Weekly Dimes (Mar. 30 – Apr. 5)

In our second-last Weekly Dimes post of the season, we see high scoring games, the return of a key player out East, and another laughable Sacramento Kings story. The eight seeds in both conferences are still up for grabs, and by next weeks post we’ll officially know the Playoff matchups. Next week will be the last regular post of the season, however there will be lots of stuff to write about come the postseason, along with the offseason and draft. Stay tuned for more!

 

1) Russell Westbrook gets 41st triple-double of season, ties Oscar Robertson’s record

Four games left, two against Denver, and one each against Phoenix and Minnesota. Four chances to beat what seemed to be an unbreakable record, set back in the 1962 season by Oscar Robertson. Seven times this season Russell came either one rebound, or one assist short of a triple-double, and if he had capitalized on half of those he would’ve made history about a week and a half ago. Love him or hate him, it’s hard to find a basketball fan who doesn’t want Russell to succeed and break this record.

2) Orlando Magic’s whiteboard goes viral

NBA organizations start thinking about offseason plans way before the season ends, and big boards with such plans probably exist for most teams. What does not happen for any other teams, however, is a photo of such a board being tweeted out accidentally. This is exactly what happened in Orlando, when an international player who had just signed for the Magic, had his photo taken in front of a whiteboard covered in different names. The whiteboard included players the Magic could trade for, or sign in the offseason, along with a breakdown of hybrid and big targets. The Magic’s season has been abysmal, and this won’t give their fanbase any hope for a competent product in the near future.

3) Tracy McGrady elected to NBA Hall of Fame

13 points in 33 seconds, that’s what I instantly think of when I see the name Tracy McGrady. But that doesn’t tell his whole story. Two time scoring champion, seven time All Star, seven time All NBA, and the 2001 Most Improved Player award. T-Mac had an incredible career, and I do wish we could’ve seen him and Vince Carter take the Raptors to new heights at the time.

4) Derrick Rose tears meniscus

Fourth knee surgery since 2012. Yeah, it’s as bad as it sounds. Unrestricted free agency will be interesting this season, for many reasons, but one of them being who offers Rose a contract, and for how much. It’s hard to see the 2011 MVP starting for many teams in the league today, and this draft is introducing at least four quality starting point guards. I hope this isn’t all she wrote for D-Rose, but next season will probably be make-or-break.

5) Patrick Ewing accepts head coaching job at Georgetown

Ewing as a potential NBA head coach has been talked about profusely over the past couple of years, and no teams gave him a call. Now his alma mater is giving him a shot, and it’ll be interesting to see how they do under his tutelage. Ex-NBA players-turned coaches are generally point guards, but he is spoken about highly around NBA circles. Congratulations to the “Hoya Destroya”, hopefully some of that can rub off on your players.

6) Lance Stephenson’s late-game antics

Indiana-Lance is back to his old ways. Late in a blow-out versus the Raptors, Lance decided to take a lay-up with time winding down, breaking the unwritten rule of dribbling out the clock. This did not impress the Raptors players as they let him hear it as he walked back to the bench, but in typical Lance fashion, he calmly walked between them and didn’t seem to give a crap. Got to give him props somewhat for that.

7) Kyle Lowry returns

Raptor fans rejoice! Even though the Raptors have been playing better lately with Cory Joseph starting than before, having Lowry at the helm gives them a shot to go deep in the postseason. Now Lowry will have about 5 games to get back into game shape, and as long as there are no setbacks, the Raptors will be full-strength come Playoff time.

8) Four 40 point games on Sunday

Russell Westbrook: 40 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists

LeBron James: 41 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists

Paul George: 43 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists

Stephen Curry: 42 points, 8 assists, 9/13 3PTM

Sunday night basketball did not disappoint this week; Stephen Curry got his rhythm back, Westbrook added to his triple-double tally, and the battle of LeBron/George was incredible. Remember when 40 point games were outrageous? Welcome to 2017.

9) Chicago Bulls have won 20 straight home games when featured on TNT

This is the craziest stat I have ever heard, I’m dead serious. The Bulls are not good, they are fighting for the final Playoff spot, and yet they dominate games that are televised on TNT. In the TNT games this season, the Bulls have victories against Boston (twice), San Antonio, Golden State, and Cleveland. Yeah, they beat arguable the top four teams in the league. Maybe this is a 2007 Warriors/Mavs situation, but instead the Cavs will be upset by the Bulls.

