The Swap of the Century
The Wizards and Pelicans are both fundamentally broken teams. The Wizards are playing out like a soap opera, and once John Walls supermax contract kicks in, the drama is only going to get worse. Wall reportedly un-gifted the gold Cartier watches he graciously gave everyone on the team for Christmas, and the teams subtweeting and media feuds with each other are toxic. The Pelicans are a listless and now ownerless franchise in need of some rejuvenation. My solution? Trade Boogie for John Wall. I have always wished that they could be reunited and relive their Kentucky glory days. However AD and Bradley Beal’s values are at an all time high, and Boogie and Walls values are at an all time low. The Wizards now have a formidable Beal/Boogie combo and can wash their hands of John Wall and his awful supermax contract. AD and Wall will be an incredible combo in New Orleans and perhaps are enough to entice someone to buy the Pelicans and move them to Seattle where they belong.
A Short but Cutting Rant on Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant is the biggest fucking whinebag the NBA, and loves to whine about bloggers and writers and fans who are ‘on the outside’ and ‘dont watch the NBA’ criticizing him. After the revelations of his multiple burner accounts, it’s clear Kevin is the pettiest and most sensitive person in the NBA. “Ohhh I’m famous and people are mean to me online!” Grow a fucking backbone Kevin. It comes with the territory. If you can’t deal with teenagers and media types criticizing you online without throwing a tantrum, maybe you need a new job (President of the US, perhaps?) As much as you like to say you are just another guy, you’re not. You make more in one year what many make in a lifetime, and with that comes certain responsibilities. Like taking your lumps online. Also, what’s your problem with the casual fans??? Just because 99.9% of people don’t have the time, money or resources to watch every single NBA game doesn’t exclude them from having NBA related opinions. You know what you are? You are an NBA hipster. You look down upon the casual fan as though they are some inferior being. Just because someone doesn’t understand the subtle nuances of pick and roll defense or likes to use analytics to inform their NBA experience make them any less of a fan. You are the pretentious douche at the party. You are the asshole critic who gave The Waterboy two stars because it was ‘derivative’ and ‘low-brow’, completely ignoring the fact that the movie was fun and hilarious and didn’t take itself too seriously. Give me a break. News flash Kevin: if it weren’t for the casual fans, the NBA would be the WNBA. The entire league would basically be an waking advertisement and you would have to work a second job in the offseason. /End of rant/
The Unstoppable Force of Boban Marjanovic
Boban Marjanovic is the most unstoppable player in the NBA. You read that right. If basketball was played 6 feet or less from the basket, Boban would be on the logo. Sure fire GOAT Hall of Famer. Why? He’s like 9 fucking feet tall! He’s built like a fucking Ent from the Lord of the Rings. Simple as that. If Boban has you deep on the block just pack it in. He dunked from the free throw line the other day and it looked like a kid dunking on a kiddie hoop. He has incredible touch for such a large human being, and has significantly more post moves than just ‘be really tall’. If you have watched any tape of him you will see just how easily he move stalwarts like Dwight Howard and KAT off the block. The only thing keeping Boban from becoming the greatest basketball player of all time is the fact that basketball courts are 94 feet long. Even though this is only 5-6 steps for Boban, he really can’t get up and down the court with any amount of speed or grace. It saddens me watching the abnormally tall players like Boban lumber up and down the court. It’s like any second his legs could collapse under the sheer size it’s supporting. It’s like watching some rickety scaffolding try to be athletic. Perhaps Boban, and other freakishly tall guys of his ilk (Yao Ming, Shawn Bradley) are better served as situational weapons, like a lefty specialist in baseball or a goal line running back in football. Basically put him in there only in situations where you really fucking need a basket, like a late-clock SLOB or BLOB, and pull him out immediately after. Unfortunately basketball rosters being on 15 deep are not conducive to this degree of specialization. However one can dream!
Sixers – Actually Good
So it turns out the Sixers are pretty good. The Process has almosted processed. Simmons is the real deal. Embiid is looking more and more like the generational talent many pegged him to be. Saric, the forgotten talent, is finding his niche. Markelle Fultz is looking like an actual, NBA basketball player, not just some kid who lied on his resume enough to get drafted #1. They have a solid cast of role players like Robert Covington, Trevor Booker, and JJ Reddick that will ease some of the scoring burden on their young starts. If Embiid is able to play through his facial injury, I could see them going to the eastern conference finals. Every contender in the east has its own unique fatal flaw. The Raptors are playoff choke artists. The Celtics are injured to the point of looking like a tanking team. The Cavs still haven’t figured it out. The Bucks don’t have a coach. The Wizards are like a dramatized version of a basketball team on a dumb TBS show. There is a legitimate case to be made that the Sixers are in the best shape going into the playoffs. Of course, the whole issue of their core having approximately zero playoff experience and Ben Simmons never having played a meaningful basketball game in his life is a large, large flaw that cannot be ignored. However I wouldn’t be shocked if you told me this team knocked off one of the big dogs.
