The Milwaukee Bucks dispatched No. 1 pick Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Hornets on Saturday night, and in an interesting scheduling quirk the follow up with a matchup against No. 2 pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night. The buzz word for this contest is definitely "surprise."
The Bobcats were pegged to spend another year in the deepest depths of the NBA cellar in 2012, but they have somehow managed to jump out to a very respectable 4-4 start to the season. Wins over the Pacers, Mavericks, Wizards and Timberwolves are nothing to sneeze at, considering the Bucks haven't played a particularly tough schedule.
I don't like Kemba Walker as a prospect, but he's putting up Monta Ellis-type numbers at the outset of this campaign -- 18.8 PTS, 5.5 AST, 2.5 STL, 2.6 AST:TO over 36.6 minutes per game (hint: I still don't like Kemba Walker). Byron Mullens isn't good at shooting threes (30.2%), but he's been allowed to take 5.4 attempts per game from beyond the arc. Ramon Sessions is logging big minutes. It all feels like smoke and mirrors.
Kidd-Gilchrist looks like the real deal, however. The Bobcats outscore opponents by 8.4 pts / 100 poss when MKG is on the floor, which is the highest mark for any regular contributor on Charlotte. When the No. 2 pick is on the bench, the Bobcats are -17.1 pts / 100 poss, meaning they get outscored by a ton when the rookie isn't in the lineup.
As for Milwaukee, the early returns are very good -- much better than they've been in quite a while, in fact:
Here's to hoping a 7-2 start is in the cards.