‘Tis the holiday season, and as NBA fans we all received some pretty good gifts this past week. The new year is almost upon us as well, and it’ll be great to see what 2017 has in store for the NBA and all things basketball-related.
1) Christmas Day games
The Lakers/Clippers game was a bit boring without Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, and the Spurs/Bulls matchup was never going to be must-watch basketball, but the Warriors/Cavs Finals rematch was amazing enough to cover up for all of that. Kyrie with another game winning shot, a no-call on Durant to close the game, this game was the best present of all on Christmas Day. Throw in a surprisingly good Celtics/Knicks game, along with another great showing by Russell Westbrook, this year’s Christmas Day schedule was the best in the past couple of years.
2) NBA All Star voting begins
All Star weekend is always exciting, and the fan vote is an interesting way to start the All Star festivities. I can’t wait to see who this year’s Zaza Pachulia is; a.k.a. the player who is completely undeserving of the title “All Star”, and is nearly voted in when an entire small country votes for them. This year should see a few first-time All Stars, but those will probably be selected by the coaches, unless all of Greece votes for Giannis.
3) Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 retired player’s league “BIG3”
Ice Cube has partnered up to create a 3-on-3, half court league for retired players. This is an amazing idea, and his reasoning behind the league is perfect. Ice Cube stated that these players are still good enough to play at a high level, they are simply unable to handle the arduous NBA schedule. So far Stephen Jackson, Kenyon Martin, Rashard Lewis, and Jason Williams have committed to playing, and I am especially excited to see “White Chocolate” back in action.
4) Durant slams the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report
I completely agree with KD. I continue to be salty about his decision to join Golden State, but he is completely correct in his assessment of the L2M report. Referees are human, they make mistakes, and sometimes that sways games one way or another. But the NBA releasing a report detailing all the errors made in the final two minutes of a game does not change anything, it simply calls out the referees. Personally, I don’t think the NBA should release the reports, we as NBA fans can tell when a call has been blown, or is wrong, but as a league you shouldn’t throw your referees under the bus.
5) Cousins and Embiid play slap-ass
I love Embiid, I can’t stand Cousins, but they’re matchup this week was incredibly entertaining. The two seemed to genuinely like each other, capping it off by going back and forth slapping each other’s butts while running back up the court. Embiid is an amazing personality, and Cousin’s even stated that he could be one of the best bigs in the game.
6) Brook Lopez gets crowned again
Oh boy, it looks like Brook is the new Timofey Mozgov. First Larry Nance Jr. viciously dunked on him, and this past week Kevin Durant put him on a poster. It just gets worse and worse for this Lopez twin, to go along with this he has to play in Brooklyn.
7) Domantas Sabonis showing a lot of potential
The son of Arvydas Sabonis scored a career-high 20 points against Boston, and is shooting 42% from the 3-point arc. I’ve been incredibly impressed, and as he puts on weight in the next few years Sabonis can become a solid third option for this Thunder team; behind Westbrook and Adams.
8) Mystery Top-5 NBA player asks to be safe from Shaqtin’ A Fool
This is a hilarious story that came out just yesterday. Apparently a consensus top-5 player had his agent reach out to Shaquille O’Neal and ask him to never be featured on the Shaqtin’ A Fool segment. The best part is trying to figure out who it possibly could be, and I have an idea. The fact that it is a consensus top-5 player, that means it must be one of the following: LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. Now, my first thought was that it must be James Harden; the guy who is consistently mocked for being a horrible defender. But a part of me thinks it might even be Steph, he’s incredibly marketable and might not want anything to tarnish his reputation. I really hope that the player gets leaked at some point.
9) J.R. Smith to miss up to 14 weeks
This was, and still is, a huge blow to the Cavaliers. Obviously their regular season record doesn’t matter all that much, they don’t care about holding home court throughout the Playoffs. But after a huge win over their main rivals, the Golden State Warriors, this Cavaliers team looks better than ever, and that win came without their starting shooting guard. Getting J.R. Smith back in a couple of months simply makes this team more dangerous.
10) Nick Young is a potential 50/40/90 club member
His free throw shooting has gone down, and the field goal percentage has dipped below 50%, but it is still possibly for “Swaggy P” to become a member of the 50/40/90 club, and that would be simply amazing.