10) Vivek Ranadive tried to reach out to Cousins two weeks after trade

Vivek, once again you’re showing the world why you are a terrible owner, and professional. He told the media, along with Cousins, that he was not being traded just days before trading him, all without telling him! Cousins found out during a post-game interview, and now Vivek thinks he can reach out and talk to him? Even if this was one of the nicer players in the league, there’s a good chance that player doesn’t pick up the phone. Get a clue Vivek, or else nobody will want to come play for you.

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Weekly Dimes (Mar. 23 – 29)

We’re on the verge of April, and that means there are only a few weeks left in the regular season; with roughly 6 or 7 games left for each franchise. Playoff spots are being locked up, and now we just have to wait and see how the standings shake out at the end of the day. Now, to get into the past week, we saw some historic performances and moments, along with some interesting (sometimes laughable) storylines.

 

 

1) Devin Booker scores 70 points

Booker, at age 20, is now one of 6 players to score at least 70 points in an NBA game, joining Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, David Thompson, and Elgin Baylor. That is an elite class, and Booker is still years away from hitting his full prime. This game, even though it somehow ended in a loss, was a good sign for the Phoenix Suns and their fans, and was a necessary “victory” for their season.

2) Russell Westbrook records highest scoring triple-double of all time

After seeing what he’s doing this year, if someone asked me who I thought would be the person to break the scoring record with a triple-double, Russell Westbrook would be my pick; just slightly edging out Harden. And look what happens, he drops 57 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists, all in a com-from-behind victory over the Magic. Throw in the fact that he hit an outrageous three-pointer to force overtime, this was one of the best all-around offensive displays the NBA has ever seen.

3) Celtics take #1 seed out East

As of right now, the Cavs and Celtics are tied for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, but the Celtics did hold that position for a couple days this week. This is important because it appears as though the Cavs are in a slight decline, and the Celtics have a good shot at securing home-court advantage throughout the first three rounds. The Cavs, on paper, should be able to kick it up another notch come the postseason, and home-court advantage shouldn’t be a huge deal for them, but if they continue to play so poorly defensively, a game 7 in an opposing gym could be a problem.

4) Warriors with 3 consecutive 60+win seasons

While the Warriors were clearly on the upswing while being coached by Mark Jackson, Steve Kerr deserves a ton of credit for the past three Warriors seasons. The crazy part is that I wouldn’t be surprised if they won 60+ games for another three season after this, if not more.

5) Kings pursuing Sam Hinkie to come in above Vlade

I think I almost spat out what I was eating when I saw this headline. The Kings are an abysmal organization, I have made this clear numerous times in my past writing, but if they bring in Sam Hinkie it would be the best decision they could ever make. After trading Cousins, the Kings will be a basement-dwelling team for many years to come (sorry Buddy Hield, I like you and I feel sorry for you, but you can’t lead this team to the postseason), so getting the tank-master himself, Hinkie, would be a great idea. The fans may not accept it, just as the Philadelphia fans didn’t early on, but now seeing how they have accepted “the process” in Philly it could be time for “the process” V 2.0. Vivek Ranadive, if you won’t sell the team, then you have to make this decision. Vlade Divac has no idea what he’s doing, and if you ever want to not be a joke, this is the move.

6) Lance Stephenson returns to Indiana Pacers

“Born Ready” is back in Indiana, where at one point he was a near-All Star. This is a feel good story, Stephenson hasn’t clicked since leaving the Pacers for a huge contract in Charlotte, he’s bounced around on a few minimum deals, and now he’s signing with Indiana for 3 years, 12 million dollars. When I first heard this news, I was shocked to hear how much he signed for, but Larry Bird must think he can return to form in a comfortable situation.

7) Suns play youngest starting 5 in NBA history

Tyler Ulis, 21. Devin Booker, 20. Derrick Jones Jr., 20. Marquese Chriss, 19. Alex Len, 23.

Even though we’re in the midst of March Madness, this is actually an NBA team’s lineup, and not a college lineup. Besides Alex Len, the other four guys could still be suiting up for a college basketball team. Speaking of college teams, only one of the Sweet Sixteen teams had a younger starting 5 than the Suns; the Purdue Boilermakers came in with a 114 day-less average.

