Season starts Tuesday December 22nd. Abbreviated to 72 games due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Top stories going in …
- Brooklyn Nets start off fresh with an overhaul: healthy Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving at the helm. Steve Nash coaching with Mike D’Antoni as his assistant.
- Bucks add Jrue Holiday in trade for Bledsoe and George Hill
- Lakers come off a championship losing Rajon Rondo, Danny Green & Dwight Howard and adding up Montrezl Harrell, Dennis Shroeder and Marc Gasol
- Warriors lose Klay Thompson to an achilles tear, but pickup James Wiseman #2 overall in the 2020 draft. Kelly Oubre joins Wiggins on the wing.
- Clippers lose Harrell and Shamet and add Ibaka and Luke Kennard. Doc Rivers released. Ty Lue replaces him as head coach. Chauncey Billups assistant.
- Sixers have new coach and GM in Doc Rivers and Daryl Morey respectively.
- Houston trades Westbrook to Wizards for John Wall. Add Christian Wood and new coach Stephen Silas
- Suns add Chris Paul in trade involving Oubre.
- Atlanta adds Okongwu from draft and Bogdan Bogdanovic, Rondo and Galinari in free agency.
716 thoughts on “
2020-2021 Regular Season”
Looks like the James Harden-Rockets situation is starting to boil over. The Athletic reported today that Harden had a heated exchange with a rookie (Jae’Sean Tate) and threw a ball at him. Harden is typically a laid-back guy, so this was surprising. Later during a sit-down with the press, he was asked if he felt any better about his situation with the Rockets after being in camp for a week. His response was just “next question.” The Rockets kick off their season against the Thunder tomorrow night. We’ll see how all the drama affects their performance.
This “delay” (if that’s what it is) in getting a harden trade done seems to be revealing greater dysfunction in Houston than most might expect. The thinking prior to this mess was that with Morey gone and plans for a restart (of some kind) underway, ownership would be willing to take a loss in order to get their new coach and GM going in their chosen direction. Instead, this looks exactly like Phoenix before 2 years ago and Minnesota now, where the owner is likely calling the shots by playing hard ball with teams that have interest in Harden. With Miami now dropped out not only is the pressure on to do something asap, but your new coach and GM are being completely screwed coming in to their new jobs.
I can’t see any way this delay is something the new GM is choosing. That makes no sense. Pickup Ben Simmons now and take a bath if needed, but do it!!
The NBA is investigating a viral video of Harden partying at a strip club without a mask to see if it is recent or not. If recent, he may be forced to miss tonight’s opener. Harden had COVID over the summer, but still must follow protocols since so little is known about whether one can be reinfected or if antibodies to one strain of COVID protect you from another strain.
Harden was fined $50K by the NBA for the COVID protocol violation, plus tonight’s Thunder-Rockets opener was postponed because 3 Rockets players tested positive or inconclusive and 4 others are unavailable because of contact tracing protocols (likely meaning they were around the 3 players who tested positive or inconclusive). Harden was not one of the positive tests. With the 7 unavailable players, the Rockets did not have the minimum 8 players available to play the game.
Season kicks off tonight with the Warriors in Brooklyn to face the Nets. Adam Silver knows how to schedule. Warriors and Durant facing off against each other for the first time since he left the Dubs. Warriors are not fully healthy though. Draymond has a foot issue and will not play tonight. Expect to see KD go off since there will be no Dray to guard him, plus he will want to come out big against his former mates and in his first game back. The Warriors announced today that Wiseman will start at center for them. I think the Nets are 7 point favorites (line went up after it was announced that Green is out).
What a let down that was. First, annoying as heck that after all the Dubs have gone through Green doesn’t even play in game #1. Second, and for whatever reason, every time I tuned in to try and watch Wiseman all I saw were Warriors turnovers and no Wiseman. Box score says Wiseman played 24 minutes and had a good game. I couldn’t keep watching long enough to see a single second of it. Annoying as heck!
By the time I got home, the Dubs were already down 15. Between the poor shooting and turnovers, it was an ugly game. Wiseman looked pretty good and, with time, it looks like he’ll be really good. KD and Kyrie look like their ready and the Nets have a deep team. Assuming they stay healthy, they’ll be a championship contender.
I saw most of the Suns-Mavs game. It was nice to see the Suns pull it out in the end, but they should have blown the Mavs out, but for a lot of TOs, 8 by Booker alone, and Ayton getting into early foul trouble. Chris Paul looked out of sorts much of the game, but hit some crucial shots toward the end. Crowder has to dial back his 3-pt shots. He took some bad ones and only hit one when he was wide open. He is not the guy that you want bombing all the time. That is what you have Booker and Paul for. Crowder can fire when he’s got an open shot.
Where the Suns looked really good was on defense. Bridges hounded Doncic into a poor shooting first half. Suns had 7 blocked shots and out-rebounded the Mavs. Paul had some key steals. Despite only playing 8 minutes (and picking up 5 fouls), Damian Jones blocked a shot and altered some others in his brief time on the court. The Suns backups also looked good, putting up 41 points. If the Suns solve their TO problem, they are easily a playoff team with their depth.
I saw that game several times last year: Booker needs to work hard as hell to try and get everyone involved, and he wasn’t that great at it last night. With Paul on the floor it was worse as neither of them were looking for their shots very often, and except for Johnson and Bridges (both looked great!) no one else seemed to know how to space the floor.
Paul played his game well enough, but he should have been able to create more space in the lane. Suns need to get back to where they were start of last year with the Warriors like quick thinking-passing game. It looked strange to see them struggle with that part of the game, but I suppose with so many new guys and trying to pick the right spots for Ayton to dominate … it’s going to be choppy early on.
Ayton can’t be holding the ball so long. I’m not sure it even makes sense for him to slow everything down with his post ups unless he gets it late in the shot clock (or game clock). He needs to look for slashers/cutters and all the spot up shooters and make quick passes out of the key. And I wonder if Crowder is right for the quick thinker-passer role they need him to play. I think he is, or rather I thought he was. It’s like the game plan was great (except for Ayton’s vision) but the movement was frenetic. Great that the Suns could win it. They likely have Porzingas to thank for that.
One comment about Cam Johnson that I’m going to re-iterate for probably his entire career …
I’m guessing ESPN is to blame for this: the fierce disapproval of his selection at #11 after the trade with Wolves in 2019. Disapproval for two reasons according to everyone outside of AZ who wasn’t paying attention. 1) he was an older player with limited upside 2) he was a shooter only and not very mobile
He proved all that to be incorrect within the first 2 months of his NBA career, and yet I don’t know how many times I’ve heard (from a different NBA “expert” every time) that Johnson has “improved” greatly while the pick is still questionable (they always use another word that means something like “ill-advised”). Lately what I’m hearing is that Johnson is a “testament to how well Monty Williams develops players”!!
All of it such BS. Statements made just for these people to save face while never admitting they were wrong and Suns simply made a great pick at #11. Forget that his skill set is *clearly* way beyond what they assumed. He was the perfect pick for the Suns at the time. Smart-quick thinker who can drive and finish. Awesome shooter. Bridges and Johnson are an excellent double-wing punch for the Suns or any team for that matter.
James Jones (Suns GM) hasn’t been bashful stating he doesn’t like to draft for best player available but rather for need. All eyes are going to be on Jalen Smith early in the season to see if Jones did it again. With Damian Jones there now it’ll probably take a lot longer for Smith to get up to speed, but I think it’s easy to see what the “need” that Jones is trying to fill: he doesn’t want Ayton to be slowing down the game and instead would love to have that active guy like Smith down there on both ends to clean everything up while keeping the ball moving. I love the plan, but not sure how it works against the big boys that can back Ayton and Smith down: Embiid, Jokic & Wiseman to name a few.
One more comment about Cam Johnson. I’m guessing (strongly) that Jones must have been interested in Herro also, and went with Johnson instead. We won’t know for a few years if that made sense, because I do think Herro’s upside is tremendous. The difference I’m seeing though is that Johnson is much more careful, unselfish and coachable. Taller as well of course, and will likely be the better 3pt shooter.
Of course Herro may have been someone that would have just pissed off Booker. He *is* kind of selfish. I think in a good way, but not sure that’s how Jones, Monty Williams and Booker would have felt.
When the Suns drafted Johnson, he was considered one of the top shooters in the draft, but was not rated highly because of his age and alleged mobility issues as you noted. He has proved the critics wrong about the alleged mobility issues and his age simply meant that he was more mature than the 19-year-olds that get drafted. There is nothing wrong with drafting one of, if not the best shooter in the draft class. Right now, I’d rather have him over about half the guys drafted ahead of him and over anyone drafted after him with the possible exception of Herro.
What bothers me most about this is the anti-Suns bias that it forces to persist. There is no middle ground: either you believe the Suns don’t know what their doing by making “questionable” picks, or you make a note that the post McDonough Suns make “surprising” picks that that prove to have higher value than predicted. In 3 years from now who will be saying “we had them wrong all along”?
very very few people. they’re likely to conveniently forget how strongly they felt and/or pass it off as the Suns getting lucky and/or vote Monty Williams to coach of the year because he’s “obviously” amazing when it comes to player development.
Really Really hope Jalen Smith proves to be something at least as promising as Haliburton. Hard to see it, but maybe Jones knows something few people do.
Lots of great stuff last night. Trae Young’s masterful domination and others: Jaylen Browns 33 pts 0 tos, Rozier’s blast out of the gate, Jokic’s trip-dub. But nothing surprised me more than to see Morant’s stat line. I actually double checked this because I thought it was a typo …
44 pt, 18-27 fg, 9 as, 2 st, 1 to
One turnover. I could be wrong, but when I checked the box score after half time I thought Morant was barely in double figures if that. So he decided to take the game over with only 2 three point attempts. I wonder if Pop told his guys to get out the way making it easy for him. Regardless, a great way for a top PG to start the year.
I don’t know if you noticed the COVID-related scheduling for this season. For teams that play multiple home or away games during the year against another team, those multiple home or away games are being scheduled back-to-back to reduce traveling. For instance, the Warriors first home game is against the Trail Blazers on New Years Day. Their second home game is also against the Trail Blazers two days later. Dubs also face the Clippers twice in a row later in the opening homestand. When they go to Texas in early February, they will play Dallas twice in a row and then the Spurs twice in a row. I don’t think this is true for every team they would face twice at home or on the road during the season, but it will happen frequently.
Good to know. And is it still true that the entire 72 game schedule has not been released?
Yeah, that’s true. I’ve only checked the Warriors schedule, but NBA.com only has the first 35 games listed–through March 3rd–and says the full schedule will be released later.
Absolutely wasn’t expecting a Nets blowout of Boston. Do I really need to start putting more faith in a Flat-Earther?
The Nets are a deep team. Beyond the starters of Kyrie, Dinwiddie, Harris, KD, and Jordan, they’ve got Shamet, LeVert, Jeff Green, Prince, and Allen coming off the bench. That being said, I think there is a wide disparity in how ready teams are to start the season because of pandemic protocols, injuries, and the short turn-around between the end of last season, the draft, free agency, and the start of the new season.
The blowout was due to the flat-earther. Really deep or just sort of deep. Flat Earth is en fuego.
The Warriors injury woes continue. Marquise Chriss, part of the three-headed center rotation, has a broken leg and will miss the rest of the season. This likely means that they will have to give Wiseman even more minutes as given Looney’s injury history, they will be careful with him. Once Draymond returns, we may also see a lot of small line-up sets with him at center.
I’ve never known Oubre to struggle so badly. Really don’t see that lasting – he’s a determined guy, and likely to bounce back with a big performance soon. Maybe Green will facilitate that. Dubs just have to get that first win. Hope it’s today vs Bulls.
Warriors looked much better tonight. It was back and forth all the way through the game and the Dubs’ defensive intensity was much higher than in the first two games. Oubre’s shooting problems continued, but he didn’t let it affect his defense, where he pulled down a lot of rebounds and forced a bunch of turnovers. Curry’s poor shooting was still in effect through the first 3 quarters, but at the end of the 3rd, he hit one of his time-is-running-out, 35-foot 3s and that seemed to flip a switch for him. He was 1 for his first 8 3-pt attempts, but 4 for his last 7. He also continually attacked the basket and got the foul calls that should get. He went 9-9 at the charity stripe and hasn’t missed a free throw all year so far. Dating back to last year, he has hit over 60 in a row and tonight broke Rick Barry’s franchise record for consecutive FTs made. He also hit his 2500th 3-pointer of his career, joining Allen and Miller as the only players to do so. He will pass Miller on the all-time list in the next 10-15 games.
Ultimately though, with the Dubs down by 2 with 5 seconds left, it was Damion Lee who pulled off the miracle. Lee was inbounding the ball and the Bulls were concentrating their defense on Curry and, to a lesser extent, Wiggins. With time running out to inbound, Lee nearly fell over as he unloaded the ball to Looney, who handed it back off to Lee and threw a screen to give Lee enough room to take a 3 from the top of the key. Although Lee’s body was still moving sideways as he shot, he drained it for the win. Lee was 4-5 from 3 in the game and is now 7-10 on the season. He’s gonna get more time on the court if he keeps shooting like that.
Not sure what happened to the Clippers today. Yes, Kawhi was out after getting nailed in the mouth with an elbow in their last game. But to not only lost by 51 points, but to have been down by 50 points at half-time? That is ridiculous and it happened on their own court. They shot just 4-33 (12%) from the arc and only 34.2% overall. That is god-awful shooting. On the Mavs side, Luka continues to flail from long range, but he does so much else–very nearly a triple-double in just 26 minutes–that it really doesn’t matter. His shooting will come around soon and that will push the Mavs into another gear. Everyone contributed to the shellacking of the Clips. The Mavs had just 4 guys in double figures, but 13 guys scored at least 4 points, 14 guys got rebounds, and 10 guys had assists. The Mavs’ 50 point half-time lead broke a record (by the Run TMC Warriors) for the largest half-time lead.
Same kind of thing happened last year in Milwaukee. Totally different team, but the vulnerability to blowouts isn’t ever a characteristic of a championship team. Everything I hear and see about Paul George tells me this is the issue. Like he’s an anti-leader. Without anything more detailed to add, I’ll just leave it at this: when I see George with the ball on the perimeter I almost always know what’s not about to happen. He won’t try to quickly get into the paint by finding an avenue to drive there. He won’t get rid of the ball quickly but will instead look like he has blinders on. He’ll waste time by (apparently) considering the 3 from wherever he is. Even if I’m wrong about the frequency of all that, I’m used to seeing teammates out of position when he has the ball. Like they have no idea where to be to help him facilitate.
I revisited the box score from that game last year. Bucks were up 25 at start of the 4th. Kawhi played, but I still think there’s something about George that stifles the need for intensity at the defensive end. Could be as simple as players can be almost certain they won’t get a shot even if they work hard to get to their spots?
I keep thinking about Van Vleet and how many teams could have benefited from him as a FA acquisition. Seems like that’s the kind of energy the Clipps are missing. If they had someone like that (ex. JJ Redick) then wouldn’t they be forced as a team to design plays around getting him open? Seems they don’t do anything like that, or don’t do it much. And after not having it go their way offensively do they just give up on the other end?
I assume this kind of thing really pisses off Beverly. I wonder what that Beverly-George dynamic looks like behind the scenes.
Lou Will played 9 minutes???
Once they were down 50 at halftime, I think the starters and Lou Williams got most of the rest of the night off.
Halliburton 1, Jalen Smith 0
Excellent game from the Sac rook last night in 27 mins: 0 tos, 6 ast, 15 pts, 5-7 fg, 3-4 3fg
Smith was out with an ankle issue apparently.
Pretty sure that Halliburton will get the best of that comparison throughout this season. He will have a much bigger role than Smith will have. Despite Halliburton’s good game, the Kings were still -19 when he was on the floor. Don’t know if that says anything about Halliburton’s defense or just the poor quality of the Kings’ second unit overall in that game. The Suns also played in Sacto the night before and lost. Smith did get 4 minutes in that game, but had nothing but 2 rebounds to show. The Kings held Halliburton to 2 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 block and 1 TO in that game.
Spencer Dinwiddie has a partially torn ACL in his right leg. He will have surgery next week and it is unknown if he will be able to return this season. This will push Caris LeVert into the Nets’ starting line-up. LeVert is a better shooter and defender, but Dinwiddie is a better ball distributor, so may be a better fit playing with KD and Kyrie.
surgery from most partial tears will heal in less than 2 months. rehab 6 weeks after that. no reason he shouldn’t be back unless there were other issues (ex. meniscus, mcl strain)
That is good news for the Nets if he can be back for the stretch run and playoffs.
Ja Morant went down last night with what they are calling a left ankle sprain. If that is all it is, then that is good for him and the Grizz. However, watching the endless replays of it, he was in a lot of pain, couldn’t put any weight on it, and was taken from the court in a wheelchair. I hope it is not something worse.
The report is that Morant will miss 3-5 weeks with a severely sprained ankle.
how many games is that on this new schedule – as many as 17? 18?
Prediction: Sixers lose badly to Raptors tonight and trade Simmons for Harden this week.
Raptors 0-3. Van Vleet shitty game. Wouldn’t have guessed either of those after being 0-2.
So maybe Simmons isn’t traded for Harden? Yet.
Simmons stats look solid from last night. But Harden seems like a good fit there if he can agree to distribute more. Move the ball more. Obviously he’s on board with that change if he’s serious about playing elsewhere. If he really wanted to play alongside Giannis for instance. Or KD. Or Butler/Adebayo. He’d be stupid to think he could play the same game. He’s never seemed stupid to me though, so …
But I’m curious why he thinks Portland might work. I can’t think of any way he could land there. It’s bizarre to see it on his “list”.
If Harden was really smart, he would start playing a motion offense now with Houston, to show other teams that he can play that way. However, he’s had that opportunity with both Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook and has shown an unwillingness to move when the offense is not going through him. If I was a GM deciding whether to trade for him, that would give me pause.
While I doubt Portland would try to add Harden, it would be easy to do it if they were willing to trade McCollum. CJ’s salary gets them much of the way there and 1 or 2 other players would make the salaries fit. As for why Harden put them on his “list,” it seems clear that his list is teams that are close to being champions and he wants to be seen as the player that put them over the hump.
As to your first paragraph I’d add “unless he already knows he’s on his way out”. But I agree he should immediately start playing the way he’ll have to for (likely) the rest of his career. As to the second paragraph my point exactly: how in the heck does a Lillard + Harden backcourt work for anyone? I don’t see how it works for Portland management since they have their guy, and I don’t see how it works for Harden since Portland’s guy is Lillard. At least for all the other teams on his list Harden can be the PG or at least touch the ball on every possession. No reason at all to think he’d be anything other than an big upgrade to McCollum, but that’s it. Does Harden really want that? Playing off the ball? Or does he think he’ll step in and split PG duties with Lillard, in which case what exactly is he doing when Lillard has the ball?
I like this “If Harden was really smart …” thing so I’ll keep rolling with it.
“If Harden was really smart …”
He’d watch tons of film of Magic and Doncic. Doncic especially. If he just did everything Doncic does he’d likely be better at every part of that game except rebounding.
Oubre hit a 3! LOL! Literally, the first non-dunk shot he has made this year and it came in Game 4.
Not gonna make too much of the Warriors winning again last night. The Pistons are a team they should beat. Curry was back to his more usual self, 5 of 9 from the arc, 8 of 8 at the FT line, but too many TOs. Wiseman did not shoot particularly well–though he smoothly hit a couple of long jumpers–but there was one sequence that really showed his potential. He blocked a shot, picked up the ball near the FT line, immediately turned and dribbled quickly up court around defenders, and then gave a nice little Euro-step to go in for the dunk. You can see it at the 1:02 mark of this Wiseman highlights video:
That was a very Freak-like sequence. Wiseman did foul out after only playing 21 minutes, so he needs to learn to be more careful about fouls, even if 1 or 2 of them were questionable. He won’t be getting the benefit of the doubt yet. Oubre finally hit a 3 and several other jumpers to break out of his 3 game slump to start the season, but his defense (2 blocks, 2 steals, and a bunch of altered shots) is much needed without Draymond out there.
On the Pistons end, Killian Hayes looks very raw. Hard to say if he was worth the #7 pick. Certainly doesn’t look like it yet. Former Sun Josh Jackson looks very comfortable in Detroit. 2nd leading scorer and rebounder despite only playing 26 mpg so far.
Wiseman Whoaa! That’s yer Anthony Davis kryptonite right there. And likely ROY, but that goes without saying.
With a guy like that on the court I wonder if Wiggins can do what he’s meant to do all along which is play kind of a cleanup in tandem roll with a bigger energy guy like Wiseman. Play robin to Wiseman’s batman and just be an all around menace on both ends with Curry, Green and ??? playing more of an out-of-a-set roll. ??? should be Klay of course. That’d work;-)
good lineup tonight.
I’m not sure if Aldridge will play v lakers so leaving that one out.
After the way the Bucks utterly crushed the Heat by 47 points last night, you gotta think the Heat really want some retribution tonight.
How good the Blazers-Clips game is may depend on whether Kawhi is back in the line-up.
Holiday’s stats look perfect for the Bucks the first few games in. He’s a good reason to watch them. I haven’t liked their style before this. Seemed boring to me. Holiday isn’t boring and I expect him to touch the ball on every possession and play big minutes. They’ve got some crazy back-court size on the floor at once. Middleton, Holiday and Giannis all play like guards. They’re big and fast and athletic and have great ball control and court vision. I’m glad they didn’t trade for Harden.
right. looks like kawhi is out again tonight.
Kawhi played after all and the Clips dominated the Blazers from beginning to end. Dame had a horrific shooting night, 0-8 from the arc, 3 of 14 overall. At least he got to the FT line a lot (14-15).
wow. something is up with ESPN then. it was a definitive DNP for kawhi just minutes before tipoff. if they’re not sure they shouldn’t list him as out for the night.
just noticed that pels went 3-24 from 3pt last night vs. suns
ummm … herro
i think this kid will be a theme of 20-21. impressive young fella.
Pop received two technicals and got tossed from tonight’s game. Taking over for him was Becky Hammon, making her the first women to “head” coach in an NBA game. Spurs lost to the Lakers, but that was to be expected regardless of who coached.
need to stat this, but seems like kyrie is thinking it makes sense to split shooting attempts 50% with KD. even curry wouldn’t do that. why would kyrie?
Kyrie seems to have a need to be the “man.” Wanted out of Cleveland, even though they won a championship, because LBJ was king there. Didn’t like Boston’s team offense concept where everybody got touches. I don’t know why he wanted to partner with KD, who is clearly better than him. Now with Nash as head coach, who had a pre-existing relationship with KD, I’m not sure how long this partnership will last.
We’ll see just how much KD yearns for his next championship. Or three. Kyrie could be his best team mate en route to that/those. He has a great game and a knack for showing up at the right time. Just not sure how you count on something that’s so unpredictable.
Is KD someone who doesn’t mind throwing caution to the wind if it means he might benefit from the possible excellence that may result?
I know it all comes across as so wishy washy. But KD was playing PG for the Warriors just before he went down. He played PG as well as Irving I think. Seems like such a perfect recipe for winning, with KD getting position for that 14 ft jumper, Kyrie and Harris on the arc and LeVert and Allen playing cleanup. Dinwiddie your 6th man. This should be the best top 6 in the league if Kyrie will step back and allow it by taking 50% – 70% as many shots.
no way to know for months how it’ll shake out in Houston, but if Wall and Cousins are healthy and either Harden remains or leaves, this will be one of the leagues most talented teams.
I guess Curry was a little pissed about the Dubs performance in the New Year’s Day game against the Trail Blazers. Totally went off against them tonight. 18 of 31 shooting, including 8 of 16 from the arc. 62 points overall, a career high. However, I’ll bet he’s still pissed because he missed a free throw in the game (18 of 19 overall). It was free throw #5 that he missed, which stopped his streak at 80 consecutively made. He made the next 14, so a new streak has started.
Draymond has played these last two games. He’s got 1 point total and is barely putting up any shots. Still 8 assists, 3 rebounds, a block and a steal in 28 minutes. With Wiseman’s 11 boards in 22 minutes and efficient 6 of 9 shooting, Dray may not need to concentrate as much on rebounds or shots. Just turn him loose on running the offense and being a menace on defense.
The Dubs absolutely destroyed the Kings tonight. Curry was his usual brilliance with 30 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists. However the assist you will see at the 7:48 mark of this highlights video.
Also see the Draymond pass to Wiseman at the 4:00 mark. That’s what having an athletic center who can outrun everyone down the court will do for a team. Oubre finally started hitting 3s, going 4 of 6. He was wide open on almost all of them because the Kings kept double-teaming and triple-teaming Steph. Those are the 3s he should be taking, not the contested ones he was shooting in the first few games.
Agreed that Oubre should never take contested threes (unless shot clock running out), but he does anyhow. It seems to be more of a “not able to think fast enough” thing than choosing the shot because he thinks it’s a good idea. Like a habit he can’t shake. Just doesn’t know how to move the ball to somewhere more productive.
Great to see the Dubs coming on!
At 7:48 of the vid … VERY strange to see Oubre take his time and think instead of move without a plan. Nicely done. I’d like to see that happen several times every game.
Even though they lost to the Clippers last night, I am liking what I’m seeing out of the Suns so far. They’ve beat some really good teams (Dallas, Utah, Denver) and are currently tied atop the Western Conference. More than that, it is no longer just the Devin Booker show. He is still the star, but he is shooting less and more players are getting involved in the offense. It’s a small sample size, but Booker’s 2-pt shooting is the highest it has ever been. In addition, Booker has never been a great 3-pt shooter, but he still took more 3-pt shots per game than anyone else on the team over the last 4 years. This year, he is letting the team’s best 3-pt shooters, Bridges and Johnson, shoot more than him from the arc. No doubt all of this is the Chris Paul influence. it’s working so far, though there is a long way to go.
I’m not able to watch the Suns at all, because the local cable channel out of the blue decided to monopolize the market and now there’s no other way to watch them in AZ unless they’re on TNT or I purchase an app which I may have to do. NBA League Pass and NBATV are blacked out of every game.
