Valentines Day means absolutely nothing in the NBA landscape, but this past week has altered this NBA season more than almost any other week so far. We saw major injuries, a huge trade, and other, some almost unbelievable, storylines. Dive in with me and let’s break down this past week.
1) Ibaka traded to the Raptors
Ultimately I chose this as the top story because it affects the NBA landscape on the court, instead of off. This trade was huge for the Raps, they finally got an above-average power forward. While Serge Ibaka is not the Ibaka of past years, his outside shooting and rim protecting skills open endless realms of possibilities for the team from the 6. Small-ball lineups with Lowry, Powell, DeRozan, Carroll, and Ibaka would have high defensive potential, and a ton of spacing for DeRozan and Lowry to drive. With Kevin Love’s injury (spoiler, this is in my list) and the Cavaliers faltering slightly, if the Raptors can play to their new found ceiling, there could be the slightest chance that a Canadian team plays in the NBA Finals.
2) Oakley v. Dolan at MSG
This story did not end up smelling like roses for the Knicks organization. Everyone has heard what transpired at Madison Square Garden between Oakley and security, and I still can’t believe it happened. Charles Oakley is best known for his time in New York, and for an organization to turn its back on an ex-player, it’s just sad. The Knicks are now at the bottom of my personal organization rankings, tied for last with Sacramento.
3) KD’s return to Oklahoma City
It seemed early on like this was going to be a good game, but unfortunately OKC’s bench let them down. Durant played decently, but definitely appeared rattled by the Thunder fanbase. A chorus of “cupcake” chants and boos rained down on him every time he touched the ball, and there was no other way the fans would react; those fans won’t be forgiving him anytime soon, and neither will Russ.
4) Jabari Parker to miss the rest of season with torn ACL
Absolutely devastating news out in Milwaukee, especially with Khris Middleton just returning from injury. Middleton adds so much to their system, and they had a good chance to make a late surge for a Playoff spot. But now without their starting power forward, it’ll be a much tougher path for the Bucks. Maybe, it would be best to just tank this season, get another good, young player, and make strides next season.
5) Kevin Love out for 6 weeks
The other power forward injury in the East, Love will miss up to 6 weeks after knee surgery. This comes as a huge blow to the conference favourite Cleveland Cavaliers. He’ll be back just in time for the Playoffs, but returning from injury can be a challenge. Does this injury make them potentially look to move him? The Cavs are a weird organization to read, we’ll have to just wait and see what happens.
6) Nurkic traded to Portland
Denver finally makes a decision on what young, international center they are rolling with, and it was an easy choice. Nikola Jokic (more to come in the next dime) has been outstanding, and Nurkic was clearly playing second fiddle. Getting back Plumlee and a pick is a decent return, Plumlee offers a different role off of the bench for the Nuggets than Nurkic could provide. And for the Trail Blazers, they now have their number one starting big man. Seems as if this trade is a win-win for both sides.
7) Nikola Jokic’s big week
Jokic had some outstanding performances this past week, starting with his 40 point night in New York, a night that made him only the 4th player aged 22 or under to score 40 in MSG. He then followed that performance up with a ludicrous triple double in a win against the Warriors; 17 points, 21 rebounds, and 12 assists. His outside shooting is incredible, and a ranking of the top NBA unicorns might have to be done soon.
8) Buddy Hield goes below the belt on Cousins
This was the WTF moment of the week. Cousins was setting a run-off screen on Hield, and as Hield was ran into Cousins, he reached down and grabbed Cousins between the crotch. The play was instantly called to a halt, and Cousins made it clear what had just happened. Hield was assessed a flagrant foul and was tossed from the game. Even better about this situation? Teammate Anthony Davis posted a photo of Buddy asleep on the team plane, holding himself below the pants, further insinuating that Buddy likes to, ahem, hold balls.
9) Draymond Green becomes only player with triple double and less than 10 points
Draymond is one of only a couple players in the league that realistically could achieve a quadruple double, and the fact that he came so close to the feat while only scoring 4 points almost doesn’t seem real. Really Draymond, couldn’t get three more buckets? I mean, he did a ton else in this game; 12 rebounds, 10 assists, and 10 steals, but the fact he couldn’t score 10 points is just plain weird.
10) D-League becomes G-League
The NBA Development League has now been re-branded as the Gatorade League, and I think that’s a huge improvement. The league is clearly trying to make their lesser league better, improve it so it becomes the ideal pathway to making the NBA. Personally, D-League sounds like a bad thing, think getting a D on a paper in school, and now it’s been renamed G-League? Yeah, you know what I’m thinking, that’s pretty gangster.