The opening week of American hoops did not disappoint with some stellar performances from a familiar crop of stars highlighting The Inner Sanctum’s first Team of the Week for the 2023/24 season.
Players were selected based on their form throughout the slate of games from 25-29 October (AEDT) and whether they could play in that position in a game. For example, an overabundance of guards who starred this week saw Luka Doncic chosen as a small forward because he has the ability to play at the three.
PG: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
SGA had a breakout season last year and if his first two games are anything to go by, he will take his game to another level again. The point guard had 31 points, five rebounds and 10 assists against the Chicago Bulls on Thursday, before backing it up two days later. In their win over the Cavaliers, Gilgeous-Alexander scored 34 points on 15/26 shooting, to pair with 11 rebounds and five steals. His fifth steal of the day denied Cleveland the chance to get off a game-tying shot.
SG: Donovan Mitchell
Mitchell manages to squeeze into the side despite missing Sunday’s game against Indiana with injury. Although prolific on offence, it was his defensive efforts that saw him get the nod over Warriors guard Steph Curry. The Cavalier had seven steals and three blocks in his first two games. His 27-footer late in the game against Brooklyn helped secure the win, and 41 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder should have got them to 2-0, if not for their late collapse.
SF: Luka Doncic
The Dallas Maverick shot out of the block to become an early MVP favourite this week. Doncic got his season off to the perfect start with a 33-point triple double against the Spurs on Thursday and 49 points on Saturday against the Nets (9/14 from three). His shooting down the stretch of both games is the reason why the Mavericks currently sit 2-0, in games that could have easily swung the other way. A clutch three sealed the win in San Antonio, while 13 of the last 16 points in their home opener, helped them steal victory from Brooklyn.
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PF: Domantas Sabonis
Sabonis might have been affected by injury during the second half of last season, but the Lithuanian was still able to produce big numbers night in, night out. The big man was in full flight this week, with Piston Jalen Duren the only player crashing more boards per game than he did. With double doubles in consecutive games, Sabonis has helped the Kings to a 1-1 record and is on the perfect trajectory to lead the league in rebounding again this season.
C: Nikola Jokić
Fresh off leading the Nuggets to their maiden NBA championship, Jokić was at his versatile best in opening week. A 29-point triple double on opening night proved that the passing big man was back in business, before following up with 22 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists on Saturday against the Grizzlies. With games against Oklahoma City, Utah and Minnesota to follow, Jokić can help the Nuggets get off to an even better start.