I like the Suns, but feel they should have gotten more from Oubre trade and the draft. UNLESS they’re playing a slightly longer game to land the right big to play alongside Ayton. They’re now invested in Paul and Crowder (2 & 3 yrs respectively), and while I like those two the Suns still don’t have the Big Three needed to win a championship. Booker and Ayton maybe by the time Ayton grows up, but either Paul brings in a super talent or the Suns challenge with Booker, Ayton and two guys that know how to win.
Suns already have a great bench to support in a playoff run, with Crowder, Saric and Johnson . I like Jevon Carter as a scoring PG better than Payne but I see how Payne can penetrate and present another triple threat (that seems to be the hope anyhow). No idea how the rookie Jalen Smith will turn out. Or how Kaminsky will help except to buffer the bench.
Paul needs to help bring in a big guy that can make decisions as fast and as well as everyone else (beyond Ayton). Not sure who that would be. Doubt it comes in the draft.
Durant was exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID, so will be forced to quarantine for 7 days. He’ll be allowed to return after a week as long as he continues to test negative during that time. Although KD had the virus last year, little is known yet as to whether that gives him immunity to COVID, so the NBA exposure policy is applied to all players regardless if they had it before. Don’t know what’s up with the Nets. After beating the Dubs and Celts in their first 2 games, they’ve dropped 4 of 5 against lesser teams (Hornets, Hawks, Grizz, and Wiz).
SI analyzed whether Harden is willing to sacrifice some of his game on another team.
They don’t really come to a conclusion, but quote several (unnamed) team execs who don’t believe he will. They mention some examples of other players, some of whom did adapt their games and some (Iverson) who didn’t. Some good info on usage rates too, which Milwaukee may find troubling.
I guess I tend to forget that there are plenty of examples historically of people who are content being just good enough. I’m not sure I like the Iverson comparison, because he seemed competitive enough and did everything he could while at Philly. Except practice;-) Harden does NOT do everything he can. Maybe he’s fine not being a champion. Seems like Wilt and some others (Derrick Coleman for instance) come to mind. I’m guessing it’s true in all fields, where people know they can be the best and are sometimes ok with just being good enough.
Not sure I understand the Wilt comparison. Wilt is a player who did make a big change in his game when he turned 30, reducing his shots, letting others take a bigger part in the offense. The first year he did that (dropping from 25.2 shots per game the year before to 14.2 shots per game which dropped his scoring average from 33.5 ppg to 24.1 ppg), the Sixers won the title. The Sixers had changed coaches at that time from Dolph Schayes to Alex Hannum. I would guess that Hannum convinced Wilt that the team would do even better if he let Greer, Cunningham, and Walker do more on offense. While Wilt took less shots, his assists shot way up from 5.2 apg to 7.8 apg (then 8.6 apg the year after that). Wilt continued to play unselfishly with the Lakers and won another title with them.
I think Wilt is an excellent comparison now that you explain in so many details why. Perhaps the best I can think of. Earlier in his career he could have changed many things about his game, and in particular his attitude about championships, and therefore won more than he did. Complacent. Known as the best regardless of the championships. This is very close to Harden.
Another way to put it is to ask two questions …
1. Why so long?
2. Even when he did change how interested was he in being a champion?
Only 1 championship in his prime? YES … I 100% understand the challenges of his era vs. other eras. Obviously I know the differences. Wilt had one championship in his prime when he was dominant. The best of the best by far, other than championships. There’s a lot of info out there … stats, opinions as to what his attitude was. Very Harden like IMO.
I agree that Wilt was like Harden earlier in his career, but the question was whether Harden can change. Wilt did change dramatically in one year with basically the same team as he had the year before, but a new coach. You were making a point about players who didn’t change to become champions and mentioned Wilt and Coleman. Wilt did change and immediately became a champion. If that wasn’t what you meant when you mentioned Wilt, than I misunderstood you.
My point is neither Wilt or Harden seem(ed) to want to change. Too complacent I’m guessing. I saw the same thing in Coleman but not Iverson who apparently did respond to Larry Brown in some significant ways. You mention a time later in Wilt’s career when the right opportunity came to him. It was needed to force him in some way. Great that he responded but not that it took that to get him to change. Or what it took for him to respond. Or why. These aren’t the kinds of questions usually asked of the greats.
We don’t know what it will take for Harden yet if anything. In Harden’s case maybe he just won’t respect anyone enough. Would be great to get D’Antoni’s take on this topic.
Wilt was younger (30 yrs old) than Harden is now (31) when he changed his game. I’ve never seen any quotes from him as to why it took until then to dial back his usage rate and get the rest of the team more involved, but he got immediate results and played like that for the rest of his career. I wonder if Harden went elsewhere, played more of a team game, but didn’t get a championship immediately, would he keep playing that way?
With D’Antoni coaching with the Nets, we won’t get his take on the topic. Gotta think that since D’Antoni coached him for a long time and KD played with him, we will get some idea of where the stand on this topic by whether or not the Nets trade for him. Thus far, I’ve heard zero rumors of offers made by the Nets.
It’s interesting that Miami took so long to drop out of the running. Riley must have liked the idea in some shape or form until it was too late. I bring them/him up because that team is known for hard practices and being in better shape than other teams. So, at least for a short time (2 weeks?) Riley considered that Harden could be part of that as well as other things “Miami Heat”?
And it’s easy to understand why the 76ers are still in the running, but what about the other teams that haven’t dropped out? Maybe they’re all just keeping the door open in case of something happening (no idea what it would be – an injury maybe). Maybe they’re simply not doing anything at all?
I’m rethinking my comment here. More likely Riley saw no reason to respond to Harden’s “list” right away. Busy with other things. Maybe barely considered Harden, but gave it time to consider if Harden wants to change into what the Heat would need him to be.
Most likely Riley just waited and then killed it with no real effort put into making it happen.
Here’s what I think is really interesting about this topic. IFF Harden was to agree to change for the right circumstance, where would be the best fit? He’d have to play like LeBron or Steph or Morant or Kawhi I suppose. Isn’t the question always the same for those guys? “I know looking for my shot is often a good thing, but what is the value of taking advantage of what the defense allows while I move the ball to setup others en route to a potentially high % shot or FTs for myself?”
he does this also of course, but not on every play. does it really just come down to laziness? seems that way.
But yes, there are plenty of players who seem more concerned about getting their own numbers than they are about winning championships. It seems like Harden is one such player, but he still has the opportunity to change that. Which team is willing to take a chance on him to see if he will?
Would Harden go there? Seems like he only wants to go to teams that are almost championship-caliber already.
no clue, but not sure if Portland without McCollum (and whoever else would be traded) would be any closer to a championship than Harden and the Bulls.
After what I saw last night I have a hard time believing Harden wouldn’t want to go most places not named Houston. So if it’s Chicago (for ex) or Houston I can’t see him saying “no, I’d rather be in Houston”. I’m sure there are some exceptions, but I can’t think of many. Still seems to me that Philly is the right place for him, but the more they win the harder it will be for Morey to sell it to the owner.
Anyhow, Harden just did “Harden” in crunch time last night. No acknowledgement that Wall was on the floor at all. Took a bad shot going to the basket and didn’t seem to care. Wall was clearly unhappy. I don’t see how you can allow that as a coach. Just bench him.
Check out this dime by the Joker last night. It’s at the 1:15 mark of this game highlight video.
Easily the best passing big man in the game today.
It looks like today’s insurrection/attempted coup is going to have an effect on an NBA, much like last year’s BLM protests. The Boston Celtics held a player-only meeting and it looks like they will be refusing to play tonight’s game against the Heat. Milwaukee was the team that initiated the game boycott during the bubble last year, so it’ll be interesting to see if they play their game tonight against Detroit.
Celtics and Heat played after all. Players took a knee during the national anthem. In their game, the Bucks and Pistons players took a knee during each team’s first possession. The Warriors and Clippers also kneeled during the national anthem. Before the game, Steve Kerr called the mob who stormed the U.S. Capitol “terrorists.”
Noteworthy that Fultz is lost for the season with an ACL tear. The Magic is 6-2 and he’s been playing well. Bad loss.
I’m glad I didn’t try to guess at MVP, MIP etc etc. I think about all the categories and I don’t have a good choice for any except Wiseman for ROY. I can list 5 or 6 MVP candidates but based on what I’ve seen so far nothing but just a list.
(but I’m rootin for the Joker!)
I think it would have been really hard to made award predictions this year. Short off-season, really short training camp, and rookies and free agent signees having so little time to get acclimated make for an unpredictable season. Jokic ain’t a bad pick though and I dare say that he would be the early season leader.
Just my opinion, but between the Joker and LeBron they could win it if that’s all they wanted to do this year. In LeBron’s case it’s not a great idea and maybe even counterproductive (he’d have to play too many minutes, but he might win it regardless). In Jokic’s case I guess it’s about just how much of the offense does the team want him running. Obviously Denver is unstoppable in games where Murray is superhuman, and it isn’t clear how Jokic’s best performance might help during those games. That is to say I’m not sure Jokic playing his best every night is the best for Denver’s win-loss record.
The dark (ok, maybe very dark) horse MVP candidate is Booker. He’s definitely on my list of top 5 or 6 ‘hopefuls’, but clearly not in the running at all so far. Obviously he will be if the Suns maintain a top record and they might, but I mention him because of the Suns strategy: boringly efficient. Spurs like, and if it wasn’t for Booker (and maybe Cam Johnson) maybe the most boring team in the league. But I keep wondering what Pop would do with Booker in place of Manu. I think about the same, but instead of seeing a bunch of assists and rebounds from Manu maybe you get 10-15 more 35 point games instead.
I hope Silas benches Harden so I can watch the ’21 scoring title come down to Steph, Luka and Booker. I don’t see Kyrie giving KD enough shots to be in the club this year.
Forgot Lillard. Also scoring title consideration worthy. Don’t think Giannis makes the cut this year. We’ll see.
a day later with Dubs at 5-4 I’m guessing we both agree Curry leapfrogged Jokic yesterday in the MVP race:-)
Harden with 15 points tonight on 6 of 13 shooting, including 3 of 9 from the arc. Also 13 assists. When was the last time that Harden took so few of the Rockets’ shots? They took 91 shots overall and Christian Wood took 17 shots to lead the Rockets in shots. In the process of this ball-sharing, the Rockets blew out the Magic. So is this Harden learning to share the ball more or just an anomaly?
Frakkin’ amazing game by the Dubs tonight. With 3 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, they were down 22 to the Clips. Then Steph did Steph things and other Dubs did Steph things. The Clippers had been running extra defenders at Steph much of the game, but some good defense turned into some fast breaks, where the Clips could not get the extra defenders on Steph. Here’s the Steph highlight reel:
Note the score just before Steph nails a 3 at the 3 minute mark of the 3rd. Over the next 3 minutes, the Warriors cut the 22-point Clip lead to just 6. Then they blew out the Clippers in the 4th to win by 10. Wiggins, Bazemore, and Wannamaker hit Steph-like shots in the 4th. In addition to his 38 points–including 9 threes in 14 attempts–Curry dished out 11 assists. All the defenders coming at him meant there were a lot of open Dubs. I seriously was thinking of turning the game off in the 3rd quarter before the comeback started. Glad I didn’t.
Go dubs! I was going to watch but I don’t get ESPN either:-(
What is Leonard doing at the 1:30 mark? He’s clearly upset after Curry scores because there was rim protection, but sure didn’t seem like he worked hard enough to get in front of Curry who he clearly knows is a threat going to the basket. Warriors are going to be good, and I’m all for that but looks like the Clippers have some serious issues.
Great point made by Justin Termine yesterday. Apologies if you mentioned this earlier …
It makes NO sense that teams are required to play with only a few players down due to COVID while teams with a lot of players down get to reschedule for a time when they’re at full strength. His case was made specifically because of Boston’s situation last night vs. Washington when the Celtics had no bigs playing. Boston won that game but what if they had not?
Hmmm … looks like Theis played after all. I guess Termine assumed he wouldn’t. Regardless the point remains a valid one.
The NFL has had weird COVID rules this season. If a bunch of players in one position group test positive for COVID, the game would get rescheduled. However, if one player in a position group tested positive, but the rest of the position group had to quarantine because they were exposed to that player due to a failure to be masked and/or social distance during meetings, then the team was effed and had to play despite the loss of all those players at one position. The Denver Broncos lost all their quarterbacks for one game earlier this year for this reason and were forced to play the game. They ended up activating a wide receiver from their practice squad to play quarterback because he had played some quarterback in high school.
In any event, the reason for all this is that the NBA wants to minimize the games getting rescheduled so that they can complete the season in a timely manner. Players should be doing everything possible to minimize contact with other people outside of the arena, i.e., don’t go to strip clubs like Harden and some others have done. There will be some inequities in the application of the rules, but the NBA would rather have that than to lose a lot of games to COVID.
Teams will catch on when it starts to matter in less than two months. They’ll figure out a way to not have enough to suit up.
The inequity of the situation hit with Philly tonight. Five players out because they were exposed to Seth Curry who tested positive. Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid out with injury. They listed Mike Scott as available with no intention of playing him because of his injury. They did so in order to play the game with 8 “available” players (the required number of players needed to play the game), though they actually played with only 7 players. Seems to me that they should have just claimed not enough players and rescheduled the game. As it is, they lost to Denver. I would laud Jokic’s near triple-double (1 rebound shy), but he did it against a severely undermanned team. Perhaps the Sixers thought it better to take the loss in this game, against a team that might have beat them anyway, rather than have to make up games later.
Or given their record consider it a good opportunity to give the other guys some minutes against a good team? Either way a classy decision by the Sixers. I assume that meant Doc last night.
Heat vs. Celtics game was postponed tonight because Heat were not able to dress the minimum 8 players because of injuries and COVID tracing. The Celtics themselves only had the minimum 8, so they are probably not too displeased with the postponement. It definitely seems like COVID positives and exposures is taking a toll right now.
And mostly in the East. I’ve been discussing this with others lately. I suppose the East vs West COVID disparity is due to the obvious: population is more dense in the big Eastern cities. It’s just a guess, but I think this is what happens: all teams are trying to be careful, but being careful in Phoenix means everyone (players, coaches, staff, front office) can actually be always 6 feet or more from everyone outside the team. In the East you can try, but the likelihood of it is much lower.
Either that or this: players, staff are still being social and are more likely to come into contact with COVID positives for the reasons stated above. That shouldn’t be much different East vs West though, so not sure this one makes sense.
Two more games postponed today. Pelicans-Mavericks and Celtics-Bulls.
Tonight’s Celtics-Bulls game is postponed and postponements already announced for tomorrow’s Magic-Celtics and Jazz-Wizards games. That is 3 straight Celtics games postponed. Their schedule may get difficult later in order to make up games.
Tonight’s Suns-Hawks game is postponed as the Suns don’t have 8 available players. Apparently the Wizards are the super-spreaders. They’ve apparently had a few players test positive and players on teams they’ve played recently have been testing positive. Here’s a good breakdown of it:
Of course, the Suns played the Wizards 2 days ago, so the positive tests on the Wizards mean that the Suns have been exposed and have to do testing and contact tracing before some players can return to the court. This may affect the Suns-Warriors game scheduled for Friday as well.
Ten games in and it’s time to start discussing the Suns as an elite team with their 7-3 record. I use the word ‘elite’ because what the Suns are getting from Bridges, Ayton and Crowder is top tier. Bridges had an incredible performance in the win against the Pacers last night. He’s playing at an all star level, and is the clear early season favorite for MIP. His assist/turnover ratio is absurd early on. Last night:
MN FG 3PT FT REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
35 12-18 6-8 4-4 3 2 0 1 0 0 +5 34
I’m not sure Ayton isn’t just as improved. In 34 minutes last night vs. an awesome performance by Sabonis, Ayton had 13 rebs and only 2 fouls. There’s a story there, but not sure what it is yet. In the past teams like the Pacers are the ones that consistently wear down Suns teams with their consistency, size and strength.
Suns had 2 turnovers all game. Not getting too carried away by this one, but if I can make any point it’s that the Suns are showing consistent efficiency early on while contenders (when healthy) like the Heat, Clippers, Nuggets, Nets are showing just the opposite. I don’t think I’m reaching when I claim that just 10 games in the Suns deserve to be in the group of the toughest opponents every game.
Whatever’s going on in Phoenix is markedly different from any Suns team I’ve seen. The consistency screams that coaching and leadership is effective. Players are following the game plan as methodical as it is. Relative to past Suns teams that’s significant even only 10 games in.
What Bridges is doing so far is pretty incredible. He’s shooting nearly 47% from 3 and blocking 1.3 shots per game. He’s getting it done on both sides of the court. And while he was always a good FT shooter, he’s upped his average to 88% this year. He is reaping the benefits of having Booker and Paul on the court with him. Both can penetrate and pass out to an open man as the defense collapses on them. I really haven’t seen much of the Suns this year, but I’ll bet that Bridges is getting a lot of open looks and is making the most of them.
didn’t see the FT shooting. It’s the turnovers that are really setting him apart. last i heard his assist/turnover ratio was historically good for the minutes played and number of touches. he doesn’t assist much so maybe not too significant.
yes to all your points, and I’ll add one: he’s been a very careful and smart player not known for taking chances. Battier like. Stith. Tucker. Players that know their role and are almost afraid of taking chances. This year he’s taking more chances in part because he’s open but also because he’s taking shots that he wouldn’t take last year. I haven’t looked but I’m sure his field goal attempts are his biggest difference over last year while I believe Bookers are down. Of course Oubre isn’t taking all those shots anymore.
i looked more closely at the stats. while his minutes are up around 17% his FGA are up 60% and almost all of those are 3 pt shots. i could be wrong, but since I’ve seen some determination from Booker, Paul and Monty Williams to get everyone else involved first and those two last I’m guessing is the plan is for Bridges and Crowder and Cam Johnson (when in) to be the primary shot takers. Ayton of course, but only as circumstances arise rather than as the set game plan. Though I’m sure that varies depending on matchups.
Since so much of this team resembles the Spurs and somewhat the Warriors as well, I’d love to see Ayton be implemented in the Duncan/Dray type of inside out role. I think I’ve seen a little of that already. I’m just imagining what the Suns will look like when Ayton makes that first pass out of the post and re-positions down lower (a la Duncan, Shaq, Kareem) to get the ball back for the sure basket or and-1.
One thing I like about having Paul on the team is the way he makes space with his butt as he leans over and surveys the area. Barkley and Shaq used to do that as well. Anthony Davis as well. Ayton needs to be more careful with the ball, but I’m guessing they’ll work on that.
whoops. meant “I’m guessing is the plan is for Bridges and Crowder and Cam Johnson (when in) to be the primary shot takers ” early in the game. Of course Booker and to a lesser extent Paul and Ayton will be relied upon at the end if needed.
Just one minute here … I’m not paying attention at all. I didn’t realize Tyrese Maxey is the ROOKIE Maxey. And a PG. Wow. Now the Sixers have zero reasons for trading for Harden …
MIN FG 3PT FT REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
44 18-33 3-8 0-0 7 6 2 0 2 3 39
Two turnovers. WHAT??
All to say exactly as I expected and predicted, the 2020 draft class is likely to be considered one of the deepest ever rather than the opposite, which was a stupid assumption to begin with considering the circumstances. Ball, Halliburton, Maxey, Edwards, Williams, Bey and more are having impacts early. More on Ball after his next trip dub which I assume will be a weekly affair. Fricking Charlotte: the PG factory. They’ll be able to trade for for at least one good if not great player soon. Maybe not this year, but soon.
New Topic: Clippers. They need to change something big and they’re known for doing exactly that whenever possible. In my opinion George needs to be traded, but I don’t see how that’s possible. They need the opposite of his style. That is to say need a focal player to make quick decisions and passes and show leadership while having a great amount of ball control. While one could make the argument that it should be Kawhi, the issue there is that Kawhi needs a team that will get the ball back to him once he passes it. This is what’s working for Curry, LeBron, Booker, Giannis. Sometimes Jamal Murray. In the past it worked with Kawhi on Raptors and Spurs. The ideal kind of player would be Jokic. A smart-quick delegator with court vision that players trust.
Just an example (not realistic or I don’t think so) would be Lowry. How quickly would the team turn around with Lowry starting in that lineup with or without George? Dragic. Heck, what if you traded for Kevin Love and put him on the perimeter to play more of a PG role? There has to be others out there and available that could turn the team around without trading George. Assuming he’s ok with a less central role, because PG3 is no PG.
Looks like there’s a lot of chatter already about Lowry to the Clippers. Should have known it was obvious to others as well. So how do the Clippers make this happen?
It will be hard for that trade to happen before February 5th when trade restrictions expire for Marcus Morris, Patrick Patterson, and Serge Ibaka. They can’t trade George until April 8th. Once the Morris restriction expires, they could trade Morris, Beverley, and Patterson (plus picks) for Lowry and the salaries will work.
After last night’s second consecutive loss to the Lakers, James Harden said the Rockets just aren’t good enough and that he loved Houston, had done everything he could, but that he didn’t think the situation could be fixed. Apparently Fertitta has assured Harden that he will be traded, but that they wouldn’t be rushed into it. Houston is having conversations with a half-dozen teams about a Harden trade. I don’t know if last night’s comments by Harden were intended to goad the Rockets into trading him faster.
DeMarcus Cousins was asked if he felt let down by Harden because Harden wants out. Cousins’ excellent response was no because he came to Houston to play with John Wall, not Harden. LOL!
Kyrie has now missed 4 games for personal reasons and is expected to miss the next 2 games as well. He was apparently really upset about the assault on the Capitol building a week ago and has been spending time on phone & Zoom calls with Congress people. He is to be commended for his political awareness and doing things to support his political beliefs, but the Nets are paying him an awful lot of money to play basketball and he has done very little of that since he signed his contract. There has been a lot of chatter in the past about Kyrie’s “mood swings” which seem to be code for believing he may be bipolar. Not sure what is going on with him, but have to imagine that KD and other teammates and Nets coaches and management have to be concerned about what is going on with Kyrie.
which begs the question, would Houston even want him in a trade? i’m sure they would have answered ‘yes’ 2 weeks ago. now?
The Rockets’ reported asking price is a top young player and draft picks, though perhaps a secondary “intriguing” young player in lieu of one of the draft picks. Kyrie will turn 29 in two months and comes with a huge contract, so not sure he was ever on the Rockets’ wish list. Certainly wouldn’t be now. Given the “top young player” part of the demand, Miami has Herro, Nunn, and Robinson that would fit. Philly has Simmons of course. Not sure the Bucks or Blazers have anyone that fits that bill. Harden doesn’t have a no-trade clause so he can’t limit where he goes. Here’s a potential trade that would work, but not sure if there is interest.
Sacramento gets: Harden
Houston gets: Hield, Bagley, Halliburton and draft picks.
I’m not sure the Kings would be interested though.
Either Harden knew something was in the works when he made the comments last night or those were the last straw for the Rockets to get something done. The waiting is over and we’ve got a doozy of the deal with Harden going to the Nets. Details of the deal are:
Nets get: Harden (from Rockets) and 2nd round pick (from Cavs)
Cavs get: Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince (from Nets)
Pacers get: Caris LeVert and a 2nd round pick (from Nets)
Rockets get: Victor Oladipo (from Pacers), Dante Exum (from Cavs), and Rodions Kurucs (from Nets) as well as the Nets unprotected 1st round picks in 2022, 2024, and 2026 and the right to swap 1st round picks with the Nets in 2021, 2023, 2025, and 2027.
As my initial reaction, I’ll say that Cavs did well getting Allen and Prince for Exum and a 2nd round pick. Pacers got LeVert and a 2nd round pick for Oladipo, which doesn’t sound like it is enough unless they don’t believe Oladipo won’t ever return to his pre-injury form. The Nets gave up 3 likely late 1st round picks, Levert, Allen, and Prince for Harden (I doubt the Rockets will be swapping 1st round picks with the Nets for most or all of those other years). That seems like a high price to pay for a ball hog in an offense with KD and Kyrie. I guess we find out if Harden is willing to change his game now. I do not envy Steve Nash trying to make all these personalities fit together.
Doesn’t make sense at all for Nets. So, Harden is back with D’Antoni. I’m guessing the idea is to turn Harden into Nash. Good luck!!
I missed another 1st round pick involved in the deal. Houston got Milwaukee’s 2022 1st round pick which Cleveland has. So the Cavs got Allen and Prince for Exum, a 1st round pick and a 2nd round pick. That’s still not bad given that the Bucks’ 2022 1st round pick is likely to come very close to the end of the round.
Houston meanwhile received four 1st round picks, all likely to come late in the round (unless the Nets’ situation really blows up) along with the three pick swap rights and three players. It is not a bad haul, but remember they gave up most of their own 1st round picks in the near future. I don’t know how much these late 1st round picks will help to build a new team.
IMO there are two vastly different outlooks possible regarding the trade. Probably the main reason why it happened: The Nets think KD is likely to stay healthy for more than just 1 year, and if he doesn’t they have the next best thing in Harden. The Rockets like their chances that a number of things will go wrong in less than 2 years. That starts with KD’s health, Kyrie’s unpredictability and Harden’s tendency to stop ball movement. If KD really was involved with this as much as is being reported, you have put your franchise in the hands of a stock market newbie speculator. That is to say, the decision is largely based on emotional excitement about how great things can be therefore downplaying the risks.
What’s Kyrie’s role exactly? Like, in the best of all possible worlds. I don’t remember him slashing much when playing alongside LeBron, but he can’t just hang out on the perimeter right? He has to keep moving, right?
I don’t see that happening. Kyrie in the mold of Reddick, Klay, Reggie Miller, Ray Allen “never stop moving” guys … the Nets could be awesome if he did that knowing he wouldn’t touch the ball on more than 50% of plays. Kyrie has the talent to do that.
But you pointed it out. Something is wrong with him, and that’s why this trade isn’t good for the Nets. He’s too unpredictable to make the game plan work, whatever it is.
