Short preliminary Overview:
Warriors won the 2022 title because of talent and experience.The younger talent not named Wiggins contributed relatively little however, so it’s not clear that the Dubs got this one because they were the more talented team. If the Bucks had Middleton available for this last championship run it’s not clear that the Dubs had enough for a 7 game series. Instead, it was Boston with not enough from Tatum in the finals. It’s very hard to believe that the 2022 Celtics were the best that the East had to offer.
Barring injuries, this year the Warriors have nothing in their way of a repeat trip to the Western Conference Finals. They are the most experienced team. They move the ball and themselves much better than any team in the league. They are now bigger with Wiseman. They are more talented with several young players that will undoubtedly improve their overall games. Getting to the finals may not be easy however. Younger teams like the Grizzlies, Pels, Suns and Wolves are all likely to improve and challenge for that other spot atop the West. Meanwhile the Nuggets and Clipps have all-star level talent returning in Murray and Leonard respectively. The Mavs are bigger with the additions of Wood and McGee and all signs point to Doncic as one of the favorites for MVP this season.
Side note: Zion Williamson, Ja Morant and Ant Edwards are so young and talented that it’s impossible to know how good they’ll be by the end of the season. All three are potentially generational talents along with Luka at about the same age. While it seems we know what Luka brings every night, there’s currently no way to know how good any of these other three will become should they stay healthy. As of right now there is no way to put a ceiling on any of these three players. Incredible young explosive talents and they’re all in the West.
In the East the Bucks look stacked and ready to return to the finals. They’ll get Middleton back, Grayson Allen stepped in nicely after DiVincenzo was lost to injury (he’s now with the Kings). Conaughton and Portis are only going to get better overall while remaining tough as nails. Joe Ingles is with them now – that should add more ball movement and spacing to what was already excellent. Boston could get back to the top, but they won’t do it as a consensus best in the East. Even if they didn’t have coaching and injury issues (Udoka is out and Brogdon is coming back from a recent injury. I believe Galinari is out indefinitely with an knee injury??). Still, Boston needs Tatum to do what he didn’t come close to doing in the 2022 playoffs: he needs to lead them and close consistently against great opponents. He’s not there yet.
Eastern Conference pre-preview
The Nets should be ready to run with both Kyrie and Ben Simmons alongside KD and Seth Curry. No proof yet, but if they want to claim “best starting 4 in the game” I doubt many would argue. They’ll have to prove it, and without knowing anything about team chemistry and Kyrie’s minutes there’s really no reason to put Nets atop the East yet. They need to be hitting on all cylinders in April -May, and no reason to think that will happen. Yet.
Sixers just seem way too thin, although there are good reasons to think that Maxey and Harden will figure out the ball-movement and scoring load now that they’ve had a preseason together. Embiid should be right there with Giannis and Luka atop the MVP race. Injuries are probably everything for this team, so look for a good amount of time management.
Miami is basically the same team as last season, though the big Serbian rookie, Nikola Jovic, could be an intriguing addition.
Cleveland now has Donovan Mitchell alongside Sexton. No clue how that will look, so not worth speculating yet. However, Cleveland is a very solid defensive team that is well coached and could figure out their offense well enough to make noise in the East.
Indiana has the ascending Haliburton in charge now, and there is every reason to look at him early in the season to see where this team is headed. Will he be taking the bulk of the shots? A conventional answer would be no, because that’s not his role. Or rather it hasn’t been. But is an efficient penetrating and dishing and shooting Haliburton the best option for the Pacers? They’ve got plenty of talent and some experience. Let’s see where their new leader takes them now that they’ve had an offseason together to figure is out.
The Bulls, Toronto and Hawks look to be loaded with talent at both ends. On any given night they can outrun and outscore any team in the league.
Detroit and Orlando will be interesting to watch. Both orgs look solid but the talent is super young if not raw. Expect the Pistons to upset any team on any given night if they aren’t taken seriously for 48 minutes.
Western Conference pre-preview
mohini Post authorOctober 15, 2022, 12:45 am
I’m pretty much writing off Porland, Utah, San Antonio and Sacramento this year but if you’ve heard something that might make any of these playoff teams let me know. I’m high on Houston as a dark horse and Pels at a potential top 5 in the West regular season should Zion stay healthy.
awoodsOctober 16, 2022, 3:44 am
I wouldn’t write Sacto off. With Mike Brown as head coach, Sabonis for a full season, a likely big step up from Davion Mitchell, and a rookie who looks really good in Keegan Murray, I think they’ll be in contention for a low level playoff berth. They also picked up Kevin Huerter from Atlanta in the off-season. I don’t share your optimism about Houston. I think there still a year or two away from sniffing the playoffs.
mohini Post authorOctober 16, 2022, 2:48 pm
I agree Sac has the talent, but they also have Fox who doesn’t seem to understand how other players similar to him are transitioning to all the ball sharing and movement. Only Kyrie and Trae Young seem to be able to get away with it, and I suppose Luka to some extent (but that’s an MVP candidate so not exactly someone Fox should be emulating). On the other hand, let’s say that Fox figures it out by end of April. I don’t see how they even get into the play-in with this insane lineup in the West:
Shoe ins for the western playoffs:
Shoe ins for the western play-in if they don’t make it into the top 6:
I don’t consider the Lakers a shoe in for the play-in. So Kings need to fight these teams to get into the play in tourney …
I agree that the Kings look better on paper, and I think Sabonis will be an all star this year over AD and Green (not betting on it of course). But Fox will have to lead them with a whole slew of new talent, and I see some teams taking the next step faster than the Kings: Thunder and Rockets for instance. I expect both to be in the play-in with the Jazz, Spurs, Blazers and Kings looking in from the outside. We will see!
mohini Post authorOctober 16, 2022, 4:12 pm
Somehow Pels were left off the list above. I guess I erased them, but Zion or not their in the play-in and probably in the playoffs above the Wolves but too much uncertainty around Zion.
awoodsOctober 16, 2022, 7:56 pm
Pels are on the list above with the Nuggets as a play-in shoe-in if they don’t make the top 6. I don’t have that confidence in the Pelicans simply because Zion hasn’t proved he can stay healthy. I break down the West like this:
Will be in top 6:
Could be either top 6 or play-in depending on health:
Likely in top 6, but could fall into play-in territory if one key player gets injured:
Likely in play-in, but could get into top 6 if things go right:
Likely won’t make playoffs, but could get to play-in if things go right:
Won’t make playoffs:
mohini Post authorOctober 17, 2022, 3:35 pm
Got it, but I put the Pels in as a shoe in even if Zion gets hurt and is out for the entire season starting on Weds. They were awesome vs. the Suns. They’re a complete team without Zion. Outstanding defensively. Ingram should be an MVP candidate if Zion doesn’t play much this year. If Zion plays most of the season this is a top 5 team in the West IMO. They are better than the Suns and Mavs with Zion and neck and neck with them without him.
Just my opinion of course, but that’s what I saw in the playoffs vs. Suns who really didn’t deserve to get past them. Pels looked like the better team to me and that was with McCollum playing less than a full season.
Your list is also reasonable IMO. I’m guessing that the main difference between us isn’t the Pels but the Thunder. I think Giddey is an all-star and will lead them to the play-in tourney.
Where do you have the Kings though? I assume just above the Rockets and Blazers.
awoodsOctober 17, 2022, 7:01 pm
Yep missed the Kings, but you have the correct spot for them. I’d put them in the Lakers and Pelicans category.
294 thoughts on “
In the opener in Boston, Sixers were fast out of the gate with Harden having an excellent game. Tatum and Brown also delivering efficient performances. Boston is currently up by about 10 going into the 4th.
Only saw the last few minutes of the game and the Celtics had the game pretty well in hand. I look at the Celtics roster though and they really don’t have much bench help beyond Brogdon and Grant Williams. They will get Robert Williams back likely in December and that will help, but if they lose any starters for an extended period, they may have some troubles.
As for the Sixers, they got nothing from their bench last night and very little from PJ Tucker in the starting line-up. Tucker is 37, so he should really be playing limited minutes off the bench. I thought Montrezl Harrell would break into the starting line-up instead of Tucker, but he played just 10 minutes and only managed 2 pts and a block in that time. Harrell is only 29, but he might be about done. He was trending down last season, so maybe this is where he is headed. In any event, Sixers lack depth.
BTW, the highlights of this game kept showing two plays where James Harden broke the ankles, figuratively not literally, of Celtics’ defenders. You can see both in this clip:
The thing is though, despite being wide open for the resulting 3-pt shots, Harden missed the shot both times. In the first one, he airballed the shot. Harden has played well in both games so far, but Sixers have lost both, though perhaps to the best two teams in the East.
Here’s my assessment of the Eastern Conference going into the season:
Will be in top 6:
Likely in top 6, but could fall into play-in territory if one key player gets injured:
Could be in either top 6 or play-in depending on health:
Likely in play-in, but could get into top 6 if things go right:
Likely won’t make playoffs, but could get to play-in if things go right:
Won’t make playoffs:
Good start for the Dubs’ championship defense. They did not shoot particularly well, but still easily handled the Lakers. Steph did Steph things–several incredible layups and a few late, Laker-deflating threes. Klay started slow, but his shot got hot in the 2nd half. Wiggins had 20 pts, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal, and a block. That’s the kind of line I’ll be happy to take from him all season long. Just so steady on both ends of the court. Loon had just 7 points and 6 rebounds, but the Dubs were a remarkable +30 when he was on the floor, which tells you that he was a defensive stalwart. Wiseman and JaMychal Green had matching 8 point, 7 rebound nights. Wiseman did that in just 17 minutes. Poole only had 12 points, but he had 7 assists and several of them were real beauties, including one to Draymond. As for Green, his numbers weren’t impressive, 4 pts, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists, but his value comes from all the picks he sets and his direction of the defense.
One disappointment was Kuminga. He looked out of control when he had the ball. Maybe it was opening night jitters, but he needs to settle his game down. DiVincenzo looked like he’s still getting used to the system. He turned over the ball too much, but I think he’ll be fine once he gets better adjusted to the Warrior system.
On the Lakers side of things, their lack of depth was glaring. They really got basically nothing from anyone not named LeBron, AD or Russ. I guess Kendrick Nunn gave them a little off the bench, but no one else seemed to be doing anything. AD played 36 minutes, LeBron 35 minutes and Russ 31 minutes in a game that was out of reach for much of the 2nd half. If the Lakers continue leaning on their big three that much, they will break down. Unfortunately, they have no choice but to lean on them that hard, so I suspect one or more of those three are going to miss significant time this season.
I can understand why Moody’s minutes are restricted in the opening week or two, but not after that.
I also wonder if Kerr is not liking Poole and Moody as a backcourt consistently. has Kerr opined on this : a second team back court of Poole and Moody not working somehow?
No, Kerr hasn’t said anything like that. What the Warriors/Steve Kerr have said is that they will be trying out a bunch of rotations this season and that the vets will likely get more rest than usual. Both Klay and Draymond are on minutes restrictions at least for the early going. Expect the vets to not play the back-to-backs very often.
James Bouknight, the Hornets #1 pick last year, was arrested for a DWI over the weekend. Apparently the police found him unconscious in his car with a gun in his hand. Obviously, we don’t know all the facts yet, but I’m guessing a suspension is coming. Bad way for the Hornets’ season to start.
Maybe Ball is with the wrong franchise?
And yet he got good minutes last night. Go figure!
Nice comeback by the Suns the other night. That said, even though he made the game-winning shot, Damian Lee’s shot was a poor one that he got lucky on. Lee also got the most minutes off the Suns’ bench. Lee is a good 9th or 10th guy on your team, but if he’s your 6th man, that is not a good sign. Their starting unit is still one of the best in the league though.
On the Mavs side, I wonder why Christian Wood was coming off the bench. Other than Luka and maybe Dinwiddie, their starting unit ain’t that great. Wood had a terrible night at the FT line, but he otherwise shot and rebounded very well.
One of the long-time, local Warriors beat writers, Anthony Slater, now with The Athletic, reported this week that there is clear iciness in the Dubs’ locker room between Draymond and the rest of the team. The incident with Jordan Poole is still pretty fresh, so perhaps this iciness fades as the season progresses. However, Draymond did himself no favors during the Lakers game Tuesday night when he called LeBron over to the Warrior bench (where Draymond was sitting at the time) during free throws in the game so that the two of them could chat and laugh. Some Warriors were not happy about that and Andre Iguodala appeared to be giving the finger to them when it happened, which you can see in this video.
There is some thought that Draymond is already planning to opt out of his contract at the end of the season and perhaps sign with the Lakers. The Lakers basically have nobody signed beyond this season other than LeBron and AD and a couple of really small contracts. So they will be able to spend.
What options if any to move Dray before the end of this season?
how bout this one?
I think there’s way too many observations to report on and not very important reasons to do so. I’ll just go with what seems most important to me so far this season …
Morant is on a tear.
Dubs don’t need to prove anything so who cares that Jokic needed a hail Mary to win it last night.
Zion looks much better than his box score is showing. Ingram, McCollum and Valanciunis look great.
There is a problem between Ayton and Monty Williams still
Ben Simmons is playing and from what I understand making an impact.
Haliburton is the man in Indiana. Seems like the absolute best recipe for long term success.
Houston is going to win a lot of games and will be a threat for that 7th or 8th seed in the west.
Charlotte looks tough as nails even without Ball and Bridges. Suns should be looking hard at the way that team is constructed. Nuggets also. Both teams need to toughen up.
You are right that there is nothing to worry about after the Dubs lost to the Nuggets the other night. Warriors almost completed a huge comeback and were still playing with Draymond and Klay on minutes restrictions. That being said, one thing I noticed about the fully healthy Nuggets…they rotate really well. The Dubs’ offense is all about movement, but the Nuggets were able to keep up with their ball movement. If the Nuggets stay healthy, they could be a force to contend with in the West.
Would also note that the Warriors shot poorly against the Nuggets–the Nugs get some credit for that–but picked it up in their comeback. In the 2nd quarter tonight against the Kings, the Dubs put up 50 points with Steph having another 20+ point quarter in just a little over 7 minutes.
Regarding some of your other observations:
Haliburton is the man in Indiana, but their 1st round pick (6th overall) Bennedict Mathurin out of Arizona, has been maybe the top rookie so far. Granted it is only 3 games, but he’s got more points than Banchero despite playing 16 less minutes overall. Mathurin and Banchero have nearly double the points of any other rookie.
Simmons didn’t look in his 1st game, fouling out after 23 minutes, but he had a much better game 2.
I’m gonna withhold judgment on Zion for now. Yes, he’s averaging 20 and 7 through 2 games,, but is only shooting 43% from the field and 62.5% from the FT line. I will attribute that to rust, but Pelicans are already playing him 30 minutes a game, so I am concerned that they may be overworking him early given his health history.
Ja is a stud. If he doesn’t get injured, always a concern given how hard he plays, he will be a top 5 MVP candidate.
Still don’t share your optimism for the Rockets. They’ve lost all 3 games, twice by double digits. Jalen Smith can score, but the rest of his game needs work.
Would also note that I don’t understand what’s up with the 76ers. Losing to the Celtics and Bucks can be excused, but there’s no excuse for losing to the Spurs. Don’t understand why Thybulle isn’t being used or why Tucker is getting so many minutes with so little to show for it.
My comments about the Rockets are based on their talent and how they seem to know how to play as a team. The ball moves around well. They seem relatively unselfish given the talent. Fast and athletic as well. You’re right that they haven’t done much yet. I’m following them pretty closely – hopefully I’ll see some winning.
Donovan Mitchell shows up and deRozan barely makes a noise. OK.
35 10-19 4-6 8-9 9 rebs 8 assts 1 blk 0 4 TO 32 pts
33 3-9 0-0 7-7 2 rebs 1 assts 3 stls 0 TOs 13 pts
It’s still early, but I may have been wrong about the Trailblazers. Chauncey Billups has them playing really well so far. Edging the Suns was good, but they blew out the Nuggets last night. After they unloaded McCollum last year, I thought they were headed to a rebuilding mode. Maybe not.
That’s one hell of a starting lineup in Portland. Nurk with 6 assists. Jerami Grant’s stats are just “ok” to start the season though, considering the number of minutes. They need more rebounding from him at the very least, but winning is winning. We’ll see if that continues.
Not sure what the beef was between Klay and Book (and Klay and CP3 a bit too) last night, but that was the first time that Klay has ever been ejected from an NBA game. Booker said that Klay flashed four fingers at him and said he had 4 times as many rings as the entire Suns organization (not true actually since D. Lee is on the Suns now), but there had to be something that set him off. Klay also apparently said something to the ref after the first technical that got him the second tech. I’m guessing part of this is related to Klay being frustrated that his game is not where he wants it to be yet. After Klay got tossed, the Dubs fell apart. It was a pretty good game up to then.
