I'm not going to be silly enough to say that the Indiana Pacers got the better of the deal that sent perennial All-Star Paul George to Oklahoma City.
Still, considering George made it clear he was leaving as an unrestricted free agent after this season, thus weakening the Pacers' bargaining position, Indiana hasn't done as poorly as everyone initially thought. When the Pacers play the Sixers at 7 tonight at the Wells Fargo Center (TV: NBCSP; radio: 97.5 The Fanatic), they'll do so as one of the early surprises, led by one of the surprise players.
Many thought fifth-year swingman Victor Oladipo was the headline player coming back to the Pacers for George as much because he had starred at Indiana University as his still-untapped potential.
Oladipo, 25, was picked No. 2 overall by Orlando in the 2013 draft. He wasn't a bust, but with Oladipo's career averages of 15.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists, few expected much more growth from a player on whom the Magic already had given up.
It's early in the schedule, but Oladipo is averaging a career-high 23.8 points. He was named NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday for averaging 28.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.7 points in three games last week.
Oh, and second-year big man Domantas Sabonis, the other player who came to Indiana, averages 13.1 points and 11.1 rebounds in 27.1 minutes a game.
At least he knows that basketballs are round
Trying to figure out for sure why Kyrie Irving, who was a four-time All-Star and an NBA champion, forced a trade out of Cleveland is as difficult as figuring out why the one-year Duke University student still insists on claiming the world is flat.
"There is no real picture of Earth," Irving said last week.
There's no real picture of air, either, but Irving presumably believes that's what we breathe.
Regardless of Irving's science conspiracies, the Boston Celtics are certainly happy Irving had his reasons for no longer wanting to play alongside LeBron James. With Irving averaging 21.8 points and 5.6 assists, the Celtics bring a six-game winning streak and the league's best record into Oklahoma City to play the Thunder at 9:30 on ESPN.
This is without All-Star forward Gordon Hayward, who suffered a broken leg minutes into the season.
What I’m reading
It's Friday and the Eagles beat writers at Philly.com make their predictions for Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos.
Former Eagles running back Brian Westbrook took blocking seriously and was great at it. Staff writer Paul Domowitch says that "B-West" doesn't like how the current backs are protecting quarterback Carson Wentz.
The Phillies are moving in the direction of modern baseball, and columnist Bob Ford writes that owner John Middleton leads the way.
Teams have been targeting the Eagles secondary as the weak link all season. Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post writes that the Broncos haven't exploited any secondary in a while.
NFL players have the First Amendment right to protest peacefully at their games if they so choose, and the Navy veteran who turned down an invitation to be honored by the New Orleans Saints because of the NFL protests was also exercising his constitutional rights.
Stephen Curry is making a lot of cash but isn't the highest-paid player in the NBA, and a few baseball players make more. Still, Curry is the only person in America singled out in the new Republican tax proposal. Guess he should've visited the president.
Eagles fans hate the Dallas Cowboys and would like nothing more than to see running back Ezekiel Elliott serve the six-game suspension the NFL has handed him.
Still, Birds backers shouldn't be too upset that Elliott won another round in his legal fight today and will get to play Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Odds are Elliott is eventually going to run out of options from the court system to avoid being suspended, and as long as it happens before Nov. 19, the Eagles could end up as a bigger winner in this drama.
Actually, Eagles fans should hope Elliott wins one more court maneuver that will allow him to play again next week before getting the hammer. That way, Elliot will miss the first game against the Eagles and then will have been away from his team for six weeks before the Eagles finish the regular season at Dallas.
Those are good ingredients to help the Eagles cook up an NFC East title.
Pacers at 76ers, 7 p.m. (NBCSP; WPEN-FM 97.5)
Cavaliers at Wizards, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Celtics at Thunder, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Devils at Oilers, 9 p.m. (NHL Network)
Marshall at Florida Atlantic, 6 p.m. (CBSSN)
Memphis at Tulsa, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Brown at Yale, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
UCLA at Utah, 10:30 p.m. (FS1)
Golf on Golf Channel
PGA: Shriners Hospitals Open, 4:30 p.m.
LPGA: Japan Classic, 11:30 p.m.
