If you’re still reading these, and I’m glad you are, as it means one of three things.

  1.  You’re still in the playoff race
  2. You love my writing, in which case you’re my mom or you need to read a lot more good articles.
  3. You’re out of it and trying to get a leg up for next year.

As we know, this is the silly season for basketball.  Resting, tanking, and weird rotations are the norm in March.  It’s March Madness, baby.  I’m going to try to focus on the weird rotations thing from each game to see if we can decipher any meaning from said weird rotations.

Pistons-Wizards

Did you know the Pistons signed RJ Hampton?  I think this is the first time he’s been mentioned this year, like, anywhere.  He did have 27 last night!  Oh, wait, that’s his minutes.  He only contributed 5 points, 3 assists.  I think he’s on a tryout for a contract somewhere and this is his last chance to make an NBA roster going forward.  It would be good for the Pistons if he worked out.  I don’t think it’s good for you to pick him up, though.  This trailblazer, who along with LaMelo Ball went to Australia for a year instead of college, might just not be good enough.

Cavs over Hornets

Nick Richards only had 22 minutes despite playing the Cavs, who have a lot of height.  I don’t think this means anything for Richards’ future.  I do think the Hornets are all in on Mark Williams as their center, and rightfully so.  He is a great pick in the middle to late rounds for your drafts next year.  The fact that Richards only got 22 minutes in his absence further solidifies this to me.  Draft Williams aggressively and with confidence next year.

Raptors surprise the Nuggets

Gary Trent Jr. has that player option thing next year and I think the Raptors are trying to get out from under that $18 million cap hit.  His season average of 17.6 PPG is misleading, as his last four games have consisted of 13, 0, 7, 11.  They have also cut his minutes to the low 20s.  I don’t think Trent is a part of the Raptors’ long term plans.  I do think Trent is a good player, though, and if he leaves the Raptors for a team that needs shooting like the Bulls or some team that will give him minutes, then this playing time cut could make him a steal next year.

Lakers tough defensively, beat the Hornets

If you haven’t noticed, the Lakers have a new defensive identity.  Who is the catalyst to this?  The one and only Jarred Vanderbilt.  Without LeBron James, and often without Anthony Davis, the Lakers have climbed into the play-in tournament.  Vanderbilt is the lynchpin of this newly minted defensive machine.  He won’t wow you with his stats, especially scoring, but as a late round pick next year he’ll produce consistent rebounds and stocks.

Spurs over Spunky Funky Magic

Jeremy Sochan is making the most of his time as a rookie, scoring 29 with 10 boards.  That makes six straight double figure scoring games while averaging slightly over 8 boards in the same time frame.  I would ride him for the rest of the season, but have a little caution going forward.  One issue is of course the tanking.  Another is we have no idea if they are getting a certain 7-foot-3 unicorn next year, and the roster is for sure uncertain as well.  His role and production are all in flux for next year.  He’s a good pick, but I’m always cautious about weird tanking teams.

OKC over the Nets

Who are you taking first next year, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander or Mikal Bridges?

Bridges had another 34 point game last night, which makes five out of his last seven with over 30.  Steals and blocks are also plentiful for Mikal, aka the Bridges who is allowed to play in the NBA this year.  Assists and rebounds lag behind.  What do you expect? He’s a 3 and D guy, not a rebounding/passing guy.

35 points last night for Shai, who is averaging a silly 31.4 ppg to go with 4.8 boards and 5.6 assists per game.  He’s an absolute star.  My issue is that he has played (checking…..) 58 games.  That’s not bad, as he will likely hit 65 games for the year.

I went into this thinking it would be Bridges, and I would take him in the second next year as long as you have a point guard and center lined up, but Shai has to be the choice.  I think he’s firmly in the first round discussion and you might be able to steal him in the second.

Bucks over the Suns

I’m a fan of Josh Okogie.  He fits a role for the Suns, doesn’t need a ton of shots, and can hit the open 3.  And man, with their Big 3, who shoot midrange jumpers, there are a ton.  Okogie won’t help much in other areas, but if you need threes and the roster is the same next year, scoop him up.

Knicks over the Blazers

I don’t know what the Blazers real plan is, but it seems like Matisse Thybulle is a big part of it.  15-8 with 3 steals will do.

 

Thanks again for the honor of reading my stuff, and only a couple more weeks left.  Keep pounding.