Isaiah Thomas’ season ended in February after a scope on his ailing hip shut him down for the remainder of the season. I feel bad for IT. Just when he thought he found a home in Boston, he’s traded. Then he’s alienated by Lebron and the ‘Cool Kids’ in Cleveland and shipped to the Lakers. IT was expecting the Brinks truck this offseason, and it’s looking more and more like he’s going to be getting a 1998 Ford Ranger. After their 2017 playoff run, I could have envisioned IT getting a 4 year, $25ish million deal somewhere. Elite scorer money. Maybe not in Boston. But some bottom dweller like Chicago or Atlanta in desperate need of a semi-exciting player and personality to put asses in seats during their rebuild. He was an All-NBA talent who had just led a ragtag bunch of rejects to the eastern conference finals. Now, he is a hobbled, 5 foot nothing 30 year old coming off an injury riddled season. IT, even though he is very short, had a game predicated on explosiveness and quickness. He’s able to get these insane shots off over much larger defenders because he has such incredible body control and an ability to finish around contact, not to mention quickness. Without that, I’m just not sure what his game is and where he fits into the NBA at large. He was never really a traditional facilitator, and his defensive struggles are well documented at this point. Without his athleticism and the boons they bring to his game, he is an unknown quantity. This was his contract year, and his opportunity to play for that last big contract. However I’m guessing a team takes a flyer and he gets a one or two year deal for $10-$15 million a season. Insane to think IT, by my estimation, has lost $80-$90 million of earnings in this one season.
Top 5 Draft Prospects
Deandre Ayton is a fucking man among boys, and I’m excited to see how his game translates against players who he can’t physically dominate. The David Robinson/Patrick Ewing comps are hard to avoid with Ayton. He has great touch around the rim, a crisp jumper with range to three, and is built like a brick shithouse. He moves with fluidity and explosiveness for someone his size. The questions about his motor and defensive awareness are overblown in my opinion, considering he played in the backwater Pac 10 and was basically on autopilot for most of the season.
Euro players tend to be an enigma, however Doncic is a legit prospect and is a lot close to Ayton than he is to Bridges at #3. Hes an excellent passer with elite floor vision. He already has NBA range and can score around the basket creatively. His athleticism, or lack thereof, is certainly a question. But his feel for the game is Ben Simmons-esque and will be a plus almost immediately. I’m physically shaking trying not to make a Larry Bird comp.
Bagley is lanky as fuck and can score in bunches. However I’m worried he won’t be able to get the shots he did and he has the body of a NBA tweener who can’t defend for shit.
Bamba is super long and fluid. Reminds be a bit of Gobert, only with a more polished offensive game. Either way, he can defend the rim and catch lobs well enough to help any team immediately.
Bridges projects as an elite 3 and D guy. That’s all I got.
Winner: Ben Simmons
Runners up: Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum
Simmons is certainly the engine that drives the Sixers, and their surprise leap to the top of the eastern conference is due in large part to his play. He’s profiling like some insane Lebron prototype that can’t shoot outside 15 feet. The playoffs will be different when the defenses ratchet up, and he won’t be able to get to his spots and will be forced into being an offensive threat. Mitchell has been equally impressive in Utah carrying the majority of the scoring burden. His usage is crazy high and I’m not psyched about his efficiency numbers, but the Jazz are crushing it and a lot of that is due in part to Mitchell. Tatum was impressive in his tertiary role with the Celtics. The Hayward injury forced him to take on a larger role than I’m sure he expected going into the season. He flirted with 50/40/90 club and had stretches of brilliance, for the first half of the season, and tapered off the way a rookie is expected to (after about 50 games).
Winner: Rudy Gobert
Gobert played like 50 games this season, and for those 50 games the Jazz were among the best defensive teams in the past 15 years. That’s all you need to know folks.
Winner: Brad Stevens
Runners up: Quinn Snider, Dwayne Casey
All three of these coaches are deserving of the award. Casey’s reinvention has brought a new life to a Raptors team that 8 months ago I was pining for them to blow up. The Jazz have morphed into this strange, west coast version of the Celtics. A team hobbled and hacked together that will be a first round nightmare to whoever they draw in the first round. However I think Brad take the cake simply because the Celtics have been dealt the most adversity and somehow ended up atop the eastern conference. Hayward snapped his ankle 5 minutes into the season, and the C’s respond by winning like 20 games in a row. The progression of young players like Tatum, Brown, and Rozier has been remarkable. Not to mention he is basically coaching an entirely different team than last year and has had to contend with the addition of a superstar personality like Kyrie.
Winner: Daryl Morey
Runner up: Sam Hinkie
Morey has essentially broken basketball. He took the Warriors blueprint and took it to the absolute extreme. The Rockets entire roster is basically Harden, CP3, tweeners who can shoot, and Clint Capella. They only take threes, free throws, and shots at the rim. And to top it off the put Mike D’Antoni in charge of it all. Morey has ‘figured out’ the math of basketball in a way that no other team could, not even the Warriors. I put Hinkie on here because we can see the fruits of The Process starting to flower; Embiid is a two-way nightmare, Simmons is like Lebron-lite, and the Sixers have a stable of solid young role players on team friendly contracts. They are set up for now and the future, and I’m not sure I would want to be any other franchise for the next 5-10 years (assuming JoJo doesn’t fall apart and Markelle Fultz gets his powers back from the Monstars.)
Winner: James Harden
Runner up: Giannis, Lebron
Harden was the best player on the best team, simple as that. His numbers haven’t been gawdy the way that Westbrooks were last year (even though Westbrook has similar numbers this season…) However the Rockets have kind of taken on the game and swagger of Harden. The three-headed monster of Harden-Morey-D’Antoni were essentially designed in a NBA analytics lab by a bunch of nerds with laptops with the specific objective of defeating the Warriors. And they are looking more and more like the favorite going into the playoffs with the Warriors hobbled by injury and the lack of a clear alpha in the east. The Bucks, who basically don’t have a coach, would be a D-League team without Giannis. His value cannot be understated. Lebron has had one of the best seasons of his career, and is certainly deserving of the award. However it seems much of this ‘adversity’ he likes to point to was of his own making (alienation of IT and subsequent roster overhaul, cucking of Ty Lue). In my opinion you don’t deserve credit for unfucking a situation you yourself fucked up in the first place.