Belated 2015 NBA Playoff Crash Course

After a regular season filled with Golden State’s splash brothers, Atlanta’s unknown personalities, and Cleveland’s locker room hoopla, we finally have reached the playoffs. For the next two months, your TV’s will feature LeBron James, Steph Curry, and hopefully, a minimal amount of Doris Burke. Let’s jump into the matchups and make the predictions that will surely fall apart in no time.

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Atlanta Hawks vs No. 8 Brooklyn Nets

Coming off a dominant regular season, the Hawks are still in search of the respect a one-seeded team would normally receive. Reinventing themselves as a selfless, all-for-one and one-for-all type squad, Atlanta cruised to its first 60 win season in the franchise’s history. The Nets, on the other hand, snuck into the playoffs following a Pacers loss on the final day of the regular season. The Hawks eat slow-paced teams alive, and Brooklyn fits the bill perfectly. Pick: Hawks in five

No. 2 Cleveland Cavaliers vs No. 7 Boston Celtics

Celtics’ Head Coach Brad Stevens has gotten as much out of his current roster as anyone on planet earth could have. How he isn’t involved in every analyst’s coach of the year argument is beyond me. That being said, LeBron and the Cavs are too deep and simply too much to handle for Stevens and his team. They exhibited their absurd three point shooting today in game one, and I don’t see any slowing down from this point on. Pick: Cavs in four

No. 3 Chicago Bulls vs No. 6 Milwaukee Bucks

Finally becoming healthy as the regular season came to a close, the Bulls are in a good spot to be a legitimate threat in a weak Eastern Conference. The Bucks persistent and pestering defense will cause turnovers as it always does, however the Bulls, especially with a healthy Derrick Rose, should have minimal problems here in the first round. Pick: Bulls in five

No. 4 Toronto Raptors vs No. 5 Washington Wizards

Toronto comes into the playoffs just barely missing out on the third seed. They run into a Wizards team that had a strong first half of the season, and then stumbled miserably after the all-star break. However the Raptors are right there with them. The two teams were a combined 46-15 through December 29 before things went south for both clubs. The size is there for the Wiz while the athletic frontcourt remains Toronto’s main advantage. In my opinion, this will be the best first round series in the East, despite basically being an audition to lose in round two. Pick: Wizards in seven

Western Conference

No. 1 Golden State Warriors vs No. 8 New Orleans Pelicans

As we saw in game one, Anthony Davis is almost too much to handle by himself, even for one of the NBA’s best teams. Davis is quite the force, but so are the Warriors. The splash brothers (Steph Curry and Klay Thompson) highlighted the best regular season in Golden State’s history. Even with little playoff experience, the Warriors are a popular pick to take the crown. Anthony Davis will be their main issue here in round one, but that’s about it. Pick: Warriors in five

No. 2 Houston Rockets vs No. 7 Dallas Mavericks 

This series is filled with bad blood on all levels. Regardless of hatred, there’s only so much a team can do to stop James Harden. The bearded assassin has turned a rather average roster into one of the best teams in the NBA. The Mavs will be no pushover, but they do not have an answer for the one-man-show in Harden. Expect lots of post-whistle scrums, Mark Cuban, and points from a bearded man. All of my eggs are in Harden’s basket, and Houston’s are too. Pick: Rockets in five

No. 3 Los Angeles Clippers vs No. 6 San Antonio Spurs

The Clippers are the attractive pick in this series with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan leading the way. However counting the Spurs out of any playoff series is not wise. Head Coach Gregg Popovich is one of the world’s best basketball minds and will give the flashy Clipps a first round test that they did not want to deal with. Both teams finished the regular season on a roll. Many people like the young bloods from LA compared to the elderly Spurs as this series goes forward. But that second “g” in Coach Pop’s first name gets me every time. I can’t pick against Tim Duncan and the boys.                    Pick: Spurs in six

