The dimes come in a day late this week, but with the NBA season coming down to the wire, and the first half of March Madness, you’ll just have to cut me some slack. This past week gave us a couple brawls, and some high scoring nights, all while teams are scrapping and clawing to reach Playoff positions. Toss in a bonus dime with some college basketball flavour, this week’s post has some fun storylines.
Bonus dime: My top 5 NCAA prospects (not including international players)
- Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
- Josh Jackson, SF/PF, Kansas
- Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State
- Jonathan Isaac, PF, Florida State
- Moe Wagner, C, Michigan
Lonzo Ball just dominates games, I can’t stop watching him, even when he doesn’t have the ball in his hands. His court vision and passing skills are top notch, and even though his shot form is gross, he splashes threes from the outside. Josh Jackson’s game is only slightly better than his hair, which is awesome. His size projects him to be able to guard 3’s and 4’s at the next level, he has a nice outside shooting stroke, and lots of athleticism to attack the rim. Bridges might not enter the draft this season, but if he chooses to he’ll be able to help out a team immediately. Bridges is exactly what every NBA team needs in 2017; a 3-and-D guy, except Bridges comes with a really high ceiling. Jonathan Issac is an athletic freak, he’s just under 7 feet with a great shooting stroke, and the ability to defend the rim at a high level. Finally, Moe Wagner, the German darling from Michigan. Wagner probably won’t hear his name called at the draft, but he won’t forget his career-high 26 points against Louisville in the big dance.
1) Serge Ibaka/Robin Lopez throw hands
I missed this game, and when I first heard that there was a fight between Ibaka and Lopez I thought it would be the same as always in the NBA, two guys engaged in a yelling/shoving match. But once I saw video of what happened, I was stunned. Fisticuffs are not thrown in the NBA like they were in the past, and that is because the league has done everything it can to “clean” up the league. What was more surprising is taht the two only received a one-game suspension each. Lopez initiated the scuffle, and should have received more games than Ibaka, but both should have missed more than one game. Playoff implications certainly had a say in the matter, and this fight did not help to settle the bad blood between the Bulls and Raptors.
2) Resting while healthy becoming an issue
The Warriors stars (minus Durant) sitting while healthy, and the Cavaliers sitting LeBron and Kevin Love alongside the injured Irving populated a lot of the headlines this past week. This is a tough situation to choose a side on, the fan of the game in me wants guys to play every game in the season, and to give their all. However, sitting games has shown to lengthen players careers, which is a positive in the long-run. The issue with these two teams sitting their star players is that it took place during nationally televised games; and such games are marketed with star power. This is something Adam Silver and the league will look into profusely this offseason, and you can expect a no sitting-while-healthy rule during televised games.
3) LeBron goes at LaVar Ball
LaVar Ball, is he a marketing genius or just an idiot that needs to shut the hell up? I can’t say for sure, I lean on both sides of the fence, but some of the things he says are absolutely out of control. Such a thing is when he spoke about how his kids are in a better position to succeed than LeBron James’s kids. Now, first off, Lonzo Ball is for real, while the other two Ball kids futures are still up in the air. But as a father, like LeBron pointed out, you should not talk about someone else’s family in that way. Plus, LeBron James Jr. looks like he’s going to be a stud, and he is pretty well set up for success. LaVar, all I ask is from you is silence once Lonzo is in the league. Let him thrive and become the star I believe he can be. (I know damn well he won’t ever shut up, as long as people put cameras in his face he doesn’t have a reason to. I just hope.)
4) Harden with two straight 40-point triple-doubles, seven this season
MVP. MVP. MVP. The Beard is doing things we haven’t seen before, all while leading an all-offence Rockets team to a top-3 seed in the West. A 40-point triple-double is an amazing feat, nevertheless getting seven in the season, but these outrageous stat lines have become norm for Harden.
5) Ex-NBA Star Brandon Roy names High School Basketball Coach of the Year
Easily the feel good story of the week. Brandon Roy was an absolute stud in his career as a Trail Blazer, a career that was unfortunately cut short by his knee injuries. Roy was one of my favourite players, and seeing him succeed as a high school coach makes me incredibly happy for him. It would be amazing to see him work his way up to an NBA coaching gig, but if he chooses to stay in his position then his career has to be seen as a success.
6) D’Angelo Russell youngest Laker to score 40 in a game
Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Elgin Baylor, all Laker greats that dropped 40 (at least) in a game during their professional careers. Russell is part of this Lakers rebuild, and putting his name in with those greats is a good sign for the organization. The Lakers are still trying to figure out if Russell is a part of their future, but games like this show glimpses of his high upside. He certainly has the style to fit in the L.A. culture, and his playmaking skills are necessary in an up-tempo offence like theirs.
7) Bucks 11-2 since Middleton’s return
No Jabari Parker, no problem. Khris Middleton is one of the most underrated players in the league, and his return to the Bucks has seen them rise to the 6th seed out East. With him and Giannis, the Bucks have two young wings that both can guard anyone 1 through 4. They won’t make much noise this postseason, but look out next year, and the years to come.
8) Chandler Parson’s out for remainder of season
This isn’t that big of a story, Parsons hasn’t played much this season to start with (and when he has played he’s been less than mediocre). I just wanted to include it because it’s interesting to see how far he’s fallen since being on the rise during his time in Houston.
9) Russell Westbrook first in history to notch triple-double while not missing from the floor or free-throw line
This triple-double story is amazing, but comes second to Harden’s this week. And unfortunately for Russ, he’ll also be coming second in the MVP race. It was potentially open for a while, but in the past ten games or so, Harden has pulled away.
10) Shaq says world is flat, later walks back statement
Thank you Shaq for walking it back and saying you were joking, if only because you received backlash on social media or something. But I’m so sick of this being a storyline. The Earth is round. Plain and simple. Anyone who thinks otherwise, stop making yourself sound dumb.