One early observation about the Warriors is that their defense is clearly not up to snuff yet. Part of this can be explained by Dray and Klay playing limited minutes and Klay’s perimeter defense has not returned to normal. Another part of this can be explained by the Dubs playing the youngsters a lot. Other than Moody, the rest–Poole, Wiseman and Kuminga–get lost on defense and Green/DiVincenzo are not up to speed with the Warriors defense yet.
Kuminga is not getting much run at all because he doesn’t have the Warriors’ motion offense down yet either. I don’t know how much organized basketball Kuminga played in Africa before coming to the US in 2016. The Warriors’ system requires a great deal of basketball IQ. Not saying Kuminga won’t get there, but it may take him longer to develop with his later start in getting good coaching. Steph, Wiggs, Klay, and Baldwin are all sons of players/coaches who got early educations. Dray, DiVincenzo, and Green all played 3 or 4 years in top college programs with great coaches. Loon has 7 years in the Dubs’ system now. It’ll take time for Kuminga and some of the other youngsters to get fully integrated into the system.
As with most things Dubs, they’re likely to figure it out. However that may not include Kuminga much this year.
It’s clear that Wiseman is and needs to continue to be their focus this year. That means practices and games. It must be changing everything from players minutes to rotations to Dray’s role to even a question about how much of this team (22-23) is going to be about defense vs offense. This is a bit simpleminded, but I’ll state it anyhow …
If Wiseman is going to be a big part of this run it means the only way for him to stay on the court is to improve his positioning and defensive footwork (I learned by watching Ayton last year that these things don’t necessarily go together). And the only way that will happen is if a lot of time is spent on those things in practice. Meaning less focus on Klay’s role, maybe almost no focus on how Kuminga fits in other than during scrap time. And possibly less focus on how Moody fits in as well.
The good thing about Klay is that he’ll think it over and over and then again and figure it out. I’m guessing he will need to play fewer minutes going forward while Moody begins to play closer to 30 mins a game. If by the end of the season the Warriors can form a solid defensive core for 8-10 minutes at a time with Curry, Moody, Wiggins, Dray and Wiseman learning to play together at both ends, just seems to me that everything else will fall into place. Possibly without Kuminga this year, but there’s time for him to improve quite a bit this year.
Will be interesting to see how Klay comes out this next game.
I think you hit the nail on the head in terms of the Warriors being more focused on developing Wiseman this year than Kuminga. Thus far, Wiseman has been incorporated well into the offense on pick-and-rolls and alley-oops. He’s averaging 9.2 pts in 15 minutes a game. He needs to get better on defense and rebounding. Given that this is his 3rd year in the league, he’ll be eligible for an extension at the end of the season, so Dubs will want to see if he’s worth it. They’ve got another year before they’re faced with that decision on Kuminga. Unfortunately for Kuminga, his playing time will likely come in blowouts and they Warriors haven’t been on either end of those except for the Suns game (where Kuminga got his most playing time).
I could be missing some players in the MIP race, but I doubt it. Desmond Bane is way out in front from what I’ve been seeing stats and winning wise both.
adding Tyrese Maxey and Caris LeVert to the MIP list
Given that Ja Morant won MIP last year for basically upping his scoring average, I gotta think that Tyrese Haliburton is in the mix for MIP this year.
Absolutely. I added a bunch of other players here but somehow my post didn’t get through. There are at least 8 players in the race and I think Bane and Haliburton are leading the charge with a few others right there with them.
I will put Markkanen at the top right now., leading to another question that seems pretty legit right now: clearly the Jazz are looking like a potential playoff team especially after last night’s blowout of the Grizz, but just how good are they? It’s not like they’re a team of scrubs in any way. They have at least two excellent players in Conley and Clarkson and a few with outstanding potential to shine. They also have very good players coming off the bench.
The Spurs released their 2021 1st round pick (12th overall) Joshua Primo, after multiple alleged incidents of him exposing himself to women. The Spurs gave no official statements on why he was released. Primo’s statement said the he has been seeking help for “previous trauma” and would take this time to focus on his mental health. Primo had looked a little better this year, so I suspect some other team will take a chance on him, though maybe not this year.
There were certain teams where the injury histories of certain key players created a good deal of uncertainty. It’s very early in the season, but a couple of those injuries are already proving troublesome.
First up is, of course, Kawhi. The Clips were obviously going to play it safe with him early coming of his ACL injury. So far, he has missed 3 of 5 games and only played limited minutes off the bench in the other two. They’ve already announced he will miss tonight’s and tomorrow’s games. The Clips lost back to back games to the Thunder without Kawhi. One wonders if Kawhi will ever play a fully healthy season again.
Then there is Zion. He missed the last game with a hip issue. Basketball reference lists him at 284 lbs. That can not be good on his leg joints with his high-flying game. Pelicans play the Clippers tonight and neither team’s best player may be in the game. It doesn’t help the Pelicans that Ingram is in concussion protocol and is missing the entire current road trip.
A hip injury for Zion seems like really bad news to me. He’s too young for that. Reminds me of Bo Jackson who had hip issues for different reasons, but that they occurred when he was young isn’t good.
I believe Jackson sustained the injury at 28 years old and didn’t recover. I’m doubting that his joints were somehow perfect before then. My point about the age is that these are super-powerful young men that are too powerful for their own joints. I’m surprised Barkley didn’t have more of the same issues.
Harden has now suffered a strained tendon in his right foot and is expected to miss a month. Philly is already off to a bad start and this won’t help.
I’m still watching the Rockets and noticing that they seem to go as far as Jalen Green takes them. What I’m seeing is that if he can play his game as he’s shown in most games this year then they’ll have no trouble scoring, but players are so young and they have such little time playing together I’m not seeing any kind of cohesive defense. Still, that’s one team that I can see going on a run before long. It may just mean that they keep games closer, but I like a lot of the “headiness” on that team even if it’s immature.
Speaking of headiness, clearly the Jazz , Spurs and OKC are showing some of the same. Those three teams alone as well as a couple in the East might be all it takes to prevent the Rockets from winning enough this year. Pacers and Pistons in particular might end up being more ready to win this year than the Rockets. Cavs certainly are. Maybe average teams are now much better than I assumed going in.
The Nets just fired Steve Nash. Apparently he is the reason for their 2-5 start (*sarcasm*). Jacque Vaughn will serve as interim coach. You will recall that KD said over the summer that he would rescind his trade demand if the Nets got rid of Nash and Marks. At the time, the Nets stood by both of them and then patched things up. Now they seem to have caved to one of KD’s demands with the poor start to the season being used to justify it. I’m guessing Marks will not start the 2023-24 season as Nets GM.
I guess it was inevitable. Doubt it helps their record much. Getting Harris into the rotation and Simmons out of it seemed to help. Doubt that Nash had anything to do with that;-)
Reportedly, Ime Udoka is the top choice to replace Nash. Apparently the Celtics are willing to let Udoka go. I’m guessing there would be no compensation to the Celtics if this happens.
I haven’t had time to look into this, but seems a reasonable question:
Any chatter out there claiming that Kyrie’s latest outlandish bullshit (ie. the recent antisemitic topic) was a tipping point leading to Nash’s exit? I suppose I’m mostly wondering if Nash was ready to quit but for a multitude of reasons it was agreed that he’d be let go instead. Just speculation of course, but I do wonder what’s better for his coaching career in this case:
to be fired from a team that has had many obvious and difficult issues that had nothing to do with him
for him to quit from such a team.
I don’t know, but I doubt any organization wants to hire a quitter. I hope more information is revealed about this soon.
I haven’t seen any chatter about Kyrie being the tipping point though it would not surprise me. It was reported that the firing was by mutual agreement between Nash and the Nets. I would not be surprised to see Nash end up back with the Warriors, perhaps on the bench instead of the front office. Don’t know if it would happen this season.
Besides having led the Celtics to the finals last season, Udoka has a history with all the key players on the Nets. Before his one season in Boston, he was Nash’s assistant with Brooklyn. The year before that, he was an assistant in Philly with Ben Simmons. Boston had the top defense in the league last season and the Nets last year and this year have one of the worst defenses. If Udoka can turn the defense around, the Nets will be in the championship picture. Can he turn the defense around? I don’t know.
I just see a Kyrie Udoka clash to be honest.
The Nets just suspended Kyrie without pay for no less than 5 games after he has repeatedly refused to apologize for sharing the link to an anti-Semitic film on social media. There is already a lot of speculation that this might be the end for him in Brooklyn. Don’t know if they would outright release him as they would then have to pay him the rest of his $36 million salary for this season. But I would not be surprised if the Nets are actively trying to trade him right now. I’m thinking a Kyrie for Russ trade might be the elimination of distractions for both teams.
If dealt Kyrie would still need to apologize, but possibly not need to go through the hoops the Nets are putting him through. It would be better for everyone I agree.
Kyrie finally apologized late last night or early this morning. KD tweeted this morning that he wished the Nets has simply overlooked what Kyrie had done and then he got backlash for that. Things just aren’t good in Netland.
On top of all this, Ime Udoka has not yet been hired even though it looked like it was imminent earlier this week. I wonder if Udoka told the Nets that he wants no part of the Kyrie shitshow. If so, that would either have the Nets exploring other coaching options or exploring all Kyrie trade options.
Here’s an ESPN article from Ramona Shelburne and Woj about everything happening within the Nets organization this week:
Lots of good details in it.
Beyond all the current chatter, what do you feel might be the legal impediment(s) facing Sliver if he wanted to simply ban Kyrie from the league? I assume he has no legal grounds for doing so? I’m sure there are other reasons why he won’t want to, but I’m wondering what his options are, if any, legally.
It would depend on whether the CBA allows for a suspension or ban based on this kind of conduct. I doubt a ban would be allowable, but given that the Nets have suspended Kyrie, that would seem to be allowable. Also, because this is something that didn’t happen in a game, I think only the Nets can suspend Kyrie, not the NBA. This is similar to the Draymond Green punch during practice. It was up to the Warriors to make a decision on a suspension.
Don’t know if you saw or heard about Jordan Poole getting called three times for carrying the ball on Tuesday night against the Heat. You can see all three in this video:
Clearly, Poole did carry the ball all three times, as Steve Kerr said after the games. However, as Kerr also pointed out, players have been doing this for a long time and it never gets called. Not sure why the refs started calling it in that game.
Not including the third one which was egregious, the others were probably called because his motion is just slow enough that refs can easily see the carry. As opposed to Morant’s carrying which is worse IMO but so quick that refs probably can’t be sure.
Looking forward to the next time the Dubs meet the Grizz.
Ja was quick to come to Poole’s defense. i wonder if he is worried about getting called for it.
How bout them Jazz! They’ve put a nice run together and came within 3 points of dallas in a loss recently.
Let’s see if they can keep it going. Their schedule isn’t easy for rest of Nov.
Still very early, but some reasons to be very interested in this suns team vs. the one from two years ago. first, the main reason to think this team will be better than last years is easy to state: Ayton can only improve. Cam Johnson as well, but we need to see how his injury heals (meniscus tear that is hopefully a small one). Biyombo and Saric and Landale should more than make up for the loss of Javale McGee to the Mavs.
Adding to that in more detail are the reasons to think Suns will be much better than the team that beat the Bucks in the first 2 games of the finals 2 years ago. First, Saric was among the most underappreciated “big men” in the league. In quotes because he played very much like a big man but clearly doesn’t have the size of most at his position. With cam johnson out Saric can gradually move right back into the roles of both stretch 4 as well as C when Ayton is out. Without Landale and Biyombo it would seem that Saric will therefore need to play big minutes to make up for the loss of CamJ, but I’m guessing that the combination of Landale and Damion Lee begin to showing an ability to sub for the Bridges-CamJ duo for good stretches of time. Flipping the heights that is: Lee filling in the void left by the loss of CamJ’s shooting and Landale giving Bridges a breather from having to defend the bigger SFs or ever PFs like Giannis.
Lee should also be able to fill in for Cam Payne and hopefully take over that role. Lee isn’t a PG of course, but the Suns absolutely stink when Payne is running the show. Or I should write that they have the potential to be the worst team in the league when Payne is making the decisions. I’d much rather that Lee takes over that role even though he’s not great at is either. He seems to be fitting in with this team as a ball mover – obviously something that translated well from the Dubs. With the Suns he doesn’t need to be as quick and smart with his decisions though. And if the primary goal is to get the ball to Booker or Ayton or Saric then at least that’s easier than trying to get it to Curry only or worse: drive to the rim and try to score for no good reason (a.k.a. the Cam Payne Syndrome).
Suns are looking like a much more well rounded ball club now with Saric and Landale in particular. CamJ should be back by March. This give Lee time to play enough to improve as he seems to have been. All to say I think Suns are now a must watch team. I haven’t thought that until now. Am looking forward to seeing them against Mavs, Jazz, Pels, Grizz, Bucks, Heat, Celtics. Dubs of course if they get their shit together.
Weird game vs. Sixers last night. Good that Suns were able to hold them to 100 points but strange how poorly they shot. Saric played only 3 minutes somehow. Ayton and Landale got in foul trouble so there’s that.
I came away really impressed by Bridges progress though. I saw him not only face the basket with some degree of a threat to drive/shoot/pass, but I saw him somewhat skillfully and *quickly* take his man off the dribble as he drive to the hole. He shot well overall and had zero turnovers. In short he started playing around with this kind of new “skillset” last year and he looked much better at it last night.
The most impressive thing to me so far about the Suns is how well they are playing defense. They are second best in points allowed despite a fairly tough schedule so far and are only allowing a little under 44% shooting by their opponents.
You mentioned Bridges and his offense has taken a real leap forward so far. He was already a top defender, but if this offense is real, the Suns have to find a way to get him more shots.
Last Friday, the Dubs gave Steph, Klay, Dray, and Wiggs the night off against the Pelicans (2nd night or a road back-to-back) and let the youngsters play a lot. Poole, Kuminga and Moody played well, though their defense still needs a lot of improvement. Wiseman still looked mostly lost playing against Valanciunas and Nance. Afterwards, Kerr said Kuminga had earned more time and he played 9 minutes against the Kings last night. Wiseman did not play at all against the Kings. Although the Warriors won last night, it took a superhuman effort from Steph to beat the Kings.
It is still far too early to get worried, but losing every game on the 5-game road trip, including losses to Charlotte, Detroit, and Orlando (and a sputtering Heat team), is concerning. The Dubs are tied for dead last in points allowed per game. They have more fouls than any other team in the league and have allowed the most free throw attempts (by far) and makes. On average, the Dubs give up 8 more free throw attempts per game than they get. Their transition defense is atrocious so far. While the first unit +/- is okay, the second unit’s +/- is the worst in the league. However, the Warriors don’t want to overplay Steph, Klay, and Dray, so they need 2nd unit help. After his break-out year last year, Poole is shooting only 80% from the charity stripe and 30% from the arc.
There’s already talk of the Dubs trading one or more of the youngsters for someone like Myles Turner or Anthony Davis. Of course, whether another team is willing to take a chance on one of the Dubs’ youngsters is another issue. I think we are seeing the result of how little Kuminga and Wiseman have actually played in the last 2-3 years. It may take longer than expected for them to develop.
I think the Dubs have do with Wiseman what they did with Poole two years ago. Send him to the G-League and let him get a lot of playing time.12-14 minutes a night with the Dubs may not be enough to get him adequately developed. Perhaps you send both Wiseman and Kuminga to Santa Cruz and let them both play 35 minutes a night there for awhile.
As I said, still too early to panic, but the Warriors’ defensive troubles are concerning. Of course, if the Warriors can manage to blow the season AND win the draft lottery, Victor Wembanyama would look mighty good in the blue and gold.
It’s hard to understand how Wiseman’s minutes have had such a negative effect, but apparently they have. Mostly I don’t understand why Moody is so under-utilized. Is this possibly all about Klay and doing whatever possible to get him back into form? Maybe he just doesn’t have it defensively anymore and it’s throwing everyone else off?
A 5 game losing streak makes no sense unless they’re about to go on a 5 game winning streak. I’m sure that’s what they expect of themselves. Maybe that’s the problem: overconfidence. Curry is doing his part obviously.
I assume Dray isn’t the most pleasant person to be around these days. Usually that doesn’t mean they lose though. I wonder if between Klay’s poor performances and Dray’s attitude there is some sort of new obstacle in the way.
In listening to the local beat reporters about it, the issues with Wiseman are that he doesn’t know where to be on defense, fouls too often, and is late to where he needs to be to set screens. He does well in the pick and roll. However, in an interview yesterday, Bob Myers said that Wiseman has a great attitude and works really hard in practice. I think he just needs to play more to get the hang of it which is why I think he needs to spend some time in the G-League.
As for Klay, he said he had a mental issue over the summer that kept him from playing any 5-on-5. Probably due to the fact that his last injury occurred while playing ball in the gym over the summer two years ago. He does not have his lateral quickness back and as a result, he is a liability when defending quick guards. The Warriors have compensated by having him defend forwards and even centers. His shooting so far this year is at career low marks pretty much across the board. I think his inability to play the game the way he has in the past is affecting him mentally. Hopefully, continued reps will get him back closer to normal.