European PGA: Turkish Airlines Open, 5 a.m. Saturday
Breeders' Cup, 5 p.m. (NBCSN)
NASCAR Xfinity: O'Reilly 300 practice, 3 p.m. (NBCSN)
NASCAR Trucks: JAG Metals 350 qualifying, 4 p.m.; race at 8 p.m. (FS1)
High School Football
Quakertown at Pennridge, 7 p.m. (WNPV-AM 1440)
76ers vs. Pacers, 7 p.m., Wells Fargo Center
Avalanche at Flyers, 7 p.m. (NBCSP; WPEN-FM 97.5)
Capitals at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
Penn State at Michigan State, noon (Fox29; WNTP-AM 990, WNPV-AM 1440)
Wisconsin at Indiana, noon (6ABC)
East Carolina at Houston, noon (CBSSN)
Auburn at Texas A&M, noon (ESPN)
Florida at Missouri, noon (ESPN2)
Western Kentucky at Vanderbilt, noon (ESPNU)
Kansas State at Texas Tech, noon (FS1)
Princeton at Penn, 1 p.m. (NBCSP)
Virginia State at Virginia Union, 2 p.m. (NBCSP+)
Clemson at North Carolina State, 3:30 p.m. (6ABC)
Ohio State at Iowa, noon (ESPN)
South Carolina at Georgia, 3:30 p.m. (CBS3)
Army at Air Force, 3:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
Wake Forest at Notre Dame, 3:30 p.m. (NBC10)
South Florida at Connecticut, 3:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Stanford at Washington State, 3:30 p.m. (Fox29)
Oklahoma at Oklahoma State, 4 p.m. (FS1)
Iowa State at West Virginia, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Colorado State at Wyoming, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
Nevada at Boisi State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
Central Florida at SMU, 7:15 p.m. (ESPN2)
Texas at TCU, 7:15 p.m. (ESPN)
Minnesota at Michigan, 7:30 p.m. (Fox29)
Virginia Tech at Miami, 8 p.m. (6ABC)
LSU at Alabama, 8 p.m. (CBS3)
Oregon at Washington, 10 p.m. (FS1)
San Diego State at San Jose State, 10:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
BYU at Fresno State, 10:45 p.m. (ESPN2)
Arizona at USC, 10:45 p.m. (ESPN)
Golf on Golf Channel
PGA: Shriners Hospital Open, 4:30 p.m.
LPGA: Japan Classic, 10:30 p.m.
European PGA: Turkish Airlines Open, 3:30 p.m. Sunday
Dmitry Bivol vs. Trent Broadhurst, light-heavyweights, 5:45 p.m. (HBO)
Deontay Wilder vs. Bermane Stiverne, heavyweights; Sergey Lipinets vs. Akihiro Kondo, super-lightweights, 9 p.m. (SHOW)
Premier League: Stoke City vs. Leicester City, 8:30 a.m. (NBCSN)
Premier League: Newcastle United vs. Bournemouth, 11 a.m. (NBCSN)
Premier League: West Ham vs. Liverpool, 1:30 p.m. (NBC10)
NASCAR Monster Energy Cup: Texas 500 practice, 3 p.m., 5 p.m. (CNBC)
NASCAR Xfinity: O'Reilly 300 qualifying, 6 p.m. (CNBC); race at 8:30 p.m. (NBCSN; WNPV-AM 1440)
World Endurance: Six Hours of Shanghai, 2:30 a.m. Sunday (FS1)
Breeders' Cup, 1:30 p.m. (NBCSN); 8 p.m. (NBC10)
Flyers vs. Avalanche, 7 p.m., Wells Fargo Center
Villanova vs. Richmond, 1 p.m., Villanova Stadium
Penn vs. Princeton, 1 p.m., Franklin Field
Men's College Basketball
La Salle vs. Shippensburg, 2 p.m., Tom Gola Arena
Women's Flat Track Derby championship, 9 a.m., Liacouras Center
Parx Racing, 12:55 p.m., Bensalem
Broncos at Eagles, 1 p.m. (CBS3; WIP-FM 94.1)
Redskins at Seahawks, 4 p.m. (Fox29)
Chiefs at Cowboys, 4:25 p.m. (CBS3)
Raiders at Dolphins, 8:20 p.m. (NBC10)
Canadiens at Blackhawks, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
Golf on Golf Channel
PGA: Shriners Hospital Open, 3:30 p.m.
New York City Marathon, 9 a.m. (ESPN2)
Premier League: Tottenham vs. Crystal Palace, 7 a.m. (NBCSN)
Premier League: Manchester City vs. Arsenal, 9:15 a.m. (NBCSN)
Bundesliga: FC Koln vs. Hoffenheim, 9:30 a.m. (FS1)
Premier League: Chelsea vs. Manchester United, 11:30 a.m. (NBCSN)
Women's Big East championship: Butler at Georgetown, 1:30 p.m. (FS1)
MLS playoffs: New York Red Bulls at Toronto FC, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Women's Big 12 championship, 4 p.m. (FS1)
MLS playoffs: Columbus Crew SC at New York City FC, 5 p.m. (ESPN)
MLS Playoffs: Houston Dynamo at Portland Timbers, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)
NASCAR Monster Energy Cup: Texas 500, 2 p.m. (NBCSN; WNPV-AM 1440)
Grand Prix Series: Cup of China, 4:30 p.m. (NBC10)
Eagles vs. Broncos, 1:05 p.m., Lincoln Financial Field
Women's Flat Track Derby championship, 11 a.m., Liacouras Center
Parx Racing, 12:55 p.m., Bensalem
Harrah's Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack, 12:40 p.m., Chester