There’s a lot of unknowns here. KD has a lot of experience in a ball-sharing offense and obviously Nash is experienced both running and coaching that type of offense. Kyrie and Harden don’t. What happens with all 3 on the court together? Who does the offense move through? Who gets the ball with time running out? While the Warriors were experts at moving the ball around, when time was running down on the shot clock, the plan was to give the ball to KD and let him do his thing. Steph and Klay were fine with that. KD has the height and handles to get a good shot. Will Kyrie and Harden defer to KD in those situations? Kyrie was unhappy when he played 2nd fiddle to LBJ. Can he be happy in an offense where he might be the 3rd option? Harden is used to having the offense go through him. Can he be happy in an offense where he is not creating the offense all the time? KD is used to a ball-sharing offense with him as the safety valve. Will he be happy if the ball sticks with Kyrie or Harden for too long in the offensive sets? Will Kyrie’s mood swings or Harden’s lethargic approach piss off the rest of the team? This has all the warning signs of a situation that will blow up in the Nets’ face at some point.
I agree a lot of unknowns, but in my opinion some of these are much more significant than others. I’m not concerned about Harden’s lack of experience with “ball-sharing”, because the last time he had the opportunity to share with someone like KD he was a rookie playing alongside a much more deferential KD. I will always go back to the “Harden isn’t stupid” argument. It would be stupid and simply illogical to not try and get KD involved early in almost every offensive possession. That is to say I’m almost positive that Harden will play his “dribble dribble dribble on the arc” game much less often than he has.
Harden is clearly the primary ball handler. You don’t trade for him otherwise, and that means with KD’s blessing. The question for me is who is the secondary ball handler when everyone saw how effective KD was in the pseudo-PG role with the Warriors.
I see the primary issues being related to how KD and Kyrie work out that secondary role. KD has shown he can get the ball early-to-midway through the clock and be the mid-range triple threat that destroys defenses. He passes well from mid-range with pressure on. With everyone knowing that Harden isn’t going to be slashing much, Kyrie *needs* to find his position to be ready for what KD creates. I think it’s very easy to see how this offense could consistently destroy teams from the half court set if Kyrie just does what he needs to do. What’s not going to work is Kyrie choosing to not play his role often enough. Meaning, after Nash, D’Antoni, KD and Harden draw it up how often does Kyrie actually do what is asked? 70% of the time? 20% of the time?
I don’t see it working out especially during the final minutes, because although Harden is less likely to be the shot-chucker that he has been I don’t think Kyrie will ever give the ball up during the final minutes. UNLESS he plays PG during that time and gives it up early in the clock. Will that happen? Will Harden be OK switching roles in the final minutes, and does it even make sense to switch such an important part of your offense for only 5% – 10% of the game?
I’d like to think that Harden isn’t stupid, but there are far too many examples of him standing around doing nothing when Chris Paul or Russ Westbrook was handling the ball. Then there’s his lack of effort playing perimeter defense. Will KD and Kyrie stand for that? Harden actually plays pretty good post defense, but there is less running around for that. I wonder if part of his problem is a simple lack of conditioning. He looks a good 20-30 pounds overweight right now and has never had a chiseled body. His offense involves dribbling the ball in place with short bursts of energy trying to drive past the defense or not seeing a lane and throwing up a 3-point shot.
I’d like to see the full stats on players who run the most in games, but all I have found on-line is top 10 listings, which shows players like Jrue Holiday, Curry, Beal, Kawhi, McCollum and Butler at the top. I have not seen Harden’s name near the top and I wonder how far behind he is. Maybe if Harden gets in better shape, he’d be more willing to share the ball and play better perimeter defense.
Westbrook and Paul were superfluous and not great options for Harden. Adding those two never made sense to me, just like having Eric Gordon on the floor at the same time never made much sense. KD is vastly different in many ways. There will be issues every now and then I’m sure. There were issues with KD and the Warriors. I just don’t see them being nearly as important as everything Kyrie related.
Next topic: Jarrett Allen. Whether he remains in Cleveland has yet TBD, but this trade makes no sense to me unless there’s another one coming soon. Now that we know Allen was likely on the block for so long (it was only speculation before now), it seems clear that many teams must have been interested in playing the role Cleveland did in this deal. Allen could change a lot of things for many teams that don’t have that kind of guy. Suns are in dire need of Allen’s talents. Boston. Orlando. OKC. I can think of several other teams where he could work well although not needed: Denver, Minnesota, Clippers, Sixers?
The Cavs have extra PGs and extra big men. Just don’t see them holding onto to all of them for much longer, especially as they entertain offers for Love’s contract.
I left out Dallas because they have their Jarrett Allen in Dwight Powell, but Powell is coming back from an achilles tear. How can you rely on a rim protector with achilles issues? I don’t think you can, but I guess we’ll see what Cuban thinks.
I think Cleveland dearly wants to unload Love’s contract and develop the youngsters together. Allen fits in well with those plans so I don’t see them turning around and dealing Allen.
I disagree because keeping Allen makes it so much harder to deal Love.
Cavs currently have Drummond, McGee, Allen, Nance and at least one other non-scoring forward. Assuming they hold onto Okoro and at least one of Drummond and McGee it doesn’t work to have Allen in at the same time. It seems stupid in 2021 at least, when the Cavs should absolutely be looking for scoring from a big forward or wing. Keeping Allen makes it harder, because you have to also either deal Drummond or limit Drummond’s minutes which makes no sense.
Of course, Cavs have done a LOT of questionable things. But if they really want to deal Love I think either Allen or Drummond will need to go as well.
Drummond (and McGee) is a free agent after this season, so he’s likely to be gone then if not traded before then to some team who wants an expiring contract. Allen is also a free agent at the end of the season, but will be a restricted one and commanding far less than what Drummond gets. Cavs would match any outside offer. So looking beyond this season, they’ve got Love and Nance signed for two more years. With Allen taking over the center position from Drummond (and McGee), they don’t need both Love and Nance at the PF position. I believe they’d prefer to keep the cheaper Nance and deal Love, but I suppose they could deal Nance instead if they find no takers for Love.
In their ideal world, the Cavs go into next season with Allen at C, Nance at PF, Sexton at PG, Okoru at SG and Garland as the 6th man off the bench. That leaves the SF position open. Right now, they’ve got Cedi Osman filling it, but his defense isn’t great and his 3-pt shooting has fallen off this year. I think they’d like to upgrade there. If they can’t get rid of Love, they could play Love at PF and Nance at SF, but that makes for some iffy perimeter defense against teams with good stretch 4s. Ultimately though, I think the Cavs got into the Harden deal because they wanted Allen. It may make the center position messy this year, but next year, Allen should be the one left standing there.
Allen and Nance getting big minutes together. I don’t see that at all unless the front office and the entire coaching staff have some brilliant ideas about which way the league is changing. I mean, it’s a great plan for guarding teams with exceptionally talented big men (Lakers, Suns, Sixers, Nuggets, Warriors) but after that I don’t know how the rest of the team scores enough especially with Okoro looking like their future iron man. I just don’t see Allen and Nance both getting big minutes on the team after this year.
The Allen-Nance pairing may not be as bad as you think for this era. Nance has been working on his 3-pt shot and getting better at it every year. He is currently shooting 42% from the arc on nearly 4 attempts per game this year, though I suspect there will be some regression to the mean. However, even if he reverts all the way back to the 35% he shot last year, that is still pretty good for a stretch 4. Clearly Nance saw the writing on the wall several years ago and began working on that aspect of his game and it has paid off.
You’re argument for Nance is great if Okoro wasn’t such an important part of their future. I see him as a potential Jimmy Butler for them. That’s an enormous problem offensively even if they do go out and get an excellent scorer.
I don’t like it at all going forward. They need a big who will be the #1 or #2 option offensively. That’s Drummond right now because Love looks to be gone soon. You can’t give Allen and Nance big minutes with Drummond also on the floor. Unless Okoro plays the 2 which is possible, but then either Sexton or Garland need to go.
Okoro is the long-term plan at SG. The Cavs can’t consistently play Sexton and Garland together because they are both 6’1″ and will have a tough time guarding the bigger guards in the league. That’s why I see one of them evolving into the 6th man role outside of some occasional small ball line-ups. If the Cavs can unload one or both of Drummond’s and/or Love’s salaries, they will have a lot of salary cap space. With a need at SF, they could spend that money on a SF who can be a top scoring option for them.
Is Kyrie out for “personal reasons” because he knew this was coming and didn’t like it? If that’s the case then _ _ _ _.
In other words, fill in those blanks!
I doubt that is the reason. Kyrie’s “personal reasons” absence started the day after the attack on the Capitol in Washington. Kyrie has been very vocal about the police shootings of black people and the BLM protests. So I believe that the stark contrast between how police handled white rioters in D.C. with how they handled the BLM protesters would be very upsetting to him. During one of the Nets’ games he missed, he was seen on a Zoom conference call that a district attorney candidate was using as an organizing program launch. I don’t doubt that Kyrie has been hugely affected by what happened in Washington. The question is why this affects him so much that he can’t do his job that he presumably loves.
I absolutely get that part of it, but was commenting on the likelihood of Harden trade as well as Kyrie’s mental state. Although there could be some bi-polar I see some of his behavior that’s also very borderline personality and possibly schizophrenic. Small triggers leading to big decisions. Could simply be manic-depression but sure seems to be a lot more to it than that.
One thing is clear: whether Kyrie wants Harden on the team or not, Kyrie will be required to do a lot more adjusting than ever before. Heck, he couldn’t adjust to LeBron and LeBron let him do whatever he wanted (almost except for be “the man” crunch time). Whether Kyrie is saying out loud or even if he doesn’t realize it yet, there must be something churning in the pea-brain of his regarding how life as he knew it (or wanted it) is about to change big time with Harden as the primary ball handler.
Here is a comprehensive look at the issues surrounding Kyrie.
If Kyrie wasn’t consulted on the Harden deal, which seem unlikely as big stars are typically consulted, then perhaps that is contributing to the problem, though other issues were the primary cause for the current absences.. However, since Kyrie was apparently upset that the Nets hired Nash without talking to him (they surely consulted KD about Nash), you would think the Nets would have talked to him about Harden. If the Nets have made two big moves now without consulting Kyrie, then Sean Marks is an idiot.
I know this kind of person. Almost always is associated with two things …
1.) a free to do as you please lifestyle.
2.) a consistent use of hallucinogens. LSD in particular.
I’ve also heard that schizophrenic behavior and hallucinogen use can be hard to tell apart.
Scratch the LSD comment. Substitute peyote mentioned in all the following articles which also mention his tribe. Not proof, but is it a coincidence?
Yes. Well aware of peyote and native am culture. navajo. hopi. AZ native who has known and been friends with navajos in particular.
And you’re right that making big decisions without making sure that Kyrie will be OK with them – really stupid if that happened. Leading me to wonder how it could have happened. Dialing it back a bit …
Hiring Nash without Kyrie’s input. I’m imagining some kind of perfect storm allowing that to happen. A phone call and or email got lost and Nets front office assumed Kyrie liked Nash as a coach for some reason. Maybe Kyrie left a voicemail saying something that sounded like “Nash is great” when he really said “Nash is cheese plate”.
Seriously, being flippant about all this is the best we can do. Right?
While I think the Nets situation will be interesting and competitive going forward, I don’t think that’s the story here. Unfortunately for the West I think the story is that the Rockets have played the league like a drum. A story with irony: the Rockets are stockpiling assets the way Ainge stockpiled them, but Ainge planned his future around Kyrie. Kyrie and then Anthony Davis who chose against the Celtics to be with the guy Kyrie didn’t want to be with.
I think Ainge was tremendously unlucky. He wasn’t stupid. Kyrie looked the part and Ainge found a great opportunity to cash in. How would he know that his hand would turn up … Ricky Williams?
The Rockets have made solid moves recently. While the Suns and Warriors (‘my’ teams) are years ahead of them I don’t think that many years. Houston now has a lot of talent, options, assets and future.
FWIW, the Chuckster said that the KD/Kyrie/Harden triumvirate will not work. Of course, Barkley also came out yesterday and said athletes should be allowed to get the COVID vaccine early because they pay more in taxes. Idiotic statements aside, I think Chuck is probably right about the Nets and the Rockets may be counting on it so that the draft picks and swaps become very valuable. The question will be whether the Rockets’ new brain trust can take advantage of that if it happens. The last really good Rockets draft pick was Capela in 2014 (pick #25). They don’t have a good history of drafting in the last decade. New GM Rafael Stone was Morey’s top assistant. Can he do a better drafting job than Morey?
The triumvirate is unlikely to work because of Kyrie, but the Nets will likely be a top 2 seed in the East regardless. They won’t win a championship this year unless KD does it all on both ends. Possible if his body holds up.
Listening to Amin Elhassan today I’m convinced that Oladipo won’t stay in Houston. The round table discussion there (Sirius NBA Radio) was directed at the Houston front office who took this deal because they refused to work with Morey. So this was the next best thing according to these guys who all would have traded for Ben Simmons a month ago. Elhassan was saying that the deal reeked of the owner mandating “won’t do a deal unless we get back an all-star”. Hence Oladipo who probably won’t stick around.
The league has changed considerably. The % of talented players who also know how to play has skyrocketed.
That’s the 01/14/21 headline here anyhow. Whether it’s premature is irrelevant, because it’ll be obvious and appropriate soon enough.
Stuff like the the following seems to be the twice-a-week norm now 10 games + after the season has begun. I don’t see this as COVID related, but roster management related. I’m not surprised to see this from the Raptors. Is anyone else for that matter?
If this is a fluke he’ll have to prove it . That’s one hell of an outrageous line for someone on a team that has a franchise player at the same position.
C. Boucher PF 30 8-12 2-4 7-8 4 6 10 2 1 2 1 2 +1 25
Boucher had other great games this season. One with 7 blocks vs. Spurs. I’m seeing other young big men doing some damage offensively as well. Would be great to see the big wing/PF position become something more than it has been. Like the PG position has become and how the center position appears to be “coming back”.
I’m trying to re-imagine a league with a Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Chris Webber, Sean Kemp, Amare Stoudemire, Anthony Davis and Bam Adebayo all at once. We’re far away from that right now, but in a couple years? Begs a question about Wiseman. He’s quick and agile for the huge size, and he also looks to have ball handling skills. Clearly has the brain. Could he have the physical impact of Adebayo in a larger frame while having the court vision of something close to Dray Green? Basically a huge PF?
Maybe the best thing about Wiseman is his willingness to learn. The reports about the Warriors say that Draymond is schooling Wiseman (and Wiggins) on and off the court, particularly on defense, but also about where he needs to be in the offensive sets. Wiseman is currently 8th in the league in blocks despite playing just 21 minutes per game. On offense, we’re beginning to see Draymond set up Wiseman for some alley oops. Unlike Oubre, Wiseman only shoots 3s when he’s wide open and is hitting them at 40% rate so far. Wiseman still has a lot to learn. He holds the ball too low for his size and gets stripped too often when bringing the ball up in traffic. But if Wiseman can learn to have 75% of the court presence that Draymond has, he will be a beast.
That holding the ball low thing … recently I’ve seen that last less than 6 months. He won’t be doing that by the playoffs:-)
Harden’s 1st game with the Nets was a success…I guess. Triple-double with 4 steals, but with usual inefficient shooting and 9 turnovers. I did not see the game, so I don’t know if this was usual ball-hog Harden or if he was sharing the load more. From the stats, I’m guessing it was Harden as usual. KD was his usual top-flite self with 42 pts, but Kyrie still isn’t back. Don’t know when the big 3 will first play together.
Haven’t looked either, but I like it for a few reasons. First, he took the right # of shots relative to KD (18 to 26). Second KD still was able to dish out 5 dimes. I’d like to know how he got those assists. Third, if this same thing happens again soon I hope it sends a strong message to Kyrie that he’s not needed for primary ball handling.
Wishful thinking I’m guessing.
Just a few catchup notes …
– Zion continued his very high % game last night: 13-15 FG, 5-5 FT, 6 REB, 2TOs, 31 PTS
– Caris Levert is out indefinitely after a small mass was found on his kidney
– Kyrie may or may not play tonight. Clearly this is not political anymore. My guess is it relates to Harden trade and/or …
Applying Occam’s Razor: He apparently wasn’t happy about (something) surrounding the Nash hire. Could simply be that he wasn’t consulted, but I doubt it matters. Now he has Nash and whoever else designing the team around Harden *as they must do to some extent*.
Is possible to imagine any version of Kyrie that wouldn’t have a problem with someone else designing the offense for a team where he is PG? He seems to have many issues. Could be some bi-polar in there. Borderline personality. We don’t know, but sure seems like he has a problem with people (e.g. LeBron) acting like they’re his superiors or just trying to manage him.
While I agree that Marks would have been stupid to not discuss the Nash hire with Kyrie, it’s done. If Kyrie won’t let it go that’s a big thing for everyone on the team to know now rather than later. If it really is the case just bench him or tell him not to return.
The mass on LeVert’s kidney was found during his physical when he was joining the Pacers. I’m kind of wondering why the trade went through after that. These kinds of surprises in physicals generally kill trades, but the Pacers said they were okay with the trade even though they have no idea of when LeVert will return to the Court. Makes me think that the “cash considerations” that the Pacers got in the deal were more important to them than LeVert.
I assumed they would wait for the biopsy and if benign could be an easy removal and short (like less than a couple weeks?) timeframe before he gets on court. if not benign I’m guessing they would renegotiate?
I think its too late to renegotiate now. They okayed the trade after the physical. Although there is no timetable for his return yet, I guess the Pacers think LeVert will be okay soon enough or they just don’t care because LeVert was gravy in the deal and they really wanted to get rid of Oladipo.
Nice story from Stephen Jackson today about Kyrie Irving buying a house for George Floyd’s family. This meant a great deal to Jackson because Floyd was a childhood friend of his. I’m unclear about when Kyrie did this, but sometime since Floyd’s death last May.
Meanwhile, Kyrie will miss tonight’s game against the Bucks (4:30 Pacific time on TNT), the 7th consecutive game he has missed. However, I think tonight’s absence is part of his required quarantine after violating league COVID rules at his sister’s birthday party. Irving may be back for a road trip this week.
Seems like it might be a (very) important topic going forward so I’m going to stay on it this way …
What’s significant about Kyrie’s behavior? Let’s say he plays this week and plays well. And they win the next 3 out of 4 spreading the wealth as could be expected. What happens next?
I think the most significant repercussion of Kyrie’s behavior relates to how the Nets ready for the playoffs. Nash and D’Antoni will want some sort of agreed upon game plan that must center around KD. I’m sure Kyrie understands this, but as the time approaches will he _ _ _ _ _?
I’m not sure how many blanks to fill in. Will he still take as many shots as KD? Will he often leave Harden out of possessions entirely Will he start jacking up 3s like Harden?
While I never consider Trae Young a stat stuffer, and definitely not tonight, if you’re trying to stuff it this might be one of the most difficult ways …
T. Young 3-8 FG, 2-5 3FG, 12-13FT, 8 RB, 13 AS, 3 ST, 20 PT
Six TOs but this is a great stat line leading to a win. I like that he took only 5 threes telling me he got to the FT line off of drives and mid-range jumpers.
Saw most of the Dub-Lakers game. Much like the recent Clippers game, great comeback by the Dubs in the 2nd half for the win. Down by 16 at the half, down by 11 at the end of the 3rd, they outscored the Lakers by 13 in the 4th. A few observations:
– Oubre still isn’t shooting well from the arc, but he is a huge lift on defense. The Warriors put him on LeBron tonight and he harried LBJ into poor shots and 5 turnovers, including a critical one late in the game.
– last year, Paschall started a fair amount, but he’s been the 6th man this year and is the main scoring option with the second unit and he looks really good in that role. All of his shooting averages are up from last year.
– the Warriors are figuring out how to beat the double and triple teams on Steph. He had some really nice break the pressure passes out to Draymond, who is essentially directing a 4-on-3 when that happens and that is gold for him.
– LBJ, AD, and Gasol pretty much ate Wiseman alive. Not too surprising given their experience and his youth. He had five fouls in just 13 minutes. As a result, the Warriors had no height to compete with the Lakers big men and they got outrebounded 50-32 (AD with 17!).
– the Lakers have no passers on their bench. Without LBJ or Schroder (and to a lesser extent AD) on the court, the ball does not move well. The Warriors comeback was driven by the 2nd unit just crushing the Lakers bench at the beginning of the 4th quarter. Dubs had 14 assists from the bench, the Lakers just 5.
In the same order …
really awesome news about Oubre. he needs something big to be proud of and identify with. if he’s the de facto LBJ harrier and gets people talking. like considering him for 1st defensive team … maybe everything else will fall into place and he’ll stop the ridiculous 3PT shooting
I assumed this would be the case for Paschall. Probably from what you’ve told me. No surprise there, right?
Steph is not only going to be in his best shape ever, but come playoffs they’re all going to be so much better at this “Reggie Miller” type of game. I’m seeing bounce passes in the lane to cutting/slashing Oubre, Wiggins and Wiseman as a Dubs staple. And of course, Steph as your 20-21 MVP:-)
Not sure what you mean by no passers on the bench. Caruso, Cook and Dudley pass well which is the #1 or #2 reason that I claimed earlier that the Lakers are deep. Do you mean from last night they didn’t suit up? Maybe I’m wrong about Cook?
Cook and Dudley barely play, each averaging less than 4 minutes per game and not at all in close games like last night. Caruso is perhaps the best passer off the bench, the only bench guy averaging more than 2 assists per game. But a lot of those assists come from him playing with 1st unit guys like LBJ and AD. All he has to do is give up the ball to one of those guys to get an assist. You don’t really see him creating for others much. The Warriors have 7 bench players who average more than 1 assist per game in their limited minutes. The Lakers have just 4 with 2 of them, Caruso and Kuzma getting a lot of their minutes with LBJ and AD. When LBJ and AD are out of the game, the Lakers offense gets stagnant.
I’m guessing Dudley gets good minutes as the playoffs approach and you’ll see his passing game play a good part of the bench. Assuming he’s healthy and I think he is. Not sure what the plans are for Cook – just in case of an injury I guess.
While I agree they could use another passing presence (beyond Dudley and especially if Cook isn’t going to be integral to their playoff plans), I’ve watched Caruso play quite a bit, and the lack of his playmaking is less due to ability and more due to his role when out there with other playmakers. If the Lakers want to head into the playoffs with Caruso as primary ball handler and distributer of the bench squad they’ll be fine IF there’s someone else on the court with passing skills. So if that doesn’t include any of the starters then I agree they need someone younger than Dudley if Cook isn’t getting minutes. That he isn’t surprises me a bit I suppose. Maybe they’ll ramp up his minutes just in case there’s an injury?
Re: the Harden-KD duo in the win over the Bucks last night, Harden took more shots than KD which I don’t like in general but I saw how it unfolded last night and it made sense: early on KD was missing his shots and Harden was making so that probably accounts for the disparity right there with KD deferring to Harden. That and the fact that KD played fewer minutes due to foul trouble. Great win for the Nets.
I just saw that surgery on Dinwiddie’s ACL means he’s out for the season. I don’t believe that, since we don’t know what the season even means. I’m not expecting playoffs to start until after late May so … we’ll see.
I didn’t see a whole lot of the Bucks-Nets game, only about 15 minutes or so of it. Still saw too much of Harden walking around the perimeter when he doesn’t have the ball. However, Harden does have a Rodman-like sense for where rebounds are going. I saw him miss one three, but he flashed across the top of the arc to snag the long rebound. He was moving to where the ball would come down before the ball clanked off the rim. Then he immediately fired a pass to a wide open KD for a 3. I’d like to see more effort from Harden when he doesn’t have the ball, but can’t fault his court sense when he does have the ball. If we get Kyrie back in upcoming games, we’ll see if the trio can be happy together on the court. If they can operate together, I see a lot of open 3s for Joe Harris in the future.
I’m assuming that Dinwiddie’s surgery cut out the old tendon even though it was only partially torn. If not I’m not sure what else they could do in surgery that would keep him out all year.
The surgery was termed an ACL reconstruction surgery. I don’t know what is involved in that, but apparently a reconstruction instead of an ACL repair surgery means the recovery will take longer. Before the surgery, Dinwiddie said he was hopeful of coming back this season and has probably already started rehab. Brooklyn has not yet applied for the disabled player exemption. If they do and it gets granted, Dinwiddie would not be allowed to return this season.
Game 1 of the big 3 era in Brooklyn began tonight on the road in Cleveland. Harden had a triple-double while only taking 14 shots in 51 minutes. KD had a near triple-double on 25 shots in 50 minutes (plus 4 blocks and a steal). Kyrie took the most shots, 28, and managed 3 blocks and a steal. Clearly, Harden was willing to take a back seat on shooting to both Kyrie and KD. On Day 1 anyway.
Despite all this, the Nets lost to the Cavs in OT. I didn’t see the game, so not entirely sure what happened. Sexton went off for 42 points and Jarrett Allen contributed a double-double off the bench against his former team. Mostly though, the Cavs shot the ball really well (50% from the arc, 51.4% overall), so Nets defense apparently wasn’t good.
I believe this was textbook “we got this” by the Nets, as they went into the 4th Q 9 pts ahead only to give it all back to head into OT. But the two Cavs you mentioned were huge obviously. I wonder what’s gotten into Sexton. 5-11 3PG. 1 TO. Didn’t see that coming.
Wish I could have been there to hear the Nets locker room after. Is Kyrie the one who starts talking as if he’s the leader saying what they all need to do next time? In any case, hard to see how the Nets lost that outside of Sexton’s performance. I see that Deandre Jordon played only 24 mins with only 2 fouls. I guess the Nets were going small ball vs. the wrong team?
KD got the night off in the Nets’ 2nd straight game against the Cavs. Harden again took just 14 shots (while dishing 11 assists) and Kyrie took 24 shots and scored 38 points. So again, Harden looks like he is deferring to Kyrie as the main shooter. And again, the Nets managed to lose to the Cavs. Sexton put up 25 pts and 9 assists. Drummond and Allen combined for 38 pts and 22 rebounds. The Cavs are 8-7 and might just be a playoff team in the weak east. I did not expect this.
