The Wizards 101-99 Friday night win against the Oklahoma City Thunder was a sigh of relief for The District, but the win shows the team still has a mountain to climb to return to the form they displayed early in the season.
The Wizards are 2-4 in their last six games, and their two wins in that stretch are by a combined five points. A close call to the Miami Heat is understandable, but a close call to the Thunder following a blowout loss to the New Orleans Pelicans is a sign of concern.
Even with Bertans’ return last Wednesday, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope shooting 4-of-7 from deep Friday, the Wizards still have question marks surrounding their offensive production and outside shooting.
Costly turnovers and Spencer Dinwiddie’s slow start to the season are more problems that Wes Unseld Jr. has to solve, but the Wizards have the talent to right their offensive woes.
On the bright side, Washington defends well and is currently 6th in NBA in rebounds per game (46.8) and tied for 1st in defensive rebounds per game (37.6).
Individually, Daniel Gafford’s 8 block game against the Thunder is the best Wizard performance of the last six games, and his 8 blocks are the most by a Wizard since JaVale McGee had 12 blocks against the Chicago Bulls in 2011.
As mentioned in my last post, intensity on defense will keep this team competitive, and outside of the Pelicans game on Thanksgiving eve, that intensity is here to stay.
Time to Panic?
With Rui Hachimura spotted in the team facility last week for the first time publicly and Thomas Bryant still recovering from his ACL injury from last season, the Wizards can’t wait until returning to full strength to fix their offense.
It is still too early to panic, but Washington desperately needs a “get right” game against a good team, and Saturday night against the 4th seeded Mavericks is just that. A convincing win versus a team playing solid basketball of late is just what the Wizards need to prove to themselves that their early start is much more than a flash in the pan.
A 10-3 start—the best start to a Wizards/Bullets season since 1974—shows the Wizards are competing nightly as one of the best teams in the NBA.
However, the NBA season is a marathon, not a sprint.
A few things need to go Washington’s way to continue the high level of play we’ve seen thus far.
Saying a team needs to stay healthy is a cliché, but for a team that thrives off depth, it is imperative the links in the chain they’ve built hold strong.
The Wizards are proving their depth can win.
Bradley Beal missed the last two contests due to personal reasons, and every player on the floor stepped up to bring two W’s to The District.
With an already deep roster, the Wizards are still missing a few key pieces that can bring the rotation to one-hundred percent.
Center Thomas Bryant seeks a December return to action after his knee injury last season. Davis Bertans is Week-to-Week with an ankle injury, and Rui Hachimura is currently out of game action (personal reasons).
For a team that thrives off of the ability to throw a variety of matchups at opponents, Washington will have to hope for a healthy season to maximize the potential we’ve seen through the first 13 games.
Sustained Defensive Intensity
The most dramatic change this season in DC is on the defensive end of the court. Wes Unseld jr. has his team communicating well and stifling opponents en route to the 4th best defensive rating in the league (102.7).
The key to success through the marathon of the season is to have motivated players every night.
Daniel Gafford, Montrezl Harrell, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are a few names expected to bring intensity to every game but, the emergence of Deni Avdija and his activity and execution in every individual matchup is a key component of the fast start this season.
Deni has the size and athleticism to stick with most players in the league and is showing this season the anticipation and composure to hang with superstars down the stretch. I’ve watched Deni force turnovers on Giannis in crunch time, along with a sound 4th quarter against Brandon Ingram that fueled a Wizards comeback from a 19-point deficit Monday night.
The team rallies around intensity, and as the NBA season continues, it can be hard to get excited about every matchup. Bringing the same energy regardless of opponent eluded Wizards teams in recent history, so a reversal of history is necessary for continued success this season.
Another All-NBA Bradley Beal Season
He’s the true number one option in the Wizards offensive attack, and to keep his team around the top of the standings, Bradley Beal has to play like the All-NBA talent he is.
Despite a slow scoring start for Beal this year, the Wizards are winning, but you can see the offense go flat during stretches without him on the floor.
In a half-court setting, every basketball team needs a guy like Beal who can score when the game slows down. The Wizards are lucky to also have Spencer Dinwiddie in the backcourt, but if Beal can play at an All-NBA level, Dinwiddie will also soar to new heights.