No. 4 Portland Trail Blazers vs No. 5 Memphis Grizzlies

The Blazers have had the unfortunate responsibility of dealing with an array of second half injuries. This combined with the Grizzlies’ duo of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph underneath will create some serious problems for Portland. Damien Lillard is an absolute stud and will not go down without a fight alongside fellow star LaMarcus Aldridge. However the top-to-bottom Grizz will overwhelm the Blazers without much issue in this one. Pick: Memphis in five

The playoffs are unpredictable to say the least and this year is shaping up to be no different. I’ll jump right into a finals prediction; I’m going with the Spurs over the Cavs in six games. This may be the last year the Spurs have with their core of Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker. I trust Popovich to spark a solid run against the tough Western Conference. We’ll have to wait an excessive two months to find out if this comes true, but it’s two of the most entertaining months of the year. Fear the beard, embrace the splash brothers, and enjoy watching the incredible specimen that is LeBron James, because before you know it, you’ll be watching Adam Silver hand over the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.

The Super Scary Streaking Spurs

In the recent weeks, the San Antonio Spurs have been tearing their opponents apart. I’m talking limb from limb, horror film type stuff. On Wednesday night, they defeated the Houston Rockets 110-98. This was San Antonio’s ninth straight win by at least 12 points. Only the 2008-2009 Cavaliers and 2010-2011 Heat have had streaks close to the one the Spurs currently hold. It’s no surprise Head Coach Gregg Popovich has his team peaking at the right time. Since 2003, Pop has lead the Spurs to four NBA Titles on five finals appearances, and eight division titles.

The gang of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Gregg Popovich has become the most intimidating group of emotionless elders the NBA has ever seen. Quietly going about their business all year long, doing their thing in the lone star state until the playoff rush comes around and then BANG, the Spurs come back into everyone’s head as a leading candidate to win the Western Conference. I came across two tweets over the last few days that describe the repetitive situation perfectly.

The selflessness that glistens out of this locker room on a daily basis is so un-NBA it hurts. Everyone gets their turn, and everyone will have to step up. Clearly this is Tim Duncan’s team along with fellow vets Ginobili and Parker, but as of late, they have stepped back and let Kawhi Leonard take the reins. It’s a flawless system that has been driven into the Spurs’ personnel ever since David Robinson teamed up with Duncan in 1999 to win the franchise’s first title. San Antonio knows the formula and refuses to change any of its variables.

Gregg Popovich is the Bill Belichick of the NBA. He’s the all-knowing presence that refuses to go. Maybe it’s the extra g in his name that gives him the leg up. Who knows? But one thing I do know is that the Spurs are once again a force to be reckoned with. Twelve years after this group won their first title together, they’re still toying with teams claiming to be the league’s best. Golden State has the best record in the NBA? They’ve won twelve straight? That’s nice. Nothing Uncle Tim and Grandpa Popovich can’t handle.

Spurs win 107-92.

Bottom line: you cannot sleep on the Spurs. Golden State, Cleveland, and Houston may have the glamour and flash, but San Antonio has the rough and tough grit. Don’t be surprised to see them come out of the West once again. Put your faith in Coach Pop and his great love for the press; because with social skills like this, he’ll never let you down. Plus, he’ll win a few games along the way.

100% Bryce Cotton: The Long Road to Utah

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In the spring and summer of 2010, if you were to Google “Bryce Cotton basketball”, this (above photo) is the type of recruiting profile you would have found (minus the commitment). No player news, no photo, and the daunting NR (no rating) for his scout grade. The 6 foot guard from Tucson, Arizona wasn’t highly touted enough to receive a grade. At this point, it seemed going D1 was a far fetched option. But then a minor stir was started by an avid Louisville Cardinals fan by the name of Austin Montgomery.

On July 21, 2010, Montgomery posted his thoughts on Bryce Cotton on the Louisville basketball forum “Card Chronicle”. “Bryce Cotton Wouldn’t Mind Louisville” was simply a post from a high school fan, advocating why Cotton should have been receiving more attention than he was. Louisville Cardinal skeptics came flooding out of the woodwork poking fun at the lack of info behind this guard from Palo Verde High School. But with Cotton already graduated, and still lacking any national hype, it was difficult for anyone to look much further.

