Finally, some sort of normality has been restored. At least I think so. The Bucks are back up on their Buck against sitting in the second seed at the time of writing having an 8-4 record. The Celtics have barely played thanks to the Washington Wizards. Yes, the Wizards and not Tatum. Now, the Wizards are also getting a couple of their games postponed as they have three players that tested positive for the virus, meaning pretty much their whole team is in the NBA’s “Health & Safety Protocol”. The Philadelphia 76ers are still holding their own at 8-4 after most of their team being held out because of the virus surprise, surprise, stemming from Seth Curry’s positive test. Speaking of the Wizards they are still towards the bottom at 3-8 and are now going to be without Russell Westbrook for another 3-4 weeks. Beal seems ready to feast, not that he hasn’t already, but now without Russ, he’s going to have to keep scoring those 30s and 40s if the Wizards are going to have any chance to win some games. The Indiana Pacers have seemed steady as Domantas Sabonis is running riot and Myles Turner is turning into a block machine! In his past three games he has averaged an amazing 4 blocks a game! Congrats to whoever took him as I’m sure he slid in many drafts. Oh, and yeah. THE BROOKLYN NETS MIGHT HAVE BROKEN THE NBA. Or did they? Maybe this just blows up in their face. Nevertheless, James Harden is now a Net after an absolute blockbuster trade. 

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We knew from the start that this was going to be a weird season. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has become a part of our life for the last year and basketball couldn’t remain unaffected. During the last 2 weeks, more and more cases are appearing in the league and some games have already been postponed. Furthermore, there are teams that are decimated by the virus and the contact tracing procedures that it involves, with these teams playing many games with 8 or 9 active players and usually without their stars. It is a difficult and unique situation that the experts expect to escalate during the next month. Maybe a pause in action for 1-2 weeks would prove beneficial for all parties, as neither teams, nor fans want to watch games with depleted rosters or constant postponements and uncertainty. The league has just implemented stricter restrictions for NBA players and personnel, that pretty much affect the whole spectrum of their everyday life, in an attempt to contain the spread.

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There will come a day when the aliens present themselves, big bad ships with weapons and all. I’ve watched Mars Attacks! so I know how it all goes down. Their technology will be more advanced so it will be futile to fight them on the battlefield. Our pew pew weapons would be no match against the photon weapons they would likely possess. How about we pit Ken Jennings against their best for a game of Jeopardy? Uh, they travelled through space and time, so no thanks. Our only hope is to have them agree to one five-on-five game of basketball. I’m sure they didn’t pack sneakers and shorts. Any advantage we can get. Now, who would represent Earth? This debate has been going on for a while but the only logical course of action would be to breed Embiid now so that we have a team at the ready when the day comes. Why Embiid? Because he can literally do it all on the court. Look what he did to the Heat last night in a 137-134 victory in overtime.

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Surprise, I’ve taken over the Wednesday recap this week, let’s get jiggy with it!

Nets vs Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks undefeated 2020-2021 season came to an end at the hands of the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, December, 30th, but not without some positive signs of progress for this new look roster. At the moment, the Hawks have the second best Offensive Rating in the league at 119.9 and their opponent, the Nets, have the best Defensive Rating at 98.3. I’m not sure if these numbers include the data from Wednesday’s competition, but either way, the Hawks were the team that lived up to their statical billing in this one. The teams went shot for shot through most of the game until Kyrie Irving took over in the fourth quarter and the Hawks suffered enough empty possessions on offense to walkaway with their first L. Both teams broke a hundred by the third quarter and the final score of 141-145 tells you everything you need to know. Neither team played much defense in this game and that end of the floor will remain the biggest question for both teams going forward.

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Lots of question marks around Miami’s reload in the Eastern conference this year.  Their unraveled depth and #HeatCulture rose them through the gauntlets of the Eastern Conference bubble to rise from the 5th seed to Eastern Conference Champs.  Their core is fired up, focused, and gaining continuity.  I see seven solid rotation players.  This year, with the losses of Goran “Dragon” Dragic (16/3/5 in 28 minutes), Jae Crowder (10/6/2.8 in 29 minutes), and Derrick “Air Plane Mode” Jones Jr. (8/4/1 in 23 minutes) it remains to be seen how Riley and Spoelstra work their magic to fill out this roster.

Those three rotation players have left with a total of 34 points per game.  How will end-of-bench role players step up with their new opportunities?  Why was Udonis Haslem’s contract extended? Does Iguodala have anything left in the tank to earn the two-year, $20 million extension he got?  So many questions surround the depth and bench this year.  With only 10 guaranteed players under contract, how will management round out this roster?

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With the NBA Draft on the horizon, November 18th to be exact, it’s time for us to dive in on the potential lottery picks, potential sleepers, and see if this draft class has a superstar in it. I am sure many of you are already set for who you want on your teams and who will be a hit and who will be a bust, so I’m here to either reinforce those opinions or change them. Let’s get right into it. 

Now, as many of us have realized, there is no consensus number 1 overall pick. There is no Zion Williamson this year or even a Cade Cunningham coming up next year. Some have Anthony Edwards, others have James Wiseman or LaMelo Ball. Heck, even Onyeka Okongwu’s name has been a fast riser lately. So there is no real safe prediction. In the end, it could all come down to preference and team need. But, for now at least, I don’t have to worry about controlling an organization so I can make my board based on what players I like the most. So here are my first half picks of the 2020 NBA lottery: 

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