8) Joakim Noah suspended for illegal substance

When I first saw this, I instantly thought Noah had spent the weekend smoking pounds of marijuana. I mean, come on, look at the guy, there’s no way anyone could convince me that he has never dabbled in the green, his hair alone screams “I’m 420 friendly!”. Apparently it was a testosterone booster that was found in his system, one of the many PED’s that is banned by the NBA, therefore he received a 20-game suspension. This news makes his signing last offseason even worse, his production has been horrible and now with his suspension it appears as though his time as a rotation player is coming to a close.

9) Jusuf Nurkic scores career-high in first game vs. Denver

“Have a happy summer”, that is what Portland big man Jusuf Nurkic said towards his old team, the Denver Nuggets, in a postgame interview after a dominating 33 points, 16 rebound performance. Nurkic was clearly unhappy in his time in Denver once Jokic beat him out for the starting center spot, but ever since his trade to Portland he has been a man possessed. The Blazers are 13-7 since acquiring him, nothing to call home about, but enough of a winning percentage to place them a game ahead of the aforementioned Nuggets for the eighth, and final Playoff spot in the West. Is this the beginning of a new rivalry out West? Nuggets vs. Trail Blazers, Jokic vs. Nurkic, Serbia vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina.

10) JJ Barea drops Blake Griffin

This was the worst flop I’ve ever seen. For those who don’t know who JJ Barea is, he is a diminutive point guard for the Dallas Mavericks; he is reported at 6 feet, but he’s just barely pushing 5’10”. So for a guy his size to knock down Blake Griffin, 6’8″, is absolutely laughable. Both Mark Cuban, owner of the Mavs, and Rick Carlisle, head coach of the Mavs, ripped Griffin apart for the absurdity of his flop, stating what most of us would think, that there’s no way someone 10 inches shorter than you should be able to take you down. Blake Griffen, you and the Clippers are known to flop, and whine, and bitch, and this latest incident isn’t helping you out.

Weekly Dimes (Mar. 16 – 22)

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)

  1. Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
  2. Josh Jackson, SF/PF, Kansas
  3. Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State
  4. Jonathan Isaac, PF, Florida State
  5. 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.

Weekly Dimes (Mar. 9 – 15)

Roughly 15 games left, just under a month before the postseason begins and the race for the Playoff seeding is getting hotter by the day. In recent years the standings haven’t been this up in the air, and key injuries grow the intrigue even further. Coming down the stretch we’ll see more massive stat-lines, and clutch moments from big-game players as teams turn their focus to the postseason and their potential matchups.

 

 

1) Russell Westbrook gets 33rd triple double of season

Westbrook’s amazing season continues, and the accolades continue to pile up. Russ officially has the second most triple doubles in a season, passing Wilt Chamberlain. The best part about his latest triple double is that he heard chants of MVP…in Brooklyn. Only in Brooklyn would the fans chant MVP for a player on the opposing team.

2) LaMarcus Aldridge’s heart scare

Luckily LaMarcus is already back on the floor, but news of a heart arrhythmia is always bad news; whether minor or major. Aldridge sat out two games while receiving scans on his heart, and it appeared as if the Spurs were about to take a major blow to their roster. But luckily for both Aldridge and the Spurs, the tests came back clean and he has returned to game action.

3) Vince Carter scores 24 points at 40 years old

8 for 8 from the floor, including 6 for 6 from downtown, Vincanity threw it back at 40 years old. As a starter he went for 24 points against the Bucks, a team fighting for a spot in the postseason. Throw in the footage of of Vince throwing down a windmill during pre-game warmups and it doesn’t seem as if he’s slowing down anytime soon.

4) First season in 35 years without a coach being fired mid-season

Sounds like this is fake right? Wrong, every season since 1982 has had a head coach fired during the season, and at this point in the year it seems incredibly unlikely that a coach would be fired with so few games left. If a coach had to be fired, I would probably put my money on Alvin Gentry in New Orleans, or Fred Hoiberg in Chicago; but those firings seem more likely in the offseason.

5) Larry Sanders signs with Cavaliers

Back in 2013 Larry Sanders was one of the best up-and-coming centers in the league on a Bucks team that would be incredibly good if he had just stuck to basketball instead of focusing on a music career and marijuana. Watching him play garbage time minutes with the Cavs it’s clear that he’s a shell of his old self, but if he can provide just a little rim protection he can be a worthy contributor for the East-favourite Cavaliers.