Poole’s shooting numbers are also the worst they’ve been in 3 years. I’m guessing this is also a mental thing relating back to the Draymond punch. His lack of defense is nothing new. Unless his defense gets better, I would not be surprised to see the Dubs trade him sometime in the future, not necessarily this year.
I have a different theory about Draymond. He’s still doing Dray things on the Court and his numbers are not concerning. However, maybe I’ve been missing it, but I have not seen as much on-court coaching from Dray this season. I wonder if the team reaction to the punch has kept him quieter this season. I’ll have to keep an eye out in upcoming games to see if I was missing anything about how he usually interacts with teammates on the Court.
The Nets have decided against hiring Udoka and have instead removed the interim tag from Jacques Vaughn. Apparently many people were in owner Joe Tsai’s ear saying that it would be a bad look to hire Udoka right now, so soon after his suspension. Gotta think that Udoka’s name will come up for any other mid-season coaching changes in the NBA this year.
add this guy to the top of the MIP leaders list …
I got the race looking like this in no certain order:
I guess SGA is the odds favorite. Left him out for some reason.
LaMelo is back. Looked ok in his first performance but lost to Miami. Based on their lineup and how some of their players are performing, I’d expect Charlotte to make some noise soon.
Couple of observations from last night …
Embiid with 59 pts and 7 blocks vs. Jazz. So now we know the Jazz have a weakness.
And there’s this … Davion Mitchell gets essentially no playing time while Heurter & Murray get 32 mins and 37 mins respectively. I guess they’re pretty high on Murray, because I had assumed one reason they traded Haliburton was to put time into developing Mitchell.
Meanwhile Fox is making his case for the All-Star team this year. Let’s see if he can stay the course. It’s early of course but he’s shooting the lights out and rebounding well while playing fewer minutes and taking fewer shots than the past 2 years.
Also interesting stats in the Nuggets win v Bulls: while Jokic took only FOUR shots for his entire 28 minutes on the floor, MPJ scored 31 pts on 16 shots in 24 minutes while Murray did well in 32 minutes.
The Joker had 14 assists in the 126-103 blowout.
The Warriors have played the Kings three times already, so I’ve seen a good deal of Fox and the Kings already. Fox has definitely upped his game and has become a much more efficient shooter. In fact, the whole team shoots very efficiently as Mike Brown has them playing a Warriors-style offense that keeps the ball moving around until an open shot is found. If the Kings can up their FT%, they can be a dangerous team.
They’ve got some talent now, and a good coach it seems. And of course … Terrance Davis?
Apparently Davis got big minutes after Murray went out after 12 minutes last night. Some sort of back injury apparently.
The Warriors finally listened to me and announced yesterday that they are sending Wiseman down to the G-League to get some steady playing time. Wiseman got some run last night, after 3 straight DNPs, but only because the Dubs destroyed the Spurs. I know the Santa Cruz Warriors coaches teach the same offensive and defensive systems that the big team plays. So hopefully with Wiseman getting 30-35 minutes a game in the G-League for a couple of weeks, things start to click for him.
With Cam Johnson out for a couple of months after the knee surgery and Chris Paul (knee) and Landry Shamet (concussion) day-to-day, the Suns are in a funk, losing 3 of 4, and face a surging Warriors tonight. They’ll need to lean on Ayton tonight because the Dubs don’t have anyone that can defend him around the rim.
Suns had a very strange game vs Orlando recently (since CamJ went down), but didn’t look to be in any kind of funk to me. They had an excellent game vs Miami – the kind of game they almost always win but fell short by 1 point.
They had an expectedly bad game against the sixers as they try to figure things out. Looks like they’re going to go with Booker as floor general and continue relying on Cam Payne off the bench. I’ll never understand the reasoning there: I don’t see how they get into the conf finals with Payne running their second unit, but Jones doesn’t seem willing to make a move to bring in the right guy there.
In any case, Bridges continues to improve and force defenses to face this new dimension that he brings to the Suns. Interesting is that he doesn’t look to be that difficult to defend but he is: rarely turns the ball over even though he seems to be taking twice as many chances offensively.
The main comment I’d make about last night’s game regards how the Suns’ front court performed without Biyombo and Saric in the lineup. And not only were “scrubs” Craig and Landale shoring up the paint but Bridges and Lee combined for 17 (??) rebounds. I think that says more about the Warriors than it does the Suns – why so much trouble keeping those guys from gaining such great position?
With both teams shooting a lot of 3 pointers, there were a lot of long rebounds and the Suns did a much better job getting to those. Also the Warriors have a really bad habit of turning to go back on defense whenever Steph puts up a shot. I saw one rebound go out to the perimeter where Wiggins had just been standing, but he was heading back on defense. I know the Warriors’ transition defense is bad so they want to get back on defense quickly, but sometimes you gotta make sure the ball is going in first.
Bridges is a budding superstar. He is signed for this and the next 3 seasons for $20 to $25 mil per year. That is going to be a huge bargain for the Suns.
I hope you’re right about Bridges. What I like most is that he’s more active with the ball and has more time of possession but he barely turns the ball over. Tells me he has wiggle room to take more chances and dribble drive-dish more while only barely affecting his TO’s per game. If there was ever a time for him to be given more ball handling and distributing duties I’d guess it’s now while CP3 is out and the Suns don’t need to win every game. Also, Booker seems to be more careless with the ball than Bridges, so I’m not sure if Booker should be playing the point at all when Bridges is out there. Seems to me that almost every play in the half court should go through Bridges now.
I look at Bridges as the Klay Thompson of the Suns. Terrific defender (likely better than Klay) and a really good shooter, both from the perimeter and the FT line. And he’s extremely reliable and has never missed a game in his career. If he can add some ball-handling to his game, he’ll be even greater, but he’s already a stud. Basically, he’s been the 4th option on offense in the past, after Booker, Ayton, and CP3. Right now, he’s averaging almost 11 shots per game. I’d like to see that average get pushed up to about 15 per game.
His longer arms give him the advantage of being a shot blocker and more often a shot block threat-annoyance to the shooter. He’s better off the dribble than Klay. I agree he needs to shoot more but I hope a lot of it is from the paint. It seems like he’s getting there often. He’s shooting 90%+ from the FT line.
In an interview, KD stated that the primary reason for his trade request last summer was that he didn’t like how the Nets prepared for games.
He said there was too many shoot-arounds and not enough hard practices and that he wasn’t feeling “intensity” from others. He said he told Steve Nash this and said people could ask Nash about that. This seems a bit disingenuous to me. KD was a, if not the leader on the team. All he needed to do was go talk with Steve Nash about how they practiced. There is no chance that the Nets’ coaching staff wouldn’t have conducted practices in the way he wanted. KD is implying that Nash ignored his request. I don’t buy that.
Maybe what KD needs the most is a brain filter to keep him from hearing his own thoughts. He’s a petulant child, and not one I’ll ever root for again. Not very intelligent either, since there must have been many opportunities for him to help the Nets reconstruct the roster upon a Kyrie trade. Instead he’s just a fool past his prime that will have to play huge minutes all season just to stay out of the play in tourney.
Some injuries that teams are dealing with:
The Grizzlies will be missing both Desmond Bane (toe sprain) and Ja Morant (ankle injury) for a little while. Bane will be reevaluated in 2-3 weeks. Ja is likely to miss at least a week. He plays so hard and is so small and thin that I fear he is likely to be injury prone throughout his career. He’s been playing the best ball of his career so far this year and has to be considered a top MVP candidate if he can stay healthy. However, the number of games he has played each year has decreased each season. Keeping my fingers crossed for him as he is electric to watch.
Tyrese Maxey has a small fracture in his foot and is expected to miss 3-4 weeks. Philly is already dealing with Harden being out for likely a month with a strained foot, so now their entire backcourt will be out until around Christmas. Maybe Thybulle will finally get some regular playing time.
Zion has missed the last 3 games with a foot injury. He claims he’ll be able to come back for Monday’s game against the Warriors, but we’ll see. He has already missed 5 of the Pelicans’ 16 games this year.
Nikola Jokic tested positive for Covid and is out for awhile. He may have passed it on to Jamal Murray, who also tested positive and is out. Guessing they both miss a week or two.
Well, Jokic and Zion are looking good at least. Nice wins for each team after great performances on Thanksgiving eve.
About a week ago, the Warriors had a player’s meeting basically to get Klay to stop forcing shots and let the ball find him in rhythm. Klay took it to heart and his offense has been much better ever since. In addition, Kerr has shuffled his rotation to have Draymond and Wiggins play more with the second unit. They still start, but come out earlier, so they can open the 2nd quarter (and 4th) with some combination of Poole, DiVincenzo, JaMychal Green, Lamb, and Kuminga (Moody seems to be out of the rotation for some reason right now). As a result, the 2nd unit has also played much better. The flip side of that is that Kuminga is getting more run with Curry, Klay, and Looney. Playing with them, he seems to have realized that he doesn’t need to go one-on-one much and is playing more within the flow of the offense.
With these improvements, the Dubs have gone 8-3 in their last 11 games and have finally gotten above .500. Despite these improvements, their defense still leaves a lot to be desired. Part of the issue is that most of the Warriors who know how to play defense (Steph, Klay, Loon, Dray, and Iggy whenever he returns) are not that young anymore and not all that athletic. They can’t keep up with young athletic teams. The younger, more athletic Warriors have not yet learned how to play good team defense.
In watching today’s Warriors-T’Wolves games, the Warriors had an advantage in that Minnesota’s two towers approach with Gobert and Towns is even less athletic. The Dubs were running rings around them. I think the Gobert deal is going to prove to be very bad for the T-Wolves.
next up is Dallas loser of 4 in a row. Will it be 5?
Dallas just signed Kemba Walker, though I’m not sure how good he is anymore.
Huge game for Doncic tonight.
Fortunately for the Warriors, like the T-Wolves, the Mavs are not that athletic, at least not the guys getting the most minutes. However, the Mavs are significantly better on defense than the Warriors have been. I expect Wiggins to spend most of the time guarding Doncic. If the game is high-scoring, I think the Dubs will win. If the Mavs can slow the Dubs’ offense down, they’ll have a shot.
The Mavs pulled it out and Luka had the big game you predicted, a 40-pt, triple-double. Klay had a really good look at a 3 at the end that could of tied it, but couldn’t sink it.
One good thing to note about the game for the Warriors is that Kuminga played 25 minutes off the bench (and was +21 in that time). Kerr called it the best game that Kuminga has played for the Dubs and not because of his 14 pts (6 of 8 shooting and 1 for 1 from arc) and 10 rebounds. It was because of Kuminga’s understanding of where to be on the court on both the offensive and defensive ends. He was making back door cuts, setting screens, not biting on jump fakes and generally playing good defense (two blocks as well).
Afterwards, Kuminga said that he has a new mindset for games and that is to see how he can contribute in other ways besides scoring. If last night was an indication of what we can expect going forward and not an anomaly, that will be huge plus for the Warriors because Kuminga is easily the most athletic guy on the team and will be a big help when they play the younger, more athletic teams in the league.
Looks like it was a good team effort for Dubs last night, but Kuminga took the night off it seems. I like the new guy Lamb. I assume he wasn’t on the team last year?
Lamb went undrafted after college and has signed several 10-day or two-way contracts, getting a little time with the Rockets two years ago, and a couple of games with the Spurs last season. The Dubs signed him to a two-way contract this year and have been pleasantly surprised with him. He has shot really well from deep and seems to be picking up Warrior offensive and defensive concepts pretty quickly. I believe he is limited to no more than 41 games with the Warriors on the two-way contract, unless they convert it a full-season deal (as they did with GPII last year). As Kuminga and Moody get more run though, I expect we will see less of Lamb.
I think the main problem with the Wolves is they gave away the guys that are needed now even more: quick mobile athletic wings that play defense and rebound. Edwards seems un-interested in being that kind of guy so far, and D’lo is hardly a hussle-guy. I’m guessing the Wolves brain-trust assumed they could be easily replaced by the guys they have now but it’s not happening. They’re easy to score against which is clearly the opposite of what they were going for. They should probably be going all in on a trade to get back at least some of what they lost. D’Lo just needs to go asap.
Expect the T-Wolves to sink even lower now. KAT is out for 4-6 weeks with a right calf strain.
Interesting to see the Jazz and Markkanen consistently chugging ahead. Seems like the Pacers had no answers for them last night. This guy is getting a lot of playing time, whoever he is…
Kessler was traded twice before he ever played a game. He was drafted by Memphis, but sent to Minnesota in a draft day deal. Minnesota in turn sent him to Utah in the Gobert deal. Kessler is a 7-ft shot blocker, but can’t shoot outside of about 2 feet. He’s clearly a good rim protector and rebounder, but other teams with stretch-5s will use that to get him out of the middle or use screens to put him on fast guards that will torch him. Utah had a nice start to the season, but seems to be sinking fast toward being out of the playoff picture.
This isn’t real, but because it’s Curry, you hesitate to believe it’s fake.
The Dubs recalled James Wiseman from the G-League. He averaged a double-double and a block in 26 minutes a game over 7 games for the Santa Cruz Warriors. The Dubs are headed out on a 6-game road trip, so probably wanted the extra body along just in case. We’ll see how much he plays if at all.
I’ve made a point to try and catch Wiseman tonight. I’m guessing he looks good if not great. Most of the earlier losses were marginally related to his performances. A bunch of other things going on then as well. I’m guessing he plays a lot of minutes. Let’s see … 18 seems a bit too high – he’ll have to stay on the court. But I’m going with it;-)
Wiseman only played 5 minutes at the beginning of the 2nd quarter. I was disappointed in that as the Dubs were playing without Steph, Dray, and Wiggs, because of minor injuries. I watched Wiseman through the entire 5 minutes and he looked to be pretty well positioned on both ends of the court. He had 3 pts, 2 rebounds, and 1 assist in those 5 minutes. You can tell that he still doesn’t read rebounds well, unlike DiVincenzo who always seems to be around the rebound. I chalk that up mostly to Wiseman’s lack of playing time in the past 3 years.
The Dubs should have won the game, but incredibly blew it at the end. With a 1-point lead and the ball and 13 seconds left, they inbounded to Poole. He seemed to expect the Jazz to foul, but they went for the steal instead and he wasn’t ready for it and lost the ball. Utah quickly pushed up the ball up court for the game winning layup with mere seconds left. This hurt, because the Jazz were playing without Conley and Markkannen. Dubs shot terribly from deep for most of the game, but still should have had this.
One bright spot was the play of Kuminga who got a lot of run. He’s playing great defense right now and is playing very much in control unlike earlier in the season. He contributed a key block and rebound late in the 4th while defending Jordan Clarkson . Clarkson was so frustrated that he grabbed Kuminga around the neck and body and swung him around. That resulted in a flagrant 2 and Clarkson being ejected. Kuminga subsequently made 1 of the 2 technical free throws, giving the Dubs a 4 point lead with about 30 seconds left. However, a turnover and a Jazz 3 brought it down to a 1 point lead resulting in the situation described above. Still Kuminga looks to be progressing at a very rapid rate and that bodes well for the future.
Here’s the Kuminga play on Clarkson near the end of the game.
BTW, great work by DiVincenzo wrapping up Kuminga afterwards to prevent him from doing anything that might get him ejected.
great to hear Kuminga is playing defense. I watched some of the game, but not much once I realized Wiseman wasn’t playing much. I wasn’t expecting much in the way of an all around game from Kuminga.
BTW, yesterday was the first time I’ve bet on the NBA this season – i was basically betting on Pacers with both Haliburton and Nembhard (breakout game a few nights ago) and given that the Jazz were had ridiculous odds on their side (why???) the resiliency of the lineup of Klay, Poole, Looney and DiVincenzo with Wiseman and Kuminga presenting big challenges for the Jazz.
I cashed out on the Warriors just in time but for some reason I don’t remember didn’t act in time to cashout before the Wolves came back to win vs. Pacers.
None of it big news, except that I’ve avoided betting on regular season games until now. But the odds are silly which tells me that in general betters are maybe less informed during the regular season? Or … and … maybe they haven’t lost all their money yet?
Seriously though: even without Steph, Wiggins and Dray the Jazz were also without starters and yet they were favored to win by a factor of almost 3??
I may start watching these lines more closely.
And just like that, the Dubs are sending Wiseman back to the G-League. Not sure why they even bothered to bring him up just to play 5 minutes.
Maybe wanted him to get a good look at Markkanen? I know … pretty wild guess.
Seems unlikely, particularly since Markkanen wasn’t playing. The Warriors just want Wiseman to be able to play like Kevon Looney with an extra four inches of height.
I was making the point that Wiseman was called up before Markkanen’s status was known. We were wondering why Wiseman didn’t play many minutes. I was wildly speculating it could be because Markkanen was out.