After two losses to the Love-less Cavs, the Nets came home and beat a Butler-less (and Herro-less) Heat team. This time, Harden took just 8 shots despite a team-high 38 minutes played. KD, Kyrie, and even Joe Harris took more shots. Harden also had double-digit assists again. Harden had a terrible shooting night, 8 of his 12 pts came from the charity stripe and he was 0-5 from the arc. I wonder if he realized that his shot wasn’t there tonight, so he decided he shouldn’t be shooting.
I’m incredibly confused by the trade the more I learn about it. I didn’t realize just how decimated their lineup is and how (I assume) little they have to bolster the defense, especially the big hole left by Allen.
Irving is playing well. Imagine what they can get for him on the market. It’s so obvious, and I’m sure this is what Nash and D’Antoni would want in a perfect world. As if anyone is consulting them that is.
Nash & D’Antoni may want it, but would KD want it? KD and Kyrie are buds and KD signed with the Nets in order to play with Kyrie. It might not sit well with KD to trade Kyrie now when they’ve barely played together.
I was finally able to watch a Suns game last night (only saw parts but that’s a lot more than short snippets I’d seen before then). CP3 and Ayton do really well together. Ayton could be in the MIP race too I suppose. He’ll win without question if he keeps it up.
Saw much of tonight’s Nuggets-Suns game. In the first half, Chris Paul was dishing out assists like they were going out of style (14) and Bridges, Booker & Kaminsky were draining 3s. Ayton was dominating in the paint. They ran out to a 14-pt lead at half-time. The 2nd half was a completely different game. The Suns couldn’t hit any shots, Paul had just 1 assist after halftime, and they committed 10 turnovers in the 4th quarter alone. The Nuggets kept feeding Jokic in the paint after he got switched off onto a smaller defender and he ate the smaller defenders alive. Usually comebacks are fed by 3-pt frenzies, but the Nuggets’ comeback was largely made up of shots in the paint. They tied it at the end of regulation (actually briefly took a lead with Suns managing to tie it back up) and kept it up in OT for the win. I’m certain the Nuggets worked out some changes at half-time, but the Suns need to be able to adapt. The two teams play again in Phoenix tomorrow night.
While we watch what’s unfolding in Brooklyn I can’t help thinking there’s something similar going on in Phoenix. I knew Paul would come in with a leader mentality and presence, but I didn’t think he’d be so dominant in these respects that Booker would become little more than a shooting guard getting the ball later in the clock (way more often than in previous years). The parallel is with Kyrie: the dominant presence that’s (apparently) hard to “lessen” for lack of a better word.
Did Monty Williams and Booker tell Paul this is now his team or something to that effect? I hope not, because it isn’t. Paul has never been as good a player as Booker was last year, and that was with Booker creating a la Steph (or rather the best impression I’ve seen of him). What’s bugging me about these games early on is that if the idea is for Booker to be in control of the offense for at least the last 6 minutes of the game, the Suns need to practice that *throughout* the game not just at the end. The Suns are badly missing those Booker moments earlier in the game where he destroys defenses with his movement, passing, driving.
I’m not getting Monty Williams plan, if it is his plan. Or is CP3 doing what Kyrie is doing and just playing the way he thinks is best because that’s all he’s ever done? I realize that worked for Shai Alexander last year, but that kid is no Booker. Not even close – not yet anyhow.
Without Booker, who injured his hamstring near the end of last night’s game, the Suns took the Nuggets to OT again and…lost again. Looks like the Suns didn’t shoot particularly well. Meanwhile the Joker had a big 29 pt, 22 rebound double-double. Since I wasn’t able to see the game, I don’t know what happened in OT. But the night before it looked like the Nuggets’ experience was critical. The Suns need some experience in these tough situations. They’re gonna get better at it.
Without Booker AND Ayton who fouled out! Suns are very good and getting better. Booker is their biggest problem right now. Not a bad problem to have assuming it ends soon.
Looking around the league it’s possible that Dallas has had it the worst due to COVID restrictions. Dwight Powell is out again tonight. Porzingas probably as well. I think Boston is right up there with them. In any case, they should have a better record than they do. Possibly much better.
Kawhi almost a trip dub and no turnovers …
Kawhi is en route to one of his best seasons statistically. His assists, FT% and 3FG% are up. He’s rebounding less, but i assume there’s a good reason for that. Maybe protecting himself by staying out of the paint until playoffs? If they don’t land a PG like Lowry before the playoffs, makes sense to me that Lue and Billups would have him playing the role – they really need to keep the ball from sticking in George’s hands, even though George has been playing well. I’m not sure why this isn’t already the case.
quick observations after the weekends games …
– I’m throwing up my hands re: the MVP race prediction. Too many possibilities. Hayward and Giannis and Kawhi now that he’s playing back to backs. Add in Embiid, Curry, Jokic, LeBron. Even tho LeBron and Kawhi are probably long shots because of the talent on their teams, no reason to count them out yet.
– Somethin’s a brewin in Toronto. Not sure what it is exactly, but they’ve got talent that seems ready to bust out. With Lowry and Siakam missing the game last night v. Pacers, Anunoby went off, Powell had a great night and Boucher continues to play well. Van Vleet was solid. It seems these guys have all the ingredients to assist Siakam as he tries to develop his game. Or change his game. Or even just come off the bench to do something, whatever it is.
– Outstanding shooting night for Jaylen Brown. 33 pts, 2 stls, 1 to, 3 rebs
I’ve still got Jokic in the driver’s seat. He is a half-assist away from averaging a triple double. However, there are, as you noted, a LOT of players who look like they are in the MVP hunt right now.
Toronto get very little scoring after their top 6 guys. That lack of depth doesn’t bode well in this year of COVID protocols. They are also essentially playing the entire year on the road since NBA teams can’t enter Canada. Their “home” games are in Tampa. Since this is a one-year temporary situation, that likely means players are living out of Tampa hotels or rental units instead of their normal homes. I’m guessing all this is the reason why they started the season so badly.
Ahhh, but that’s why I mention the Raptors! With all this, and the fact that Siakam has badly underperformed they have FOUR guys not named Lowry or Siakam or Ibaka or Gasol who are playing better than just good basketball. There are probably 25 teams in the league that don’t have that going right now. I think it means a lot for their future and maybe even this season’s playoffs. At the very least they know they won’t miss much if Lowry moves on, and while I doubt Siakam is going anywhere it takes the pressure off him to be even a top 3 scorer. As soon as Lowry can be traded they need to do it and get back a body or a pick.
ah … you must have thought I meant “in” Toronto to mean in the city. Nope. In, On, Run … all those fun words with about 20 meanings each. Great for us. Bad for people trying to learn our language;-)
Actually, didn’t even realize you had said “in” Toronto. Was only noting that Toronto’s lack of depth after the top 6, their season on the road, and COVID protocols make it unlikely that they get very far in the playoffs this year (I do think they’ll make the playoffs since the East is still pretty weak). If they trade Lowry without getting a significant player back, that’ll make their chances of success this year even less.
That being said, I could still see them trading Lowry. They may figure their chances of getting far this year are minimal anyway, so trade Lowry for picks and see if they can develop any others on their current roster into something useful. If not, they’ll know who to cut ties with after the season.
Nice box score for the Dubs, even though they played against the second string last night (Wolves). I especially like that Oubre played a great game in 28 minutes and took only 9 shots. 4 asts, 3 stls, 1 blk, 1 to
Last night’s Dubs-Wolves game was the first meeting of the top 2 picks in this year’s draft. This is the first time I’ve gotten a chance to see Anthony Edwards play. He was…underwhelming. His shot is horrible. He needs a lot of work to become a threat from anywhere outside of about 10 feet. He is extremely athletic and quick, so his drive to the hoop game is quite good. However, to defend him right now, you just cut off his lanes to the basket and dare him to shoot from outside.
The T’Pups played without Towns or Russell last night, so the outcome was all but preordained. However, they’ve got a lot of scrappy players on their team, play really good defense, and move just as much on offense as the Dubs, albeit without the shooting ability of the Dubs. If they can play with the same intensity with Towns & Russell, they’ll be a better team than they’ve shown so far.
Have to say the surprise of the season so far is just how good Andrew Wiggins has been playing. Knew about his scoring ability, but he’s shooting 3s much better than before. However, it is his defense that stands out. He uses his length to great advantage to get blocks (currently 6th in the league) and has been the one guarding the other team’s top shooter in the closing minutes of close games. He needs to work on his FT shooting, but I have been pleasantly impressed by him so far.
Wiggins has been a top defender in the NBA every year since his first. On occasion. And often for only a quarter at a time, but every now and then for 40 minutes. But the defensive presence has always been the primary asset you hope to get from him consistently. Typically I see the great play both offensively and defensively last 2 weeks at a time. Then something happens – no one seems to know what. If that “mood swing” or whatever is going to change it will be with the Warriors. I’m liking what I’m seeing so far, but we’ll see what happens after he has his next bad game. Seems like he hasn’t yet.
That is to say, I think every coach (and likely teammates) have no reason to consider him much of a force offensively and certainly never a player you’d draw up plays for. You’d like him to be a Shawn Marion type that plays conservatively while crashing the boards and taking only high % shots. There’s been no sign of Wiggins having the mental ability to focus like that. Almost like he’s stoned much of the time.
The two plays beginning at 1:41 of this vid clip might be interesting to note. The first has Irving left in no man’s land as harden is double teamed. I guess the double team is to get the ball out of his hands? In any case Irving and KD are on the same side and Harden is patient to recognize the opening. Again, not sure what double teaming him does unless they tried everything else by that point in the game. The play that follows is what I’m hoping to see a lot of this season. Dribble penetrate a la Steph and Kawhi to about 18 feet and see how the defense reacts. I don’t know why Harden doesn’t attempt this on almost every one of his possessions.
Last night’s Nets’ game had a realistic shot distribution pattern for the big 3. Durant with 26 shots, Harden with 20, and Irving with 17. They combined for 89 points total. If they can keep up the relatively equal shot distribution with KD getting a few more because he’s the best shooter, maybe all 3 egos can stay happy. On the down side of that, even though the Nets won the game in OT, it was the Hawks who took them to OT and the big 3 had a negative plus/minus, except for KD who was only +2. Joe Harris who only managed 6 pts and missed all 3 of his 3-pt attempt, was nonetheless a +18 during his time on the floor. I guess he spent more time with the back-ups who did well against the Hawks’ reserves.
We have the saying, “Steph Curry doing Steph Curry things,” which typically means Steph pulling up from 30+ feet and draining 3-pointers. Perhaps we also need the saying, “Nikola Jokic doing Nikola Jokic things,” which would typically mean Jokic throwing a long pass for an assist. We saw that long bounce pass through traffic earlier this season. Then there’s this from last night:
That’s Montana to Rice for a TD there. Watch the 2nd replay of it on the clip to see Jokic’s soccer skills before in-bounding the ball.
Nice. He’s pretty amazing, and I’m guessing they go on a winning streak soon because of it. Nuggets play Jazz this Sunday – should be a great test for both teams. I assume Mitchell will be back from concussion protocol by then.
The Suns play Warriors tonight. Not sure if Booker will play, but take a look at a guy on the Suns named Nader. Big guard who seems pretty solid defensively. Playing well but only a 5 game sample. From Egypt 2nd round pick by the Celtics 4 years ago. Really early, but seems like he’s giving the Suns pretty close to what I thought Haliburton might give them. That’s assuming he keeps hitting his shots.
Booker has been declared out for tonight’s game. That’s too bad. Warriors will be on 2nd night of back-to-back with travel included. Hopefully we get a good game nonetheless.
I didn’t think much of the Jazz beat down on Dallas last night until I saw that Mitchell didn’t play. Conley and Clarkson are stepping up. Ingles played his usual part. Gobert was solid again. Bogdanovic excellent.
One thing I haven’t liked about the Jazz is the lack of consistent PG play, and in particular because Mitchell has the ball in his hands so much and he hasn’t shown to be much of a playmaker. With the lineup playing last night it’s easy to wonder if Mitchell should touch the ball less, or rather play more of a slasher move-without-the -ball guy, because when he’s dominant then Bogdanovic in particular is less involved. If they can figure this out then Snyder deserves the early coach of the year billing he’s getting.
So Mitchell played tonight and the Jazz got crushed by the Nuggets. Mitchell played poorly, 3 of 12 shooting for 13 pts with 3 assists, 1 rebound, and 5 TOs. Conley didn’t shoot any better, but did dish out 8 assists.
Jokic must be a nightmare for Gobert to defend. Gobert doesn’t like to stray far from the basket, but Jokic can shoot from anywhere. The Nuggets impressively had 5 guys with at least 5 assists.
Step aside Mr. Wiseman – LaMelo has leapfrogged you by a wide margin in the ROY race. Some of his stat lines are efficiently good, and when they lead to wins like over the Bucks last night …
I always take the +/- stat with a grain of salt, because it’s usually not that meaningful on a single game basis, but this line is worth looking at with the +37 from last night:
L. Ball 31mins 8-10 2-3 9-9 5rebs 9asst 4stls 1to. +37 27pts
If Charlotte is really interested in moving up in the East there’s really no time like now to get this team into a “conf finals or bust” mentality. I don’t see that being possible with Rozier, Graham and Ball all playing the same position. If Ball was a shooter then fine, but with those other two having big value I expect the feelers to be out for adding a big man in a mid season trade. Hard to say which team might be interested. Clippers and Knicks and Miami could use either Rozier or Graham. Maybe Raptors if Lowry moves on.
Well, Charlotte is playing Rozier at SG this season, with only Malik Monk behind him, so they can’t afford to get rid of him without getting another SG back. Of course, with Rozier at SG, the Hornets are extremely small in the backcourt when he and Graham play together, so I imagine that they must try to play him with Ball as much as possible. The Hornets really don’t have the guard depth to trade Graham or Rozier, so I’m guessing they won’t, but if they did, Graham is slated to be a free agent at the end of the season, so he may be more likely to go.
You made my point in your first few words: “Well, Charlotte is playing Rozier at SG this season …”
That’s the problem, and the biggest reason why I wrote what I did. That needs to change.
In other words, Rozier isn’t a SG. Graham isn’t a SG and Ball isn’t a SG. They all play the same position.
I agree that Rozier is not a SG. However, you were advocating trading one of Rozier or Graham for a big man and I was pointing out that, if they do, that puts them in a hole at guard. They would be filling one hole and creating another. I’m not against Charlotte trading one of them, but it might be better to trade one for a 3 and D guard, rather than a big man.
Gotcha, but Hayward can play SG with the right big added. He plays that role often enough. In any case without knowing who Charlotte might be targeting (if anyone) I suppose it’s just a guessing game.
The ending to last night’s Nets-Wizards game…
Beal and Westbrook making key shots doesn’t surprise me, but the kid who made the steal to set up Russ’ game-winner, Garrison Mathews, is on a two-way contract. Guys on two-way contracts are typically the last guys off your bench, but he was on the court in crunch time making a huge steal on a critical in-bounds play and finding Russ before he fell out of bounds. That’s your game ball right there.
Nice! After seeing the boxscore last night I had to wonder if Brooks is coaching Westbrook to go after the triple double season again even if it means inefficient shooting. He’s unlikely to get there since we’re too many games in, but it could be a good idea just to see where it takes the team and so Westbrook can learn to trust Beal by just passing the frickin ball instead of shooting 3s. Keeps Russ happy and a happy Russ is (probably) a happy team if it means he’s leading the charge.
Surprising that Harris was having an awesome game with 0 tos, until that last one. The Nets shot 53% threes with 36 attempts. Impressive stat, and Harris was the best of the bunch shooting 8-13.
James Wiseman has a sprained wrist and will miss 7-10 days. I think that means he misses the entire Texas trip (2 games vs. Mavs and 2 games vs. Spurs). Looney is the only other center on the roster and he’s only 6’9″, so I suspect we’ll see the Dubs play a lot of small ball with Paschall or Green as the “big man.” We’ll see if upcoming opponents like the Celtics (Taco Fall), Mavs (Cauley-Stein and Dwight Powell), and Spurs (Aldridge and Poetl) try to take advantage of the Warriors’ height deficiency.
Looney rolled his ankle in the first half tonight and left the game. Thus, for the remainder of the game, the tallest players on the Warriors was 6’7″ (Wiggins and Oubre). Not too surprisingly, the Celtics outrebounded the Dubs 51-36.
damn. i was sure warriors would win, as Curry looked to be on a mission just before I went to bed.
so what to do? seems like going after the highest seed in the West doesn’t get you anything. I’d say they should use the rest of the season to develop players, but Oubre’s the one who needs it most – just not sure
how much he CAN develop. meanwhile there’s a trade deadline approaching. Maybe Dubs should trade Oubre and another for one of the Charlotte guards?
Pretty sure the Warriors are already viewing this as a development season to see where Wiggins and Oubre in particular are and to figure out how to best use Wiseman. I doubt management has any illusions of being a championship team this year, though they are probably hoping to at least be a playoff team.
Looney has a sprained left ankle and will miss at least the next few games. Even if the Warriors sign a new big man, he would have to go through COVID protocols before he could join the team, which would take about a week. So it looks like the Dubs will be going through their 4-game Texas trip playing Green and Paschall at center. Nothing but small ball for now.
Curry was his usual brilliant self, but the Celtics in the 2nd half finally did what other teams have been doing…throw 2nd and 3rd defenders at him whenever he had the ball. Make anybody but Steph beat you. The Warriors made it close in the end, but with no Wiseman or Looney to defend, the Celtics were attacking the basket a lot.
Nice finish by the Suns and a great way for Booker to get off the schneid. And Chris Paul who now re-enters the MVP race with one of the best games of his career last night. That’s two games in a row he has won for the Suns, or in this case made possible the winning 3 by Booker.
BTW, Booker was really stinking it up for most of the game last night. he was the reason they were in the hole to begin with – horrible shooting. I haven’t seen his 4th quarter stats but they must have been excellent.
Looks like you were right about Harden being too smart not to adjust his game in Brooklyn. He continues to let KD and Kyrie take most of the shots (KD only took 13 shots tonight, but made 11 of them), while still dishing and rebounding like he did before. Harden will end up averaging 7-10 points less per game, so as long as he is okay with that, Brooklyn will thrive.
I replayed this several times. This is among the best offensive sequences I’ve ever seen. Like watching LeBron or Nash or Magic take complete control of the opponent’s defense. Outstanding …
Well, whoever posted this on youtube didn’t get the significance of the SETUP for this play. The several seconds prior to harden’s drive was masterful how he patiently directed both Jordan and waited for the defense to succumb to the inevitable. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXGzRZK8h6c
By the way, all three players are at MVP levels right now. Crazy how good Kyrie has been in particular.
One stat I think the NBA world should be watching closely: Harden’s 3FG %
Kyrie’s % is better or rather has been. It’s clearly amazing right now, but what’s missing is that Harden was taking difficult 3s trying to draw fouls. A lot of them. So if he takes 50% less of those while the defense needs to back off him more than ever … I expect his % to come up while Kyrie’s 3FG% has to come down eventually (doesn’t it??).
So what happens when Harden’s 3FG% surpasses Kyrie’s? Does Harden start shooting more?
Durant and Kyrie like to come down court and jack up 28 footers before the defense gets set. There are going to be nights when one or both of those guys keep making those. Have to wonder if Harden will just watch it happen or join the party. He did that at least once last night after Kyrie did it and made it.
Why would Harden’s 3FG% pass Kyrie’s? Harden has been a consistent career 36% 3-pt shooter. He’s shooting at 38% right now with the Nets. I doubt we would expect him to get significantly better at this point. Kyrie is at 39% for his career, but closer to 40-41% over the past 5 years. His near 45% this year may be unsustainable, but he probably gets better looks this year with the other team also having to contend with KD, Harden, and Harris on the floor. In any event, I expect Kyrie’s 3FG% to stay higher than Harden’s throughout the year.
by taking better 3pt shots which he can do now. in other words, has better options for getting rid of the ball earlier – before he takes a bad 3 with shot clock running down.
That assumes that Harden has been taking mostly poor 3-pt shots for 10+ years, which isn’t the case. Harden’s always been good about getting good looks much of the time and defenses have been more willing to let him shoot the long ball rather than letting him drive and shoot or dish. I think Harden’s shooting percentage is what it is at this point.
I disagree. Obviously. Doesn’t matter, because the point was to ask a question rather than make a prediction. (note that I don’t expect his 3pt % to surpass Kyrie’s – I certainly never wrote that I did anyhow). There isn’t a good set of data to compare with this case regardless: someone in their prime changes their game and takes fewer shots.
For some reason I think of Reggie Miller, and what his 3pt % might be if he moved to another team alongside another great 3 pt shooter (or two). He was always taking tough contested shots. They needed him to on those Pacers teams. One reason he took so many is to try and draw fouls. Those shots are more difficult than the rest, but the payoff comes at the line. On many of those shots the foul was NOT called though. This is my Harden comparison: many of his 3pt attempts are to try and draw fouls on tough shots. If the foul isn’t called he will have taken a bad shot and likely missed it more often than good shots.
He doesn’t need to take as many of those shots now relative to before. Not % wise, because he’s more likely to get rid of the ball or drive before he’s in that situation.
But mostly there just isn’t a precedent for a shooter in his prime to start taking way fewer shots.
Another argument that’s related goes the other way: good shooters that take few shots *likely* have higher shooting % than if they took more shots. There’s something obvious that shouldn’t need to be explained about that. I think of John Stockton and the question often asked about why he didn’t shoot more since he was obviously a good mid range shooter. Easy answer: shooting more means a higher % of his shots are more difficult. He was so super efficient he only wanted to take good shots. Hornacek also comes to mind. Why didn’t that guy lead the league in scoring ever? Why weren’t his teammates constantly feeding him? Because as good as he was he didn’t take that many tough contested shots.
After writing so much I see there was no reason for it, because stats in this case make my point. Clearly even. Likely that Harden will surpass Irving? I don’t know. I won’t bet on it, but it’s possible enough to render my part of this discussion plausible. Look at the links below …
In 2011-12 Harden took a good % fewer 3FGs and had a higher % than in any year following. He made 39% of his 3s in that season.
In 2019-20 irving took more 3FGs than ever in his career and his 3FG % was its lowest ever at 39.4%.
So looks like my guesswork is better than just the hunch that it was, but I still won’t make a prediction simply because Irving is playing outstanding ball right now. We’ll see if he can keep it up.
I don’t think those stat lines help the argument as much as you think. In 2011-12, Harden was the 6th man coming off the Thunder bench. He took less 3 pt shots because he was only playing 31 minutes a night instead of the 36-38 minutes a night he played in Houston. Take a look instead at the 2016-17 season when his 3PT% was 34.7% on 9.3 attempts per game and compare it to the next three years when he shot considerably more 3s per game and connected at a higher rate.
As for Kyrie, he played just 20 games in an injury-filled season last year. The difference between his 7.1 attempts per game for those 20 games last year and other years is statistically insignificant because it doesn’t reflect what the number of attempts per game might have been over a full season. A few games with a lot of attempts would skew the overall average in a small sample size. In fact, I looked at his game logs and he had 4 games with 12 3-pt attempts in those 20 games he played. Over a full season, the number of attempts per game would likely have come down to around his career average. I would note that in those 4 games with 12 or more attempts, he connected on a 41.7% rate or better in three of them. Further, Irving’s overall percentage may have been down because he was playing through injuries in some of the few games that he played.
Ultimately though, I go back to my first point, but I’ll restate it another way. How many “bad” 3-pt attempts did Harden take per game where the foul was not called? I don’t think it happened enough to affect his shooting percentage that much. And after 12 years in the league taking a lot of 3-pt shots, I don’t think Harden will get significantly better at shooting them now.
As I stated, I disagree and probably mostly because I DID see him take a lot that were not called a foul. It’s probably the biggest reason I didn’t like watching Rockets’ games: jacking up shots hoping the guy would reach. sometime he did and fouled and sometimes not. he wouldn’t have taken the shot otherwise. that’s what he does.
While we’re on the subject of 3PT%, what is up with Luka Doncic? His rookie year, he shot 32.7% from the arc. Not great, but not bad and you would expect that he would improve. However, in year 2, he dropped to 31.6% and this year, he’s shooting just 29% so far. His 2PT% went up from year 1 to year 2 and while it has dropped somewhat this year, it’s still better than in his rookie. His FT% has gone up every year so far. So overall, he is improving his shooting percentage, except from long range. I don’t see the Mavs play enough to know what the issue might be.
Maybe he’s on the Booker-Plan: losing so much weight is killing his game? kind of just kidding, but Booker looks too thin and his game isn’t what it was. who knows.
I was expecting the Warriors to get rolled tonight by the Mavs. Wiseman and Looney are out and then earlier today it was announced that Paschall wouldn’t play because of a knee issue. So an already height deficient team got even smaller. The Mavs meanwhile have three 7-footers in Porzingis, Cauley-Stein, and Marjanovic, plus a 6’10” Dwight Powell.
The first half was a scoring fest with the Mavs ending up ahead 76-74. However, the Mavs don’t look to be as conditioned as the Dubs. The Warriors ran them into the ground in the 3rd, outscoring the Mavs by 16. Then the 2nd team extended the lead in the 4th, outscoring the Mavs by 17. Warriors scored 147 overall to the Mav’s 116. Steph and Dray didn’t have to play at all in the 4th.
Steph had a good game, but it was Kelly Oubre who went off with a career high 40 points, including going 7 of 10 from the 3-pt line. Overall, the Dubs shot better than 50% from both inside and outside the arc. They got a lot of open shots as the Mavs defenders just couldn’t keep up with the constantly moving Dubs’ players. Draymond hasn’t had a particularly good season, but he had 11 pts and 15 assists tonight. He was basically playing point center.
I mentioned earlier that Doncic’s 3-pt shooting is getting worse, what I didn’t realize until watching the game is how bad the Mavs have been shooting the long ball. While they did fairly well tonight (40% from 3), they are dead last, by a large margin, in 3PT% in the league. They are missing Seth Curry, who shot better than 45% last year. Given how bad their long-distance shooting has been, you might have expected the Mavs to take advantage of their size advantage tonight, but outside of Porzingis, the other 3 big guys played a total of 27 minutes and took just 6 shots. The Mavs should have been feeding big guys in the paint all night, but I think they were afraid of the Dubs’ offense running circles around the big guys on defense. However, in doing so, they allowed the Warriors to dictate the fast-paced tempo. They shouldn’t have tried to keep up the fast pace and should have slowed the game down. I suspect we’ll see the Mavs play a completely different team when the teams meet again on Saturday.
