was hampered by knee injuries the past few seasons, but has looked great so far in Miami, showing more lift in his jumpshot and even throwing down a few dunks last night against the Nets.
- Within the same piece, Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld looks at Jeremy Lin and Carl Landry. While James Harden has deservedly gotten the Rockets headlines, Lin has quietly lived up to the hype during his brief time so far in Houston. Meanwhile, Landry, a former Rocket, is proving once again that he is one of the NBA's most underrated players, this time averaging 17 points as a member of the Warriors.
- The man traded for Harden, the Thunder's Kevin Martin, is shooting a ridiculous 62 percent from three point range and averaging over 19 PPG so far in Oklahoma City, writes Chris Sheridan. While Harden is clearly the best piece moved in the deal, it isn't hard to imagine Martin's skills and those draft picks making it look respectable for Sam Presti and the Thunder.
- Averging only 14 PPG, Joe Johnson is still getting acclimated to his new role on the Nets, writes Roderick Boone of Newsday. The mixture in Brooklyn will probably take longer than most to jell, considering that not only is nearly the whole team new, but most of the high profile players have never played on anything close to an elite team before.
- Kosta Koufos hasn't been a member of the Jazz since 2010, but Bill Oram's story about the former Utah draft pick's rise into the Nuggets starting lineup sure makes it feel like it was yesterday. After beating out JaVale McGee for the center spot, Koufos is averaging 6.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game in Denver.
- Shipped to Orlando after being drafted by Philly, Maurice Harkless played more than 22 minutes in his Magic debut on Wednesday, writes Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Harkless didn't participate in preseason while he was recovering from a sports hernia, and still isn't 100 percent, but it sounds like the rookie is on his way.