Two days later another post appeared on the same website. “Bryce Cotton For Louisville” came as a response to the buzz regarding the previous post. Cardinal fans knew nothing about Cotton but were dying to efficiently learn everything. A simple skim of the article would allow Louisville fans to find out that the 6 foot guard seemed to be pretty overlooked. Cotton had a great high school resumé resulting in zero D1 offers. Junior Colleges and fighting for one of Houston Baptist University’s two available scholarships is what Bryce Cotton’s summer had come to. But for the Louisville faithful, they had begun to hope Cotton would turn into Rick Pitino’s super-secret late summer steal.

On August 18, 2010, all of this came to screeching halt when Cotton reportedly committed to Miami-Dade College. Somehow still lacking D1 offers, this was his “best-case scenario”, according to Palo Verde Coach Chris Klassen. The brief but eventful online Bryce Cotton frenzy had come to a disappointing end. He would be a Miami-Dade College Shark and not a Louisville Cardinal as many had hoped.

12 days later, it was announced Bryce Cotton had committed to somewhere other than Miami-Dade. No, not Louisville, but their in-conference foe, the Providence Friars. Friar fans began to rejoice across recruiting blogs as they slowly started to realize the minor obsession Louisville fanatics had over Cotton during the past summer months. While the stir over Cotton and Louisville was quickly gaining momentum through college basketball blogs, Friars Head Coach Keno Davis was quietly putting in the work to get the guard to Providence.

The Bryce Cotton era in Friartown began on October 15, 2010, when the new kid on the block from Arizona won the slam dunk contest at the Friars’ Late Night Madness (watch highlights above). Barely 6 feet, Cotton came into Alumni Gymnasium throwing down dunks that sent chills down the spine of every Louisville Cardinal fan who had ever googled him. If I’m a Cards fan in 2010 and watching the above video, I would have thrown up all over my keyboard.

During his freshman year, Cotton averaged just over 15 minutes a game and scored in double figures four times over the course of the season. Not a bad start at all. Sophomore year comes around and Cotton averages 38 minutes and 14 points a game, with the signature event taking place on January 10th at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence. Facing the 14th ranked Louisville Cardinals, the unranked Friars dominated Rick Pitino’s team from start to finish. Bryce Cotton finished with 27 points, going 5 for 5 from three, as Providence squashed the nationally ranked Cards 90-59. Feeling like a swift kick in the gut, Louisville fans found themselves playing the always sour “what could’ve been” card.

Following an outstanding junior year where he put up 19.7 points per game, Cotton’s senior year was extraordinary to say the least. Averaging 21.8 points a game, Cotton had to make up for the injuries of backcourt partner Kris Dunn. In doing so he played 40.1 minutes a night; mind you there are only 40 minutes in a college basketball game. He was the first player in the country to average over 40 minutes a game since Chris Quinn of Notre Dame did so in 2005-06. Cotton led the Friars to their first Big East Tournament title since 1994 while taking home the tournament’s MVP honors. Providence would be matched up against the 6th seeded North Carolina Tar Heels in the first round where Cotton would get to put on a show on the national stage. And to say he put on a show would be a complete understatement.

Making one dazzling shot after another, Cotton scored 37 points as the Friars played their first NCAA tournament game since 2004. Unfortunately Providence couldn’t deal with a late UNC comeback, as they would eventually lose 79-77. Going 13 for 23 from the floor and adding 8 assists, Cotton left everything on the floor at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.

On June 26, 2014, the NBA Draft came and went, and Bryce Cotton found himself right back where he was after his senior year of high school; underrated and overlooked. Going undrafted, he signed with the San Antonio Spurs on July 7th and immediately joined their summer league team. Cotton was waived by San Antonio on October 23rd and eventually landed on the D-League’s Austin Spurs where he would once again be forced to prove himself.