What surprises me a bit is that Dray had this great game that coincides with Oubre’s career night, but you say
Dray and Steph didn’t play in the 4th. Did Oubre keep his big game going in the 4th as well?
Yes. Because the Warriors only dressed 9 players, Wiggins and Oubre started the 4th with the second unit while Steph and Dray rested. They would normally get inserted back into the game about midway in the 4th. Wiggins contributed 7 points in the 4th before Kerr pulled him with about 5 minutes left. Oubre played 9 minutes in the 4th going 3 for 4 overall and 2 of 3 from the arc for 8 points. He was pulled with about 3 minutes left.
Warriors-Mavs redux tonight. Another scoring fest with the Mavs eking out the 134-132 win. Steph went off, hitting 11 3-pointers and 57 points. Take a gander at the highlight reel. It’s all raining 3s and ridiculous drives to the basket.
Draymond racked up 15 assists again with 6 steals, but did have 7 TOs. However, the difference between this game and 2 days ago was the Mavs took much bigger advantage of their height advantage. They still took a lot of 3-pt shots, but inside the arc, they were posting up a lot. Porzingis in particular was backing down defenders for short turn-arounds. Luka got hot, dropping 42 pts. He even hit 7 3-pointers, but also worked on driving the lane to use his height against the smaller guards. They also rolled up 15 offensive rebounds. Essentially, they used their height like they should have in the first game. Even still, they only managed to win by two against a 9-man Warriors team. I know the Mavs have been hit hard by COVID this season, but they are a long way from being a playoff team right now.
Nice work by the Suns with 3 wins in 4 nights. Two of the wins were against teams they were supposed to beat, but I liked the way that they were able to adjust their offense and find different ways to win. Against the Pistons, it was Booker and Paul providing much of the offense with Ayton and Bridges cleaning up on the boards and playing really good defense on Blake Griffin. Against the Celtics (without Jaylen Brown), the offense was spread out amongst many players and surprisingly, it was Booker, not Paul, who was the playmaker, ending with 11 assists. Chris Paul missed the Cavs game with a hamstring issue, so Booker basically did it all, going off for 36 points while still dishing out 8 assists. Bridges had an efficient shooting game and Ayton continues to be a double-double machine. The Suns sit in 4th place in the West right now, but there’s only about 5 games separating 4th from 14th place. Seems like the Timberwolves are the only team in the West that is not in the playoff chase.
A few things to mention about the Suns …
First, I’ve forgotten that Saric isn’t playing and what an enormous hole that leaves vs. teams with big front lines. I’m not sure if they could have beaten the Pels in that game, but Saric would have made it closer. They were terrible defensively (and offensively which is my next point), and I turned it off before I realized what the problem was: no Saric and no Patrick Williams or Sadiq Bey or Jarrett Allen or … can go down this list forever without mentioning their first round pick – Jalen Smith. Halliburton appears to be #2 or #3 behind Ball for ROY. All they had to do was pick him and trade him or Bridges or Cam Johnson next year to get their defensive PF. Such an easy call. I need to assume that was an owner decision otherwise it’s too far fetched to believe that James Jones is the guy to get them to the next level.
Second, after that game I was really confused about the plan. I was never that excited about CP3 coming to the Suns, but until recently I could see the value he might bring as a longer term Suns player: scorer and stabilizer when needed, heady player that keeps the team on point and excellent influence for helping Ayton develop. What I didn’t get in that game was that CP3 is holding the ball for so long trying to do … something. Booker isn’t exactly LeBron or Curry or Kawhi, but CP3 should be playing EXACTLY the way he would play alongside those two guys. Meaning the more you hold onto the ball the less your best player is able to create and/or score.
The Suns are Booker’s team like Lakers are LeBrons, Warriors are Steph’s, Blazers are Lillards. I hope that’s Monty Williams’ and Paul’s understanding or … well I don’t get it otherwise. In any case, after that Pels game it’s all but clear that Booker needs to be creating for his team. Paul needs to play PG off the ball I think, at least for half the game. Somewhat like how Kyrie was playing alongside LeBron.
In any case, Suns might be 4th in the West but they’re in need of something else. A presence for lack of a better word. Someone like Dray Green I guess.
Don’t know if you saw Draymond’s blunder at the end of last night’s Dubs-Spurs game. First, the lead-up to it. With the Spurs clinging to a one-point lead, Dejounte Murray hits a great 3-pt shot with Wiggins in his face to put the Spurs up 4 with less than 13 seconds left. After a timeout to move the inbound up to the frontcourt, they run a pick play with Oubre setting the pick for Curry and Steph hits what is for him a fairly normal 3 point shot (but for anyone else is pretty amazing) to bring it back to 1 point with just over 9 seconds left. The Warriors immediately foul on the inbounds, but DeRozan had the ball, so you knew he wasn’t going to miss his foul shots. DeRozan hit both to put the Spurs up 3 with 8.7 seconds left. Warriors took another timeout to move up to the frontcourt again. It appears that they were running almost the exact same pick play for Steph again, this time with Draymond setting the pick. Howver, Steph couldn’t shake free of the defender. Go to the 7 minute mark of this highlight video to see all I have described above and then what happened on the final inbound play.
The ball got inbounded to Draymond, who has 8 seconds, plenty of time for him to get the ball to Steph for the shot. Except that Draymond immediately put up a shot from near midcourt and which wasn’t close to being good. He apparently thought that the Spurs defender would try to foul him on the floor to force two free throws instead of a potentially game-tying 3 pt shot. However, it is well known that Popovich instructs his team not to foul at all in those situations. Even the Warriors announcers were mentioning this before the play even happened, so how does Draymond, one of the smartest players around, not know that? Furthermore, even if Draymond got fouled on the play, what are the chances of him hitting all 3 free throws? He is a career 71% FT shooter who had just missed both free throws just a few minutes before when he got tackled going in for a breakaway dunk. Steve Kerr fell on his sword later and said it was his fault for not mentioning during the timeout that the Spurs don’t like to foul in that situation, but Draymond should already know that. I’m not used to seeing Draymond make such a dumb play.
Kerr should have made the call. At the very least to remind Dray, because even great players can get tired or confused in big moments. Bone headed definitely, but Kerr should have realized that Dray’s mistake was a possibility.
I like Oubre with 10 rebs in 34 mins knowing that he’s playing just as well defensively. He could do this almost every night if he wants to win, but seems more interested in jacking up his scoring.
I think Oubre is learning not to jack up so many shots when he’s on the court with Curry. He and/or Wiggins spend some time playing with the 2nd unit where he can get his fill of shooting.
Meanwhile in tonight’s game, Steph doing Steph things…
With tonight’s beatdown of the Spurs, the Dubs managed a 2-2 record in their 4-game swing through Texas without any player taller 6’7″. Further, they’ve taken 2 of 3 from the Spurs this season, so they will have the tie-breaker advantage against them in any playoff scenarios.
What’s the latest on Wiseman’s return?
I have not heard anything for several days. They originally said he would be reevaluated in 7-10 days. We are at 9 days, so I suspect that now that the Dubs have returned from Texas (Wiseman went on the trip), they will be re-evaluating him today. They play the Magic tomorrow night and the Nets on Saturday. I’m guessing he’ll be back for one of those games.
When the doctors re-evaluated Wiseman, he still had pain in his wrist, so he’s out for another 7-10 days before the next re-evaluation. I thought the Warriors lack of height with Wiseman and Looney out would really hurt them, but in 5 games as the Warriors’ point center, Draymond has had double-digit assists in every game.
Mavs announced today that they won’t be playing the national anthem before games. Apparently they haven’t been playing it before games all season, ostensibly because of a lack of fans in the stands, but the announcement is that they would not do in the future. Frankly, I’ve never understood the need to play it before sporting events, so I’m glad to see a team cut it out of the pregame routine. Maybe this will spread to other teams.
Even though Mark Cuban said he had talked with Adam Silver about this, the NBA nonetheless put a quick end to the no anthem policy in Dallas. Silver announced today that all teams would play the anthem before games and Cuban said he would comply. I’d still like to end the practice of playing the anthem before games.
We haven’t mentioned the trade that was made the other day. the Pistons sent Derrick Rose back to the Knicks where he played 4 years ago, in return for Dennis Smith, Jr. and a 2nd round pick (Charlotte’s). I get why the Pistons did this. They may be the worst team in the league, so why not shed Rose’s contract and pick-up a young PG to try out and net another draft pick in the process.
What I’m not sure of is why the Knicks did this. They’ve got Elfrid Payton starting at PG and he has played fairly well. They’ve got rookie Immanuel Quickley backing Payton up and he has also played well. Rose doesn’t represent a major upgrade at PG and will be taking time away from Payton and Quickley. Of course, Rose and coach Thibodeau know each other well, so perhaps Thibs was the driving force behind this. The Knicks are in the playoff hunt, but are by no means a threat, with or without Rose, in the East. Seems to me that they are better off developing Quickley than wasting time with Rose.
Thanks A. Before giving my 2 cents I’ll state that I didn’t see that Smith Jr. was traded. Weird how far he’s fallen media-wise. He’s not a bad guard at all. Can play the point. Good gain for Detroit.
When I heard about the trade I simply thought “excellent value” wrt Rose and his contract. I still think that, but only over a 2 year chunk during which he’ll be a respectable presence. Not a leader, but maybe it was a financial decision to help out later?
From your description is seems there’s a current issue wrt Payton. He’s not a starting PG even though he’s improved. He’s not the right guy for this young team that needs leadership and talent and (hopefully) experience.
BTW, is Toppin able to guard big PFs? i can’t remember.
Toppin’s defensive strength was as a weakside defender and his long wingspan. However, quicker players can get by him. So yes to guarding big PFs, but defenses are likely to run screen switches to get him on a smaller guard who might be able to dribble by him from the perimeter. Thus far, Toppin is averaging less than 12 minutes per game because he backs up Julius Randle, who is the best player on the team, leading the Knicks in points, rebounds, and assists.
You may have a point about Rose’s experience. The Knicks are a really young team and both Payton and Quickley are young. I believe the Knicks see Quickley as the PG of the future and it’ll be interesting to see if the re-sign Rose and/or Payton, both of whom are free agents at the end of the season.
I don’t have much commentary re: last night’s Suns win v. Bucks, since Holiday didn’t play. I think the biggest takeaway for me was that Middleton looked like a top 15 player.
Kaminsky was the key, because he was the focal point for executing all the quick ball movement. That got them a lot of good shots which is why they won: great looks off of motion and quick releases.
Suns are clearly holding Ayton back offensively. Like he’s not allowed to back down even the smaller guys. I’m guessing that’ll change before the end of the season.
The Suns moved Kaminsky into the starting line-up at PF 4 games ago because of Crowder’s foot injury and Saric’s COVID-related absence. When Crowder returned in the Bucks’ game, they nonetheless left Kaminsky in the starting line-up. I wonder if the Suns think that Kaminsky is a better fit with the starting unit because he takes less 3s and makes them at a higher rate than Crowder. Basically, Kaminsky spaces the floor better.
thinks faster as do paul, booker, bridges and cam johnson (which by the way is why I think johnson was an excellent pick 2 years back).
camparing with the Warriors there’s a sharp line dividing quick thinkers vs. non quick thinkers …
quick: curry, green, klay, wiseman
not quick: oubre, wiggins, pascall
The league in 2021 doesn’t work for these slower thinking/reacting guys. It leads me to think of the surprises that are good or great players as well as quick thinker reactors: Adebayo and Randle come to mind. Randle really surprises in that department.
And then there are Zion and Jokic who defy expectations. If the league continues in the direction of spacing, movement, efficient shot taking at all ranges then i think these guys are future MVPs. They both have a knack for where the next best shot will be. In Zion’s case that’s obviously with himself.
That’s probably a good way of putting it. A big reason why the Warriors’ championship teams were so good is they were loaded with quick thinking, high basketball IQ players. Curry, KD, Klay, Draymond, Iggy, Livingston, Bogut, Pachulia, etc. In fact, Bogut was interviewed on the House of Strauss podcast recently (available on the Athletic if you still have a subscription) and he said that Iggy would “lose his shit” on low basketball IQ players and would go to management to tell them to get rid of such players. Here’s a report on Bogut’s podcast appearance.
I don’t know yet if Oubre, Wiggins, and Paschall are non-quick thinkers or if they are still getting used to the Warriors’ way of running offense and defense. Oubre and Wiggins seem to have picked up the defensive side of it, but I would like to see more improvement from them on the offensive end.
Those Warriors were unique even without KD. So compared to the Suns which are better than most teams wrt these kinds of players, the warriors had the luxury of Iggy and Livingston in addition to the big 3. Suns have Booker and Paul who are comparable to Curry and Klay. After that Suns don’t have anyone as quick thinking as any of those other three. Add in the centers you mentioned…
That’s an incredible team. Maybe the mid-eighties Celtics had something like that, but I doubt it.
This would be a fun bet if I could propose it correctly. The idea is that Zion is the only player I can think of outside of Wilt, Jordan and Kobe who could do 80, 90 and even 100 point scoring games.
Kind of insane to bet on Zions 80+ point game or even 70+. But I have a feeling that one of the next 60+ point games will come from him. I think the same about Lillard, Tatum and Mitchell though so hard to make a bet. I think Zion will hit 70+ before those guys though.
Curry could do it before them of course. It’s too self serving for him to try though. I know I’m stating the obvious but worth stating anyhow I think.
surprised to see that Lakers beat the Grizz last night. i watched a lot of the game, and Grizz were resilient keeping their lead consistently throughout the game. lakers shot 20% from 3 pt (6 for 30) and still won by
10. Kuzma and Davis were great.
Weird line for Harrell. Good game but only 16 minutes. 0 fouls. 0 tos. Must have gotten injured?
I didn’t see that game, but he got hit with an elbow to his face from his own teammate, Kyle Kuzma, on this play:
Harrell left the game and did not return. However, he did play last night against the Nuggets, so it wasn’t that serious an injury.
On the other hand, AD reinjured his right Achilles last night. It happened on a play when he was trying to drive past Jokic and they bumped into each other. The bump didn’t look that bad, but I’m guessing that somewhere during the play, he landed awkwardly on his right foot/leg. AD already missed a couple of games last week with a strain to that Achilles, so not a good sign that he reinjured it so quickly. Apparently they are doing an MRI on it today.
So the Warriors-Cavs game was only a game for about a quarter and a half and I do give the Cavs some credit for really taking advantage of Allen’s and McGee’s height during that time. But on the second night of a back-to-back, they did not have the legs to keep running with the Dubs.
What might have been interesting was if the Cavs had deigned to use Andre Drummond and his height in the game as well. Maybe Allen and McGee don’t run out of steam if they are splitting time with Drummond as well. However, the Cavs chose to sit Drummond, who is uninjured, because they plan to trade him (trade deadline is like a month away) and don’t want him getting hurt before they can do so. The Pistons are doing the same thing with Blake Griffin. After tonight’s game, Draymond went on an epic rant about how players who seek trades are treated versus how teams who announce they plan to trade a player are treated.
Draymond does have a point. Though from a fan’s perspective, the player who wants out is usually one of the stars of the team and the player the teams want to trade is usually one who no longer is living up to a bloated contract. In any event, it appears that Drummond and Griffin are likely to be headed elsewhere soon.
Curry 1 FT attempt tonight. WTF?
He’s got to get to the line somehow.
Suns played a super-efficient game last night, and some friends and I are still discussing it. Look at how efficient the sum total is of Kaminsky, Ayton, Booker, Paul, Crowder. Damn impressive, and still impressive
when adding in everyone else. BTW, once again Bridges had 0 tos.
First thing to mention is that Monty Williams offense is designed for that kind of efficiency, so he must be pretty effin happy after that performance. In a nutshell the efficiency kept them in the game until they had their moment to bust loose. Suns seem to be handicapped when it comes to busting loose, almost as if the offense which is designed for efficiency doesn’t allow huge breakout runs. But it happened last night. I don’t think they’ve done anything like that all season. If I’m wrong they’ve done it very rarely.
Second, Kaminsky started and had a great night but played only 16 minutes. Saric played only 10. Crowder played 29 minutes off the bench. Williams seems determined to play by committee to the tune of 9-10 guys. With other teams I’d assume they’re just trying to figure out who plays best together, but for the Suns I don’t think so. Last night I wonder how much of it was due to covering Zion while keeping Ayton out of foul trouble. Zion took 11 shots and shot 10 FTs for 23 pts. Not a bad haul, but if you’re trying to “contain” him in order to give yourself a chance in the 4th Q … maybe Monty figured something out last night.
I keep looking at last nights box score with a bit of amazement. Now I realize there were actually NINE guys who combined were super efficient as long as you don’t count 1 or 2 free throws missed. So when you include Bridges, Cam Johnson, Payne and Moore to the other 5 guys you get some outrageous shooting: 47-80 FG and 21-36 3FG.
Of course Paul had 19 assists and 2 tos which I assume set the tone.
Suns need to win again tonight. The loss to the Nets without Irving and Durant (about 3 days ago) was a huge fail because of how they lost their solid lead. They need to correct themselves after that crap.
Not sure if the new schedule is out, but regarding playoffs …
So hard to do better than outstanding, which is what the orlando bubble was. All around outstanding work and results. Why mess around with another idea. Just do the same thing again without the 8 game preamble.
I’m guessing that’s what will happen anyhow.
The G-league is playing in the bubble right now, so it will be all set up for the NBA playoffs whenever they occur. Since they don’t really have fans right now and unlikely to have before the end of the season, there’s no reason to have the players risk infection by playing outside the bubble in the playoffs.
Terrible foul called on Kawhi very late in the game last night. A pivotal call that probably decided the game. Nets won as a result. All decided by a Harden flop.
tongue in cheek stat comparison. way too early to make any kind of judgement off this, but I’m pretty surprised to see the stats since I didn’t really expect this. so …
as a 20-21 Nets player Harden is shooting 41.0% 3pt off of 7.4 attempts per game
as a 20-21 Nets player Irving is shooting 40.9% 3pt off of 7.0 attempts per game
and of course KD is no slouch, but no one expects different …
more important, all are shooting an effective FG% of about 60% and about 90% FT
Don’t know if you saw/heard of how the Dubs lost the Hornets game Saturday night. Basically, a couple of mental lapses by the Warriors in the final 15 seconds cost the Dubs the win. Here’s the full game hightlights. If you, go to the 6:45 of this video, you can see how it ended.
The first mental lapse was Wannamaker who should have called a time out after getting the ball with about 15 seconds left so the Dubs could put in their best free throw shooters and set up a play to try to run as much time off the clock before the Hornets could foul (Dubs had 2 pt lead at the time). Instead Wannamaker dribbled toward center court, got immediately doubled with the Hornets forcing a jump ball. Kerr said he was trying to call a time out, but apparently the refs didn’t see it before Wannamaker got tied up.
On the ensuing jump ball, Green (who was not jumping) managed to get to the loose ball and punch it toward a teammate. Unfortunately, Heyward was able to grab the ball and fell to the ground with it where Draymond tied him up. The Warriors all thought there would be another jump ball, but the Hornets coach apparently called a timeout as Hayward was falling to the ground with the ball. The second mental lapse belonged to Draymond, who went ballistic over the call, got two technicals and an ejection. This allowed the Hornets to tie the game on the technical free throws and then win it when Rozier made a very tough shot at the buzzer (though it looked like he double-dribbled or traveled early in his possession before the shot).
The Warriors played without Curry (who didn’t feel well before the game and was a late scratch), but still should have won the game. Hornets defense leaves a bit to be desired and the Dubs got a lot of good looks. They were missing them early, but hitting them in the 2nd half. Really a shame that a couple of mental lapses cost them the game.
Good news for the Warriors…Curry is feeling better and likely to play against the Knicks tomorrow night. They are also hopeful that Wiseman and Looney will be ready to play.
could be worth watching. is it on nation broadcast?
Doesn’t look like it. TNT has the national games tomorrow and they’ve got Celtics-Mavs followed by Blazers-Nuggets.
After tonight’s win the Suns have the 4th best record in the league and a better record than any team in the East.
Nice that they beat (crushed is a better word for it) the team right behind them in the standings as well. Helpful, of course, that McCollum has been out for awhile, but impressive that they did it despite a poor shooting night by CP3. Suns also continue to start Kaminsky at PF, but then give him few minutes. Saric and Crowder play a good deal more minutes than Kaminsky despite coming off the bench.
There are reports here today that the Mavs contacted the Warriors to see if the Dubs were interested in trading for Porzingis. No idea of who they wanted back. I’m sure they’d love to get Wiseman, but somebody like Wiggins or Draymond would have to be involved to make the salaries work. By all accounts, the discussion didn’t get very far, but one wonders if the Mavs are unhappy with Porzingis and looking to get rid of him.
wow. well, Cuban’s a smart guy so if true then I doubt he’s just dangling him out there hoping for Wiseman. I could see wanting Dray and Wiggins, and maybe Dubs need to consider that. A Wiseman Porzingas front line could be incredible, assuming Porzingas stays healthy, and there’s the rub.
Here are the all star lineups including reserves:
Amazing amount of talent, especially the entire west squad. Regarding the Booker snub, I don’t have any big issues with it even though I think he’s a better player than Paul George (i.e. swap out George with Booker on the Clippers and they’re vastly improved offensively without losing too much on defense). What sucks is that Booker has taken a backseat to Chris Paul during these beginning months of the season. That’s intentional and the Suns have won several games as Booker has allowed the team to get into an efficient 8 or 10 man rotation.
HOWEVER, during those months Booker hasn’t scored well enough to be an all star assuming the all stars are about this season only. Begs the question: have voters forgotten all about the bubble?
The issue with not having Booker in the ASG relates to the east talent. The following guys wouldn’t get in if playing in the West, unless it’s simply due to popularity …
Jaylen Brown – hard to say just how good he is, but the comparison with Booker is easy to state: Booker is arguably the league’s second best shooter and creates offense for the entire team, but Brown is a great defender.
Bradley Beal – comparable to Booker, but Booker is better at almost every facet of their respective games.
Regarding what I feel are the worst snubs, it’s really hard to understand how Sabonis didn’t make it over Randle. Really???? That’s just stupid. And Middleton is flat out better than Lavine. WTF is the love affair with LaVine anyhow. Is it really the flash? He’s a great scorer. Fine. So what?
Randle is having a GREAT year btw, but Sabonis anchors a winning team. Come on now!
I shouldn’t have let Butler go unmentioned. It’s a bit strange even though he hasn’t played much this season. He played 19 games though and got his team to the championship, so I guess I’m a bit surprised. If Randle is in and his team isn’t great, I’m not sure what the argument is against Butler.
BTW, I didn’t argue against Donovan Mitchell because his team is doing so well, but that guy isn’t better or more deserving than Booker. Not with the makeup of that team. Come on.
The more I think about the Randle selection the more I get pissed off. Since when does one great half season after being a perennial loser get you an all star nod? That’s a joke. I don’t get how it happened, because it would probably be due to coaches votes. Why are coaches selecting Randle over Sabonis?
I’m not upset at the Randle pick. His and Sabonis’ stats are roughly equal (both average a double-double). Randle is a slightly better shooter and Sabonis is a slightly better defender and All-Star game picks always favor the better offensive player. In terms of who anchors a winning team, the Pacers are just 15-14 while the Knicks are 15-17. Both are deserving of being All-Stars, so I’m not upset with the Randle pick and I understand the league favoring the New York guy over the Indy guy.
I think Booker should have been selected over his teammate Chris Paul, but again, both are deserving. Lavine has some gaudy offensive stats this year, so I’m not surprised by his pick. Given other players available, I probably would not have selected two Celtics players from what has been a fairly disappointing Celtics season. As much as I want to have a Cal guy on the All-Star team, I’d have left Brown out. Overall, I don’t have a real problem with the picks. Yes, I’d have chosen a little differently, but given this year’s stats (and not prior year’s achievements), the picks aren’t bad.
Never said I was surprised by any of it, or if I worded it that way I just haven’t edited it yet. I am annoyed at the Randle selection though for reasons I mentioned, and that’s because there are guys that have established themselves as deserving over the long term. If Randle continues then great I’m all for it, but until then we’re looking at a fairly small sample size of data compared to Sabonis and Adebayo who have lead their teams to wins over more than just a couple months.
And interestingly I disagree that Booker should have been selected over Paul. Paul is playing at an MVP level and Booker is not.
basically there’s nothing about the ASG stuff that surprises me anymore, but it’s clear that every year someone very deserving doesn’t get in. this year is different in that every player seems deserving to me, but young guys that made it before like sabonis and booker are not there now … almost like voters seem to think those players are taking a step back.
i honestly think this randle thing is something else though. I assume it’s because people like him and he gets the extra consideration. Or maybe it’s that coaches know how hard he’s worked and how far he’s come. again, he’s been incredible but the proof will be in the coming years. if voters are convinced he’s here to stay with these kinds of numbers and leadership, then I want to see it happen. until then I’m not convinced it will continue like it has.
I don’t agree with putting players on the All-Star team because of what they’ve done in past years. Nothing we can do about the fan vote, which will always favor known stars, but other picks should be based on how they’re doing this year. As good as they have played, I might have left AD and PG off the West roster because they’ve each missed about 1/3rd of their teams’ games (AD is likely out until after All-Star game, so he will be replaced anyway). Availability should count for something.
There’s a whole secondary question of whether we should consider a player’s defensive abilities when choosing All-Stars, since no defense gets played in the All-Star game. Gobert and Simmons are very worthwhile picks, but will be afterthoughts in the game since they don’t provide a lot of offense. For instance, in the All-Star game, do you want to watch Simmons backing down some smaller guard for a baby hook shot or Devin Booker firing from deep all over? This has nothing to do with the worthiness of any players, but with the watchability of some players to the average fan.
Not sure why I never considered this before: if you vote for all stars based on the current season only then you are always ignoring how players fare in the regular season after the voting. As an example, if the voting for reserves occurs 2 weeks before the ASG then voters would have less than 50% of games to judge performance.
