Large Baggage, Tiny Beanies, and Chunky Dunkys: This Is the Early-Season NBA Type Report

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There’s one ironic rule in NBA analysis: it’s never too early to overreact. There is no sample size that is too small and no intake that is too hot. I heard a podcast last week weighing New York Knickerbocker legend Julius Randle’s MVP candidacy – a sentence that somehow sounds even less crazy today! And in the NBA, what happens off the field (and in the arena tunnels) deserves our attention. We put the numbers together and looked at the advanced stats to examine the early season returns, NBA style.

Jordan Clarkson of Utah Jazz arrives in San Antonio for a game against the Spurs on January 3, 2021.Logan Riely / Getty ImagesJaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics arrives in Boston for a game against the Brooklyn Nets on December 25, 2020.Brian Babineau / Getty Images

NBA players are in their pockets

In the past few years, NBA players have made simply wearing things a real trend. First the tires carried their little double kits into the arena. Next they waved their work shoes for the tunnel walk. Because what’s better than a red-hot pair of sneakers? Two of course.

Jaren Jackson Jr. of the Memphis Grizzlies arrives in Boston for a game against the Celtics on December 30, 2020.Brian Babineau / Getty ImagesLeBron James of the Lakers arrives in Los Angeles on December 27, 2020 for a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.Adam Pantozzi / Getty Images

This year, NBA players are digging deep into their pockets for … more pockets. Big one this time! Louis Vuitton travel bags are a favorite of Memphis’ Jaren Jackson Jr. and LeBron James. Los Angeles-based Kyle Kuzma, who understands the importance of a reusable bag, carries a bag. Goyard bags have gone over the shoulder of jazz guardian Jordan Clarkson and into the hands of Celtic Jaylen Brown. And whoever told you, Kelly Oubre Jr. got off to a sluggish start to the season: He’s started carrying a painted briefcase into the office, making him the biggest porter of the 2020-2021 season to date.

Kelly Oubre Jr. of the Golden State Warriors arrives in Detroit for a game against the Pistons on December 29, 2020.Chris Schwegler / Getty Images

Kevin Durant is the hat god

New Brooklyn Net Kevin Durant is on fire to start the season: he wears practically 100% when it comes to wearing a hat. He wears the same tight-knit fisherman-style hat in bright red, pink and forest green in tunnel fits, and he wears it everywhere else: during interviews, when warming up for the game and even when practicing. When he attacks Drake in the video “Laugh Now Cry Later”, he wears a hat. His love of the hat is only achieved through his commitment to the midfield jumper.

Kevin Durant of the Nets arrives in Brooklyn for a game against the Washington Wizards on January 3, 2021.Nathaniel S. Butler / Getty ImagesKevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets arrives in North Carolina for a game against the Charlotte Hornets on December 27, 2020.Kent Smith / Getty ImagesKevin Durant of the Nets will face a game against the Golden State Warriors in Brooklyn on December 22, 2020.Nathaniel S. Butler / Getty Images

There are a few explanations for Duran’s newfound respect for knitted headgear. The first is his move to Brooklyn, where hats that sit exactly on your head are as much a part of local fashion as a flannel and a third wave coffee. This is just KD hugging its relatively new surroundings. And anyone who’s watched a Nets game this year will have noticed two things: Defense is optional … and a bald spot is spreading on the crown of Durant’s head. (This only brings him closer to the GOATs, LeBron, and Michael Jordan.) A rainbow collection of hats will surely obscure this.

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