6) Elfrid Payton with three triple doubles in the past week

When Elfrid Payton was first drafted, I was so incredibly high on him; higher than his beautifully quaffed hair. However it became clear that his shooting stroke was broken, and his defensive talents haven’t fully translated to the professional game. This past week has been impressive for him, however his Orlando team has lost 4 of their past 5 games. So congratulations Elfrid, you’re finally showing your potential on a team that is terrible.

7) Ricky Rubio drops 10 assists in first quarter

This isn’t all that surprising for a player with such amazing passing skills, but Rubio’s first quarter against the Wizards was a franchise record for the Minnesota point guard. Throw in another franchise record by finishing with 19 assists, Rubio has stepped up his production in the past month. With Kris Dunn off to a slow start in his NBA career, it looks as if Rubio will be sticking around for a while.

8) Lakers shut down Deng and Mozgov for rest of season

Personally I think the Lakers are worse when they play Mozgov over the young Zubac, but the Lakers are so bad they’ll lose no matter who they throw out on the court. Deng sitting out the rest of the year allows Ingram to play more minutes, and going young allows the organization to see who is worth keeping around long term.

9) Jusuf Nurkic posts career high 28, 20, 8 and 6 blocks against Philly

Nurkic was buried on a Denver team that hopes to be in the 8th spot come the end of the season, and ever since being freed with a trade to Portland he has played incredibly well. Just months ago he was receiving DNP – Coaches Decision, and now he’s going for 20/20 games. I believe Denver made the correct decision in choosing Jokic over him, but Nurkic is still a stud big man.

10) Porzingod’s incredible block/snatch

Play of the week by far. Kristaps Porzingis goes up for the block against Spencer Dinwiddie and, well, it’s hard  to describe, but he snatched the ball out of mid-air, brought it behind his back, and came down with it. There are a lot of unicorns in the 2017 NBA landscape, but the original is the one, and only, Porzingod.

Hoops Banter (Mar. 2 – 8)

Wow, there’s roughly only 20 games left for each team this season, it went by fast. Some teams are in a slump at this point, while others are starting to gain momentum. The final push to the Playoffs has started, and there isn’t a shortage of basketball news. Read on to see what I thought of some big games this past week, a historic moment, and a crazy circus shot!

 

 

1) Dirk Nowitzki reaches 30,000 career points

6th highest scorer in NBA history, best international basketball player of all time, Disco Dirk added another milestone to his Hall of Fame career this past week when he reached 30,000 points. Watching his teammates and Mark Cuban swarm him on the court was a great moment, congratulations to one of the best to ever lace them up.

2) Bogut fractures leg in first 58 seconds as a Cavalier

Didn’t even make it a minute on the floor. This hurts a lot for both Bogut and the Cavs, the former adds another big injury to his long list, and the Cavaliers lose a key big man in their rotation. If I were David Griffin and the Cavs I would re-visit Larry Sanders and see what he has to offer.

3) Kawhi Leonard’s MVP-level performance against Rockets

I can’t wait to see these two face off come Playoff time. Kawhi Leonard’s performance throughout this game, and especially in the final minute, was outstanding. In the clutch he hits a fadeaway three to take the lead, then gets back on the defensive end to seal the game with a block off the glass on James Harden. LeBron is the best two-way player in the game, but Kawhi is definitely 1b.

4) Warriors lose two straight for the first time in over two years*

Look, I get that it’s a regular season statistic, and if you think about it like that it is pretty impressive. But we can’t forget the fact that they lost three straight to the Cavaliers while up 3-1 in the series, so take this news item with a grain of salt.

5) Spurs clinch a Playoff spot

Kawhi Leonard might be the MVP of the season, Coach Pop is the best in basketball, and their organization is stronger than most in any sport. It would be incredible if they finished on top of the Western Conference, and they hold their own fate in that regard, as they face the Warriors twice more before the season comes to a close.

6) Young Suns slightly odd, but big win against Celtics

If it wasn’t for Kawhi’s heroics at the end of the Spurs-Rockets game, the end of this game would’ve been the best of the week. Most would favour the Celtics over the Suns in a matchup, and the Celtics did hold a lead for a majority of this game. That was until Isaiah Thomas turned the ball over to Tyler Ulis, who hit the game winning three pointer in the dying seconds. It was a tough ending for the Celtics, and a big shot for a young, up-and-coming franchise.