I get you now, but still don’t think the Dubs want Wiseman to play like Markkanen. He jacks up more 3s than the Warriors would want from Wiseman and doesn’t defend that well. Dubs want Wiseman to become a defensive and rebounding anchor and to set screens and be the roller in the pick-and-roll.
Cade Cunningham is undergoing season-ending surgery on his left shin. He’s been out since early November, so it looks like the Pistons will be headed for another top pick in this year’s draft. Of course, they weren’t very good even before Cunningham was injured.
I’ve been starting to think about which bottom dweller would do best with the #1 pick. I think the teams to choose from right now are the rockets, spurs, pistons, magic and hornets.
okc, lakers, bulls, wizards not far behind
it’s impossible to know what team will do best with wemba, but some things I’d both like to see but fear as the next dynasty for much of a decade:
I don’t want to see Wemba and LaMelo together as I don’t think that could be defended. They will both create too much space and leave defenses with enormous holes to easily fill with excellent shots for good-enough shooters. Plus Hornets are a tough team already.
Rockets next with a very talented young core. Not much toughness though.
Pistons have a lot of talent. I doubt Ivey and Wemba mix perfectly though.
I’m thinking Wemba is tailor made for the Spurs. They’ve got a good track record with both foreign players and drafting big men with the 1st pick overall.
No argument here. I hope it happens so Pop sticks around for another decade.
You’ll know the fix is really in if the Lakers win the draft lottery which would result in…the Pelicans getting Wemba! The Pelicans have the right to swap 1st round picks with the Lakers next April. Imagine a front line of Zion, Ingram, and Wemba. It would serve the Lakers right if this happened. The AD trade is just going to continue to get worse and worse for the Lakers.
I’ve been starting to think about which bottom dweller would do best with the #1 pick. I think the teams to choose from right now are the rockets, spurs, pistons, magic and hornets.
okc, lakers, bulls, wizards not far behind
it’s impossible to know what team will do best with wemba, but some things I’d both like to see but fear as the next dynasty for much of a decade:
I don’t want to see Wemba and LaMelo together as I don’t think that could be defended. They will both create too much space and leave defenses with enormous holes to easily fill with excellent shots for good-enough shooters. Plus Hornets are a tough team already.
Rockets next with a very talented young core. Not much toughness though.
Pistons have a lot of talent. I doubt Ivey and Wemba mix perfectly though.
Curry and Kerr each got technicals for arguing after this play last night.
There is no real good angle in the highlights, but the closest comes in the replay at about the 1:20 mark of the clip. It looks like Wes Matthews got his face as he was swiping at him as he flew by. According to Steph after the game, Matthews even asked him if he was alright afterwards. Curry got the tech for telling the ref to “wake the fuck up.” Kerr was irate and was maybe lucky that he wasn’t tossed out of the game. The Dubs were going to beat the Bucks anyway, so the non-call made little difference.
Apart from that, Draymond also got a Buck fan ejected from the arena because the fan threatened his life. That does go beyond your usual booing of the visiting team.
“the Dubs WEREN’T going to beat the Bucks anyway”
Curry hurt his shoulder last night against the Pacers on this play:
He had an MRI today and it was announced as a left shoulder subluxation and that it would be reevaluated in two weeks. This probably means that he suffered a partial labral tear. So he will miss a minimum of two weeks and potentially longer. That means he will miss the Christmas Day game against the Grizzlies. NBA can’t be happy about that.
Although anything can happen if the Warriors slip into the playoffs and are healthy at that time, this is beginning to look like a lost season. I would bring Wiseman up and start playing him, Kuminga and Moody some regular minutes. That way, the Dubs have something they can evaluate at the end of the season.
A lot of interesting possibilities, but I think you’d have to start by wondering if Dray will be around next year if this one is lost. And if he’s gone what kind of team will they be? Except for Looney and sometimes Wiggins they look pretty soft (when Dray is off the court). The best teams out there are anything but soft now. That’s why I think it’s a lost season for the Suns as well. Ughh!
FIle this one under “didn’t see this coming” …
Grizz clobbered the Bucks by outscoring them by *at least* 14 points in *each* of the first three quarters.
Yep, some really poor shooting by the Bucks. Didn’t see the game, so not sure if it was due to the Grizz defense or just an off night for them.
AD landed awkwardly on a layup attempt against the Nuggets the other night and hurt his right foot. The injury is expected to keep him out for about a month. The NBA can’t be happy about an AD-less Lakers and a Curry-less Warriors on Christmas Day.
With Curry out, the Dubs brought Wiseman back up and actually played him 11 minutes in the loss to the Sixers on Friday night. He only had 6 pts and 4 rebounds in that time, but it included this nick pick and roll with Poole.
He also scored on an alley oop. Would still like to see more rebounds in his limited action, but hopefully the Dubs will give him some run while Curry is out. Which hasn’t happened yet in today’s game against the Raptors. Dubs are playing well though, so Kerr may wait to use him during some garbage time if this reaches the blowout level.
With no Curry, no Wiggins, and no Klay tonight in Brooklyn, some of the youngsters got a lot of play. 23 minutes for Baldwin, 28 minutes for Wiseman, and 30 for Kuminga. Kuminga had a poor shooting night, 1 for 9 overall. Baldwin picked up 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including 5-of-8 from 3. Wiseman though had 30 points, 6 rebounds, and a block, going 12-for-14 from the floor and hitting his only 3 attempt. Now, to be fair, this game was out of reach by the end of the 1st quarter (Nets leading 46-17) and the Dubs were down by 40 at half-time. So Wiseman did this against the Nets’ scrubs for the most part and Wiseman towered over pretty much every Net that defended him. Warriors picked up on that pretty quickly and kept feeding him inside. Still, it was an encouraging game for him.
Looks like the Suns have found a buyer…
Never heard of Mat Ishbia before, but apparently he’s a billionaire who owns United Wholesale Mortgage, a company that I’ve also never heard of before. The amount hasn’t been revealed yet. While I’m certain there won’t be any immediate changes, I wonder if he will want to keep Jones and Williams.
Further reports have the price tag at $4 billion and it includes the Mercury, of course.
times they are a changin in Phoenix. really hope he’s smart enough to have already reached out to Colangelo for advice. Or tried at least.
I wonder about messing with the Williams-CP3 combo, and if you get rid of Monty will CP3 start whining? I *do* think Monty needs to go though. I don’t like the way the offense appears to be so set in its ways, and how little Ayton seems to be improving defensively. In any case, I doubt the Suns get to the second round this year regardless, so maybe a good time to experiment.
something about last week … some big performances which seem to have come out of nowhere. although one could argue that Jokic set the trend with his absurd rebounding night earlier in the week. and siakam with a career night a couple nights ago.
in any case, what a shame that Booker and Haliburton never teamed up as they should have. it was the right decision and an obviously winning combination. stupid!
A few others went off last night as well. Harden with a big game. Luka.I think Zach LaVine had a great game in a win.
meanwhile some stories are developing or so it seems. might be too early to tell, but with cole anthony, lamelo ball, desmond bane, tj warren and some others I’m forgetting all back and apparently healthy, their respective teams look pretty damn solid.
SGA also. How good would they be with a healthy Holmgren?
also, Pacers look pretty damn solid if not deep with some great young talent to go with Turner. Halibuton, Duarte, Mathurin, Hield … seems to me they could start doing some damage if they all stay on the court at the same time.
I don’t know what the Suns new ownership can do about all these rising teams with their young and amazing talent. I’m afraid the Suns window has been shut, at least for a few years. I doubt it’s the same for the Warriors with the young talent, but it will be challenging as heck to defend all these young superstars coming fast and hard.
There is a lot of good young talent around the league, but Suns have Booker (26), Bridges (26), Ayton (24), and Johnson (26). That’s a very solid, young core. Other than CP3, the rest of the roster is not that old either. It is unfortunate that Haliburton is not a part of that mix., but with that young talent, the Suns can attract top free agents. They’ve got maybe a year or two more of CP3, but I don’t see their window closed at all.
The issue I see is that if the young guys you mention are the “core” then the Suns are immensely challenged defensively. They are relatively un-athletic and small, so even if you add the right pieces you still have a smallish SF anchoring the D and Ayton who at his best will never be able to stay with the faster centers.
IMO Suns will need to give up Bridges or Cam Johnson to get the kind of player or players they need. It might be quite some time before that happens. I’m obviously not very optimistic that they can get to the WCF anytime in the next 5 years with all these rising teams in the West.
Well, they just went into Memphis and waxed them last night despite Booker not playing. Looks like they went big, starting Londale beside Ayton, though I’m not sure how long they were on the court together after that. The Grizz again got very little beyond Ja and shot horribly as a team. This will be the Grizzlies’ downfall this year if they don’t improve. They are currently the worst free throw shooting team in the league (by a lot) and are in the bottom ten of 2 and 3-point shooting. Their saving grace is that they rebound very well and get a lot of 2nd and 3rd chance opportunities. That won’t be sustainable in the playoffs. The Suns, on the other hand, are one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the league and have a top ten defense, though their interior defense needs some work.
any chance you caught the start of the Warriors v Grizz game on xmas? I had to turn off the sound while Stephen A and Wilbon were talking. They basically awarded the Grizzlies the win before tipoff, and anointed Ja as the second coming. I need to do some data analysis to see how his big games translate into Grizz wins, because my gut tells me that on average his best performances lead to wins only about 50% of the time.
I’m not impressed with the Grizz just yet. Not like I am with several other teams that seem worthy of putting higher up the “power rankings” like … Pels, Nuggets and probably Mavs in the West. I assume Warriors will be right there when Steph gets back.
Clippers seem to be on a roll right now. I don’t see the Grizz above any of these teams right now, and i don’t think they will be until Bane gets back to his volume scoring ways.
Charlotte is playing the Warriors tonight, so I’ll get to see some LaMelo. Unfortunately, other than Ball, the Hornets don’t look very good and their recent 1st round draft pick youth (Bouknight, Jones, Williams) don’t seem to be developing very quickly. They rely a lot on veterans (Rozier, Oubre, Hayward, Plumlee) who are decent, but none will turn your head anymore. I thought their nearly league worst record was a result of Ball missing the beginning of the season, but they’ve only won 2 games of the 10 since he returned and one of those was against an AD-less Lakers. Ball is in the 3rd year of his 4-year rookie deal before he hits restricted free agency. Gotta wonder what he thinks of the Charlotte situation as he approaches a possible max extension next off-season.
Charlotte needs some pieces of course, but with the legal issues around Bridges and Bouknight and recently Ball’s absence I’m going to give them more time. Ball seems to be in good form right now – will be interesting to see if he joins the party of all the other big time scorers the past 2-3 weeks. Seems to me he’s just warming up.
DiVincenzo, Jerome and Lamb. Nice!
DiVincenzo is a nice fit. Jerome and Lamb provide offense (at least in home games), but are lacking on the defensive end. Both are on two-way contracts as well, meaning that they cannot play more than 41 games without being elevated to a full-season contract, something I’m sure the Warriors don’t want to do because of the cost. Lamb is already at 26 games and Jerome at 18. Dubs have to start playing Kuminga, Moody, and Wiseman more. so they don’t blow through Jerome’s and Lamb’s eligibility.
BTW, although he scored no points in his 8 minutes last night, Wiseman did pull down 5 rebounds in that time, which is exactly what you want to see from him. He was doing a real good job establishing position near the net on both sides of the floor, though his teammates weren’t finding him on the offensive end like they did in the last game against the Nets.
I noticed the 5 rebs in 8 minutes in the box score. Wish I would have seen it though – I tuned in to the game mainly to see how Wiseman might fair vs. Stevens. Warriors were playing so well early that I assumed they’d
leave Looney in for awhile. Really nice win for them, especially that they could do it without Wiggins and Curry and without Klay contributing much. Offensively anyhow.
The Warriors were matching up Wiseman with some of Brandon Clarke’s minutes. Since Clarke is not an outside threat, Wiseman could concentrate on defending the paint and positioning for rebounds. He will need to learn to defend the perimeter with so many good-shooting big men in the league, but baby steps.
The Dubs got Jackson into foul trouble early, limiting his minutes, and got Brooks into foul trouble later, limiting his effectiveness in the 4th quarter. Desmond Bane was playing his first game after missing about a month and his rust definitely showed. Ja did the usual Ja things, but he got little offensive help. The Grizz were definitely not in peak shape for the game.
This was the first game of an 8-game homestand for the Dubs. Except for the Suns at the end of the homestand, the other games are all winnable. Dubs really need to make a statement and win most or all of these games.
I think JJJ is the biggest disappointment in the league after all the hype. I don’t think they’ll get to the WCF with him getting big minutes. Too many other teams in the West I think.
Jackson definitely has troubles handling smaller, quicker players and can’t pass worth a damn, which is why his minutes get limited. However, 16 ppg and 3 bpg in 25 minutes per game ain’t nothing to sneeze at. I don’t think he’ll live up to the hype of a 4th overall draft pick, but he can be very useful if you’re careful about how you use him.
Well … I’m not sneezing but I have been watching and rather closely. The disappointment is that he hasn’t seemed to improve much if at all in the last 2 years, he’s not very quick on his feet and he doesn’t share the ball in the way I believe that team needs him to. I’m tempted to say that he isn’t that much more valuable to the Grizz than Biyombo is to the Suns. Biyombo *is* valuable, but JJJ was selected by his peers to be the star of that draft eventually. He’s not even close to that.
The Dubs just beat the Hornets, but after leading comfortably for much of the game, the Hornets made it interesting down the stretch, tying it with about 3 minutes left. What was pretty amazing at that point is that Kuminga took over on both ends of the court. Poole chipped in with two incredible spin moves on Plumlee, one resulting in a layup and the other with an assist to Kuminga for a dunk.
So, by the way, with Wiggins out (he’ll be back in a few games), Kuminga was given the responsibility of defending LaMelo and did a good job of it. I hope I can find a Kuminga highlights reel on YouTube tomorrow. He seems to really be coming into his own now. Wiseman had an efficient night on the offensive end, but only picked up 2 rebounds in his 10 minutes. A little disappointing after his last two games.
Here’s the highlight reel for Kuminga…
In particular, go to the 1:30 mark of the video to see his play in the last 3 minutes of the game.
And here’s the Jordan Poole highlights. Go to the 2:44 mark to see the two spin moves on Plumlee.
thanks for the vids!
Umm, Luka good. WOW!
I know. Who are the MVP favorites now with the Bucks losing so many games? Obviously Jokic and KD and I guess Tatum (which I don’t get since he has much more talent around him). It’ll be hard to ignore Luka if they keep winning. I need to check to see if I put money on him .
yep. i got $$ on all the top guys except morant and tatum. not too concerned about morant, but I could lose a couple hundred $$ if tatum wins. I don’t see it happening though. Not with the way Jokic and Doncic have been going and especially consider the very stark contrast in the supporting casts respectively.
Check out the latest stat leaders here:
Doncic seems to be (almost ) running the table. And funny how Sabonis and Haliburton are leading in a few categories. Claxton must be a very welcome surprise for the Nets. And Oubre tops the list of TOs per 100 plays;-)
after looking at stats and seeing both haliburton and sabonis atop those categories I’m still not sure which team faired better. it’s clear to me that Haliburton is the better player, but it’s also clear that a big reason for the King’s record is Sabonis. however! I’m guessing that the Pacers pick up the pace and keep winning … so I currently give a slight nod to the Pacers in that trade if I’m considering the merits long term. Clearly Hield has been good enough to tip the scales in the short term, and I’m guessing that Haliburton continues to improve and probably a lot, but playoffs are where it will matter most.
Should be interesting. Both the Pacers and the Kings are currently sixth in their conferences. In terms of production, I give the slight edge to the Pacers as Haliburton and Hield are bringing 39 ppg to the Pacers. However, by unjamming their crowded backcourt and bringing improvement to their frontcourt with Sabonis, the Kings seem to have reached a new level. Sabonis is currently playing through a thumb ligament fracture, so we’ll see if that has any effect going forward though he seems to be doing well so far. Haliburton is a better defender than Sabonis, so that gives the Pacers another edge in the trade.
In short while I don’t think the Kings got the better end of the deal, I do think that Turner doesn’t perfectly fit the Pacers’ timeline or rather window as they’ll certainly ascend in the East. Sabonis on the other hand fits right in with the Kings in that regard. My opinion of course. Again we’ll have to see what happens in the playoffs, and that brings us right back to Fox …
Since there’s some precedent, I’m guessing it’s most likely that the Kings front office knew they had a guy (Fox) who is likely to stick around for a long time vs another guy how was likely to jump ship as soon as he could. That explains Haliburton for Sabonis, but it will always be unclear why Hield needed to be thrown in with the deal. My best guess there is that some other team was interested in trading for Sabonis so Kings did what was needed to get him. As he’s a relatively rare commodity in the league they went all in, I believe, because they saw Davion Mitchell as an erstwhile substitute for Hield. Probably very lucky that they were able to draft Murray, since Mitchell will likely never be as good in that starting role.
my comment about Turner needs some clarification. unless Turner will do everything needed to stay with the pacers on a longer term deal, he’s likely to sign elsewhere before the Pacers achieve Eastern Conf finals contending status. That’s unlikely to happen for awhile. At least 3 years I think.
