The Hawks closed at -172 to win against the Wizards and -365 to win against the 76ers, implying a 63% probability of a Hawks win on opening night and 78% on Saturday afternoon. They should have won both games but, by actually winning both games, they outperformed market expectations by 0.58 wins through two games. (I'm now predicting 44 wins.)
What news there is is all good news so far. In brief:
- Paul Millsap is still excellent (extra credit due for providing another argument in favor of shortening the pre-season).
- Kyle Korver, too.
- Dwight Howard looked like a good role player (this is actual praise, not a smart ass and cutie pie faint praise gag).
- Thabo Sefolosha keyed some really good bench play against a couple of benches one would hope your team's bench would look good against.
- Will Mike Muscala finally be able to convert being in generally good places on the offensive end into good offensive play?
- Tim Hardaway, Jr. played pretty well. Not pretty well just by his standards, but by the objective norms of NBA reserves.
- No conclusions drawn about point guard play until at least half of their minutes have come against stiffer competition than Trey Burke, Sergio Rodriguez and TJ McConnell.
- Joel Embiid has faced Steven Adams and Dwight Howard. He scored 34 points in 38 minutes with a 56.1 TS%. Passing will come (he was credited with 3.6 assists per 100 possessions at Kansas), his defense will tighten up, and, eventually, the turnovers will decline. It is so nice to have him back.