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Ten Thoughts Heading into All-Star Week

Let’s peer into my notebook and find some scatterbrained thoughts on teams East and West

 

  1. If Chicago’s reserves contribute, beware. Last night the Bulls beat the Cavs, and that’s not really a big deal. A bunch of players were out. But here’s the thing: Tony Snell killed it. And Thibs gave Mirotic minutes off the bench even though he was missing shots—Thibs is notoriously tough on young players. If Chicago can get those guys to contribute, they—and not Cleveland—will be Atlanta’s most serious threat.

 

  1. Here’s the deal with trading Reggie Jackson. Reggie Jackson has been mostly terrible for the Thunder since the Dynamic Duo has returned from injury, but, still, should OKC trade him? Reggie still shows flashes of being the player who, on multiple occasions, has thrashed teams single-handedly and led the Thunder to victory. With the Dion Waiters experiment at worst failing and at best providing wildly inconsistent results, I kind of expect the Thunder to hedge their bet.

 

  1. Speaking of OKC, what’s the story on the elusive 8th playoff spot out West? OKC is now just a half-game back. Phoenix has lost seven of ten. New Orleans is sliding. It’s still going to be a dog-fight, and anything, because of injuries, could happen, but right now the Thunder have got to be happy with where they’re standing.

 NBA: FEB 09 Warriors at 76ers

  1. Why Golden State and Atlanta should still be considered favorites. Both the Warriors and Hawks have looked slightly vulnerable in the last week and a half, but these two teams are still the best two teams in basketball, because of what I am hereby calling the Three D’s: depth, dynamic scoring, and defense.

 

  1. Who gets Denver’s scraps? Apparently the Nuggets are clearing house, probably attempting a total rebuild around Kenneth Faried. Their team this year has been supremely disappointing—one of the downer storylines in an otherwise fantastic year—but that means that, as we approach the trade deadline, there could be players available for needy contenders or ambitious pretenders. Wilson Chandler, Aaron Afflalo, Randy Foye, anyone?

 

  1. Sorting out the middle in the Western Conference playoff race. Seeds one and eight are easily understood, but the middle is a mess. Just five games separate 2-7 and just two games (!) separate 3-7.

 

  1. Anthony Davis, that is all. Davis is having one of the most efficient seasons of all-time. Also, he’s twenty-one years old.

 NBA: FEB 02 Timberwolves at Mavericks

  1. The All-Star Game is stupid; the break is wonderful. I hate the ASG and I think it’s stupid and I think incorporating the amount of ASGs a player plays into his legacy is dumb, but the break is good. As many have argued in the last year, the season ought to be stretched. Nobody likes to see teams—a la OKC—out because of injuries. Give the players more rest. Cut the back-to-backs in half.

 

  1. The sad story of the Timberwolves, who try very hard at basketball. The Wolves have won three of five games—hurray!—and played competitively with the Warriors—woohoo!—but 11 of their next 12 games, starting after the break, are against playoff opponents. Gulp.

 

  1. Gregg Popovich. Another year worrying about the Spurs, and another year where Gregg Popovich could have them exactly where he wants them. San Antonio is currently in 7th place in the West, but they’re just two games back from 3rd—they’re primed for that classic end-of-the-year run. I just can’t help myself from thinking about this team, from being haunted by this team, from believing that the way Popovich uses his entire roster—compare with Thibodeau in Chicago—is going pay serious, consequential dividends later in the year. Don’t forget about the Spurs.



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