There are a lot of teams that can use Turner’s help, and many of them are contenders in bigger markets.
I’d be very surprised if Turner isn’t dealt by the trade deadline. There’s been a lot of trade chatter about him and, as you said, there are a number of contenders who could use him.
Absolutely insane game between the Warriors and Hawks tonight. Here’s the game highlights…
Go to the 7 minute mark to catch the amazing end to regulation and the OT. This is the 3rd straight game that the Warriors really had no business winning and yet managed to eke it out. They were playing without Steph, Wiggs, Kuminga, and Wiseman. Klay had his first post-injuries 50-point game. Loon had a monster double-double and the game-winner in the end. DiVencenzo was the iceman with the game on the line. Heck, even the rookie Baldwin has been getting minutes and coming up big. This was the 5th straight win for the Dubs and the entire win streak has been without Steph and Wiggs. They have to be felling pretty good right now.
Looney – most underrated? Very nice!
The Warriors living on the edge this past week finally bit them in the ass. After Klay hit a very difficult 3-pointer to tie last night’s game with the Pistons with one second left, Saddiq Bey hit this insane game winner…
The Pistons with one of the worst records in the league have now swept their season series with the Dubs. Even without Cade Cunningham, the Pistons are a very quick, athletic team and forced the Dubs into a lot of bad shots. That kind of team will present problems for the Warriors because of their age. Kuminga is one Warrior with as much athleticism as the Pistons, but he’s out with a minor injury right now. If the Piston were not one of the worst shooting teams in the league, they would have a much better record.
Zion is injured again, this time a right hamstring strain and he will miss 2-3 weeks. The Pelicans currently sit 3rd in the West and have handled Zion’s prior injury absences this year pretty well. Although Zion appears to have some weight, he’s still a very big man and I don’t know if he will ever get through a season without dealing with injuries.
Hamstrings are difficult for someone with that kind of weight, muscle and quickness. I’m trying to remember if Barkley had that issue long term. I don’t remember it being an issue for him. We’ll see, but at least it isn’t an issue with his joints which is the bigger concern.
i thought i’d pass this on as an interesting video about the respect KD gets among his peers. i like the insight and candor of the players talking. but mostly the respect they give him.
That is some really great stuff. I particularly liked Kobe describing KD’s weaknesses early in his career, but how he worked to get better so much that Kobe could no longer figure out how to defend him. Unfortunately, KD suffered a right knee injury tonight when Jimmy Butler fell on his knee on a layup attempt. KD left the game and did not return. He’s going to get an MRI tomorrow. Hopefully, the injury is not serious.
MCL – sprain. Not a big deal most likely, and the month timeline they’ve given for him to come back is likely related to the All Star break. He may very well miss that game on Feb 19th. This probably kills his chance at the MVP with Doncic and Jokic en fuego and Kyrie playing well.
last night’s domination of the warriors by vucevic seems significant to me, if for no other reason than that there are several teams the dubs might face in 2 or more rounds of the playoffs with a similar player. valanciunis for instance. zubac. if wiseman isn’t ready this year I’m not sure they have enough to get to the conf finals.
It’s not just in the middle. Dubs’ defense has been terrible everywhere. Steph & Klay get burned by younger, quicker guards. Poole just isn’t good defensively at all. Wiggins has been hurt and seems rusty. Green, DiVencenzo, and Looney still play good defense, but can be beat by more athletic players. Hopefully, Kuminga gets back soon as he was beginning to draw some of the tougher defensive assignments. I keep expecting the Warriors to kick their defense up a notch, but it doesn’t seem to be happening. If it doesn’t improve in the 2nd half of the season, they won’t get far in the playoffs.
True, but IMO it’s the primary weakness. I should have included Celtics Williams and probably horford as well.
Draymond appeared on Stephen A’s Know Mercy podcast this week. They divided it up into two parts. Here’s the first part where he talks, among other things, about the incident with Jordan Poole.
Here’s part 2 of the podcast.
Speaking of podcasts, Warriors’ GM Bob Myers just started one called Lead By Example. The first guest, of course, was Steph. Here’s a link:
weird. I responded to a few comments here but looks like they never made it through. Anyhow, thanks for this. Pretty awesome that he’s doing this. A lot of good stuff can happen if more GMs and even owners because even a touch more transparent and/or accessible. At least this is a step in that direction.
I think we’ll be seeing a different Suns team going forward. Not because of any trades, although I’m hoping for that at well. Defensively the Suns have really picked it up anchored by both Bridges and Biyombo who’s been superman recently. But it’s the offense that has changed while many guys have been out. Primarily Okogie and Saben Lee (up from G-League I think) have turned the Suns into tough out at the rim. Those guys are short, but they get to the hole fast and dish or finish off the dribble quickly. Okogie is about 6′ 4″ but must have a tremendous vertical. With Paul and Booker and Payne out, the new offense sometimes has Bridges playing the Booker role when CP3 isn’t in – basically PG – bring the ball up the floor and looking first for a great shot then trying to drive. Just as often Saben Lee or Okogie will play PG and move the ball and themselves extremely fast, and it looks like it’s keeping the entire team moving. They definitely seem to be spacing well and playing well together.
Saric is taking his game to another level I think. Here are some recent highlights …
Saric coast to coast: https://youtu.be/XBCeLUA__0I?t=148
Good stretch with bench players dominating the pace: https://youtu.be/pseCWoaIZVc?t=386
Yeah, pretty impressive win last night over the Grizz without Booker and Ayton. They’ve had a tough stretch without Booker going 4-9 since his injury. I believe he is due to get reevaluated in about a week, so hopefully, he’ll be ready to go or close to it. The West has a mass of good teams–Mavs, Clips, Suns, T-Wolves, Jazz, and Dubs–all within a few games of each other and holding down the 5th through 10 seeds (and Thunder and Lakers just behind that group). The top of the West has the Nuggets & Grizz (expected), then the Kings and Pelicans (unexpectedly that high). The real fight is going to be for those 5th and 6th seeds so you don’t have to go through the play-in games.
The Lakers have acquired Rui Hachimura for Kendrick Nunn, a 2023 2nd round pick that originally belonged to the Bulls, the Lakers 2029 2nd round pick and potentially the Lakers 2028 2nd round pick if it is lower than the Wizards’ 2nd round pick. Hachimura’s stats have been a bit down from where they were two years ago. I guess Reeves and Walker made Nunn superfluous for the Lakers and Hachimura gives them some frontcourt depth that they lacked. But I don’t see this trade as enough improvement to make the Lakers a threat in the West. For the Wizards, they didn’t need Hachimura with Kuzma, Avdija, Porzingis and Gibson in the frontcourt, but Nunn won’t be anything other than a back-up to Beal and Morris at guard. All in all, I don’t see this trade really making either team better.
So the big story today was a report in The Athletic that some in the Warriors’ organization are beginning to wonder whether Bob Myers is going to leave the organization when his contract is up at the end of June. The Dubs have not signed him to a new contract yet, which is weird given the success he has had. Lacob has said publicly that they hope that Myers is around for a long time, but privately may not want to make Myers the highest or one of the highest paid GMs in the league (reportedly is somewhere around the 6th-8th highest paid currently).
Apparently there has also been tension by Lacob having a bigger say in basketball operations lately. He has been pushing the two-timeline approach to the team while Myers wanted to go all in to win more championships while Curry, Thompson, and Green still can. This could be a money thing, as the all-in approach would likely cost more and the Dubs already have, by far, the highest payroll in the league.
Don’t know if Lacob’s son is also pushing for greater say in basketball operations. Kirk Lacob is the executive vice president of basketball operations and served time as the GM of the Santa Cruz Warriors previously. Anthony Slater of The Athletic did say on the radio today that he thinks Kirk is being groomed to take over for Joe, not for Bob Myers, but that could be awhile before that happens.
If, for some dumb reason, the Warriors don’t sign Myers to a new contract, there’s probably at least 25 teams that would willingly fire their current GMs to hire him and at least a few of them that would make him the highest paid GM in the league. Hopefully, the Warriors aren’t so stupid as to let him go.
phoenix is waiting!
Despite their best efforts to blow the game, the Dubs managed to beat the Grizzlies last night. To do so, they had to overcome a very stupid 30-footer by Poole with time on the shot clock and a 2-pt lead, a frustrated Curry then getting stupidly ejected for throwing his mouthguard, a Thompson travel, a missed Green free throw, and a very poor Poole pass that looked more like a fumble than a pass. All of this happened in the final 1:37 of the game which you can see here:
Part of the reason they were able to do this is that Memphis also played poorly in the stretch by Brooks taking a 3-pointer despite only being a 32% shooter from there, a 3 not being needed and the Grizz dominating inside all night. When Brooks inevitably missed, Brandon Clarke shoved two Warriors to the floor to get the rebound, which is what put Green on the FT line. Then the Grizz rebounded poorly at the end, allowing the Dubs several second chances. That last one may have happened because Draymond baited JJJ into his 6th foul with about 3 minutes left. Without JJJ and with Adams out with a ligament strain, the Grizz had trouble on the boards.
Beyond the Warriors beating the Grizzlies for the 2nd time this season, the Grizz, despite their record, do not look like a team that can do well in the playoffs. They are the worst free throw shooting team in the league by far (71%, next worst team is at 74%). They are in the bottom ten in 3-pt % as well. They are young and very athletic and use those to their advantage and they play good defense. However, other teams will expose their shooting deficiencies in the playoffs. The Grizz need to find a shooter or two before the trade deadline.
I’ve been following the Grizz fairly closely – a lotta heart but too much bravado and overconfidence for a championship team. They need to lose a lot more games like this one so they can look themselves in the mirror and become more professional about the process of working efficiently on ever possession. I see Bane doing that. Steven Adams. Tyus Jones. The rest just think a little too highly of themselves for their play to translate into a Western Conference Finals appearance this year. At least that seems to be the case in January this year. A lot can change.
One thing that is very clear is that many in the media and fans everywhere have deemed the Grizz the team of the future and a favorite and Morant as MVP. The media has been absolutely ridiculous in that respect, and no doubt that it goes to their heads. Brooks and Morant especially.
Last night was simply the Warriors missing shots. They played defense well enough the mess with Grizzlies’ rhythm, but simply missed shots that would have ended it early in the last minute. Grizz really don’t seem to know how to defend the Warriors well enough. Not as well as the Celtics for instance. By the way, has Kuminga been starting over Looney often? I would have assumed Looney in the starting role vs. the Grizz last night. What is Kerr saying about this?
By the way, the Grizz are a better’s dream come true, in that the hype has new (and likely very young) online betters (using apps) getting overexcited when the grizz win and then running for the hills (hedging) when they look like they might lose. The odds swing rapidly I’ve noticed for grizzlies games. Same with the Nets and of course Boston when Boston loses, but that team isn’t one I want to mess with.
The Grizz are simply “different” in that Morant is so good they almost always look like they “should” win, or rather almost always look like the better team. That’s not how one bets on sports though, no unless they’re new to betting. Especially if they have control issues or … just playing around with daddy’s money.
Soon I think the Suns are going to be a great bet vs. the best teams in the league. Great because I doubt new and/or young betters pay close enough attention to a team like the Suns who will soon be very different when healthy. Unfortunately they play the Mavs tonight without Booker. Mavs are without Wood, so probably a Phx win. Will be interesting to see how the betting goes for this one.
Kuminga started last night because Wiggins was out with an injury. The Warriors have been starting with a small ball line-up (Curry, JP, Klay, Wiggs & Dray) for about the past week or so. They started doing it against the Celtics at the end of their recent road trip because they enjoyed a lot of success in the finals using their small ball line-up. Although they lost the Celtics game, Kerr seemed to like that starting line-up and has stuck with it. Looney still plays the same amount of minutes, but does so off the bench.
Except for some games when the Dubs have rested most of their starters, Kuminga has been pretty consistently getting 20-25 minutes a night recently. He has gotten much better at fitting into the offense and has become on of the Dubs’ better defenders.
didn’t know this. that’s a huge change for the team and must have taken a lot of thought by Kerr to flip the switch. it’s always been clear to me that Looney’s minutes wouldn’t suffer regardless of whether he started or when he comes into the game, but it wasn’t clear if Kerr wanted to take away his starter’s “cred”.
Deciding to put Kuminga in for Wigg instead of Looney in for Wiggs … says volumes about Kuminga’s progress and Looney’s professional attitude. I’m definitely liking the Dubs chances at the WCF more and more as the season rolls on. Klay’s offense is the biggest question mark for me, but he’s obviously giving them a lot more in big minutes than his FG% indicates. Maybe it’s mostly that he always knows exactly where to be and of course … super quick hands defensively. I’m pretty amazed that he hasn’t been injured. Total stud.
when you reference the small ball lineup in the playoffs, was Looney not started *prior* to the Celtics series also? I don’t remember that I guess, but I do remember Kerr playing around with ideas vs. Celtics because well .. he had to do *something* different. I’m not sure that made much of a difference though. Different story now that Kuminga looks like a much better player than last year.
I don’t recall if it happened before the Celtics series, but it didn’t happen in the Finals until Game 4. And instead of Poole joining the starting line-up, it was Otto Porter. So small ball may have been the wrong description. It was a more mobile, athletic line-up, which I believe was intended to try to take advantage of Robert Williams.
The other part of this seems to be to get Poole into the starting line-up. I’m not sure it changes his minutes count much, but he seems to play better when starting. It is probably an immaturity thing where JP feels better with starter status. As you mentioned, Looney is a total pro who will do the same job whether he starts or not.
The trade deadline is a week away, but I haven’t heard a whole lot of rumors yet. The one player that does seem to be available is Matisse Thybulle who is being underused by the 76ers. They seem to like both Melton and Milton at SG more. Thybulle is a really good perimeter defender though and could make sense for various teams that need defensive help. Like the Warriors for instance. Don’t know if the Dubs have the players and/or picks to get it done though. Maybe Moody and picks?
I could see the Suns being interested as well and they’ve got Crowder as a trade chip. I’m thinking that Crowder gets traded one way or another anyway. Crowder makes quite a bit more than Thybulle, so other players would have to be included as well (in playing around, Thybulle, Korkmaz, and Harrell for Crowder and Londale works). I’m guessing there are a bunch of teams with championship aspirations who would like to have Thybulle on their bench to provide some defense on the second unit.
Some other players who could be available at the trade deadline:
1. Although the Jazz are still in playoff contention right now, they clearly are not a contender in the West and have already started down the youth movement road. Older veterans like Kelly Olynyk likely could be had.
2. Bones Hyland is reportedly unhappy in Denver and wants to go somewhere where he can have a bigger role, which he won’t have short of another injury to Jamal Murray.
3. Since the trade from Atlanta to New York last season, Cam Reddish has played less and apparently is also interested in being moved. He’s also a free agent at the end of the season, so Knicks may want to see what they can get for him before losing him for nothing.
4. Will Barton is also unhappy in Washington since the off-season trade from Denver. His $14 million salary may be hard to move though, although it is expiring.
5. Both John Collins and Bogdan Bogdanovich may be available in Atlanta. Collins has been on the trade block for a long time, but his contract is hard to move.. Meanwhile, a lot of teams have been inquiring about Bogdanovich apparently. He can become a free agent at the end of the year if he drops out.
6. I’m sure the Cavs would love to unload Kevin Love’s expiring contract, but would anyone want to pick up the remaining portion of his $29 mil contract?
7. Then, of course, there is the aforementioned Crowder, who hasn’t played this year apparently because he got miffed that Cam Johnson would be taking his starting spot. Apparently, the Suns gave him permission to talk to the Bucks, but would Milwaukee, or any team, trade to get Crowder or wait to see if he gets bought out by the Suns after the deadline.
8. Both Josh Richardson and Jakob Poeltl are free agents at year’s end, so Spurs, who are going nowhere, should look to dead both.
Two more big names to add to the list. First, the Lakers have been talking with both the Jazz and the Raptors about sending out Russell Westbrook. Russ had seemed to be doing pretty good as the lead guy with the 2nd unit, but maybe the Lakers would like to pick up someone who compliments the 1st unit better. Russ’ contract is expiring, so a new team would not have to keep him beyond the remainder of this season. My guess is that a team willing to take on Russ would insist on getting some draft capital as part of the return, of which the Lakers don’t have a whole lot. However, there is another intriguing option that gets us to the 2nd name to add to the list.
