Did Thunder gain from James Harden trade?
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
Top story lines for Tuesday night’s three-game NBA slate (all times p.m. Eastern):
Will Kevin Martin validate the James Harden trade?
Toronto Raptors at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8: The Thunder have taken heat as Harden has gone on a tear for the Houston Rockets. But under the radar, Martin is averaging 20.7 points a game and has made 12 of 17 three-point tries this season. Martin has spent the better part of his career being overlooked, but he’s an elite shooter who draws fouls and scores with incredible efficiency. He and Jeremy Lamb aren’t as good as Harden, but they came with a few draft picks and aren’t as far a step back as many presume. The Thunder probably weren’t going to keep Harden beyond this season, and they received good value in return. Tonight, Martin faces a former Rockets teammate in Kyle Lowry, who has been the best player on the lowly Raptors in his first season with them.
Can Glen Davis score against elite frontcourt defenders?
Orlando Magic at Chicago Bulls, 8: Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson are taller, longer and much more athletic than Davis. They also are excellent defenders for an excellent Bulls defense. There’s no doubt Davis can go toe-to-toe with Carlos Boozer, but his minutes have been cut through three games, and Davis’ outburst in the season’s first two games ensures Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau will take him seriously. Davis has struggled against taller and more athletic defenders.
What happened to the Denver Nuggets’ offense?
Detroit Pistons at Nuggets, 9: They can’t shoot. That’s not the whole problem, but it’s a starting point. The Nuggets led the NBA in points a game and were third in points per possession last season. Through three games this year, they’re 23rd in both. The team field goal shooting has dropped from 47.6% to 42.3%, the three-point shooting from 33.2% to 24.6%, the free throw shooting from 73.5% to 62.1%. Their turnover rate has barely changed, but assists are harder to come by when your teammates can’t hit a shot. These things tend to even out. Danilo Gallinari won’t shoot 25.8% all season.