Through 13 games, the team has shown us they have what it takes to be good. To go from good to great and sustain a spot at the top of the East through the season, this team has to constantly improve, stay healthy, and bring the fight to opponents every night.
The Milwaukee Bucks took game 3 of the NBA Finals at home in a 120-100 beat down of the Phoenix Suns to bring the series score to 2-1.
In a pivotal game 4, both teams need to make adjustments and play at the peak of their abilities to win a game that will be an absolute dogfight.
Featured image of the Larry O’Brien trophy courtesy of NBA.com
Key #1: Deandre Ayton Avoiding Foul Trouble
On paper, Deandre Ayton had a solid game. Ayton scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds on 8-of-11 shooting.
Twelve of his 18 points came in the first quarter due to early fouls that pushed him to the bench.
Without Ayton on the floor, the Suns run a small lineup, or they play Frank Kaminsky.
In a smaller lineup and against Kaminsky, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks supporting cast have an easier time scoring in the paint.
Antetokounmpo punished the Suns in the paint in back-to-back games.
After a 41-point 13-rebound performance in game 3, the Greek Freak is forever linked with Shaquille O’Neal as the only other player in NBA Finals history to post back-to-back 40-point, 10-rebound games.
The Suns also lose significant offensive production when their best screener and post scorer goes to the bench.
Ayton-less lineups lack scoring prowess at the center position. So in pick-and-roll situations, the Bucks can commit more defensive energy to Suns’ guards and wings.
At this stage of basketball, Ayton is aware of his importance. Look to see if Ayton is conservative when contesting shots in game 4.
Key#2: Bounce Back Booker
Devin Booker needs to have his shots fall if the Suns want to put the Bucks in a 3-1 series chokehold.
Booker is a talented tough-shot maker, and the Bucks are doing everything in their power to make each possession difficult for him.
However, Booker is settling for jump shots often in this series. He needs to find a way to score more points around the basket despite the tenacious Bucks perimeter defense.
In game 3, Booker scored just 10 points on 3-of-14 shooting from the field, 1-of-7 from three, and 3-of-5 from the foul line.
Booker has taken a total of five free throws in the last two games. A stark contrast to the 10 he attempted in game 1.
He doesn’t need to slash all game to get more calls, but seeing a close layup or floater go in the basket is beneficial to anyone in a shooting slump.
I’m taking the Bucks in game 4. However, I do not think they win in a blowout.
Phoenix’s mistakes from game 3 are easily correctable, and they’re too talented to not put up a fight in back-to-back games.
Game 4 should easily be the most competitive in the series so far, and I’m looking for the contest to be decided by three points when the clock hits 0:00.
NBA Finals Game 4: Wednesday, July 14th 9:00 p.m EST.
Tuesday night, the Phoenix Suns bested the Milwaukee Bucks in game 1 of the NBA Finals 118-105. In what was an electric start to the series, we witnessed moving parts on both teams critical to success or failure in each game and the entire series.
This post is a brief look at storylines, matchups, and potential adjustments that may carry over into game 2.
The Suns used Deandre Ayton as a screener early and often to create action on the pick and roll. Ayton (or whoever is being guarded by Brook Lopez) as the screener creates scoring opportunities for Phoenix and pressure for Milwaukee.
Ayton set solid screens that made it tough for Bucks defenders to chase Phoenix’s guards. Milwaukee also switched many of these screens set by Ayton and left Brook Lopez on an island against Chris Paul (32pts) and Devin Booker (27pts) all night.
The Suns’ first eight points of the game came from forcing Lopez switches. Lopez switches also open up a pass to Deandre Ayton in the paint after he rolls to the basket against a smaller defender.
Ayton’s finishing around the rim is stellar. He finished the game with 23 points and 19 rebounds on 8-of-10 shooting.
The Bucks played a small lineup to adjust to the play of the Suns’ guards. They sometimes ran Giannis at center. They also brought in Bobby Portis and Pat Connaughton to put more athleticism on the court and allow them to switch. However, this couldn’t last long since Brook Lopez was one of the few Bucks scoring the ball in the first half.