7) Jose Calderon signs with Warriors Hawks

Jose Calderon was basically signed to the Warriors before Kevin Durant’s injury, however following said injury the Warriors desperately needed wing depth so they chose to sign Matt Barnes instead. Luckily for Calderon the Warriors are a classy organization as they signed him before instantly waiving him, resulting in a $415,000 payday. Can’t complain about that.

8) Brooklyn Nets first to be eliminated from Playoff contention

Is anybody really surprised? Celtics fans rejoice, you might be getting the top pick in the 2017 draft. Brooklyn fans, good luck.

9) Russell Westbrook scores career high 58 points in loss, Thunder lose 4 straight

The big night from Russ isn’t the real story, inevitably he’ll have a 60+ point game. The Thunder losing 4 in a row is a problem; after the trade deadline it looked as if they had the potential to rise into a home-court position in the Playoffs, but that future appears bleak. Russ is going to have to start trusting and including his teammates, especially by incorporating newcomers Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott if they want to make noise in the postseason.

10) Taj Gibson’s buzzer beating heave

The shot of the year. Simple as that. From 3/4 court, one handed, the high arching rainbow shot was absolutely perfect. Hitting that shot will have instantly made him a fan favourite down in Oklahoma.

Weekly Dimes (Feb. 23 – Mar. 1)

This past week gave us superstar injuries, game-changing roster moves, and a father who talks way too damn much. The trade deadline and buy-out market are over, and now we come down the final stretch of the season. Stay locked in and enjoy the push to the postseason.

 

1) Kevin Durant hyperextends knee, out until Playoffs

This could create an interesting wrinkle come Playoff time. Superstar injuries are devastating, don’t get me wrong, but this impacts the Playoff picture; the Warriors should still be the top seed in the West, but if Durant comes back slowly, they could be susceptible for an upset. The Warriors signed Matt Barnes to fill the small forward gap for the time being, but he won’t be in the rotation by the end of the season.

2) Kyle Lowry undergoes wrist surgery, out until Playoffs

Lowry is a smaller name than Durant, but his injury impacts the Raptors much more than Durant’s does to the Warriors. Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker are fitting in incredibly well, and ideally the Raptors could’ve close the season out fully healthy to prepare for a hopefully deep Playoff run. Lowry can potentially return with a few games left in the season, but it’ll be tough for him to instantly be in game shape.

3) Deron Williams & Andrew Bogut are bought out, both sign with Cavaliers

This is amazing, it really is. The fact that the East-favourite Cavaliers can add two contributing veterans for next to nothing makes me laugh, the buy-out market is always fun to see who is chasing a ring. Deron should be the back-up playmaker that LeBron was looking for, and Bogut adds toughness and passing IQ to their bench. The Raptors stocked up at the deadline, and the Cavs did the same during buy-out season.

4) DeMarcus Cousins is first to 18 technicals, suspended for one game

It wouldn’t be tough to guess who leads the league in technical fouls, Cousins is well known for having a temper. This is tough because his new team, the Pelicans, are fighting an uphill battle to get into the Playoffs.

5) Pelicans are 1-3 since adding Cousins

…and that one win that they have in the last four, yeah that was the game that Cousins was suspended for. Not a great start to the new twin-towers down in New Orleans..

6) Isaiah Thomas makes gun gesture at DeMarre Carroll

This situation was really bad, and I’m surprised that the NBA didn’t fine, or even suspend Isaiah. The two got into a heated exchange after a tough play at the rim, a usual type of situation. But this time, Isaiah made a gun gesture in Carroll’s direction with his hand, and that’s just not something you do in a professional basketball game, nevertheless anywhere. The NBA apparently looked into the incident, but it appears as if nothing will come of it, and that really does shock me.

7) Joel Embiid’s season is officially over

For the love of all that is good, please let Embiid come back strong next year. This is a tough setback for him, and not a good sign for his future, as he only managed 31 games before tearing his meniscus. That means that he has played 31 games in three seasons. I love Embiid, and when he’s playing well it’s amazing for the league, please let him come back healthy and have a good career.

8) Lonzo Ball’s father mispeaks, says son will only play for Lakers

I don’t usually comment on collegiate basketball, but Lonzo Ball is an upcoming superstar, and his father is just so insane. Lavar Ball has stated that Lonzo is better than Steph Curry, and that if they switched teams that the Warriors would be better. I mean, you can be proud of your son and think he’s amazing, but there’s a line. Everyone in their right mind knows that two-time MVP Curry is miles ahead of Lonzo Ball. Lavar Ball might have to learn to keep it quiet once his sons are in the league, or else he could be a problem for them.