Kyrie today issued a trade demand to the Nets. His contract is also up at the end of the season and apparently Kyrie got upset over contract negotiations as the Nets wants some (as yet unnamed) stipulations in the contract and also may have been unwilling to fully guarantee a new contract. I think we can probably guess what the stipulations may have been…something related to not skipping games on a whim. In any event, this is a little surprising given the Nets are 4th in the East and KD should be playing again soon. How pissed must KD be with Kyrie at this point? Kyrie has stated that if the Nets don’t trade him, he will leave in free agency at the end of the season.
In any event, might the Lakers and Nets swap disgruntled stars, Westbrook for Kyrie? The salaries don’t completely match up, so some other players would have to be included. This would reunite Kyrie with LeBron and Russ with KD. I think the Lakers would end up being a better team. Not sure Brooklyn would be.
Reportedly, Phoenix and Dallas are also interested in Kyrie. Phoenix could package CP3 and Crowder in a deal for Kyrie. Dallas could package Dinwiddie and Bertans for Kyrie. For either team, it might be worth it to grab Kyrie to see if they can win it all this year and then worry about whether to resign him after the season.
The All Star game rosters are set:
East starters: Giannis, KD, Kyrie, Mithcell, and Tatum
East reserves: Adebayo, Brown, DeRozan, Embiid, Haliburton, Holiday, and Randle
West starters: LBJ, Steph, Luka, Joker, and Zion
West reserves: George, SGA, JJJ, Lillard, Markkanen, Ja, and Sabonis.
Notable East omissions: Trae, Siakam, Butler, Harden
Notable West omissions: Edwards, Fox, McCollum
Durant will likely be replaced unless he’s closer to returning than we know. Guessing Siakam gets his spot. Paul George and JJJ were poor choices. George would have been a fine choice if he hadn’t missed a 3rd of the season so far. JJJ not only has missed too many games, but his stats are not All Star game worthy. Fox and Edwards should be in the game over those two.
I’m sure you’ve seen this by now:
Dillon Brooks is quickly becoming the biggest villain in the NBA. He should receive a suspension for this incident beyond getting thrown out of that game (as was Donovan Mitchell for his reaction).
Speaking of crazy on the court, there’s this play by Harden last night:
I guess he forgot he was in the lineup.
Well, the big one has gone down. The Nets are trading Kyrie and Markieff Morris to the Mavericks for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, an unprotected 2029 1st round pick, a 2027 2nd round pick, and 2029 2nd round pick. That seems pretty cheap for Kyrie, but given his history and his free agency at the end of the season, that’s probably the best the Nets could get. Not sure how this plays out on the court in Dallas either. Both Kyrie and Luka are pretty ball-dominant players. Can they co-exist?
The Mavs won the bidding, but the Lakers, Clippers, and Suns all made offers. Reportedly, these were their offers:
1. Lakers: Westbrook and 1st round picks in 2027 and 2029. Nets supposedly asked for Austin Reaves and Max Christie as well, but the Lakers balked at that.
2. Clippers: Luke Kennard, Terance Mann, a future 1st round pick, and two future 1st round pick swaps. Apparently, these negotiations did not get very far.
3. Suns: Chris Paul, Jae Crowder and a a future 1st round pick. The Nets reportedly responded by asking for three future 1st round picks, but that was a no go for the Suns.
The Nets apparently liked the Mavs deal because they think the additions of Dinwiddie and Finney-Smith keep them competitive this season. Both of them shoot the 3 well, Dinwiddie at 40.5% this year and Finney-Smith at 35.5%. As opposing team will be throwing double and triple teams at KD all the time now, having shooters around him (Curry, O’Neal, Harris & Mills are all also near or over 40%) is good. Also, KD, Claxton, Finney-Smith, O’Neal, and Dinwiddie is a pretty good defensive unit. All that being said, I would not be surprised to see the Nets make another move this week to bring in a secondary star. They’ve got players and draft picks that can be moved.
as with all these types of trades there are so many unknowns. in this case there’s that and the flat-earther to boot. just no way to qualify or quantify this trade objectively. all I come up with is that Cuban is rolling the dice just like he did with Porzingas. That was a fail and I don’t know why this would be the opposite. To make sense I think it has to be the opposite.
as always I wonder if there are other things in the works though. Is the deal done? is there any way kyrie can be packaged with christian wood for in a move to somewhere else? Just throwing that out there.
Steph got his left knee hurt in last night’s game against the Mavs on this play:
It was just an accidental thing, but the early reports are that Steph will miss at least the next several weeks, which would include the All Star game. The Warriors offense is 10 ppg worse when Steph doesn’t play. As they are amongst a good deal of teams fighting for a playoff spot, this couldn’t come at a worse time.
While I’m on the Dubs, Kerr has scratched the small ball starting lineup. Looney was back among the starters last night and Kerr said it will probably stay that way. Of course, with Steph out, Poole will be able to stay in the starting lineup for now.
more info on the injury. Steph has partial ligament and membrane tears in the knee. I suspect this means he will miss more than just a couple of weeks. This is really looking like a lost season for the Dubs. If I were them, I’d start giving the youngsters more playing time to see if they can develop further.
Lots to read from the A man! I’ll get to all of it soon enough. For now will just say a couple things.
First, Suns new owner Mat Ishbia is likely to take control on Weds if he hasn’t already in some meaningful way. I expect something big, with Bridges, Cam Johnson and Ayton all playing well I’m certain there is big interest in all or any one of the three league-wide. Hard to say which one might be most coveted by other teams, because they’re completely different players that would fill completely different roles. I will say that if Bridges is moved this week it will be for an all star type talent. Bridges has emerged as a Kawhi-like presence: he is now on a very short list of players who can do it all at both ends. I doubt he’ll be moved for that reason, unless it’s for KD.
The second thing is bugging me: I just found out that Ishbia is extremely close to Isiah Thomas who I liken to a cancer just as Mark Jackson was when with the Warriors. Very similar people in that they don’t know how to listen well and that most people seem afraid of disagreeing with them. I don’t see Isiah working well at all in the Suns front office, and the idea of James Jones’ and Monty Williams’ time being wasted by that guy … let’s just say that I consider this a primary test of Ishbia’s judgement: is Isiah going to be “around” just as a sort of mascot or lure for players or is he going to have to sway with Ishbia’s plans for the Suns future. I guess the good news is that Isiah seems to be pretty busy with many other things. I’m hoping those keep him away from Phoenix. Read this. Thomas is on the board.
Since you mentioned that Bridges likely wouldn’t be moved except in a trade for KD, here’s a hypothetical trade for you:
Suns get: KD, Curry, and Mills
Nets get: CP3, Bridges, and Crowder (and likely draft picks)
Would you do it?
the trade I want to see is Cam Johnson and another serviceable player like Saric (who has looked extremey good – reminds me exactly of Horford now – solid as heck) to the Mavs for Christian Wood and Hardaway Jr..
If Suns want to keep Ayton long term they need this kind of help on the baseline defensively. I really don’t see how they can ever be a contender without a defensive rebounding scoring type of PF like Wood.
It looks like Isiah Thomas is going to join the Suns front office at some meaningful level. As much as I cringe at the judgement of such a move, if it’s going to happen then Suns fans just need to live with it. One way I can think of it as a good thing relates to Zeke’s experience with toughness and especially tough big men back in his era. Ayton is not tough. I’m sure Zeke sees that as a big weakness, and will want to make a big change or changes there. Trading Ayton is one possibility. Trading for Wood is another. Getting rid of Monty WIlliams for a big man’s coach might be another – makes me wonder if McHale might want to coach again in some capacity.
Another way Zeke could help is by addressing another big Suns’ weakness: finishing by the guards. He was awesome at this in his prime, and is really the type of player they need at PG I think. I could see CP3 on the move for at least one very strong finisher at PG and another on the wing. It’s too bad Cam J has been off the floor so much – he’s looked like a very tough scorer and finisher when he gets rolling, but if he’s going to continue to be a problem injury-wise then it might make sense to consider moving him.
That would be a great deal for the Suns, but probably little reason for the Mavs to do it, and for pretty much the same reason as the Suns would want the deal. The Mavs are the worst rebounding team in the league, so probably almost zero chance that they would trade their 2nd best rebounder (after Luka). I’m not sure who is available that might fit the bill (John Collins? Kevin Love?), but the Suns will have an issue matching salaries for anybody like that since they don’t have anyone making more than about $10 mil a year after the big 4 (Booker CP3, Ayton, Bridges). Maybe Anonoby? He plays pretty tall for a 6’7″ guy, only makes $17 mil a year, and is allegedly available. Crowder and Johnson for him?
my understanding is that the mavs don’t want to pay woods going forward. otherwise I agree with you.
Yeah, but the Mavs just went all in for this year with Kyrie, who is also a free agent at the end of the season. Can’t see them making themselves worse by trading Wood now. Unless, of course, they pick up someone else who can provide the rebounding that Wood gives them.
I guess I wrote what I did too hastily and don’t have time to read it now. Yes. Of course. And Kyrie or going all in or not, they have made it clear that Wood is (or was) on the block and clearly they need rebounding in return. I can think of many that would fit the bill. Heck, Biyombo and Saric for instance.
Unless the Mavs have pulled him off the block, it’s clear that this is what they’ll need.
With the trade deadline tomorrow, deals are starting to go down. We start with this fairly big one:
Lakers get D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, and Jarred Vanderbilt.
Timberwolves get: Mike Conley, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and 3 2nd round picks from the Jazz.
Jazz get: Russell Westbrook, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Damian Jones, and a lightly protected 2027 1st round pick from the Lakers.
I like this deal for the T-Wolves. Mike Conley is a better fit at PG than Russell, and Alexander-Walker is a good shooter. I don’t know that D-Lo is any better for the Lakers than Russ, but Beasley and Vanderbilt are useful pieces for the second unit. The Jazz are simply in this to unload Conley’s contract that goes through next season and to pick up another first round draft pick.. Westbrook’s contract is expiring and they are expected to buy out the remainder of this season. Utah is fully in on the Thunder/Rockets gameplan where they’ve unloaded everyone and picked up a ton of 1st round picks.
If, as expected, the Jazz buy out Westbrook, I can’t see any real contender signing him. ISO heavy teams like the Clips or Knicks may take a flyer on him.
One of the players I mentioned as a trade candidate above has, in fact, been traded. The Knicks are trading Cam Reddish to the Trail Blazers for Josh Hart. The Knicks are also sending two other players that I’ve never heard of before, both of whom average 3 minutes or less of playing times per game and a protected 2023 1st round pick. Hart is a really good rebounder for a guard, so that will be useful for the Knicks. Blazers get younger and get rid of Hart’s contract while adding some draft capital. Although Portland is close to a playoff spot, it is clear they know they are going nowhere and are building for the future.
Another trade made late last night…the Raptors picked up Jakob Poeltl from the Spurs for Khem Birch, a protected 2024 1st round pick and two future 2nd round picks. Not entirely sure what the Raptors are doing here. Poeltl is nearly a double-double every night, but the Raptors already have a lot of height and rebounding ability. Poeltl’s contract is expiring, so will the Raptors be looking to resign him and, if so, does this mean they’ll be looking to trade someone else out of their crowded frontcourt? The Spurs were simply looking to pick up draft assets and got a pretty good return.
HOLY SHIT!!! Reportedly, the Suns are acquiring KD and TJ Warren for Bridges, Johnson, Crowder, 4 1st round picks and a 2028 pick swap. Apparently new owner Ishbia was really pushing to get this done.
So this makes the Suns starting 5: CP3, Book, KD, Ayton, and, I guess, Craig, with Saric, Payne, Lee, and Shamet coming off the bench. With Paul, Book, Craig, and Durant on the court together, Ayton should get a lot of easy looks in the paint. I hate that they had to give up Bridges, but damn, for Durant, that is so worth it. KD also has 4 years on his contract, so he isn’t going anywhere soon.
As for the Nets, they got young real quick. Dinwiddie, Johnson, Bridges, Finney-Smith and Claxton ain’t going to win a championship, but that is a solid defensive unit and will be in the playoffs. With all the 1st round picks they’ve picked up, they should be adding a lot of talent in the coming years.
I would list the first or second off the Suns bench as Biyombo who along with Saric has been playing extremely well. Durant now gives them so much more flexibility lineup-wise, as he’s an athletic rebounder and shot blocker and can dominate the baseline at both ends unlike Bridges. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this lineup as maybe the Suns most effective:
CP3, Booker, KD, Biyombo and a bunch of options they have that don’t include Ayton. One thing I anticipate is what we saw in Oakland just a few years ago: KD playing PG so far outside the perimeter that defensives can’t shore up the paint well enough to prevent constant penetration and slashing by scorers. Booker should now have tons of space open to him for instance. Warren, if he’s healthy, might shine in his renewed Suns role for the same reasons.
Disregarding the first rounders the Suns gave up, I love the deal. The Suns biggest weaknesses were in this order: a backup PG, a tall athletic rebounder/shot blocker, an athletic finisher at the rim. In KD they get all three. His ability to play PG allows CP3 to sit comfortably for long stretches and it probably means there’s almost zero need for Cam Payne. The Suns already seem to have better options at backup PG than Payne in Saben(sp?) Lee and a sort of PG by committee in Damion Lee and Ish Wainwright(sp?). Craig and Saric have both become much better ball movers and, it seems, decision makers and ball handlers. Although the Suns still have a weakness along the baseline (especially defensively) it’s not nearly as glaring now because KD’s height and quickness fill a huge void.
We’ll see how it goes, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if KDs presence allows several other players to shine at both ends. One thing I think the league is going to recognize soon is how quick and athletic the Suns can be just like the Warriors and Celtics. I mentioned Saric as now being at Horford’s level. That means a poor mans Dray Green IMO. I can see Saric at a sort of point forward role from the same areas of the floor that Dray operates. I hope that’s how he’ll be used anyhow, and if so this lineup could be very challenging offensively for any team …
KD, Booker, Saric, Ayton and now you have your pick of so many options depending on matchups. With Ayton in you lose quickness (which is why Biyombo is the better C defensively) but offensively you have a tremendous number of ways to exploit defenses. I’m looking forward to seeing how certain teams try and defend this lineup: the Celtics, Bucks, Pels in particular. They’ve got their work cut out for them:-)
It’s funny that you’ve done exactly what I keep doing: I completely forget that Ben Simmons is on the Nets now;-)
I know you didn’t forget actually, it’s just that he seems like nothing but some sort of ancillary piece these days, but I expect Simmons and Bridges to become one of the league’s toughest wing-duos defensively. I’m not sure it’s the right team of Cam Johnson for that reason, but we’ll see how they play him. His biggest issue has been consistent time on the court. I don’t think this trade helps his career in that regard since I think Curry is a better option in the same role. We’ll see how it goes there. A lot of pressure is now on Dinwiddie back in his starting PG role. Let’s see how he handles the big minutes.
Hah! You’re right. I forgot about Simmons. Easy to do. I’m sure the Nets would like to forget about him, but he’s got two more seasons on his contract at $39 mil and $40 mil. Simmons does make the Nets defense that much better and he can be a good distributor. He’s just unplayable at crunch time because of his inability to hit FTs and teams can leave him alone on the wing. The Nets would love to trade him, but I doubt there are any takers for his contract.
More deals going down:
1. Thunder trade Mike Muscala to Celtics for Justin Jackson and two 2nd round picks.
2. Lakers trade Thomas Bryant to Nuggets for Davon Reed and three 2nd round picks.
3. Nets trade Jae Crowder to Bucks for five 2nd round picks. In order to clear cap room for Crowder, the Bucks are sending George Hill, Jordan Nwora, Serge Ibaka and one or two 2nd round picks to the Pacers.
4. 76ers trade Matisse Thybulle to Trail Blazers who send Svi Mykhailiuk and picks to Charlotte, who send Jalen McDaniels to 76ers.
5. Nuggets trade Bones Hyland to the Clippers for two 2nd round picks.
6. Warriors trade James Wiseman to the Pistons, who send Saddiq Bey to the Hawks, who send five 2nd round picks to the Warriors. Clearly a money move for the Warriors, though I would have liked to have seen what Bey could do for the Dubs.
7. Hawks trade Justin Holiday, Frank Kaminsky and two 2nd round picks to the Rockets for Garrison Mathews and Bruno Fernando. Looks like the Hawks are paying the Rockets to take some salary off their hands so they can take on Bey.
8. Rockets trade Eric Gordon to the Clippers, who trade Luke Kennard to the Grizzlies, who trade Danny Green to the Rockets and three 2nd round picks to the Clippers.
9. Suns trade Dario Saric and a 2nd round pick to the Thunder for Darius Bazley. Gotta be a money saving move for the Suns, paying the Thunder to take Saric’s contract.