Lopez ended the game with 17 points. But the groove that Chris Paul found after the early Lopez switches led to his domination of the contest. Chris Paul finished the game with 32 points and nine assists.
Next game, I expect the Bucks to find more scoring outside of Lopez and work to keep more athleticism and quickness on the court if they plan to switch everything on the pick-and-roll.
Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo
Plenty needs to happen for the Bucks offensively to keep pace with the Suns. First, they need more out of Jrue Holiday. Holiday finished with 10 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists but the issue Tuesday night was his shooting. Holiday was 4-for-14 from the field and 0-of-4 from the three-point line.
Holiday is a better offensive player than he showed in game 1, and in game 2 he needs to use his size advantage over Chris Paul and attack the basket.
Giannis Antetokounmpo proved the hyperextended knee that kept him out of two Eastern Conference Finals games is healthy enough to make LeBron-Esque chase-down blocks and power through Deandre Ayton in the paint on offense.
However, by the end of the third quarter, he looked gassed. Coming back after an absence is hard to do in an NBA playoff series, so it may take a few games for the Greek Freak to play with his usual motor for four quarters.
Antetokounmpo finished with 20 points, 17 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and one block. A solid stat line for anyone who played 35 minutes. Despite shooting an efficient 6-of-11 from the field, there were times that the superstar looked passive on the offensive end.
A PASSIVE GIANNIS WILL NOT WIN GAMES IN THE VALLEY. I expect by game 3 of the series—assuming his knee holds up—Giannis will play with an offensive motor that matches what he has on the defensive end.
Lastly, for Milwaukee, All-Star Khris Middleton—who led the Bucks scoring with 29 points last night—needs to have the scoring outburst he displayed in the second half earlier in the game. Middleton’s scoring allows the Bucks to keep pace and even helped cut a 20 point Suns’ second-half lead to single digits.
Booker and Crowder 3pt Shooting
Almost everything went right for the Suns last night—except for Jae Crowder and Devin Booker knocking down their long-distance attempts.
Booker (1-for-8) and Crowder (0-for-5) shooting poorly is something I don’t expect to continue, but as the series progresses and changes location in game 3, establishing a rhythm beyond the arc to prepare for the road is crucial for Suns success.
A Shift In Foul Calls
One thing to look for in future finals games, especially game 2, is a potential shift in foul calls. At home in game 1, the Suns were 25-of-26 from the free-throw line. The Bucks were 9-of-16. The Suns receiving 10 more free-throw attempts is rooted in some questionable no-calls against the Bucks.
When this happens, a righting of the wrong by the officiating crew is due. The free-throw attempts for both teams should be closer to even in game 2.
Game 2 Predictions
I’m predicting a closer finish down the stretch—within five points *wink*—and still taking the Suns in game 2. I think Phoenix will ride the energy of the crowd in the Valley and will be difficult to stop offensively.
The silver lining for the Bucks is they can figure out exactly what works well for them and use it to capture some wins when the series switches location to Milwaukee.
We will find out if I’m right when game 2 tips-off Thursday night on ABC at 9:00p.m EST
With the offseason in full swing for 26 of the NBA’s teams, the search to fill coaching vacancies is heating up.
Every year, a few interesting—and on the flip side—disappointing names are mentioned every coaching cycle. Hiring practices that people experience in daily life mirror themselves every offseason in the NBA.
Today, I’m analyzing a few of the candidates across the league and why teams may be hesitant to bring in new, unproven talent at the NBA head coaching level, along with several reasons they should take a flyer on a new name.
The Devil You Know
A factor of NBA hiring, also a factor in any recruitment hunt, is how experience in the current role can sometimes trump a qualified applicant looking to prove themselves.
As a fan who loves change, the movement by mediocre coaches to head coaching spots across the league can be disheartening. However, from the ownership perspective bringing in a name with NBA experience in the head coaching spot allows the brass to give an underperforming roster a new look before risking a rebuild.
For example, all four of the remaining coaches in the playoffs (Ty Lue, Mike Budenholzer, Nate McMillan (interim HC), and Monty Williams) have proven track records leading a team and have their new squads on the cusp of glory in this current postseason.