In 34 games at the D-League level, Cotton put up stellar numbers at 22.4 points per game. However a three week rampage from January 30th to February 18th made it almost impossible for him to not receive an NBA call-up. Averaging 29.7 points per game and shooting an unbelievable 50% from the field, Cotton led the Austin Spurs to a six game win streak which quickly gained the attention of NBA scouts. Keep in mind this all came after his 40 point performance on January 17th. Something’s gotta give, right?

Rightfully so, this got the ball rolling as Cotton signed a 10-day contract with the Utah Jazz on February 25th, followed by another 10-day deal on March 6th. Clearly the Jazz were liking what they were seeing in him, as they finalized a multi-year contract with Cotton on March 16th. Nobody deserves it more than the persistent Tucson native. His grit is never-ending and his talent is eye-opening. I have no doubt we’ll be hearing much more from Bryce Cotton as his NBA career moves on. Ask any Louisville Cardinals fan, I bet they’ll tell you the same thing.

P.S. Below is Bryce’s first career NBA three versus the Denver Nuggets. Here’s to many more.

Kelly Olynyk and the Symbolic Black Eye

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Earlier today at the team’s morning shootaround, Celtics’ center Kelly Olynyk took an elbow from teammate Shavlik Randolph and suffered a laceration just above his eye. It was reported that he would most likely miss Wednesday nights game versus the Indiana Pacers and hopefully be back later in the week.

But then Olynyk released his inner hockey player; going out and playing 22 minutes, scoring 19 points, and going 7-10 from the field all while having a large grape appear underneath his eyelid. Who needs two eyes when you can score with one, right?

This is the 2015 Boston Celtics. They were down and out. No formula and bound for the lottery. But they kept fighting. Even through their front office basically trading away anyone they could for draft picks (including star Rajon Rondo), they kept fighting. They could be tanking for a lottery pick in the hope of drafting a Jahlil Okafor or Karl Anthony Towns but they’re not. Playing through black eyes and patchy lineups, the Celts find themselves as the eighth seed in the East and in playoff contention. Yes this is the weakest Eastern Conference the NBA has seen in a long time, but hey, you can’t knock the hustle. Head coach Brad Stevens has found a way to keep his guys grinding and it’s pretty awesome.

I’m not saying the Celtics are a great team nor am I saying that you have to root for them. But what I am saying is you have to respect what is going on at the TD Garden. Because in that building, eyes are overrated.

What Happened to the Wizards?

NBA: Washington Wizards at Phoenix Suns

1 for 18 from the field, 8 total points, and disastrous defense. This was the Washington Wizards’ third quarter Sunday night against the league-leading Golden State Warriors. Coming in as their third straight loss, the Wizards’ woes show no sign of stopping. Since late January, the Wizards once promising season has taken the darkest of turns. A team that was once 17 games above .500 now finds itself at 40-31 and desperately searching for their identity. In a weak Eastern Conference, this is still good enough for 5th place. However if you’ve watched the Wizards as of late, they’re playing like anything but an above .500 team.

It’s like everything up until the month of February was a complete tease. The perfect nightmare. Seeing everything your team can be and then boom; everything come crashing down. Watching Steph Curry toy with their team twice over the last month, Wizards fans are reminded that their team could have drafted that very player. But no, the team decided to trade that fifth overall pick for Mike Miller and Randy Foye who would both be gone within the next year and a half. The ultimate tease for any sports fan. What could have been. The all too repetitive story of the Washington Wizards organization.

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The issues start at the top. Head coach Randy Wittman and GM Ernie Grunfeld should have been gone before this season. It’s for this reason that I had hoped the Wizards would be swept in the first round by the Chicago Bulls last season. But no. A first round win, and a strong showing against the Indiana Pacers allowed for both Wittman and Grunfeld to stay. Because why? They’re doing their job. You saw the Wiz, they looked great in the playoffs! If the Wizards were swept first round, the necessary changes are made and the Washington hierarchy gets its much-needed makeover. Instead, Wittman and his lack of adjusting, and Grunfeld’s questionable acquisitions, along with his disgusting mustache, get to hang around a little longer.