But a lot of players really come on later in the season when needed. Maybe more important, it’s common for some players to come out strong early and fade. Two cases in point: Booker is very likely to continue to increase his scoring as the team continues to come together. Adebayo the same, since only recently have the Heat started to play together after Butler’s absence early.
Both players played very well in the reg season after the ASG last year. In years past I can remember Ginobili coasting in early months then coming on strong. I think I remember Curry doing the same. LeBron in some years as well. Kawhi.
i guess I’m saying that the voting should be for regular season play between All Star Games and not just beginning of season.
There’s also the point that players on teams that are streaking before the ASG are rewarded, often because there’s some assumption or feeling that it will continue after. But looking at the standings I expect Milwaukee, Denver, Miami and possibly Warriors to start playing well and for Utah to fall off some. What if voting was for only the regular season games following the ASG instead of preceding it? I suspect Murray & Butler would be voted in over CP3 and Randle. Draymond would have a shot at votes. Middleton would likely be in over LaVine.
Well, this is all academic now. Booker has been selected for the All-Star game as the replacement for Anthony Davis.
And to make this further academic, Sabonis has now been added to the All-Star game as a replacement for Kevin Durant.
excellent! he’s a monster.
“Knicks are 15-17”.
Exactly. they have a losing record.
Yes, but my point was that there isn’t a great deal of difference between 15-14 and 15-17. Its not like Sabonis has his team atop the Eastern Conference. Both teams are in the middle of the pack and they are separated by a few games in the standings. The Celtics got two guys on the All-Star roster and their record is 15-16. That seems like a bigger crime to me than Randle over Sabonis. If you want to go the team record route, perhaps Vucevic should have been left off in favor or Randle and Sabonis. Vucevic’s numbers aren’t that much different than Randle and Sabonis and his team is worse (13-19).
suffice to say that all the issues i’m having with this are due to the tremendous amount of talent in the league. just this morning I was thinking about Kevin McHale. Most “experts” were putting him in the top 30 all time list just a few years ago. I agreed with them. Now I can’t think of how he could be in the top 35 with all this talent. The guys that are simply better today at the same position: Davis, Giannis and one could argue Jokic who could easily have played PF for those Celtics.
I’m always going to have my sentimental favorite guys for my top 20 in West and Barry, but together with Barkley and Malone all these guys need to eventually step aside.
And imagine if Randle really does continue like this. He’s looking like Barkley, or rather what Barkley might look like if playing today. Forget McHale.
Must be a kind of a sinking feeling among the GMs of the league who took a flyer on him. Starting with Phx’ Jones. “old school”. “not able to stretch the floor”. etc etc
he’d be an excellent missing piece for the suns and probably about 15 other teams. imagine if denver had him. utah. clippers. celtics.
Maybe not West actually. Just impossible to tell how he’d stack up to the best today.
BTW, the Knicks played the Pacers twice this season. One game was fairly even between Sabonis and Randle while in the other Sabonis destroyed Randle and the Knicks.
While we’re on the subject of Julius Randle, it’ll be interesting to see how the Knicks approach his future. His contract for next year is only partially guaranteed, but even the Knicks aren’t stupid enough to let the full amount (nearly $20 million) bother them, particularly as they will have a boatload of cap space. Besides Randle, they’ve got Barrett, Toppin, Knox, and Quickley under contract for next year and a cheap team option on Robinson that they will likely exercise. Rivers has a non-guaranteed contract for $3.3 million that is reasonable. Pretty much everyone else is a free agent at the end of the year and they stand to have $50+ million in cap space.
So do the Knicks attempt to trade Randle, figuring they can get a haul for him and have Toppin to replace him? Randle is still just 26 yrs old, so he’ll still be good as a young team develops. Or do the Knicks try to resign Randle to a long-term deal and build around him, either with youth or by bringing in free agents with their cap space? Or do they let him play out his contract next year and become a free agent? The Knicks last two drafts have been good (Barrett, Toppin, Quickley), but not sure they’ve picked up anybody with superstar potential. They could use some of that cap space to sign a DeRozan or Oladipo next summer to bring in some scoring. Unless Kawhi opts out of his contract and decides to sign with the Knicks (extremely unlikely), there won’t be a superstar to be had in free agency. In any event, I wonder what the Knicks plan is for Randle.
Randle has been moved around so much. a lot of owners and/or GMs would hate to do that to him unless that’s what he wants. On the other hand, there are so many teams that need that kind of power stretch 4.
The thing is that the Knicks are so bad at this! The making decisions part I mean. Who knows?
I guess the obvious thing to do is dangle Toppin and Quickley to see what they can get. And on this subject of PFs or whatever Randle’s position is called these days, Raptors also have a similar problem. Boucher is breaking out and deserves big time minutes, but Siakam limits that significantly. I have to believe that teams are contacting them for a Lowry-Boucher package before the deadline. Imagine if the Suns had selected Haliburton in the draft. I doubt Toronto would hesitate to try and make a Haliburton for Boucher ‘swap’ with extras thrown in. It makes me nauseous thinking of all the possibilities that can’t happen because they completely screwed it up.
Heard a report this morning that the Raptors and 76ers are close to a deal sending Kyle Lowry to the Sixers. Haven’t heard what the Raptors might get in return, but assume Danny Green would have to be included. Lowry makes $30 mil a year and the Sixers won’t be trading Embiid, Simmons, or Harris, so Green’s $15 million contract (the next highest contract) has to be a part of it. After that, it is a mix and match of players to even out the salaries, though Philly has about $10 million in trade exceptions ($8 mil from Horford and $2 mil from James Ennis), so they only need to return about $20 mil in salary. Presumably draft picks would be involved too.
Toronto is sitting fifth in the East right now, albeit with a losing 16-17 record. If they are making this deal, seems like they are officially giving up on this year and hoping for a quick rebuild around Siakam, VanVleet, Anunoby, Powell, and Boucher. Lowry and Aron Baynes are the only players over the age of 28.
looking forward to hearing more. Lowry would make them a legit contender IMO.
I watched some of Pels/Bucks last night. Bucks have issues without Holiday, so nothing to report about their win other than that the Pels seem incomplete somehow, and Bledsoe is simply the wrong guy for that team. Ball isn’t the right guy either, but sure seems like Bledsoe is there in some kind of leadership role which makes no sense to me. I don’t like him making the decisions.
Zion looks like he’s better than Barkley. I’m guessing a lot of people agree, so won’t go into the reasons why. But he’s clearly a great great talent with a great head screwed on tightly and a great teammate. Griffin is wasting time with the guys around him IMO. That team should be re-tooled, with or without Ingram, because Zion could be ready to win a championship asap. Package up everyone and make a huge deal I say. Send a bunch of guys (not Zion or Adams) to Miami for Butler, Dragic and Robinson maybe. Get SGA on your roster and work some kind of 3-way with OKC. Or how about this: make Portland an offer they can’t refuse for Lillard or Memphis for Morant or Warriors for Curry (unlikely as that is).
I know Griffin is a pretty smart guy, so doubt I’m saying anything he doesn’t know. I would only make the strong point that IMO if he doesn’t do something huge like I’m proposing before the start of next season then he’s wasting time by trying to develop Zion. Zion is ready now.
Draymond’s triple double against the Hornets tonight:
Many of those career high 19 assists were setting up Wiseman, Looney, Oubre, and Wiggins for easy slams. The Dubs destroyed the Hornets in the paint tonight. The Warriors took only 24 3-pt shots (hitting 45% of those). They took 55 2-pt shots, hitting 67% of those and a high percentage of those were slams and lay-ups. Like most teams, the Hornets were doubling Curry whenever he had the ball and Draymond took full advantage of it. With Wiseman and Looney back, that meant a good deal of height in the paint that he continually found It was a 9-pt win in the end, but wouldn’t have been that close but for a lot of Warrior turnovers (23), many unforced.
quick comments on games tonight …
-i didn’t expect Bucks to beat the Clippers without Holiday playing much. He played only 18 mins and poor stats. It’s a bad loss for the Clippers. George isn’t who he needs to be IMO
– something’s happening in Memphis. seems to be clicking and Jr still isn’t back yet. Winslow returned and had a good night. Suns are 4th in the West but Grizz are better I think.
– old news but continues that hawks aren’t playing well. lost again tonight vs. Heat without Butler. Do they need to unload the veteran talent before the deadline?
off topic question for A – I’m completely out of touch with college hoops. how do i get started on a crash course to find out what’s up?
Honestly, I’m completely out of touch with college hoops this year. All I know is that a bunch of traditional powerhouses seem to have hit the skids this year. I think I heard somewhere that Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Kansas were all out of the top 25 at the same time since the 1960s. Apparently, all of the top programs have their best players leave after one year and the loss of much of last season, lack of off-season programs, and limited fall practices have hurt the teams that have to break in a lot of new players.
In any event, my best advice is to start with ESPN’s college basketball page, read up, and then watch the NCAA tournament which begins in a few weeks and might be in a bubble this year.
The first coach firing is in the books. Atlanta canned Lloyd Pierce after two and a half seasons, even though they were doing better this year than the last two years and are a young developing team still. However, they still aren’t a playoff team, though only a few games out of a playoff spot. Guess management can’t wait for the team to develop.
file under the category: wouldn’t believe it if you didn’t see it …
Harden and Irving 0 TOs total, and the Nets 5 TOs for the game. Against the SPURS. Pop’s head must be spinning.
Trying to put the Zion phenomenon into perspective, it just occurred to me that this year’s ASG will resemble one from about 25 years ago when everyone on the court acknowledged it as a coming out party for the league’s new unstoppable BEAST Shaquille O’neal. If memory serves, the West team did some things to mess with him – I can’t remember exactly what. Were they fouling him? I don’t think fouling Zion works.
Here’s what must drive teams and coaches crazy: conventional wisdom says that guys that big don’t do as well when the game speeds up and ball movement is quick. If you don’t want the big guys to dominate, then play good D and get down court fast before they’re established. On the other end, get back to defend quickly enough before the big men make it back down. Well, that’s not going to work. Putting a big man on him doesn’t work.
Will be interesting to see which of LeBron and KD will pick him for their team and when. Or will KD even pick since he’s out?
so I think this is a travel at 2:21 of the vid, but who cares. this is a 6’7″ freight train making this pass …
It was definitely a travel. He picks up his dribble and takes 3 steps, possibly a 4th step, before the ball leaves his hand. But yes, a nice pass as he was falling to the ground.
The Shaq “shutdown” at the 1994 All-Star game was basically the West team playing defense on him by throwing an extra defender or two his way. Shaq made 2 of 12 shots and took 11 FTs. Apparently George Karl thought Shaq was too full of himself in the lead-up to the game, so he ordered the defense to concentrate on him.
Prior to Shaq, there was the Michael Jordan supposed freeze-out in his rookie year All-Star game. Supposedly, Isaih got the East team to keep the ball away from MJ in the game. In truth, however, Jordan took 9 shots in the game, as many or more than 5 or 6 others. So the Jordan freeze-out may be more legend than truth.
KD is still picking his team even though he is out of the game. Tatum is replacing him in the starting line-up.
The Jordan freeze-out doesn’t even register on my radar, since he wasn’t this good or as good as Shaq so early in his career. In other words, compared to other guys in that game I really doubt anyone was thinking of it as his come out party. For guys like Shaq, Zion and LeBron completely different story. Probably true with Magic and Bird as well.
just looked it up, and Jordan was definitely better that year then i remember. his rookie year. 28 ppg, 6.5 rebs, 6 assists
that was in 38 mins per game. still, considering the guys playing I really doubt he drew that much attention as Shaq, LeBron or Zion will.
glad i looked it up by the way, in 84-85 I was getting pretty busy with my studies, and was probably only K.J. in 86 or 87 who got me watching hoops more often. especially once he ended up in Phx.
Dame Lillard was justifiably the hero for coolly knocking down a 30-foot game-winning 3 against the Dubs tonight, but Steph rules the highlights for this insane lay-up.
Dubs in Phoenix tonight to play Suns in last game before All-Star break. However, neither Steph nor Dray made the trip. The Warriors are giving Steph the night off (second night of back-to-back road games) to get an extra day of rest since he won’t get a break for the All-Star game and Dray has a sore ankle. Not sure if Oubre is playing either. He missed last night’s game after suffering a sprained wrist in practice. Maybe the Suns will likewise give Book and/or CP3 the night off since both of them will similarly be participating in the All-Star game. In any event, I suspect the Suns will crush the star-less Dubs.
a bit of venting re: a pet peeve, and am curious where this comes from: just recently heard that it’s popular to compare Luka with … LARRY BIRD???
45-60 days ago Pop was destroyed by Jokic, and afterwards he said something “I just saw Larry Bird re-incarnated tonight”. (big time paraphrase there, but something to that effect). I laughed and had to think about it. Then i realized when watching the Joker again that since he’s lost weight he *does* resemble Bird a lot. the shooting. the verve. the contact down low. mixing it up with big guys and of course the leadership. NONE of any of it related to being white.
but Doncic?? you have to be a very good shooter to be compared to Bird. he’s good but not in Jokic’s category last I looked. doesn’t have the floor vision of either Bird or Jokic. he *is* tough, and he’ll mix it up around the basket somewhat, but not only would I never have thought of Bird as a comparison (and Dirk even less so), it never occurred to me to compare him to a white player! Dude runs the ball down court and up the middle like Magic. He commands the perimeter like Harden. He’s a big guard that quickly gets to the hole to score or draw contact like Kidd. He’s not the passer those guys are/were, but he’s good and he’ll get better.
Am I missing something here? Bird?
After committing myself to the above, of course I immediately found video of him doing something Birdlike. Check out here. It should start right at the 2:48 mark. Bird. Magic. Curry. Kidd. Not sure I ever saw Nash make this pass …
Luka has great court vision, but you’re right, he’s not a good enough shooter to be compared with Bird. It is a lazy comparison based on really nothing more than they are both white. I’m not sure who the best comparison is for Doncic.
random thought that, given it doesn’t affect their overall talent much, Raptors should consider trading Boucher before next season. a lot of teams need his skillset and height, and I assume it would lead to a good market for him.
I know there’s no way it happens, but if I’m the Clippers I’d like the pair of Boucher and Lowry and would be willing to give up anything but Kawhi.
LBJ and KD drafted their all-star squads. These are the results in the order of the picks:
LeBron James – starter
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo – starter
2. Stephen Curry – starter
3. Luka Doncic – starter
4. Nikola Jokic – starter
5. Damian Lillard
6. Ben Simmons
7 Chris Paul
8. Jaylen Brown
9. Paul George
10. Domantas Sabonis
11. Rudy Gobert
1. Kyrie Irving – starter
2. Joel Embiid – starter
3. Kawhi Leonard – starter
4. Bradley Beal – starter
5. Jayson Tatum – starter
6. James Harden
7. Devin Booker
8. Zion Williamson
9. Zach LaVine
10. Julius Randle
11. Nikola Vucevic
12. Donovan Mitchell
My initial thought is that I like LeBron’s team much better, particularly the later picks. The West starters have a big size advantage and 5 great passers. Not sure why Gobert and Mitchell were the last picks. Would have chosen either one before KD’s picks of LaVine, Randle, and Vucevic. KD’s first starter pick was Kyrie and his first reserve pick was Harden. There’s nothing wrong with either pick, but he definitely did not want to hurt either teammate by not picking them first.
I assume LeBron went first since Jokic was picked at 4, and I don’t see how you pick Beal over Jokic. But then it would mean LeBron took Simmons over Booker so … I guess that means KD picked first. Unless they changed the order at some point?
LeBron’s team is clearly better since KD won’t be playing.
The Pistons have been holding Blake Griffin out of games since the beginning of February as they attempted to trade him. Apparently the trade efforts failed as the Pistons and Griffin have agreed to a buyout deal making Griffin an unrestricted free agent. Early reports from Marc Stein and Woj have the Lakers, Clippers, Nets, Heat, Warriors and Trail Blazers interested in him. Frankly, I will be surprised if he signs with anyone other than the Lakers, Clippers, or Nets, as they offer him the best chance at a championship. In terms of money, the Lakers are in the worst position to sign him because they can offer nothing other than the veteran minimum of $810K. Clips can offer $3.4 mil through something called the bi-annual exception. Nets can pay $5.4 mil through a designated player except (due to injury of another player). Heat can do $4.7 mil also on a designated player exception. Because of Klay Thompson’s injury, the Warriors designated player exception is $9.3 mil, so they can offer the most.
I don’t know how chummy Chris Paul and Blake Griffin still are, but I wonder if Paul would want to entice Griffin to the Suns. Suns are a damn good team and offer a shot at a championship. Griffin might be a nice add to their second unit.
Right. I thought about that same thing. If Griffin is healthy he helps the Suns a lot, but I would be concerned about him not understanding his “role” which will be similar to what Crowder, Ayton and Bridges are doing. Meaning he would be allowed to shoot only within the flow and never just stepping back behind the arc a la Oubre. Somehow I think Griffin would have a tough time in that role. Maybe not.
All to say this: once Monty Williams loosens the reigns on everyone but Paul and Booker, Ayton is first in line to start taking more shots. The exception would be if Griffin moves without the ball well enough to make his own shot opportunities around the basket. NOT from three. Suns aren’t doing that unless the good shooters are open from there. The problem would be the same we saw from Oubre: doesn’t matter that he’s NOT a good 3pt shooter if he *thinks* he is one. You can’t play for the Suns with that mindset. Similar to the Spurs I’m guessing.
As predicted, Griffin is signing with one of the top teams, the Nets. Don’t know if it was simply the money–the Nets could offer more than the Clips or Lakers–or if he didn’t want to return to L.A.
Apparently it was not a money issue at all. Just heard that Griffin signed for the veteran minimum with the Nets. Lakers could have (and likely did) offered that. Guess the Nets is just where he wanted to go and/or thought was the best spot for a championship.
lots of great stuff here from Antoine Walker. all about hoops. and some gambling.
I didn’t watch any of the All-Star game/festivities, but have seen plenty of highlights. The Freak justifiably won MVP with his 16-for-16 shooting performance, including three 3s. However, Steph Curry was THE SHOW. Here’s his highlights:
Dame Lillard making a half-court shot, then Steph hitting nearly the same shot (Steph was a step closer to the basket) was ridiculous. Lillard was amazing as well with 7 3s, including a 2nd near half-court shot that ended the game and his own alley-oop. He would have been another perfectly acceptable MVP pick. Gotta hand it to LeBron. He picked the team and then just took a step back and let the others shine, playing just 13 minutes.
BTW, Giannis had a classic reaction to finding out the results of the All-Star game draft.
It was a fun game. Steph and Dame were both much more impressive than Freak, who together with LeBron can win it every year if he wants due to basically no defense and weak reffing. Those guys can waltz into the lane whenever. Steph brought his entire game and was the most impressive. Kyrie next then Dame. All three were outstanding, but Freak was 3-3 from 3 and perfect otherwise. Hard to take it away from him.
By the way, before Dame’s near half-court winner, Steph had taken and missed a logo shot that would have won it. After that miss, KD’s team came down court and hit a 3. Steph inbounded the ball to Lillard who began dribbling up court. Before he even reached half-court, Steph had turned to his teammates on the bench and the video screen fans and was waving game over. You can see it at the end of this video clip.
Steph’s not even looking at the game action and called Dame’s shot. Game knows game.
As far as ASGs go it was fun to watch and listen to old timers talk, but Kenny “The Jet” Smith said something that will be talked about for awhile – probably years. He said that Steph is guy you want with the ball in his hands if you need a score at the end of a game. Pretty sure he meant “all time” when he said it, and then Webber and Reggie Miller specified today’s game only, however Smith never seemed to be so specific. Pretty sure he was including bird, jordan and kobe in there.
I suppose I never thought it was even a discussion. Curry isn’t even in my top 3 today if it’s end of game and I’m putting all my chips in for him to get a bucket, and that’s because he’s easier to defend than the other guys I’d pick starting with KD and Harden. In NBA history I take KD, Bird, Jordan or Kareem with Kobe in the next tier. It all depends on the teammates and conditions though. If the player is on a team with Magic or Kidd or Stockton, and the question is “what player in history would you want to pair with one of those PGs in order to have the best chance at scoring” … All time I take Bird and in today’s game I take KD.
BTW am happy to go back and forth on this. My main point relates to the 20 or so times in Curry’s career when I witnessed him trying to score with the game on the line. He’s clearly one of the best ever, but he needs to work A LOT to get the best shot simply because of his height. Most of the other guys on my list could shoot over most defenders. Harden … actually I’m not sure if they meant drawing fouls so maybe I’ll pull him out of the conversation. I would compare Curry to Kobe, because Kobe also worked hard to get the last shot but his height and vertical allowed him to pull up from more spots on the court.
I don’t disagree. I would much rather have some like KD for that last shot. However, time and distance would have to factor in. If you only have a few seconds and you know the best you can do is get off a fairly deep shot, I probably want someone like Steph or Dame in that situation.
We’ve talked about Oubre before, but it should be noted now that he is playing his way off the Warriors…for the right reasons. Oubre had a great February. His 3-pt shooting was better than anyone on the team, including Curry for the month. He has learned to move well without the ball and has been getting a lot of easy buckets off of back-door cuts to the basket when Steph or Dray drive into the middle. He has always played good defense and did not let his slow offensive start to the year affect him on the defensive end. And he is a high energy guy who brings a lot of enthusiasm to his team.
However, Oubre is a free agent at the end of the year. He is making $14.375 mil this year and the Warriors are paying the equivalent of around $70 mil for him, because they jumped into a higher salary tax bracket when they made the deal for him. If Oubre continues to play this way, he may command a new contract that pays him $20-25 mil per year. I’m sure the Dubs will want him back but will they want to continue paying boatloads of extra cap tax money to do so? None of their other big salaries are coming off the books without a trade where they do not take a big salary back. The Warriors will have a major decision to make about Oubre and Oubre may have to choose between taking the biggest contract or something lesser to stay with the Dubs.
I’ve been following Oubre closely box score wise and watching some highlights. It didn’t get past me, but I’ve seen this movie before. This might be the 3rd year in a row where he broke out for one or two months mid-season and then … who knows what happened.
First thing I’d say is that he’s in the perfect place for his career and would be a fucking idiot to leave on his own, even for more $$, unless it was to a similar team focused on being professional (Lakers, Bucks, Celtics, Heat … of course no way Pop wants any part of him). Second is that he has a LONG way to go to be the guy the Dubs need him to be, but he clearly has the talent and seems to be buying into the game plan. But he’s a child relatively speaking, and it’s going to take some time in a stable role like the one he’s in now.
If he’s able to work alongside Dray and Dray’s ok with his progress then he should stay there as long as Dray’s there. The problem would be getting away with his usual crap (on the offensive end) and no one there to get in his face. As a huge Warriors fan, and seeing how Wiseman is coming along and how well Dray has been playing (in spurts) I can definitely see a spot for Oubre alongside Klay next year (knock on wood) but there’s a hell of a lot of work to do before he’s the SG or SF starting on a championship caliber team.
FWIW I see a small market for Oubre at $20M this summer. Warriors are the only team that could justify that price sensibly, while every other team would be taking a big chance. But we know teams that do exactly that once every year: Wolves, Wizards, Kings, Rockets. To your point, the equation changes substantially if he keeps hitting 3s at the current pace. It happens way more often than seems to make sense to me. Kidd was maybe the first one that woke everyone up in that regard. Conley is a huge surprise. Lonzo, although I put him in the same category with Oubre: need to see it over an entire season.
It figures to be a two-part equation for Oubre. First, does he take the biggest deal offered or stay with the Dubs who probably won’t be the biggest bidder. Second, even if he wants to stay with Dubs, is he willing to do so as a bench player. With Klay coming back next season, Oubre would be forced to the bench.
As for his 3-pt shooting, Oubre isn’t as bad as he seemed to be at the start of the season and probably isn’t as good as he has been in the last month. But he’s found a comfort spot in the corners and with Steph drawing double and triple-teams, he is frequently wide open. He’s a career 33% 3-pt shooter and is now up to 32% on this season after the horrid start. If he can show that he is more the 40+% shooter he’s been in the last month, he will get some team to pony up a huge contract for him.
The bigger thing to me is his movement now in the Dubs offense. He is finding the open seams in opposing defenses and has learned that Draymond and Steph will find him on his cuts. Wiggins, for one, still does not have this down, though he is better at it than he was. Oubre’s movement is another reason he’s getting high percentage shots and getting more open for 3s. You’re right that his past gives reason to be skeptical, but he’s got the next 3 months or so to prove that this is no fluke.
He’ll be as good as he wants to be as long as he’s on the right team. Here’s a case where chasing the money is simply a bad idea unless all he cares about is money and never advancing very far in the playoffs. We’ve definitely seen that movie before, so … we wait and see.
I suppose he could make the argument that he wants to be on a team where he plays substantial minutes, but I’d argue that the Warriors *are* his best bet in that regard going forward. They take care of their players if they prove to be valuable enough, and since he can play the 2, 3 and sometimes even 4 … he can be in the lineup with Klay back and still get good minutes.
The most likely scenario if he goes to another team that doesn’t have a Dray: he starts. gets minutes. his scoring goes up. team keeps losing. it would be the Suns all over again and he’ll be looking over his shoulder constantly waiting for the next trade.
Just realized I’ve had a bit of an about face on this Oubre topic: I was thinking best for the Warriors to get rid of Oubre and keep Wiggins until recently, but between the two I think Oubre is more likely to develop into a different player and should therefore stay. In Wiggins’ case from a distance it seems like there’s no great reason to think that a year or two from now he’ll be any different than he is now, and if that means he doesn’t develop the quick think, quick move without the ball and quick pass mindset they need …
Of course maybe he’s doing all this and is simply coming along so slowly that it’s like watching molasses flow.
Actually, I’m coming around to that way of thinking myself. The raw stats for both are pretty much the same. However, Wiggins has been pretty much the same all season long and had some experience in the Warriors’ schemes from last year. Oubre started the season still learning the schemes and shooting horribly. He has caught up to Wiggins in the raw stats because he has been a much better player than Wiggs in the last month. From the way that Oubre talks, it seems like it took him some time to learn how to fit within the schemes and once learned, he has taken off. Wiggs understands and fits the Warriors defensive scheme really well (as does Oubre), but doesn’t seem to have completely figured out the offensive schemes yet although he has played in it longer.