9) Brandon Jennings waived, signs with Wizards

First Joakim Noah gets injured, then they waive Jennings, and now Phil Jackson and the Knicks are thinking about waiving Rose. Wow, how the…mighty? have fallen. On paper those moves in the summer looked like the Knicks would at least be a Playoff team, but now it’s just depressing to be a New York fan. Kristaps, I feel bad for you, hopefully they are starting to accept the re-build.

10) The Warriors clinch a Playoff spot

It was only a matter of time, we just have to hope that whoever ends up in the 8th seed gives them a decent challenge in the first round.

Weekly Dimes (Feb. 15 – 22)

Yep, I extended this week to 8 days to include the last day of the trade deadline. This week we saw very little actual basketball action, but it was still a very entertaining and exciting week. With the All Star game and the deadline, there were many headline-worthy stories, so let’s just get into my top 10 from the week!

 

1) DeMarcus Cousins is finally free from the Kings dumpster fire

I’m both relieved for him, and still surprised that this trade actually happened. But it’s very on brand for the Kings organization; owner Vivek Ranadive apparently thinks incredibly highly of another shooting guard in Buddy Hield, referencing him as the next Stephen Curry. Good luck to you Buddy, these next few years will be tough. The main story out of this is the Pelicans however, because they now possess arguably the best power forward and center in the game. It’ll be tough for them to fight up to the 8th seed this year, as great as it would be to see them face the Warriors in the first round, so look out for the team from New Orleans next season as a real threat.

2) Kyrie Irving believes the Earth is flat

I’m not going to go long on this, Kyrie, I know you were a one-and-done, but c’mon dude. You know the Earth is round, you can question all the real conspiracy theories, but don’t say the Earth is flat.

3) Nerlens Noel traded to Dallas

This was one of the best deals of the deadline as the Mavericks acquired their center of the future, Nerlens Noel. The Mavs only had to give up Justin Anderson, who doesn’t seem like he’ll be much more than a 10 minute a night guy, and a pick. Great move by Mark Cuban and company.

4) 500 thousand dollars donated to the Sager Strong Foundation

This was the feel good story of the All Star Weekend, (honorary mention to Jarrius Robertson) when a mix of NBA All Stars, retired players, and celebrities had a shootout to raise money for the late great Craig Sager’s foundation. It was capped off with Sager’s son throwing down a dunk to raise the donation to $500,000.

5) McDermott/Gibson traded to Oklahoma City

Another great trade at the deadline, with OKC only really giving up Cameron Payne. Taj Gibson is an upgrade to Joffrey Lauvergne, and McDermott is a huge upgrade to Anthony Morrow. Another great move for Sam Presti and the Thunder.

6) Durant throws lob to Westbrook at All Star Game

Don’t get it twisted, the feud between the two is real, but it was somewhat nostalgic to see Durant throw it up for his old pal Russ. Pretty funny as well when the West bench got up to give them a standing ovation, it even made Kawhi smile.

7) Dunk Contest leaves little to be desired

Was there ever a chance this contest would be as good or better as last years? Nope, but this one was really sad. The drone dunk took the air out of the arena, and with little star power the contest was abysmal. It’s tough to see when it’ll rebound, we’ll just have to remember 2016 fondly.

8) Magic Johnson becomes President of Basketball Operations for the Lakers

Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan are all executives (along with MJ being an owner) in the NBA, and they could potentially trade between eachother. That’s pretty crazy, makes you wonder who from this generation will take leadership roles in an organization. Magic made a quick move upon his hire by sending Lou Williams to Houston for an expiring deal and a pick. The Lakers look primed to build up quickly, especially with the rumour of Paul George in 2018 floating about.

9) Giannis puts Curry on a poster

Best moment of the All Star game, and even better were the reactions from Draymond Green and DeAndre Jordan. Giannis played hard throughout the game, and didn’t let up when the possibility of a tip-slam over the two-time MVP Curry arose. Steph, welcome to your Kodak moment.

10) “Uncle Drew” movie coming with Kyrie Irving as star

This and Space Jam 2, the NBA stars are breaking further into the world of entertainment. Who knows what the premise of this will be, but what will be interesting is which NBA players, and potential legends, join the cast. Also once again, Kyrie, the Earth is round. End of story.