Wittman refuses to change his style. He’s like the youth league coach who only had one play on his clipboard so he wouldn’t run anything else. As much as Wittman loves the post game, that can’t work with guys like Marcin Gortat and Nene. Posting up is not their game. But hell, you know what Randy, let’s beat that gameplan until its dead. How about excessive dribble handoffs to set up 17ft jumpers? Yeah, he’s got plenty of those too. When your team has potentially one of the best backcourts in the game with John Wall and Bradley Beal, there’s no reason for your offense to look this bad. At some point, good ole Randy’s going to have to change.

Grunfeld’s past moves are now showing their real impact. Short term thoughts become poor long-term realities. These unfortunate realities are now hitting this team all at once. It’s really too bad. This is a team with some great players and a promising lineup that is being brought down by a large combination of the Washington Wizards past errors that have turned to present problems. Who knows what the remainder of the season holds for this puzzling team. Maybe a late push, or maybe they fold. Whatever it may be, the change needs to happen at some point soon. If the Wiz find themselves in a great first round matchup and manage to get by, these changes will remain a far thing of the future and that’s something no Wizards fan wants. When the changes are made, the future becomes bright. But for now, the frustration continues.

If only Gilbert was still around. Agent Zero forever.

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Why the Atlanta Hawks Are Just What the NBA Needs

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This past Friday the Atlanta Hawks beat the red-hot Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James to move to 49-12 on the season. That’s good for the best record in the Eastern Conference and second best in the NBA.

When most people think about the NBA, they think LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and Steph Curry. All individuals. That’s the NBA brand. The league began to be taken over by “Big 3’s”. From KG, Pierce, and Allen came a trend of players teaming up with each other to form these crazy combos in an effort to get themselves a ring. With the latest being LeBron, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love, we see that change is not in the air. Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks seem to think otherwise.

Mike Budenholzer. If you’re thinking, “Who the hell is that?”, you are not alone. Before coming to the Hawks last season, Budenholzer was an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs for 18 seasons. It’s clear that in his time there, he absorbed the classic Spurs’ team philosophy. You never see anyone going one on one in San Antonio. No one is bigger than the team. If you think you are, you’re in the wrong locker room. But the Spurs are old now and they’re getting to the end of their run; so that would mean the team motto is too. In the words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast my friend.”

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Cleveland Cavaliers

As of today, Sunday, March 8th, the Atlanta Hawks have five players averaging double figures per game and every player on the roster averaging at least 3 points a game. They have 13 players that average over 10 minutes per game, with the only other averaging 8.8. Everyone contributes at Philips Arena. There’s no one star. Not one player averages over 20 points and not one player averages over 35 minutes a game. Yet they succeed. They sit atop the standings at 49-13 without a player being top ten in jersey sales and without big three running the show. They are a team.

Ask ten analysts who the Hawks most important player is; you’ll probably get 5 or so different answers. There’s no LeBron, no Carmelo, no Durant, no Kobe. There’s Millsap, Teague, Korver, Horford, and Carroll. Chances are you don’t know every one of those names. That’s just the way coach Budenholzer likes it.

Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague are the team’s two top scorers. Neither has ever averaged over 20 points per game in their career. Neither were top ten picks, and neither will be on the cover of NBA 2K16. But in Mike Budenholzer’s ATL, they both average 17 and enjoy showing up star-studded teams like Cleveland and Golden State.

Al Horford is the Hawks’ ever consistent center. This time last year, Horford was scoring over 20 per game and leading the Hawks. Now he’s changed his role and averages 15.4 per game and is doing his job just like the other 13 men on the roster. He’s bought into Budenholzer and it shows.

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Kyle Korver plays the lovable white boy on the roster. Sinking threes from everywhere, he averages 12.4 points a game which mostly come from behind the arch. What Korver does is what people wanted Jimmer Fredette to do in the NBA, only Korver’s been doing it for 10 years on mediocre “teams”. Now the 33 year-old Ashton Kutcher lookalike gets to play the role on a great team. And hey, he dunked for the first time in two years on January 21st. So you could say he’s in a pretty good place. White men can jump. And Kyle Korver can shoot.