If the Warriors actually had a choice, I believe they’d be leaning Oubre over Wiggs right now, but they are stuck with Wiggins because of his contract. Maybe they can find a way to unload his contract, but if they can’t, it may hurt their ability to keep Oubre. Of course, Oubre could prove that the last month was an illusion with the way he plays over the 2nd half of the season.
Staying on this topic … you have to wonder if with Oubre it’s not just about maturity as has seemed to be the case, but maybe he’s also been left to himself too long. Maybe it’s been too much work for coaches and players to do “Project Oubre” the right way.
If there’s some truth to that, then once again Dubs have staged a coup. Maybe they did the same with Wiggins as well, but in his case the progress while good has plateaued simply because that Wiggins brain can’t handle more. In Oubre’s case, hate to use this analogy but seems appropriate, he could simply be like that stupid dog that needs to be neutered and once done it’s sit, stay and fetch as long as you throw him a bone:-)
In Oubre’s case the neutering is going to take at least another season though. I’ve watched video of him for some of Feb, and it’s clear that he’s trying to think more than he used to. Taking a split second with the ball in his hands to consider finding an open man before the blinders go on and he does something “inefficient” or worse “wasteful”. I assume he’s gettin along well with Dray, and if so great news because they don’t need him to be much more than a Dray at the 2 or the 3. With two exceptions: 1.) he’s a constant threat to explode quickly into the paint and rise up for a dunk, drawing a foul or receiving the lob, and 2.) You want to get at least 15 efficient pts/night out of him. Wiggins can do all that as well, but it’s the focus and consistency that I question there.
Apparently the Spurs are hard at work at trying to trade LaMarcus Aldridge. His contract is expiring and if they can’t trade him before the March 25 trade deadline, he’ll likely be bought out. I’m gonna guess the usual suspects of Lakers, Clippers, and Nets as the most likely destinations. It would be difficult to make salaries work for the Lakers or Nets to make a trade. Clips have the salaries for non-essential players to make a trade work, but one of the players necessary for that to work is Marcus Morris on a 4-yr deal. Not sure the Spurs are interested in taking that on. So I’ll guess a buy-out will happen.
I’ve listened to Eddie Johnson enough on radio to know that the Wiseman debacle (missed his COVID test and team suffered) is inexcusable for the *team* and not so much for Wiseman. All rookies need to have some kind of big brother or mentor who is *always* checking in on them and making certain crap like that never happens. I put this one squarely on Kerr, unless there was someone else who was supposed to be reminding Wiseman. I definitely don’t blame Wiseman – of *course* a 19 year old is extremely capable of forgetting stuff like that. Doesn’t matter how mature he is or how mature you want him to be.
well … unless Kerr is thinking way ahead and realized the best way for it to not happen again is for Wiseman to be embarrassed by this? hmmm. maybe!
Side note here for something to watch: A few times now I believe I’ve seen Oubre either box out his own man or push off his own man under the basket. If he hadn’t been making threes I’d guess some sort of vision problem. Whatever it is it doesn’t look right. Can’t say I’ve seen that in the NBA before or at least no more than once or twice.
After reading Kerr’s words more closely re: Wiseman’s mistake, I’m fairly confident he’s using it as a “teaching moment” more than being upset with Wiseman. Kerr would know more than most that it could have been prevented by assigning an “assistant” to keep Wiseman in check. I suppose there could be more issues caused by doing that than not.
I really shouldn’t be doubting Steve Kerr:-)
The missed COVID test came over the All-Star break when players were on vacation from the team. Given Wiseman’s high level of maturity shown this season, I think the Warriors trusted Wiseman to be able to do something as simply as show up for his COVID test without needing to double-check him. He f-ed up which he freely admitted and Kerr, as you said, used it as a teaching moment. Doubtful Wiseman makes that mistake again.
I absolutely understand the issue. That’s not what I was getting at, but I think I’ve explained it all by now. If not I’ll just restate it to be clear: if it wasn’t meant to be a teaching moment then it’s either all on Kerr or whoever was assigned to Wiseman. I don’t see why it would matter if anyone was on vacation. If that was an argument then Kerr messed up even worse assuming not meant to be a teaching moment.
All to recap my argument for why it was almost certainly meant to be a teaching moment.
The Athletic’s take on the upcoming deadline here.
I’m surprised that Jamal Murray isn’t mentioned anywhere in the article. I say that mainly because Denver has to be in a great spot to land Lowry, while the Raptors with a Van Vleet and Murray back court would probably be the most dynamic in the league. Obviously salaries need to be matched, but for these two teams there’s so much talent to deal it’s hard to imagine it couldn’t be done. And Lowry is exactly what Denver needs along with say Normal Powell or Anunoby. Ship off Murray and Harris or Murray and Morris. Or if they want to deal Millsap then get Boucher back in the deal. Something like this …
Denver gets Lowry + Boucher + Powell
Raptors get Murray + Bol + whatever else makes it work.
Denver arguably has the best player in the league after LeBron. They’re not winning enough and when they are not convincingly enough. Murray is a huge bargaining chip, and although he wouldn’t be right for most teams there are a few that could use him badly if they could grab him: Raptors, Heat, Celtics, Bucks and a few others possibly including Pelicans and Thunder (though not sure how Murray and Alexander would work together). Having what’s needed to make the trade is another matter of course.
Given how the Nuggets operate, I think its high unlikely that they give up Murray for Lowry. They’ve got a 24-year-old Murray for another 4 years after this at a reasonable salary. Lowry is a free agent at the end of the year who is 34 years old and will probably prefer to sign with his hometown 76ers than the Nuggets. Also, with so much of the offense flowing through Jokic, the Nuggets have less need for Lowry’s passing skills and Murray is as good or a better shooter.
Lowry brings a lot more than passing skills! I agree age is the issue, and that’s why the Nuggets would need to bring in (very) good young talent in addition to Lowry.
I doubt a trade wouldn’t be accepted because of how the Nuggets operate, because Murray often is the one keeping them from operating at their best. Way too much time with the ball in his hands. Excellent penetrator, but a LOT of great opportunities for teammates to score are missed. The Nuggets have a substantial problem with end of games when their normal mode of operation tends to be lost on Murray who wants to play hero ball too often. The rest of the team can get them a nice lead or at least keep them in the game late, but too often Murray seems to misunderstand that they’ve done it for his sake when Jokic et al are more likely to score efficiently than Murray alone. That entire dynamic goes away with Lowry on the floor.
But his age is the question, and so back to the original point I was making. Must get excellent talent in return and therefore it’s up to Raptors to decide how much they’re willing to give up. Sure, Lowry might rather be in Philly but my comments relate to offers coming in that Ujiri can’t ignore. And since he’s now well known for entertaining offers he can’t ignore …
I think it’s all a valid point. Denver is now in a 4-7 year window for contending year in year out. They aren’t winning but they should with all this talent, and it’s clear that on many nights (not all) it’s *because* of how they operate. Murray has excellent value for many teams in a trade.
The critical issue with Nuggets operation is that Murray penetrates well but it seems teammates don’t know where to be when he does, or vice versa he doesn’t penetrate with finding teammates in mind. Not often enough. Lowry is excellent at this however. Regardless of the passing skills, Lowry is a much better decision maker.
Agree that Lowry is a much better decision maker than Murray, but Lowry likely would only be on the team for the rest of this season and playoffs. Even if Toronto were willing to trade one of their young pieces along with Lowry (which I doubt and certainly not one of their better ones), there is zero reason for the Nuggets to take on Lowry unless they think he puts them into championship contention this year, which I don’t think he does given how strong the Western Conference is. The Nuggets are not a team that seems likely to take a chance on a half-season rental.
I’m thinking the other way around, although I realize my thoughts need to be tempered by the obvious: Murray is only 24 years old and could be getting much better at all the things I think he’s not good at. Given that the Nuggets are most qualified to assess that, my comments relate more to how valued Murray is by other teams, and especially Raptors who have a GM that takes big risks and needs to get rid of Lowry (even though some think he doesn’t, it seems obvious to me that he does). So I’m thinking of Murray like a 2021 version of Kawhi where Ujiri goes all in.
Lowry can give the Nuggets as many years as he has left, and it looks like he has more than just a couple. But if the Nuggets gain some of the Raptor’s better talent in the process …
In any case, it’s hard to see how good Murray can be. Denver has time to bring some of their players along, but I’m guess others need to go soon. Millsap is the most obvious unless Nuggets really think they’re championship ready. That may be the only question worth asking I suppose. Just as I’m hoping the Suns don’t really think they’re contenders this year, I hope the same with the Nuggets. It would keep both teams from adding that final piece.
And now for something completely different.
When will Zion post his first 40 point game? That it hasn’t happened yet isn’t a huge surprise but it is a surprise to me. And while it would be easy to say his next high score will be in the 40s I’m tempted to say “upper 40s”.
I see that one of his 36 point games came in 34 minutes, but he’s been playing more minutes than that. So … what the heck is stopping him from his first 50 point game? Maybe Shaq is a good example for this. I need to check and see when Shaq had his first 50+.
looks like he had 53 in his second season at the age of 22 if I got that right. So … lookin at you Zion!
Zion is averaging only 16 shots per game (Ingram is at 17.8) and doesn’t take many 3-pointers (0.5 per game). While he’s getting to the FT line 8 times per game on average, he’s only hitting them at a little under 70% clip. All of this is to say that he needs to shoot more to get his first 40-pt game. I suspect that as the season goes on, he’ll start playing more minutes, particularly if the Pelicans are in playoff contention. Maybe more minutes will get him enough shots to hit 40.
Right. That’s what I meant, and last night was the worst I’ve seen wrt how shots were divided up among the team. It can be stated much more strongly this way: the Pels offense seems to make little sense at the end of shot clocks, especially if the ball ends up in Bledsoe’s or Ball’s hands. The question should be “how did it get there?” It got there because for some unknown reason Zion never touched it earlier in the clock. He should be taking at least 30% more shots than anyone on the team. The idea on every possession should be to get him the ball where he wants it. I have no idea if Van Gundy isn’t doing that for some reason, or if the other guys want to shoot it instead. There were times last night that Ingram was dribbling and eventually shooting for some reason that I couldn’t understand, unless it was to rest Zion. But Zion wasn’t working very hard and the game was lost for this reason more than any.
He should be averaging over 35 a game on more than 20 shots. For Van Gundy’s sake I hope it’s intentional, otherwise he throws away games like the one last night. Seems stupid to me when winning is such a confidence builder for the entire team. Shouldn’t matter how it’s done.
If it wasn’t clear, the point I was making was that it’s surprising it he hasn’t hit 40 or 50 yet even in 34+ minutes a game. I guess I should have made it clear I was specifically pointing to the lack of shot attempts.
Minor trade alert!
The Thunder is trading Trevor Ariza to the Miami Heat for Meyers Leonard (he of the recent suspension for using an anti-Jewish racial epithet during an on-line video game) and a 2nd round pick. I believe the Thunder is expected to buy out Leonard’s contract making him a free agent. Not sure who would be willing to sign him given the recent controversy.
Wow. Suns would love to have that guy! Or portland. Fans loved him.
Another deal has gone down. The Rockets are sending PJ Tucker, Rodion Kurucs, and the Bucks 2022 1st round pick (which they currently own) to the Bucks for DJ Augustin, DJ Wilson, and the Bucks 2023 1st round pick with no protections. Tucker is a nice pick-up for the Bucks and they aren’t giving up much.
Good one. Maybe great, though am a bit surprised the let Augustin go. Tucker needs to start – really hope Budenholzer realizes that. I wonder how they divvy up the minutes, since all these guys need big minutes …
In this case probably a good problem to have. Even tho Cenzo will prob come off the bench, he’s really not a bench player. Nor is Lopez who plays about 27 mins per game, so I supposed Tucker allows Lopez to sit a bit longer.
So in addition to the 6 man rotation, the have Craig, Portis and Connaughton. Nice team.
Scratch that. Craig on the Suns now;-)
Heat & Grizz combine for 18-76 from three tonight.
LaMelo fractured his right wrist today and will likely miss the rest of the season. Sucks for the Hornets who looked likely to make the playoffs this year. Also throws a wrench into the ROY race that LaMelo was solidly leading.
Just when you’d expect the MVP race to settle down a bit it’s getting even more interesting after LeBron went down and McCollum came back. If LeBron isn’t back very soon, like within a week, the field is too strong this year even if the Lakers go on a roll after his return.
The 76ers are winning without Embiid, so he’s no longer a realistic candidate. Harden is getting press, but that makes no sense with Kyrie playing so well. Hawks are winning, but Trae Young is only one of many reasons for that. There are two candidates that are impossible to ignore because they’ve been consistent and their teams are winning: Jokic and Giannis. In most years just weeks after the All Star break the race might be sealed by now, but this year it’s impossible to ignore surging teams. Doncic has a chance to get into the top 3 if LeBron stays out and Dallas keeps winning. Lillard can re-enter the race by taking over games, but it looks like duties will be shared with McCollum now that he’s back.
Regardless, this is still LeBron’s to lose if he can get back this week and continue what he was doing. If not, and unless Dallas starts winning big (not unlikely), Jokic should eke it out if nothing else changes. Even if the Bucks keep winning, Jokic has had an historic year that can’t be ignored.
Of course LeBron is well aware of all this. We’ll see just how bad that ankle is soon enough.
OK, so this is news … I’ve been meaning to write about my Poole observations, but I haven’t because it’s been such a small sample and I wanted to look at his statistics over the season first. If I had done that, I would have remarked that he looks like a veteran leader to me. In the little I’ve seen of him he’s made some great decisions and when Curry is out (I assume this is usually when Poole is in?) he’s taken over the game with some impressive scoring and penetrating and what seems to be excellent defense. Not sure about that last part. Again, small sample size.
But I see now that The Athletic beat me to it: https://theathletic.com/2466604/2021/03/21/warriors-end-rocky-trip-with-2-1-record-as-jordan-pooles-emergence-continues/?source=dailyemail
On this topic, I think I heard (probably reminded) that the Warriors will likely have an awesome draft pick this year. Maybe top 3 again? A great question to ask in that case … what is their most pressing need assuming Poole continues his bid as the Real Deal? If he’s really this good it changes a lot of things for the Warriors, because it seems clear to me he can start alongside Curry if Klay isn’t ready for prime time.
I don’t see how the Dubs can rely upon either Wiggins or Oubre. They can keep both, but neither is ready for contending. Wiggins may never be ready. I think they need an awesome wing that can both defend and score. Can they get that in the draft? Who fits that bill for them? Kawhi. Butler. Jaylen Brown. Jerami Grant. Dylan Brooks. Those types, not that any are available or that the Dubs need a player at that level. But they can pursue that kind of talent either in the draft or in a trade. Who’s out there? There’s so much talent at every position now it leads me to believe it’s just a matter of workin the phone lines with OKC, Pels, Celtics, Rockets, Bulls, Kings, Hornets, Hawks, Grizzlies.
Here’s an interesting idea (my opinion;-) … what exactly is the Hornet’s timeline? LaMelo is 19 and Hayward is 30. PJ Washington and Miles Bridges are 22 & 23 respectively. Really hard to know what the plan is there, but it’s working. Ball isn’t going anywhere, but would they trade any of the others to get a draft pick? Not knowing anything about they’re plans, it’s clear that LaMelo has exceeded expectations by a wide margin. I think that means they have a very long timeline – realistically so, and for that reason whatever they were thinking when signing Hayward has changed considerably. I’m sure the Warriors would love Hayward on the roster, but that’s not going to happen. It does beg this question though: Hayward is displaying tremendous value and would start on any team. He’s also extremely expensive, but for teams that are ready to win now is a deal possible? How could the Dubs get involved with that in order to get their guy?
Or are the Hornets necessarily stuck with Hayward. I know a trade would need to involve some extreme conditions, but what would it take? Again, NOT suggesting Warriors as a landing spot for him but rather wondering how far Hornets could go to pick up more excellent young talent, which could involve the Warriors.
OK, I’ll take this further – a lot further because I don’t think we’ve seen this before …
Jordan is a gambler and wants to win at all costs. Odds are the Hayward will never be this good again in his career, and it’s almost certain he has no upside. What kind of extreme move could Jordan propose (I realize he’s only part owner so not entirely up to him)?
He’s worth almost 2 billion. He could do whatever he wants. Would the league even let him do a buyout or “assist” a team or teams in a trade for Hayward?
If I was to make one point that could legitimate this (very) hypothetical proposal it’s this: I believe it’s extremely rare to find a gambler/competitor in the upper ranks of a big and successful organization. It’s uncommon for someone with those types of “needs” to make it to the level Jordan made it to, because one tends to lose big along the way toward that kind of position and therefore almost never makes it there. I’m sure there are exceptions, but most involve people that burnt out or eventually lost big (trying to remember the name of Tyco’s CEO from 2000-2001. Kowalski???). Enron’s idiots. Many others made infamous by their illegal choices. Iacocca while not exactly fitting the bill had quite a few win-at-all-costs risky moments that led to his decline. All to say it’s rare for someone like Jordan to be in a position where he can do something (legal) like take a bath on Hayward and succeed because of it. But Jordan IS quite rare.
The Warriors own the Timberwolves’ first round pick, but it is top 3 protected this year. So Warriors need T-Wolves to have the fourth pick or lower to get it this year (it is unprotected in 2022 if it does not convey this year). The Warriors own 2021 1st round pick goes to OK City, but is protected 1-20. If the Dubs end up in the top 20 with their pick, OK City instead gets the T-Wolves 2021 2nd round pick (which the Dubs own).
I think the Dubs would be hesitant to trade Oubre because he fits their defensive scheme really well and has been constantly improving in their offensive scheme. However, as I’ve mentioned before, if they’ve talked with Oubre/his agent about what it will take to keep him there after this season and have been told that Oubre wants the max money he can get and a starting job, then the Dubs have to move him at the trade deadline because they cannot give Oubre either of those things next year. Apparently, other teams have shown a good deal of interest in trading for Oubre.
As for Wiggins, while he fits the defensive scheme extremely well, he is behind Oubre in finding his place in the offensive scheme. Wiggins went off for 40 points the other night with Curry out, but when Curry plays, he doesn’t look as comfortable being the second fiddle and next year, he will become the third fiddle or maybe even fourth if Wiseman takes a big step up. If the Warriors can move Wiggins, I’m all for it, but I’m not sure they will find takers.
Given that the Warriors probably understand that they are not contenders this year, I think they are unlikely to trade the T-Wolves pick. This year is supposed to be a really deep draft class and I think they’d prefer to see what they get out of that rather than trade for what’s available right now. However, I could see them trading Oubre (if he wants what they cannot give him) or Wiggins for a player and/or picks.
While Hayward probably doesn’t fit the Hornets’ timeline for contention, I don’t think the Hornets are looking to trade him either. The Hornets are an extremely young team right now (Hayward is the oldest player at 30), so I figure the reason Jordan gave Hayward a big free agent/sign-and-trade deal was to provide some veteran leadership and influence for the youngsters. After Hayward, the next oldest players are Zeller and Biyombo, who are both free agents after this season.
As much as a gambler that Jordan may be, he needs a steady veteran leading these Hornets, particularly with LaMelo out for the rest of the year. If anything, I could see Jordan trading Zeller or Biyombo to some team that wants an expiring contract if he can get a useful piece or picks out of it. This summer, Jordan will have a good deal of cap space where he can make a play for some big-name free agent to add to the group.
Agreed. I’m just considering Hayward’s injury history and his excellent value for contenders right now. A gambler would take a good look at the market and the odds of Hayward being impactful for 4 years vs. betting on young talent to fit them. Not likely to get the scoring of Hayward, but whatever they need.
But having Hayward there for years could be a great decision if they can afford him.
Affording Hayward isn’t a problem for the Hornets and his contract would come off the books about the time that the current young stars are looking to get paid. That being said, if some other team were to wow Jordan with an offer for Hayward, I could see him doing it. It would basically be giving up on this year, but he knows they aren’t ready yet anyway, particularly having lost LaMelo. With all the cap space this summer, he can bring in another veteran influence. So I don’t think Jordan is shopping Hayward, nor would like to get rid of him, but if the right offer comes along, who knows.
Guess I should have added more detail but didn’t think needed. I’ll start over.
I’m making several points, some of which you’ve restated, but you’ve also stated that affording him isn’t a problem. I’m making the case that it could be a problem and the chances of that are worth considering. Especially if you’re a chance taker extraordinaire.
First, LaMelo and at least two others (eg. PJ and Bridges) are extremely fine *young* pieces to build a franchise around. This wasn’t expected going into the season. No one could possibly know that LaMelo would be this good so early. He gets everyone involved and he scores and the result is often games won. One could hope for it, but no one knew.
Second, prior to the excellent surprise above they landed a great anchor/scorer/veteran for their team in Hayward but paid a steep price for him considering his injury history. He adds value to the Hornets. Maybe great value now and maybe next year. One cannot know. He’s a gamble and an expensive one for them. Obviously his contract comes off the books later, but the landscape has changed for the Hornets. They can start winning now with or without Hayward. They’re a playoff team next year – again something they didn’t know going into this season.
Third, Hayward is also a league-wide surprise. There are at least 6 contenders and some others that would go after him at the right price. Maybe not this week, but this summer. At the right price which would largely be determined by their contending window. If it’s now or a year from now that’s significant.
Fourth, with the all that’s changed so also has the contending timeline. It starts sooner than anyone could have guessed and therefore it’s possibly as long as LaMelo’s career if he sticks around. Instead of taking some time to develop LaMelo and other young players there, they can consider getting to conf finals as a goal as early as 2022.
Fifth, while Hayward helps their chances for contending in the near future and helps the team develop as a whole, one must question if his contract is worth it now. They’re unlikely to win a championship during these contract years. They’re more likely to win a championship later. No complex logic there, as that’s true of every young team with a budding superstar (eg Mavs, Grizz, Hawks, Pels).
It all needs to be assessed. The chances of winning are much better than expected. Whether you’re an NBA owner or GM or a craps player in Vegas, when the chances for winning rise markedly your risk management changes. You consider taking risks you wouldn’t take otherwise. I wrote ” … having Hayward there for years could be a great decision if they can afford him”. Considering all the above, the Hornets will want to build around LaMelo *and at least one other star* to have reasonable chances to win a championship. Those chances are better toward the end of Hayward’s contract and after. A big reason for why chances are better is that over time the team can land more talent. Veteran or otherwise that want to play with LaMelo. (who wouldn’t?).
I believe that Hayward’s contract *might* hamper their ability to land other talent prior to the end of his contract. Hence the comment, as it would mean they can’t afford him if a younger star isn’t able to join them because of his contract. Of course they can wait until after Hayward’s contract, but that would mean passing up other talent that could join the team otherwise. It would mean that they really couldn’t afford him after all given their new timeline.
For someone like Jordan, considering all the odds and scenarios is like an itch that needs to be scratched. Like some of the nuttiest (and sometimes best) fantasy league players I’ve gone up against. Always thinking about how to improve your chances. Knowing that at least one other team will value Hayward *more* than he does, that he has a nice window ahead and that all players will want to play with LaMelo … this raises a question about whether Hayward’s contract will slow down their ability to win. Weighing the odds as it were, or otherwise stated assessing whether the Hornets can afford Hayward given all the above.
One of the rumored potential Oubre deals has him going to New Orleans for Lonzo Ball. I’m unclear why, but the Pelicans seem to want to get rid of Lonzo, despite the fact that he is 3rd on the team in scoring (after Zion & Ingram) and leads the team in assists and steals. For that matter, he has shot a decent 3-pt% last year and this year and seems to have fixed his FT shooting. However, his contract is up at the end of the year and perhaps the Pelicans either don’t want to pay him big money or have been told that he will go somewhere else as a free agent (though it may be restricted free agency since he was a 1st round pick).
There’s only about $3 mil in salary difference between Oubre and Ball, so a deal can easily be worked out with the inclusion of a few more low-paid players and maybe a draft pick. I think Oubre would work well with Zion now that he’s learned how to space the floor with the Dubs. But he’s also a free agent at the end of the year. Would New Orleans pay him big bucks to keep him? Rumors are that Oubre thinks he can get a top 10 deal this off-season (top 10 of the available free agents, not overall). So I think he will be looking to get paid.
On the Dubs’ end, Lonzo’s shooting is no longer the liability it was, so he would fit well in both the offense and defense. However, next year, he probably slides to 6th man with Klay coming back. Would he be willing to accept that role, and likely lesser money, to stay with the Dubs? Not sure this trade would be good for either team unless Oubre and Ball are willing to accept lesser money to stay with their new teams.
I like the idea, because Lonzo is a quick thinker with a handle, sees the floor as well as anyone on the current Dubs roster outside of Steph and Dray, he’s fast, penetrates and dishes, rebounds and is a good defender. If he’s ok with being on the Dubs it means he knows he’ll likely be first off the bench when Klay gets back. Ball off the bench is a luxury like Livingston was.
And the Zion-Ingram-Oubre trio would be unstoppable in the open court or even pick and rolls leading to scoring from above the rim. What I don’t get is their plans for Bledsoe. Neither Ball nor Bledsoe bring the kind of “floor generalship” that team needs, and Bledsoe is below average for all PGs in the league IMO. It’s hard to know what Griffin is planning there until he lands a leader that can run the offense. Would love to know who he might be considering in that role. I’ll throw one name out that’s a no brainer. Should be a starter as I’ve said multiple times, and no idea why he isn’t: TJ McConnell. Not sure if he’s considered underrated anymore, but he has to be the most undervalued player in the league.
$3.5 mil for this?? Ridiculous!
Of course, Pels can go after some big fish at that position given their assets. Just hard to know which players they’re looking at. Bledsoe just doesn’t fit though.
I agree that the both players could thrive after such a trade. But does one or both teams hesitate to make the deal knowing the player may walk at the end of the season if they don’t like the money or role being offered?