10. Lakers trade Patrick Beverley and a 2nd round pick to the Magic for Mo Bamba.
why would the magic do this? they’re a solid org, so i guess they have a great reason. Trying to get Beverly’s toughness to rub off on Suggs maybe? or maybe Beverly is moving on or will be bought out? I’d like to see him on the Suns so they don’t have to face him:-)
11. Pelicans trade Devonte Graham and four 2nd round picks to the Spurs for Josh Richardson.
12. Hornets trade Mason Plumlee to the Clippers for Reggie Jackson and a 2028 2nd round pick.
So who is the starting PG for Clippers now? Plumlee and Zubac at C now. Clipps look like the deepest team in the West to me now. Not much time to get everyone on the same page though.
One comment about Hyland if I haven’t already made it here: whoever has that guy has the advantage of an extremely crafty ball carrier. He carries the ball just like Morant does and doesn’t get called often enough. I don’t know why he gets away with it so often but he does. I hope the refs wake up to this before the playoffs.
The technical starting PG for Clips has to be Hyland, but PG13 has been the actual PG in everything but name this year.
Didn’t even know Hyland was a PG since he’s such a ball hog. He’s probably much better than I realize, though. leading me to wonder why he didn’t end up on some other team. The Clippers are scary.
I could be wrong about Hyland starting and you’re right about him being a ball hog–only 3 apg in 19.5mpg. In Denver though, Joker was effectively the PG and Murray is no slouch at distributing the ball. So Hyland didn’t have to do much passing. Just catch and shoot. The Clippers will very much run the offense through PG13 and Kawhi, so not much will change in Hyland’s role. Clips are very ISO-heavy team anyway. Also, they may look to bring in Russ once the Jazz buy him out.
Kennard to the Grizz isn’t good news for the rest of the league depending on his role. I don’t like the idea of the Grizz adding a solid player like Kennard.
Let me revise this one:
6. Warriors get Gary Payton II
Pistons get James Wiseman
Hawks get Saddiq Bey
Trail Blazers get Kevin Knox and five 2nd round picks (from Hawks).
Getting GPII is a great move for the Dubs and makes their bench a lot stronger. It is a steep price to pay, but will make Steph, Klay, and Dray very happy and saves them something like $37 million in luxury tax between this year and next year.
Further revision to this 4-team deal. The Warriors actually kept two of the five 2nd round picks they got from the Hawks.
Do you know what other teams were interested in Muscala? How the heck did the Celtics end up with him?
6′ 10″ shooter who can rebound and mix it up. frickin Celtics and these trades/picks.
why don’t the Sixers go after guys like this for instance. For that matter, how are the sixers standing pat with what they have when they need a lot more toughness than Tobias Harris gives them. I don’t get what Morey is doing. Harris should have been traded long ago.
No idea if any other teams were talking to the Thunder about Muscala. He is pretty cheap (making only $3.5 mil this year with a team option for $3.5 mil next year. The Thunder haven’t played him a whole lot, but that is likely because they are more interested in getting minutes for their youth. The top 2 teams in the East have added some defensive muscle in Muscala (Celtics) and Crowder (Bucks). All Philly did was turn Thybulle into Jalen McDaniels, which is alright given the Sixers seemingly didn’t want to play Thybulle despite his defensive prowess. McDaniels will fit in nicely at SF for the Sixers.
So I just learned that Ishbia was a walk-on PG on Michigan State’s NCAA basketball championship team in 2000. I learned that from fellow Spartan, Draymond Green, on the latest episode of his Podcast, wherein he breaks down what happened at the trade deadline.
Draymond also passes on some rumors about buyouts (Will Barton to Suns maybe). Green’s analysis on the trades is pretty spot on.
Yeah. The Mich St. walk on story has been huge in AZ for the past few months. Magic gave everything his blessings the day he heard Ishbia’s offer was accepted by Sarver . As did Izzo of course. The big news divulged today is what I’ve been waiting for though. Even moreso than the KD news: Ishbia and his brother reached out to Jerry Colangelo soon after the deal apparently, and Jerry is all in on this guy and even more importantly all in on trading Bridges to get KD. That’s pretty big news, because James Jones didn’t want to do it. But Jerry did, which is all that matters.
Hopefully that connection with Colangelo will stay tight. He’s been nothing but great for AZ.
Just heard about the GPII news. Wow. Wiseman’s head must be spinning.
GPII failed his physical with the Warriors, so that deal is in jeopardy. He had surgery on his core muscles back in September and missed the first 3 months of the season. Although he had played the last 15 games for the Blazers, apparently they were injecting him with Toradol and telling him to play through the pain. The Dubs were unaware of this. Payton probably shouldn’t have been playing and now that this is known, he is likely to not play for the next several months.
The deal is now in the Warriors hands. They can choose to go forward with it anyway and get Payton healthy for the playoffs (and they would still save a lot of money) or they can kill the deal. I’m guessing they will go through with it because of the money savings and because this year is likely lost anyway and they would have a healthy Payton for the next two years.
so your understanding is that it’s a pain management thing only? No bleeding or tearing of the scars left behind?
makes me wonder if this is what happened to Kawhi. Injections that allowed him to play through pain but then led to him tearing his quad again. just a hunch, but makes sense.
Don’t know the details, just that Payton was playing through pain with the help of Toradol.
As suspected, the Warriors chose to go through with the deal despite the failed physical for Payton. They did file a complaint with the commissioner’s office against the Trail Blazers for hiding the extent of Payton’s injury.
Listened to Bob Myers’ press conference today, which was mostly about the GPII situation. While there is a lot he could not talk about it, he did say that Payton will get reevaluated in about a month and they are hopeful to get him playing before the playoffs.
With the trade finalized, all the players involved can now play. So Bey in Atlanta, Knox in Portland, and Wiseman in Detroit. The Pistons are expected to put Wiseman into the starting lineup, which doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense as rookie Jalen Duren has been doing a decent job there, as has Isaiah Stewart as his primary backup. In addition to Duren and Stewart, the Pistons have Nerlens Noel and Marvin Bagley as centers on their roster. There were rumors that they were trying to trade Noel. Since that didn’t happen, he is probably a candidate for a buyout. Bagley has been out since the beginning of January, but may be back by the end of the month. The upshot of all this is that I don’t know why the Pistons traded for Wiseman given the young center depth on their roster. I imagine they may look to package one of them in an off-season trade. Wiseman may be a better shooter from distance than the others, so perhaps the Pistons like that dimension.
My super speculative take is that Wiseman will likely have huge value for some team at some time in the next 3 years and is worth more than what was given up. I agree with that. I don’t understand why the Warriors didn’t get a lot more than what they did.
Pistons may simply be doing this which I think is dumb, but I think possible, since I think I’ve heard that the owner has a strong presence. Maybe he’s dictated that they must get a big and mobile defensive oriented center? With Wiseman they have that and his value which I think is going up now with playing time which means rebounds, blocks, assists. If coached will on the Pistons he doesn’t need to get in foul trouble even playing good minutes.
He’ll probably screw up a lot as well. So he has more time and less pressure to keep screwing up.
Definitely agree that Wiseman is worth more than the Dubs got for him and will likely prove it in the near future. Unfortunately, he ended up in a bad position with the Warriors. He didn’t have the experience to learn the Warrior way, due to his injuries and youth and the Dubs are in a win now mode and couldn’t afford to give him the experience that he so desperately needs. After the trade, Myers, Kerr, Curry, and Green all raved about Wiseman’s work ethic and likeability and bemoaned the circumstances that worked against him. I hope he gets plenty of playing time in Detroit, but they are such a poorly run organization with a surfeit of centers that I won’t be surprised if he doesn’t.
Zion reaggravated his hamstring and is expected to miss at least a couple of weeks and, of course, the All Star game.
With the trade deadline passed, the buyout season has begun. Here are some of the names I’ve seen mentioned as buyout candidates, some of whom have already been waived.
1. Russ Westbrook – most rumors have him going to the Clippers if bought out, but the Heat have also been mentioned.
2. John Wall – if Russ goes to the Clips, he would replace Wall, who got shuttled to Houston. I haven’t seen any rumors of where he might go if bought out. Maybe back to the Wiz to reteam with Beal?
3. Terence Ross – has already been waived by the Magic and Woj reported that he will sign with the Suns, where he would be a good 3-and-D guy.
4. Danny Green – expected to be bought out by Rockets and sign with Cavaliers.
5. Patrick Beverley – Magic waived him after getting him in the Mo Bamba deal. He was good fit in Minnesota previously, so might he return there?
6. Will Barton – lot of talk that Wiz will buy him out, but no buzz on where he would go. Maybe back to Denver?
7. Serge Ibaka & George Hill – both were traded from Bucks to Pacers and both are considered buyout candidates. Ibaka has already been waived, but not Hill yet. Possible they will hold onto Hill as they are thin at PG (only Haliburton and McConnell on roster). Ibaka did little for the Bucks this year, so not sure who would want him.
8. Reggie Jackson – apparently the Hornets will waive him after getting him in the Plumlee deal. Shams is reporting that the Nuggets will sign him.
9. Dario Saric – Thunder don’t have a real need for him after the trade with the Suns, so could see him getting bought out and any number of contenders would want him. Warriors perhaps?
10. DeWayne Dedmon – Spurs cut him after acquiring him and a 2nd round pick for cash. Early reports have him going to Philly to back up Embiid.
Interesting! For mainly two reasons …
First, Terrance Ross is no 3 and D guy! He’s a super fucking athletic scorer. Maybe with an attitude problem, but he gets to the rim unguardeably and often when he gets minutes. Big vertical and speed. Not a consistent guy or the guy to trust in the clutch. But very much unlike almost any Suns player ever. I can’t think of a single one.
Second, the guy the Suns really need is Saric right now. It seems like they might be able to buy him back?
Hey. Ishbia. Who knows?
check it out
Suns are the one team that Saric cannot sign with after a buyout. Per the CBA: “A team cannot reacquire a player they traded away during that season (a season being July 1 – June 30). If he is waived by his new team, then he cannot re-sign with his original team until the one-year anniversary of the trade, or until the July 1 following the end of his contract, whichever comes first. However, if a team trades a player’s draft rights, they can reacquire the player during the same season.”
You explained that to me before. I forgot. So, maybe next year;-)
Looks like the rumors will prove to be true. Westbrook is reportedly signing with the Clippers after getting a buyout from the Jazz.
And the next pebble to fall is Patrick Beverley. After his buyout, he is signing with the Chicago Bulls. He would have been a good fit with either the Dubs or Suns with his defensive ability.
i almost randomly peeked at this Nuggets Box Score for Jokic
34 12-14 0-0 3-3 0 12 12 8 0 0 0 3 27
that’s ZERO tos
27 points on 12-14 shooting and 3-3 from the stripe
in a win
Wiseman played his first game for the Pistons tonight. 11 points on 5-9 shooting and 5 rebounds in 24 minutes. No assists, blocks, steals or turnovers. He didn’t start despite what his coach had proclaimed after the trade. Stewart was the starting center and played 26 minutes. Pistons actually started both Stewart (26 minutes) and Duren (25 minutes). That’s a lot of minutes for 3 centers. Guessing one of them was getting some time at PF.
Game 2 for Wiseman with the Pistons. 8 pts (on 4-10 shooting), 10 rebounds, and a block in 24 minutes. He was +16 in those 24 minutes, though the Pistons lost to the Magic 108-106. It’s a nice showing and something he can build on. Of course, the other thing to consider here. The Pistons have a glut of centers and, if they end up with the top pick in the draft (currently 3rd worst record in the league), they’ll be picking up the 7’3″ Victor Wembayana. Gotta think the Pistons will be looking to deal some centers this summer.
Thanks for the update. I’m definitely interested in knowing how he progresses. Keep it comin A, as I’m convinced he’ll be a very good player eventually.
Meanwhile without Wiggs and Steph I liked a lot of what I saw from the Warriors v Lakers tonight. Dray continually amazes me and the ball movement and players’ speed and precision are impressive. What they clearly lacked tonight was height and well .. yeah. Height.
Happy to oblige. In game 3 with the Pistons, Wiseman had 10 points (5 of 9 shooting) and 10 rebounds. He was also in the starting line-up (next to Isaiah Stewart), but fouled out after 20 minutes of action. No steals, blocks, or assists either. Not a great stat line, but again, this is experience that he can build on.
Game 4 for Wiseman with the Pistons…he started and played 27 minutes, though the amount of time he got was largely because both Stewart and Duren were out injured. He had 23 points (9 of 11 shooting) and 7 rebounds. Again, no steals, blocks, or assists.
The Cavs are reportedly close to buying out Kevin Love. He would be a great fit with the Warriors. Can set screens, rebound, and stretch the floor with his shooting. His defense leaves a little bit to be desired, which may be a reason for the Dubs not to sign him. With his career about done though, he may be more interested in a team with a better shot at a title. I could see Boston and Phoenix being interested in him.
I agree about Love with Phx, though Suns still need that backup PG. It’s still a fairly significant weakness, especially since Mikal is no longer in that spot, and Durant as good as he is can’t move and penetrate like a smaller guy. Ross looked awesome in his first game on the Suns. Great ball handler as well which is a nice surprise, but he’s not going to be pass first not get to know the Suns style well enough before the playoffs. Pat Beverly might be available. I’d be fine with that.
Apparently the Heat are favored to sign Love, though he is going to talk with the 76ers as well. His buyout is complete now. I’ve heard no rumors of him going to the Warriors, even though he and Klay have been friends since their youth.
perfect replacement for Saric
Over the All Star break, the disappointing Hawks fired Nate McMillan. The off-season addition of Dejounte Murray was supposed to push them toward the top tier in the East, but they’ve not lived up to the hype. I’m not entirely sure why. They’ve got really good rebounders, but haven’t defended particularly well. Trae Young is dishing out even more assists, but his shooting has taken a major dip. Murray’s shooting percentage numbers are up, but the rest of his stats are down. They’ve been threatening to trade John Collins all season, but failed to do so at the trade deadline and his numbers are generally down. There only trade deadline move was to bring in Saddiq Bey, which won’t make a huge difference. Gotta think Trae isn’t happy. Will he be the next superstar level player to demand a trade?
Hawks assistant coach Joe Prunty gets the interim head coach tag, something he did in Milwaukee back in the 2017-18 season. Prunty has been an assistant coach for 20+ years, but it looks like the Hawks are interested in hiring Quin Snyder. So Prunty may not be the interim coach very long.
That’s a good point about Trae. Possible he’s the right guy on the wrong team. Adding Murray allows them to trade Young if there are adequate returns. BTW, the story there isn’t unlike what’s happening with the Grizzlies. It seems that both Morant and Young are supposed to be the closers/saviors when it’s too often too late in the game. Maybe their teammates relax too much at both ends? Regardless, their records don’t reflect their talent. They don’t seem to have figured out how to win when they need to. Only a couple months to fix that. It’s possible. McMillan’s career as a coach has been surprisingly underwhelming, so maybe a change will make sense in this case.
Ha. Wish I’d have been paying attention. The front runners for MIP this year went up against each other and apparently didn’t disappoint. As good as SGA is, who saw this coming from Markkanen? He seems to keep getting better and better.
Guessing Markkanen simply needed the opportunity to be the #1 option, something he never was in Chicago. Agree that he’s the frontrunner for MIP right now.
Wild game between the Kings and Clippers tonight.
That is not too far off from the 186-184 triple overtime game in 1983 that is the highest scoring game ever. And Kings-Clippers was only one OT. Three players scored more than 40 points in the game (Fox, Monk & Kawhi) and PG-13 kicked in another 34 pts. This is the type of game that the Kings would have found a way to lose in the past, but they managed to eke out the win on the road. Gotta think that Mike Brown is the current favorite for Coach of the Year, though Michael Malone is probably right there with him.
Apparently it was a double OT game and was, in fact, the 2nd highest scoring game of all time after the 1983 Nuggets-Pistons game.
KD is expected to play in Wednesday’s game against Charlotte. I’m excited to see how he fits in with Book and CP3. Guessing this will be the first game in the ESPN double-header on Wednesday, though local Arizona cable probably will have the game too.
Except for the obvious height and shooting of Ayton I expect it to look a lot like the KD-Warriors, because Booker, Craig and Okogie are in constant motion like Klay, Dray and Curry and with the exception of Ayton the Suns are passing extremely well from inside-out. I imagine CP3 will often bring the ball downcourt, the ball should immediately go through Booker and/or KD before KD takes over the point role just like with the Warriors.
Will be interesting to see how CP3 is used. I assume as a sharpshooter that will often be open from 18 feet out. That will be an interesting look if KD is ok with looking for CP3 often enough. Regardless, Ayton will get so many easy shots now. Height passing to height and everyone else just throwing it up near the rim. He’s been on a roll lately and should be equally sharing the high scores with KD and Booker.
By the way, if you don’t know Okogie’s game get ready for it. He looks a lot like GP II. Shorter but can play above the rim (not quite as remarkably as GP II but close), great passing skills, excellent defender, fast as shit. Much better shooter than GPII but not great.