Also:

kutcher C’mon now

I’m rooting for the Hawks and you should be to. They are everything the NBA is not. No one star and no TMZ cameras outside the locker room. They are a team. The Hawks are going to keep soaring whether you like it or not; but don’t worry they won’t get too high off the ground. The Cavs’ bandwagon may look more like a fancy, appealing escalade, but trust me the bandwagon you want to be on is Mike Budenholzer’s Toyota Camry. So jump on while you can because if you don’t, come playoff time, you’ll be wishing you did.

Derrick Rose and The Heartbreaking Side of Sports

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I remember the first time hearing the name Derrick Rose. It was 2006 and word on the street was this Chicago kid from Simeon Career Academy was the next best thing. As basketball recruiting goes, there’s a lot of “next best things” so in a way my eleven year old self just sort of shrugged it off. However being a wannabe basketball junkie at the time, I decided to hop on the “old fashion” desktop computer in my parent’s bedroom and punch “Derrick Rose basketball” into Google. The initial hope here was to check this guy out and hopefully impress my dad by being able to spit some high school basketball knowledge. Then I saw his highlights from the Chicago Public League Championship game.

This kid was unreal. I hadn’t seen too many high school highlight tapes in my exciting eleven years on earth, but even I could tell this kid was different. His explosiveness and self-control was unbelievable and bewildered my already foggy image of what high school basketball was. It was his first time playing at the United Center and he made it count. Dropping 25 points as a junior on a stage like that was beyond impressive. Eleven years old or not, I was impressed.

Fast forward to the 2008 NBA Draft. Coming off a phenomenal freshman season at Memphis (falling just short of a National Championship) Rose gets drafted number one overall to who else but the Chicago Bulls. It’s a dream. The hometown hero gets to play his pro ball just 25 minutes from his high school and everything is right in the world. The 2008 and 2009 seasons go well for Rose as he averages 19 and 23 points per game respectively leading the Bulls to impressive playoff runs.

As great as those were for an opening act, Drose had his real coming out party during the 2010 season. Averaging 25 points and 7.7 assists a game, Rose leads the Bulls to a 62-20 record and wins league MVP honors in the process. This was the kid I saw on my family’s Dell desktop four years earlier. This was the kid everyone in Chicago had hoped he would become after seeing him dominate at Simeon. Glimpses of Jordan, Pippen, and Rodman flashed before the eyes of Bulls fans. They were back on their way to dominance thanks to guys like Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, and of course the greatest thing since deep dish pizza, the almighty Derrick Rose.

2011 came along with optimism, hope, and excitement surrounding the United Center. Sky was the limit for Rose and his team and NBA fans everywhere had their eyes back on Chicago. Then things took a dark turn. After a slew of injuries during the regular season, Rose returned for the first round of the playoffs against the 76ers. As game one neared its end, Rose came down awkwardly on his right knee and just like that, a torn ACL had turned optimism and hope into gloom and anxiety. The 2012 season included 94 games for the Bulls and a second round exit versus the Miami Heat. Not one of those 94 games included Rose. As unfortunate as this was, this led every NBA fan to believe that when 2013 came around, they would finally get to see a healthy Derrick Rose again. November 22 brought that hope to an abrupt stop. Cutting behind the basket in Portland, Rose tore his meniscus resulting in the end of his season. 2014 seemed to have a more positive outlook. Rose was playing like himself at the All-Star break and the Bulls were forming together like Coach Tom Thibodeau had hoped. But once again, the injury bug came back biting for more.

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Last night I found myself feeling more sad about sports than I had in a very long time. Sitting in my college dorm I came across the news that an MRI had found a torn right meniscus which would require surgery for Rose. The only word that comes to mind for me is unfair. He doesn’t deserve this. It’s unfortunate that at this point it’s becoming a normality just as it did for guys like Brandon Roy, Greg Oden, and the like. He has seemed to form into our generation’s Penny Hardaway.

