NBA

5 takeaways from Day 1 of scrimmages in Orlando

THE NBA IS BACK!

The first day of scrimmages is in the books as teams hit the court against NBA competition for the first time since the season was suspended in March.

Each of the 22 teams in the Orlando bubble will play three scrimmage games prior to the season restart on July 31 and Day 1 gave us plenty to talk about, from Bol Bol's impressive debut to a healthy Paul George shining for the LA Clippers.

Here are a few key observations from the first day of NBA action...

1. Is Bol Bol the Nuggets' secret weapon?

In their first scrimmage, the Denver Nuggets secured an 89-82 win over the Washington Wizards, but it was rookie Bol Bol who stole the show.

After being drafted with the 44th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Bol had yet to play a regular-season game for the Nuggets, instead getting minutes in the G League with the Windy City Bulls.

In 32 minutes on court, he showed why he had everyone hyped ahead of the draft, pouring in 16 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks, impressively displaying his ability on both sides of the floor.

2. The Nuggets' jumbo starting lineup

When your best playmaker is your 7-foot center, why not start him at point guard?

While the league trends small, Nuggets coach Mike Malone ran out a humongous starting lineup in their opening scrimmage, with All-NBA center Nikola Jokic (7'0") running point, flanked by Jerami Grant (6'8"), Paul Millsap (6'8") and Bol Bol (7'2") at forward, and Mason Plumlee (6'11") at centre.

With teams like the Houston Rockets going small, could we see the Nuggets zig while the rest of the league zags?

3. A healthy Paul George can put the Clippers over the top

After a blockbuster offseason trade to the Clippers, Paul George struggled to find his groove, appearing in just 42 regular-season games after being hampered with injuries.

Following a long layoff, the Clippers' star looks back to full health. He finished with 18 points, five rebounds and three assists on 6-of-13 shooting from the field and 4-of-8 from 3-point range in just 19 minutes on the court.

Pulling up from 3 off the dribble, getting to the rim with ease and scoring at will, PG13 at full flight makes the Clippers an even more imposing threat in the Western Conference.

4. Pelicans do it by committee

The New Orleans Pelicans opened their scrimmage with an impressive 99-68 rout over the short-handed Brooklyn Nets.

Despite the shortened 40-minute game, the Pelicans had five players score in double figures, led by 14 points apiece from E'Twaun Moore and Nickeil Alexander-Walker. Brandon Ingram added 12 points, while Jrue Holiday and Jahlil Okafor added 10 each.

Nine different players knocked down a 3-pointer as the team went 13-of-32 from deep.

With Zion Williamson and Derrick Favors out, Okafor made the most of his opportunity in the middle, with a string of slick moves.

5. Duncan Robinson is already dialed in

The Miami Heat returned to the court with a 104-98 win over the Sacramento Kings, and one thing's for sure - Duncan Robinson's shot is automatic.

Robinson led the Heat with 18 points, all coming from beyond the arc as he knocked down 5-of-8 from distance, leading to Goran Dragic declaring post-game that Robinson is the "best shooter in the league."

Robinson shot 44.8 percent from the perimeter this season, which ranks fourth in the NBA. The league hiatus seems to have had no effect on the sharp-shooter.

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