I doubt Monty Williams will do this, but I think CP3 should be coming off the bench when KD sits. He slows down a team that really has no business slowing down. Instead, Okogie needs to start and Craig is looking so good I’d hate to see him pulled from his starting role. If Monty replaces Okogie with KD that will be a terrible mistake. Okogie is a fucking ironman and should be out there 40+ minutes a night. I wouldn’t mind CP3 starting with KD in Craig’s spot and then CP3 sitting after 6 minutes of play. Craig is way too valuable lately, and even if the Suns signed Love I wouldn’t yank Craig for long.
The bench should be CP3, Ross, Biyombo, Damion Lee and even though I don’t like him Cam Payne. Payne is clearly favored by Williams for some reason and I need to just let it go because Monty has decided on him. Payne *should* be the backup PG thinking pass first (even though he doesn’t) and CP3 at SG. I don’t think this will happen though, and am guessing Craig will end up being the odd man out unless KD says otherwise. Monty can be way too rigid with his ideas. Like the opposite of Kerr. He better change that fast or CP3 and Payne are going to fuck up what is a very good chance at a title.
I don’t think there is any chance of CP3 starting games on the bench, but I like your idea of taking him out of the game around the 6-minute mark and then putting him back in when KD sits. I’ll need to see more of Okogie to see if he’s as good as you say. He’s only averaging between 15 and 16 minutes a game this season, so the Suns don’t think too highly of him so far. While he’s started the last 5 games and played much bigger minutes, that was, in part, because of their lack of depth after the trade. With Ross settling in and KD about to start getting 35 or so minutes a game, I’m guessing we’ll see Okogie settle back into something like 20 minutes per game. He’ll need to become a better passer, something he’s never been so far, but will be required when you’ve got KD, Book, CP3, and Ayton around you.
The Okogie factor has been very strong as of late, and it’s very clear he’s a team, fan and Monty favorite. I’m guessing he plays as many minutes as Booker and KD.
He’s as responsible for the currently winning ways of the Suns as any other player. He’s driving the pace at which the Suns are playing and it appears to suit them. Again … a lot like GP II.
See this video below. Okogie plays like this every game and on most plays, but his shooting isn’t consistent. You’ll likely see all these same things when you watch him play next, but don’t expect so many shots to drop. I’m sure you’ll see the resemblance to GPII.
And FWIW … Okogie as the Suns *new* ironman should be a good hint: Bridges *was* that, hence Okogie’s previously limited minutes. It’s clear now that Okogie should be on the court as much as possible because he does so many things and the more he plays the better he gets as a teammate and the more valuable he is to winning. Again, not unlike GPII.
A couple of significant injuries…
LaMelo Ball broke his right ankle in a non-contact play in tonight’s game against the Pistons. This is surely season-ending for him. Hornets were already a huge disappointment this season, both during Ball’s season opening injury and after he returned from that. Now, they’ll be without him again. They are solidly in the draft lottery. With Plumlee traded, rookie Mark Williams from Duke should be getting a bit more run down the stretch. Williams started and had 15 pts and 11 rebounds tonight. With him at center and PJ Washington at PF, the Hornets may look for a wing in the draft.
LeBron James injured his right foot in Sunday’s game. While he played through the injury in the game, Shams reported today that he could miss the next several weeks. The Lakers are currently the 12th seed in the West. The Lakers have a relatively easy schedule down the stretch, though they do get Memphis twice in the next several weeks (and the Suns twice toward the end of the season). If LeBron misses significant time, I doubt the Lakers will make it to the playoffs, or, at best, they’ll end up playing the Nuggets or Grizz in the 1st round.
The Jonathan Kuminga highlight from last night’s game against the Blazers.
Kuminga was a very efficient 8 of 10 shooting for 16 pts in 25 minutes. More importantly, he’s becoming a very good defender and often gets the job of defending the other team’s top scorer. With him, DiVencenzo, Dray, Loon, and Klay rounding into form, the Dubs’ defense has gotten better, despite the absence of Steph and Wiggs. Dubs came back from being 23 points down at one point to beat the Blazers by 18, because the Dubs turned up the defensive intensity in the 2nd half. Still, it was only against the Blazers, where the Dubs could send waves of defenders at Dame and dare the rest of the team to beat them. Warriors have a tough stretch of games coming up, so it would be nice to get Steph and Wiggs back soon.
OK. So what’s wrong with Wiggins and when is Steph due back?
They seem to be confident that Steph will be back on the upcoming road trip that begins Sunday. He has begun scrimmaging with the team. Wiggs has been away from the team for a “personal” issue, The team has been very tight-lipped about what the issue is, but it must be serious. Wiggs previously changed the date for the birth of one of his kids (I assume by C-section) because it conflicted with a game. So, he’s not the type to be missing games for some trivial personal issue. Speculation in the local media, which again, has no real idea, is that someone in his family may be dying.
For the 2nd straight game, the Warriors played great defense in the 2nd half and crushed their opponent. Tonight, they scored 70 points in the 2nd half and held the Clippers to just 35 points. Klay had 19 pts and 11 rebounds, his first double-double since 2017. Apparently, over the All Star break, Kerr had a discussion with Klay about how Michael Jordan evolved his game as he got older, getting more points in the paint, and urged Klay to try to evolve his game similarly. Also told him that he would be playing more small forward and he needed Klay to work on getting more rebounds. Looks like Klay has taken this to heart. He’s been putting the ball on the floor more, driving to the basket for either lay-ups or short range jumpers, and getting more rebounds. The net result tonight is that the Warriors were down 11 at half-time and won by 24.
Love it. Warriors may still be the team to beat in the West, but they’ve got a hell of a lot more tough competition this year. Fun for us that 3 of the most likely representatives from the West are teams we’ll root for : Dubs, Suns and Nuggets. And IMO two more teams are hell of entertaining in the Mavs and Pels. So given that the very high probability of two of those teams being in the WCFs … fun times ahead.
FWIW with all the above competition, and especially if Zion is back as I’m pretty sure he will be, I don’t see how the Clipps or Grizz get their shit together in time. Wolves … who the hell knows?
I don’t think the Warriors are the team to beat in the West. I give the Suns and Nuggets a much better chance to reach the Finals.
Steph returned to play in last night’s loss to the Lakers. He looked to be a little rusty in the first half, but was looking more Steph-like in the 2nd half. What I didn’t understand was the Dubs only playing Kuminga for 13 minutes, after he was playing great in the 5-game win streak. Hell, Iggy played more than Kuminga and Lamb played twice as much. Poole seemed to go back into his “I’m not starting” funk.
Lamb is now done for the season unless the Warriors convert his two-way contract to a regular contract. Lamb has played the max 50 games on the two-way. Ty Jerome can only play 8 more games on his two-way contract. I expect one of them will be elevated to a regular contract, though they may wait to see if they need more guard or forward help before deciding.
We’ll see. In the West Warriors are only team that’s been together as a playoff contender and with success. No other team comes close, which is why I don’t think Nuggets will get to the conference finals. They might of course, I just think other teams are more playoff ready.
I missed the Suns-Hornets game tonight because we were recording a podcast, so I hope you saw and can let me know how it went. Not surprised that they beat the Hornets. Looks like KD had a very efficient shooting game (10 of 15) Booker had a very good game (37 pts, 7 assists, 6 rebounds) and Ayton had a nice 16-16 double-double. Paul only hit 1 of 8 shots, but did dish out 11 dimes. Looks like Okogie wasn’t getting anywhere on offense, but may have made an impact on defense. Ross didn’t play, but I don’t see anything about any injury for him. In any event, I’m interested to hear how all the pieces fit together if you saw the game.
I’m going to wait for the minutes restrictions to be pulled from KD before offering up any sort of full report on the Suns. On that topic, I’ll just say a few things:
he looks like he’s played with the Suns forever. fits right in just like he did with the warriors
i’ve never seen him smile so much
after two games there have only been a handful of times when his teammates have looked for him. clearly this is Monty Williams way of keeping KD on the floor and meshing with the team without straining his knee. of course, when KD wants the ball he gets the ball and his new teammates seem more than happy to give it to him
he’s looked awesome at both ends. his passing has looked outstanding to me
That’s all I got on KD for now. The main storyline is about Okogie and Booker. The play of both appears to have William’s stamp all over it. Booker is running around like nuts now at both ends. He’s been extremely tough and physical near the basket and just isn’t stopping even though he has the ball in his hands most of the time. This reminds me of Doncic and Kobe 10 years ago – he’s moved up from a high usage rate to the upper echelon of high usage. I’m assuming that’s going to change once KD is ready to run the show. That they’ve won two games like this must be a good feeling for booker, because he hasn’t exactly looked great offensively even though his number are excellent. He seems to be on a mission to get himself ready for the playoffs. Like he’s trying to get into shape? In any case, his defense seems to have had a big impact on winning.
Okogie is the bigger story. I can’t say enough. He had a very good shooting game last night, but his impact on winning was much higher in the game before vs. Charlotte even though his stat line was pretty thin. I think it’s as simple to explain as this: he plays 4 inches taller than he is. He does all the same things for the Suns that Aaron Gordon does for the Nuggets, but Okogie is faster. He gets to the ball at both ends. That’s how I think of it. He is so fast and under control and small enough that he gets to places you wouldn’t expect, and when there’s a loose ball he’s usually the quickest to get to it. I’ll never say he’s better than GPII, but if you can imagine GP being in even more constant motion at a faster pace … the difference there is that GP can hold his own on the block vs a much taller opponent, so you don’t really want him running around in the same way. In any case, Suns are extremely lucky that he’s fitting right in after the Bridges move. They’d be very sketchy without him right now, because Craig and Booker seem like the only two guys on the roster that can fill that void and Booker isn’t that good at it and if he was he’d risk injury.
I haven’t mentioned Ayton because it’s too soon to say what will change with him. I suspect a lot of passing from KD to Ayton once KD moves to the point forward role. For the same reasons I expect more 3 pt shooting from CP3 who is going to be left wide open. I really wish he’d just sit more. I don’t understand why Williams is playing him so many minutes, unless it’s to keep Payne off the court which is possible. Suns need to replace Payne badly. He’s going to cost them a championship – he has no business being the backup PG on this elite team.
Anyhow, OK is smiling a lot which maybe all that needs to be said for now;-)
Don’t know if you’ve heard about the Ja Morant allegations, but here is a report that details them all:
The two main incidents happened last summer, so not sure why they are coming out now. Nonetheless, Ja doesn’t look. I’m guessing the NBA has an investigation started or ongoing and I highly doubt there will be any findings or punishment (if warranted) before the end of this season. Whatever actually happened in the incident with the 17-year-old to start it, Ja can’t be getting into a confrontation with a kid and beating him down.
I think the most recent precedent relates to how the NBA dealt with Malik Beasley. Still amazing to me that he was suspended for only 12 games when Ayton and John Collins had to sit for 20-25 about 3 years ago for allegations of PEDs.
More re: Ja Morant. After last night’s game against the Nuggets, he went out to a club. He went on Instagram Live and flashed a gun he was carrying. The NBA has launched an investigation and the Grizz have suspended Morant for the next two games. Morant released a statement apologizing and saying that he was going to take time away to work on things. I hope that Ja gets things together, because he is too fun to watch.
Only a couple quick comments about yesterdays Suns at Mavs game …
Considering how well the Suns played at both ends I’m surprised that Luka still had a chance to tie it up at the end. And the Suns did play extremely well. Both teams will only get better.
Okogie once again played extremely well or rather it would be easy to make the case that he did if he didn’t miss all those 3s. I don’t really understand why he’s taking so many, and hard to believe that it’s his own idea to do so. He’s so fast and good with the ball and has great control I don’t get why he didn’t drive instead of shoot on some of those. I see Marcus Smart in this position a lot and he won’t keep jacking them up if he’s not feeling it. I think this isn’t really Okogie’s decision, and it certainly isn’t a good reason to limit his minutes in that game. Luckily Wainright came in and did some damage, but that’s not a long term plan. Williams needs to figure out how Okogie can stay on the floor – that’s a much better plan going into the playoffs. I don’t see why giving him the green light to penetrate and dish isn’t the way to go.
KD and Booker played 40 minutes each I just noticed. Ahh … that’s why Okogie didn’t come back in sooner. In any case, Williams needs to figure that out. Suns are much better when Okogie isn’t shooting so often and is moving the ball instead. Kind of obvious because he’s such a good offensive rebounder … shooting long just keeps him away from the basket.
You would hope that Okogie figures that out. That is something that DiVincenzo figured out quickly with the Warriors. While Donte is an excellent 3-pt shooter (41.5% on season), when he’s out there with Steph, Klay, and/or Poole, he is looking first to pass to one of them or drive to the hoop. If he’s shooting a 3, he is usually wide open. With KD, Book, and CP3, Okogie, who is only a 33% shooter from deep, should be doing the same thing as Donte.
Right. I thought he had figured it out. It’s not like Okogie to settle for the easy play, so I admit to being a little confused as to why he’d keep shooting 3s when he’s 0-4, then 0-5, then … you get the point.
Looks like Okogie’s playing time will continue to be high, at least in the short term, given KD rolling his ankle in warm-ups last night. He’ll be having an MRI today, but guessing he misses at least a few games.
KD will miss at least the next several weeks. Suns said he will be reevaluated then. Strangely, Jonathan Kuminga suffered a similar injury to his ankle during warm-ups before last night’s game. Don’t know yet how long he might be out.
Suns at Warriors tonight. No KD for the Suns. No Wiggs and Kuminga for the Warriors. The Dubs have been very tough to beat at home and the Suns bench is thin since the KD trade, so I give the edge to the Warriors.
I’ll take the Suns. Ross seems to be settling into a nice role off the bench, and I think (hope) you’ll see that Ayton is better than he’s been in the past. I’d call it even if they had Kuminga though.
Suns won’t win many games where they shoot less than 20% from 3 while their opponent shoots nearly 50% from the arc. Ayton had a good game, dominating inside, but Klay was on fire. Okogie was dogging Klay and Steph pretty well, but when those two are on, there is no stopping them. Between the two of them, they were 12 of 20 from 3. Score would have been worse if the Dubs did not have a untypically poor night at the free throw line.
I’m surprised you haven’t mentioned Wiseman’s game from … I think it was last night.
Wiseman has settled in nicely with the Pistons. He’s averaging 13 pts and 9 rebounds in 11 games with four double-doubles. He’s also averaging 2 blocks a game over the last six games. I believe he has started most games as well, in part due to injuries to the other centers. Since the Pistons don’t get national TV games, I haven’t watched them since Wiseman joined them. However, I’m guessing that the Pistons’ offense is far less complicated and features Wiseman in back-to-the-basket and pick-and-roll actions on offense. Ultimately, the Warriors may regret that deal, unless GPII helps them win another championship this year or next.
After their investigation, the NBA has suspended Ja Morant for 8 games. Not sure if that includes any of the games that Morant has missed already or not. In any event, Morant has entered some counseling program in Flordia and it appears he would have been missing most of the rest of the regular season anyway. The Grizzlies are clinging to the 2nd spot in the West, but are one game ahead of the Kings. Even without Morant, they should be able to hang on to no worse than the 3rd seed.
So much for the Warriors’ attempt to keep Iggy healthy for the playoffs. He has a fractured wrist that will keep him out for 6-8 weeks. At best, he’d back for maybe the conference finals, but this seems like it may be a career ending injury.
not good, but he can still help out quite a bit in practice in about 5 weeks. 4 if he wants to practice through some pain. he wasn’t going to play much anyhow, and if he did those minutes could be used by Chenz and GPII regardless.
Kuminga’s back for tonight’s game against the Clippers though. Guess his ankle roll in warm-ups was not as bad as KD’s ankle roll.
So how does a team shoot 56% from the field, including 47% from 3 manage to lose by 8 points as the Warriors did last night? By fouling too much and giving up too many offensive rebounds. Dubs only had 15 FT attempts to 32 by the Clippers and the Clips got an astounding 16 offensive rebounds. Zubac alone had 5 offensive rebounds and Russ added another 4. All of this wasted an amazing game from Steph. 50 points on 20-28 shooting (8 of 14 from 3). Steph tied Wilt’s record for most 50-pt games after the age of 30 (7 overall, one more than Jordan). Also Draymond got his 16th tech for throwing a ball off of Westbrook’s head, so he’ll be suspended for a game. Dubs play the Hawks next, so that’s the game he’d miss.
Impossible to figure out the Clippers. We won’t know much until the playoffs begin I guess.
If you didn’t see the game, enjoy the Steph highlights:
Ignore the first 20 seconds which is some kind of ad for the guy who made the video.
yep. pretty amazing.
The Warriors have converted Anthony Lamb’s two-way contract to a regular contract and then signed Lester Quinones, who just finished a 10-day contract to a two-way contract. Lamb becomes the 15th player on the roster, so they cannot add to it anymore. It also means that Ty Jerome, also on a two-way contract, won’t be added to the roster (he only has about 3 games left that he can play). By having a regular contract, Lamb is also available for the playoffs. Making this move now likely became necessary with Draymond Green suspended for the next game.