As tough as it is to say the day following a third major knee injury, Drose will be back and the Bulls will be just fine. But at this point it’s about Derrick Rose, the 26-year-old man from Chicago. I feel for him and desperately hope that at some point in the future we will get to see just a fraction of that 17-year-old point guard I watched on my parent’s desktop.

Here’s to a speedy recovery for one hell of a basketball player.

Trade Deadline Recap: Winners, Losers, and Why We Love the NBA

Losers

Suns: I blame this one on Sun’s GM Ryan McDonough. Signing Isaiah Thomas over the summer complicated an already confused Phoenix organization. Clearly this was weighing on the mind of Goran Dragic as he suddenly told the world how much he hated the Sun’s front office just two days before the deadline saying, “I don’t trust them any more.”

Having your starting point guard feel that way is never a good look and basically left McDonough with no choice. But hey, signing someone like Thomas can easily turn any starting point guard into an angsty teenager. Rightfully so however. Nobody likes a logjam at point guard.

It’s OK though because now they can rely on Thomas who started to blossom midway through the season’s first half right? Wrong. Thomas gets traded to Boston. Phoenix then goes out a gives away a first rounder from LA (lottery pick) to acquire Brandon Knight. Don’t get me wrong, Knight’s a great player and solid point guard. But come this offseason, you’re going to have to pay this guy over $10 million. But if they don’t want to its alright; I just hope they enjoy giving up a lottery pick and not having a point guard. The Suns have plenty of positives to look at and are an above average team in a stellar Western Conference. But if I’m a Sun’s fan, Thursday felt like a swift kick to the balls.

Sixers: The only reason they are here under the losers category is because they’re the Sixers. They suck and Sam Hinkie is the most confusing man in basketball. But actually this wasn’t a bad Thursday for Philly. Receiving 6 draft picks and Javale McGee is so Hinkie it hurts. Trading Michael Carter-Williams is questionable but dumping KJ McDaniels and his psychotic mother was probably a smart move. And getting McGee is phenomenal solely for entertainment purposes. The picks acquired are nice if used well so we’ll have to wait and see. But Jesus Christ, Sam Hinkie made this deadline as Hinkie as possible.

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Ty Lawson: This poor guy just needs a change of setting. He’s stuck with a Nuggets team that has no where to go but the shitter and a recent DUI has led to crazy Lawson stories coming out of the cracks. Someone save this man.

Javale McGee: He got traded to Philadelphia. But I bet he makes it worth his while.

ALL HAIL JAVALE

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Winners

Trail Blazers: Aaron Afflalo is a great grab. Most likely to hit free agency, he’ll be here for the playoff run and probably not much else. Perfect get for the playoff push. Also acquired Alonzo Gee. Unreal name.

Reggie Jackson: Finally this dude got what he wanted. He was stuck in a shitty situation and needed a change. Can’t blame the guy for begging to get out. Hopefully he makes the most of it in Detroit. And if he doesn’t, at least he’ll get to party with Brandon Jennings.

Thunder: Looking at it from the other side, they no longer have to deal with Reggie Jackson pleading like a pubescent girl.

Sam Hinkie: No body gets turned on by draft picks like this guy and boy did he get his fix this past Thursday. I’m happy for him and his ten thousand second rounders. If used correctly, this could be a great move by Hinkie and his corky ways. If not, he’ll probably grab twelve new ones at the next deadline anyway.

Goran Dragic and Miami: Dragic wanted out of Phoenix and got his wish. Pat Riley got a steal of a deal in getting him and his brother for basically Norris Cole and a bag of recyclables. With the scary loss of Chris Bosh, Dragic provides some much needed support and will certainly help them down the road.

I could go on for days but nothing can bring that much excitement to a Thursday afternoon like the NBA can. The only thing that would’ve made this trade deadline better was a little Sheed but I guess we’ll just have to wait.

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