On the Dubs side of it, Klay probably won’t be back to full speed until mid-season next year, so Lonzo could get a lot of minutes before then and a good number of minutes after Klay is fully back as the 6th man and part of a small ball offense with Curry, Thompson, Wiggins, and Green. If Lonzo isn’t so full of himself that he needs to be a starter and maybe take a slight discount to be on the Dubs, this would work. However, his dad was recently bad-mouthing Steve Kerr for some dumb reason, though I don’t know how much influence he still has with Lonzo.
On Pels end, maybe they are encouraged by Kira Lewis, Jr. as their PG of the future? They did just draft him with the 13th overall pick and he is still just 19 yrs old. He hasn’t played a whole lot this year, but the Pelicans get to see him practice and maybe they think he is the future for them. Then the issue becomes how much money would they be willing to pay Oubre to keep him if they trade for him. They’ll have a decent amount of cap space and can go over it to resign him, but do they want to commit say, $23 mil a year, for him?
Reading reports today that the Rockets are very likely to move Oladipo before the trade deadline. The same reports are saying that the two possible suitors, the Knicks and Heat, are unlikely to make the move. Other contenders that could use a top-flight SG include the Lakers, Clippers, Nuggets, Bucks, and 76ers. I will not be surprised to see one of them make a move to get Oladipo, particularly one of the LA teams. All can finagle a way to get Oladipo and his salary, and I image the Rockets don’t care what players come back in the deal as long as they get some first round draft picks.
Looking at that list the only fits that make sense to me are 76ers and Lakers. I think he messes things up for the rest, although the heat sorely lack a scorer like him. Knicks and Clippers make zero sense to me. Especially Clippers. What does he give them that Lou Will doesn’t?
Well, Oladipo is a better defender and ball distributor than Lou Will. Williams is a better pure shooter, but he’s also 34 yrs old and appears to be slowing down. His ppg has dropped from 18 to 12 this year and his minutes per game has dropped from 28 to 22. The Clips have been starting Batum at one of their wing positions for most of this year and he averages 8.6 ppg in 28.6 mpg. I think Oladipo would be better than that. After Kawhi and PG3, the Clips have no one that averages more than 12 ppg. They need scoring help.
Fair enough. Didn’t realize Oladipo defends or rather that he has been defending well as of late. If that’s the case they can definitely use him, but they really need a PG or Kawhi or Lue needs to put their foot down and tell Kawhi he needs to play the point.
totally changed my mind;-) he looks good in this vid, and they need that quicker penetration … potentially dishing off or out to Kawhi & George. he could get that offense flowing. it’s too stagnant and too inconsistent.
And for that matter, I think he’d fit well alongside Curry and Klay. Not the perfect fit, but in trade for Oubre. Oladipo is 6′ 4″ which is small (sliding Klay over to the 3), but I’d argue that Wiseman gives them the luxury of playing that way. Well …Wiseman and Dray.
Oladipo might fit the Warriors well, but word is that the Dubs are not in on him.
Speaking of Wiseman, Kerr said today that Wise would start for the rest of the season. Assuming he stays out of foul trouble, that should mean 24-30 minutes a night. Maybe more if he keeps making passes like the one you see here:
Still needs to get better with his rebounding, but that will come.
If Dubs aren’t talking about Oladipo that tells me they’re likely going after him. Unless they don’t value Oubre as much as they seem to. An Oladipo for Oubre trade is an upgrade for them, but I suppose the $$ is what will decide.
Although Jokic is quickly moving ahead in the MVP race, I might vote for Harden (if I could) because of all the Kyrie shit and KD absence. That team is still top 5 or 6 even when he’s without them. But Jokic is so incredibly consistent. In that category, right there with Giannis. Steady and excellent. Harden really isn’t that far behind them though. Or LeBron.
Agreed that Joker is leading MVP candidate right now. As well as Harden has played with the Nets, I think his 8 games dogging it for the Rockets before completely quitting on them is going to count against him in the voting. Embiid’s current injury may knock him out of the MVP race, but if he can get back fairly quick, he might be able to jump back into it. Right now, I’ve got the MVP race as follows: 1. Jokic; 2. Embiid (but will start falling the longer he’s out); 3. Greek Freak; 4. Harden; 5. LBJ.
It’s trade deadline day and we’ve got the first somewhat big one. The Magic are sending Vucevic & Aminu to the Bulls for Wendell Carter, Jr., Otto Porter, and two future 1st round picks. Vucevic will provide some offensive firepower for the Bulls, but the loss of Carter and Porter will hurt their defense. Looks like the Magic are rebuilding as they are expected to deal Aaron Gordon today too.
That’s a good one. Clearly the Bulls are going all in to contend within the next few years. I hear reports about them going after Lonzo as well. Not sure I understand that. What would be Cody White’s purpose then?
Great deal for the Magic.
In other news, Boston picked up Evan Fournier who would be the guy they thought they were getting in Kemba. Maybe they’ll look to trade Kemba, but I know that’ll be a hard sell. His value has fallen off considerably. More likely they’ll wait out his contract. Fournier is 28 and should be a great fit in Boston.
Just a side note or rather reminder so as not to forget: Kyrie completely screwed the Celtics. What a huge loss leading them down into the hole they’re in now. Still not sure what happened there, but really hard to fault Ainge unless he knew Kyrie was likely to leave. Kyrie wanted to be the man on a championship caliber team, so I don’t know why he couldn’t do that in Boston. He wanted to be in NY or Brooklyn I guess. Selfish weirdo.
Not quite sure what the Celtics gave up for Fournier. The initial report was 2 second round picks. However, unless they are sending some salary back to Orlando, there would have to be at least a trade exception involved in the deal.
The Magic are completing this teardown by sending Aaron Gordon and Gary Clark to the Nuggets for Gary Harris, RJ Hampton, and a 1st round pick. This is a great deal for the Nuggets as Gordon will slide in nicely as the third option in their offense. Harris has been a huge disappointment for them this year and Hampton wasn’t doing much in his rookie year.
Not sure, but I guess all the Magic deals make Markelle Fultz the new face of their franchise?
Should also note that the Nuggets have picked up JaVale McGee for Isaiah Hartenstein, a protected 2023 second round pick, and a 2027 unprotected second round pick. McGee will provide some defense off the bench for the Nuggets.
Harris even when playing well was both redundant and small. Especially with Morris there. Strange that they waited so long to deal one or the other.
Regarding Fultz, I guess they have no choice about it. He has no trade value until he gets healthy again.
The Trail Blazers have gotten into the mix by trading for Norman Powell. In return, they are sending Gary Trent and Rodney Hood to the Raptors. I don’t know that getting Powell makes the Blazers any better. Powell maybe adds a little more scoring for them, but at the expense of Trent’s defense and length. Unlike Toronto, where he was a starter, Powell would be a back-up to McCollum in Portland. On Toronto’s end, Trent is 5 years younger and cheaper while providing a taller back court mate to VanVleet. They got Hood in the deal to make the salaries match and they can cut Hood at year’s end because his salary for next year is not guaranteed. I think Toronto got the better end of this deal.
Weird choice by Blazers since Trent Jr has played well and they’ve won games despite the injuries. Good deal for Raptors.
The Kings have made two deals. Last night, they dealt Cory Joseph and 2 second round picks to the Pistons for Delon Wright. Wright doesn’t add a lot to the Kings, but Joseph was redundant for them with Fox and Halliburton on the roster at PG. The Kings are also sending Bjelica to the Heat for Maurice Harkless and Chris Silva. Bjelica has become an afterthought in Sacramento this year. Harkless and Silva do nothing for the Kings, so this looks like a salary dump for them as they save a few million in the exchange. Maybe Bjelica will have a resurgence with the Heat as he can start next to Adebayo in the front court.
The Sixers have picked up George Hill from the Thunder to back-up Simmons and Knicks forward Ignas Brazdeikas in a 3-way deal. The Thunder get center Tony Bradley and two future second round picks from the Sixers and Austin Rivers from the Knicks. The Knicks are getting SG Terrance Ferguson from the Sixers. Hill is a nice upgrade for the Sixers second unit. Meanwhile the Thunder now have 17 first round picks and 17 second round picks in the next seven drafts. Have to assume that at some point they will start selling draft picks to pick up good players because there is no reason to have 34 draft picks in the next seven years.
And to think (smirking as I do) that Rivers could be the Suns backup PG if he wasn’t such a prima donna.
You’re right about Hill @ Philly. If they were going after Lowry and didn’t want to give up too much, Hill is an excellent decision. Solid at every facet of his game. I assume he’ll start some games just to see how it works from the gun.
OK. Now we’re talkin! Rondo to the Clipps changes EVERYTHING there. I’m anticipating a lot of friction between him and George. George needs to clean it up or he’ll be on the bench a lot more. Good Move!
Oladipo to Heat is just an “of course!” after the fact. I like him there much better than Lowry who was apparently pursued by them. Oladipo is exactly what they needed to win at least one more in the finals last year, as Herro wasn’t and still isn’t there yet. Am surprised that he’s shown such little improvement this year. Maybe Oladipo puts some pressure on him to improve. Love the move if Oladipo stays healthy.
Here’s what astounds me about the Oladipo deal…all the Heat gave up was Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, and a 2022 first round pick SWAP. Not a chance in hell that the Heat will end up with a better 1st round pick than the Rockets in the 2022 draft, so that will mean the Heat got Oladipo for just Bradley and Olynyk. That is a STEAL!
As for the Rondo-Lou Will swap, the Clips pick up defense and ball-handling, but give up some offense. They probably needed a more vocal leader on the team though, so Rondo will fit the bill. Lou Will figures to be the 6th man in Atlanta, just like he has been everywhere else.
Olynyk?? Where the hell is he now – Houston? There must be half the teams in the league on the phone right now trying to grab him. Phoenix should be demanding him and can throw in a lot to get him. Even Saric. He’s worth Crowder and Saric although that’s too much. Come on Suns!!!
Why would the Suns want Olynyk over Crowder or Saric? Crowder gets the same amount of ppg as Olynyk in similar minutes. Saric gets the same amount of ppg as Olynyk in far less minutes. Both Crowder and Saric are far better 3-pt shooters than Olynyk. About the only upgrade Olynyk would provide is about another rebound or two per game. In any event, unless the Rockets buy Olynyk out, he’s not going anywhere now.
When I wrote the above I didn’t know if the deadline had passed. Guess I should have stated that, but things were moving fast and I guess I assumed it was obvious. Anyhow …
Not sure why you would evaluate based only on a stat sheet. The usage of these guys is so different, and teams so different mostly because of Adebayo.
While Olynyk has a different skill set than Crowder, both Saric and Olynyk (if on the Suns) are more valuable to the Suns going forward. That is unless and until Ayton starts showing some ability to command the post at either end. Saric is good at what he does and badly needed, but Olynyk is bigger and better at mixing it up down low and defending bigger guys. This was the idea behind passing on Haliburton and picking up a big post presence. Obviously that didn’t work out the way they wanted.
Suns like many teams are going after guys who think and react quickly with the ball in their hands. Olynyk is at least as good as Saric at that part of the game.
Clipps won’t give up offense. They’ve improved at both ends. That’s why they got Rondo;-)
I can qualify this by going on for paragraphs, but the most obvious point is exactly what I’ve been stating for months and clearly Clipps feel the same : Paul George is a stagnator. He doesn’t create well enough for others. He allows the defense to get set and spends too much time with blinders on.
The George signing will be a failure unless someone can keep the ball out of his hands for such a high % of the shot clock. He’s obviously skilled and a very good defender, but he’s killing their offense. Sure, some nights he has huge numbers but there are too many others when there’s little to show for the time the ball is in his hands.
So we still have Lowry and Oubre. The easy assumption is Lowry to the Lakers now. Oubre though. I wonder what the Dubs might be seeing available right now.
And Drummond. Hmm …
Doesn’t look like either Lowry or Oubre (or Drummond for that matter) are going anywhere in a trade. The Dubs weren’t getting offers they liked for Oubre, so he’ll be around for the rest of the season. If he wants to sign elsewhere in the offseason, perhaps the Dubs can make it a sign and trade deal and get something for him.
The Dubs did send Brad Wanamaker to Charlotte and Marquise Chriss to the Spurs for essentially nothing (some cash and rights to a 28-yr-old Spanish league player who ain’t coming here. The moves do open up 2 roster spots for the Warriors, so perhaps they will make a move for a player who gets bought out soon.
One such player may be Drummond. There was already speculation that no team would trade for him because of his contract and that the Cavs would be forced to buy him out. If that happens, the Warriors may look to land him to be a mentor to Wiseman and provide some rebounding, an area that they are poor at. However, gotta think Drummond would prefer to sign with a team that offers a chance at a championship this year.
Guessing the Raptors didn’t get a decent offer for Lowry. Seems doubtful that they would buy him out, but we’ll see.
Heard on the radio on the drive home that the Wanamaker and Chriss deals will save the Dubs $11 mil in luxury tax. Chriss was already out for the year, so losing him doesn’t hurt this year’s team. Getting rid of Wanamaker ensures playing time for Poole & Mannion, both of whom are playing well lately. If the Dubs don’t sign someone after buyouts occur, the two empty roster spots allow them to upgrade Mannion or Toscano-Anderson from their two-way contracts, which carry a games limit.
Bizarre that Raptors didn’t move Lowry. The only reason I can think of is that Lowry made it clear he wanted to stay in Toronto, but just 2 years ago he was wanting out. Maybe he’s gotten over it since DeRozan was traded?
I’m sure media will report this as Ujiri simply not liking the offers he was getting, but that makes no sense to me even if it does to them.
Other lesser deadline deals…
Raptors trade Terence Davis to the Kings for a future 2nd round pick. Raptors also trade Matt Davis to the Jazz for a future 2nd round pick.
The Bulls sent Daniel Gafford and Chandler Hutchinson to the Wizards for Troy Brown, Jr. and Moritz Wagner. The Bulls then trade Wagner to the Celtics for Daniel Theis. I’m not sure why the Celtics made the latter deal other than for money reasons (they are already over the cap for next season, so resigning Theis would have cost a lot of money).
The Pelicans have dealt JJ Redick and Nicolo Melli to the Mavs for James Johnson, Wes Iwundu, and a 2021 second round pick. As a team, the Mavs have shot just 36.3% from the arc, so they apparently decided to bring in Redick to help out there.
One buyout rumor already…the Spurs are expected to buyout Aldridge, who would then sign with the Heat. Looks like the Heat are all in on trying to win a championship this season.
really nice team Riley’s assembled down there. really no weaknesses to speak of, assuming all are healthy. could be anyone. the only question mark would be the lack of defense when both Herro and Robinson are on the floor together. I guess that won’t happen as often now that Oladipo probably starts at SG alongside Dragic and Herro sits.
And really heady lineup at the end of games: Dragic, Butler, Adebayo, Aldridge and take your pick of Robinson, Herro or Oladipo. With Oladipo in they also have quickness and continual threats in the paint.
Looks like the initial reports were wrong. Aldridge has signed with the Nets. That is one stacked team. You’ve got Irving, Harden, Harris, Durant, and Jordan in the starting unit. The back-up unit has got Aldridge, Griffin, and Jeff Green.
Meanwhile, Drummond has been bought out by the Cavs. Word is that he may be joining the Lakers, but the initial reports were wrong on Aldridge, so who knows as to Drummond.
so the oubre and lowry (no-)decisions are puzzling to me. well, lowry especially since after reading an interview Ujiri had after the deadline it sure sounded like he screwed up by valuing Lowry so highly. there’s no reason to assume Lowry will stay in Toronto and Ujiri didn’t hint that he thought Lowry wanted to stay.
i guess the Warriors are willing to take a chance that Oubre will take less money, but I just think there are better players available at lower cost. I’m not sure why they couldn’t find one before the deadline. maybe it’s just a simply “business decision” where management takes a risk and if they lose out this time then fine.
While both the Raptors and the Warriors may be hoping to re-sign Lowry and Oubre, they also can offer the most money to both. So if they wish to go elsewhere, both teams may figure that they can work out a sign-and-trade deal that will facilitate more money for the players. In Lowry’s case though, given his age, he may not command as much money and he may be willing to take less to sign elsewhere to play for a contender (still think his hometown 76ers is a good bet) given that he has already made a great deal of money in his career. So the Raptors probably are taking a bigger risk than the Dubs.
OK. So you think the warriors are going for a sign and trade. Would they be able to send him somewhere he doesn’t want to go?
No, it would have to be a place that Oubre wants to go. He’ll be a free agent that can sign anywhere. So he can work out a deal with a team, tell the Warriors that’s where he’s going, and the Warriors can work a sign-and-trade with that team. That’s what they did with KD and the Nets. KD got more money that way and the Nets signed and traded Russell back as part of the deal. Both KD and Russell got more money than they would have if they had signed directly with their new teams. I don’t know if any team would be willing to give Oubre as much money as the Dubs could (but likely won’t) give, so there is some risk for the Dubs.
It’s more complicated than I realized. So, in the case of the Nets & KD etc I’m trying to figure out the benefit to the Nets since KD wanted to go there anyhow. Let’s see if I have this right …
KD wanted to go to the Nets, but Dubs could pay him more than the Nets. So it’s clear to me why KD wanted to do the sign n trade, because he makes more money. But let’s say the Nets didn’t value him that highly and they said no. In that case couldn’t KD have said ‘fine, I guess I need to take less to play for the Nets’?
I’m probably overthinking this. Was the benefit to the Nets that they couldn’t afford both KD and D’Lo so trading D’Lo got him off the books?
But then you say D’Lo got more money. What if the Dubs said no to THAT? Hmmm… I’m definitely missing something.
You’ve got the basic idea, but there are some further complications. Both KD and D’Lo got max deals for higher amounts had they signed directly with the Nets and Dubs, respectively. Either team and either player could have said no. In the Nets case, since they were signing both KD and Kyrie, they were happy to have D’Lo off the books and were planning on letting him walk anyway. On the Warriors’ end, they were over the cap with or without KD. So if KD walks without getting D’Lo back, the Dubs effectively cannot replace him because they can’t sign a high-priced free agent being over the cap. By signing and trading KD for D’Lo, they were able to keep another high-priced salary slot on their team despite being over the cap.
D’Lo was probably the most iffy yes in the deal. He wanted to play in Minnesota with his buddy KAT, but the draw of more money and the chance to possibly play for a championship and learn the Warrior Way was enough to get him to agree. Of course, the Dubs later made him happy and dealt him to Minnesota.
The Warriors turned a large trade exception into Oubre this offseason. If he walks as a free agent, the Dubs cannot replace him with a higher-priced free agent as they continue to be over the cap and no longer have a large trade exception. I don’t know how much a max contract would be for Oubre, but it may be higher than any team is willing to give him. If so, the motivation for another team doing a sign-and-trade for Oubre would be the other team similarly being over the cap and wanting to preserve the big salary slot over the cap.
As for what the Warriors are going for, I think they are hoping to resign Oubre and keep him as their 6th man. If Oubre likes Golden State, perhaps he will take less money and be willing to come off the bench to stay there. However, there have been unconfirmed reports that Oubre wants a starting job.
I don’t see Oubre wanting to come off the bench unless three things happen.
1. Kerr et al. promise it will mean huge minutes, as in the same or more than 2 or 3 starters.
2. Klay would need to come back.
3. Wiggins would need to be one of the guys playing the same or fewer minutes than Oubre.
Really doubt Oubre will choose to take a back seat of any kind to Wiggins. And he shouldn’t. So maybe they need to get rid of Wiggins to sign Oubre.
I don’t see any of this happening. The sign and trade makes the most sense (if I could figure it out:-;)
I would be all too happy to see the Dubs trade Wiggins and keep Oubre. The problem, of course, is finding a team that wants Wiggy at his high price ($31.5 mil next year and $33.6 mil the year after that). Toward that end, here’s a trade thought (for the offseason):
The Warriors send Wiggins to the Raptors for Siakam.
There were rumors before the trade deadline that the Raptors were looking to get rid of Siakam, who will be making $30+ mil for the next 3 seasons. Wiggs and Siakam are the same age and Wiggs is from Toronto, so they’d have a home-grown player to promote. If Toronto no longer wants Siakam, this seems like a win-win for both teams.
Here’s how the no-Haliburton decision hurts the most for the Suns: Milkal Bridges is rising and improving and widely respected now. He has excellent trade value, but they can’t replace him so they can’t trade him. If they had Haliburton playing like he is they’d have an excellent player that, although he’s not Bridges he would match or possibly surpass what Bridges gives the Suns offensively. And defend well albeit with a smaller wingspan.
Still don’t understand the Jalen Smith pick by the Suns with Halliburton there. Smith is averaging less than 5 minutes per game. With LaMelo Ball’s injury, Halliburton probably ranks second to Anthony Edwards in the rookie-of-the-year race. The Suns have the 3rd best record in basketball. They’d be even better with Halliburton.
Weird. Even if not true, I’m going to pretend James Jones had nothing to do with the decision. Otherwise as a Suns fan you wonder what other horrible judgement calls he’ll continue to make. The strangest part is that you can see the problem in every scouting video on Jalen Smith: his slight lower body is easy to push around, and without a lot of quickness I’m not sure what you think you’re getting. He’s not Manute Bol. He’s only frickin 6′ 10″
By the way, just for the sake of a chuckle … I’m pretty good at spelling, or at least much better than average. You appear to be better than me. No surprise there. The funny thing is that I’m the one who’s going to correct you on Haliburton’s spelling this time. What’s maybe not so funny: my problem is eyesight these days. Simply hard for me to see two l’s together. Not good news for a programmer. You’re a year older.
How’s that eyesight?
I *do* realize I mis-spell things too often. that’s rarely because I don’t know the spelling of things. more like half typos and half eyesight issues. except when I’m spelling Giannis’ last name. or …
which explains why I don’t try to spell Giannis’ last name. usually wrong. Antetenkuonmpo. Something like that. The u before the o is what I get right (I think) and the ‘tet’ trio. I should probably take some time to study that one.
shit. o before u. dammit. hopefully won’t make that mistake again.
o after the second t. will practice that one.
Antetokounmpo is one that took me awhile to get down. Had to break it into parts to get it right. So when spelling it out, it’s Ante – toko – un – mpo. Not sure I ever realized that Haliburton didn’t have the double ell. Now I know. LOL!
toko. got it.
Another buy-out and signing with a contender. After Jeff Teague got traded to the Magic last week, they have bought him out and he will be signing with the Bucks. Since the Bucks traded DJ Augustin to the Rockets in the PJ Tucker trade last week, they were in need of a back-up PG, so this is a good deal for them.
They need him. I watched The Cenz play recently and he’s not far enough along offensively, though he brings a lot to the table. Teague gives them some more options offensively. Better scoring chances. Probably an upgrade from Bledsoe and George Hill even.
Returning to a subject you brought up before…Zion has come awfully close to cracking the 40 point level this past week. He had games of 38 and 39 points. Even more remarkably, he now has 24 straight games in which he has scored more than 20 points on 50% shooting or better. Apparently Shaq holds the record with 25 straight such games, so Zion may very well break his record. On the season, Zion is 5th overall in shooting percentage while taking nearly twice as many shots as anyone above him on the shooting% list. I’d still like to see him make a greater impact in the rebounding game. He should be an automatic double-double every night, but he’ll get there.
I’ve thought more about this, and I think they’re doing the right thing by keeping him from doing what we all know he can and probably will do: become one of the highest scoring-per-game players of all time. There’s probably no point to getting there fast, even if they could (or do) make the playoffs this year. Zion is so big and powerful – how would anyone know what human joints and ligaments can withstand over 15-20 years playing like that?
If Barkley was that explosive and fast I’d say he’s your proof. Same with Wilt and Shaq. But they weren’t. I can’t think of any athlete ever that would compare wrt the forces and impact on joints and ligaments. It would have to be a football player of equal size and speed. Reggie White or Deacon Jones come to mind. I think playing on grass would make a big difference, but worth looking into how their bodies held up. I really doubt they were this quick though.
Time for Stevens to move on? Even if it isn’t right I think it needs to happen. And maybe Ainge needs to go as well.
This is Stevens’ 8th season as head coach. He and Ainge did well to quickly rebuild a top team after the Pierce-Garnett-Allen triumvirate left. They’ve reached the Eastern Conference finals in 3 of the last 4 years. Seems strange to suggest that Stevens and Ainge may need to go, but there’s no way that this year’s team–with 2 All-Stars in Tatum and Brown and a recent All-Star in Kemba–should be below .500 and in the 8th playoff spot in the East. I haven’t seen them enough this year to know what is going on, but there’s clearly something wrong there.
They had this very discussion on ESPN’s First Take this morning. Without saying that Stevens or Ainge should be fired, they agreed that both jobs should be in jeopardy unless they turn things around in the rest of the season. They described the problem as being Tatum, Brown, and Walker all being largely iso players and not working cooperatively enough. If that’s the case, that is a coaching issue in not getting them to work together better and a GM issue in not getting the right pieces to work together.
I agree there’s no good reason for Ainge to go, or at least not until they try out a new coach for a season or the better part of one. But Ainge chose to go with Kyrie which in hindsight seems like a horrible decision. Of course just about any GM would consider taking that chance, but it happened amidst some pretty strange comments from Kyrie. Regardless, Ainge signed him, didn’t get AD or any other big names, Walker isn’t as good as any of us thought.
From my POV this is some very bad Irish luck, but we’ll see what the owner has to say about it.
Here’s a possibility that I think would get almost everyone’s approval: Billups as head coach. Or at least offer him the job since they owe him that much. Since it was a Pitino thing and not a Celtics management thing maybe Billups would consider it?
From Billup’s wiki …
Billups was drafted third overall in the 1997 NBA draft by the Boston Celtics. He did not mesh with new Celtics head coach Rick Pitino. In his first career game, Billups recorded 15 points, 2 rebounds and 4 assists in 16 minutes of playing time as a reserve in a win against the Michael Jordan-led Bulls. In his eighth career game, Billups posted a then career-high 22 points, on 5-for-14 shooting from the field and 9-for-10 from the free throw line, to go along with 3 assists and 4 steals, in a 103-99 win over the visiting Raptors. Years later, Billups reflected on his sti