However, picking a coach for the pedigree can backfire.
Boston Celtics NBA Finals winning coach Doc Rivers in 2013 was traded from Boston to the LA Clippers for a first-round pick. After his time in LA came to a close, Doc advanced his way to becoming the Sixers coach.
Even though injuries hampered his success in a few playoff series, we’ve seen a few of his playoff losses include a lack of adjustments expected from a title-winning coach.
I’m not giving league management excuses for recycling talent, but I can understand how the threat of a full-rebuild is bad for business. Hiring a familiar name signals to fans their team is moving in the right direction.
Some of the big names that fit this description in the coaching pool and are either rumored to have interviews with teams or are actively interviewing are:
The other side of the coaching hire coin is to pick a talented individual without NBA head coaching experience.
There are plenty of great coaches waiting in the wings for their chance to run a team, and picking a new name and face is a great for teams attempting to invigorate their fanbase and take the team in a fresh direction.
An advantage to selecting a coach with an unproven track record is that a team has a chance to uncover a guru. Every great coach had someone believe in them for the first time, and comparable to the emergence of new player talent in the NBA, we are overdue for someone to emerge as the next Phil Jackson, Erik Spoelstra, or Gregg Popovich.
A personal reason I have for favoring this method is I would love to see an increase in the diversity of coaches in the league. For as long as the league has allowed POC and women on the bench, we’ve seen talented names passed over for the big jobs.
Hiring a coach is a tough process, but expanding the hiring pool instead of picking up the same few names allows the game to progress and influences a potential spread of new ideas that can take basketball to heights never seen before.
Some names I’m watching in this current coaching cycle:
Becky Hammon patiently waited in the wings for the San Antonio Spurs since she joined the team in 2014 as an assistant after her lengthy professional playing career. Hammon has gained plenty of notoriety as of late, as the Portland Trail Blazers fittingly selected her as the first female finalist for an NBA head coaching job.
Hammon holds a fair share of firsts during her tenure as an assistant in San Antonio. She is the first woman to assume the role of head coach for an NBA Summer League team, a Spurs team she led to the summer league title in 2015.
Hammon also became the first woman to coach a regular-season NBA game when she stepped in for Gregg Popovich after an ejection in the 2020-2021 season.
To couple with her accolades, we’ve seen players give Hammon the utmost respect when commanding a team.
One day, hopefully soon, Becky Hammon will get her chance to be a head coach, and the world will see her basketball mind on a nightly basis in the league.
Chauncey ‘Mr. Big Shot’ Billups is a name circling coaching interview talk. Billups would be a great candidate for a team to hand the reigns to in the future.
Billups has one of the most extensive and impressive NBA careers a point guard could have. In 1,043 games, he averaged 15.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game. He also quarterbacked the Detroit Pistons to the 2004 NBA Championship, upsetting the heavily favored Lakers in a gentleman’s sweep 4-1.
Billups’ expertise during his playing days transfers over to his young NBA coaching career. Currently, he is a lead assistant on a Clippers team that has shown in the playoffs they can adjust to almost anything an opposing team throws at them, something I would love to see him elicit from his own squad.
Hopefully, you learned a bit about the current head coaching carousel in the NBA and now are thinking about the motivations that teams could have going into one of the most important processes for team success in the NBA.
District of Buckets plans to revisit this topic and also add a few coaching prospect names to your radar:
Ime Udoka, Dawn Staley, Rick Carlisle and more to come in the future.
In a world of increased specialization for youth athletes, it is refreshing to see multi-sport athletes thrive at the highest level of competition.
In the NFL, there are stories about pass-catchers translating basketball-style movement to success in football. The NFL has seen players such as Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, and Julius Thomas make the jump from collegiate basketball to professional football using skills from the hardwood. Former Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin was an avid basketball player in high school, and Arizona Cardinals wideout Deandre Hopkins was a four-year high school varsity hooper.
The marriage between basketball-style movement and football can produce some impressive results. Much of the positioning and footwork from basketball can pay big dividends when running routes on the gridiron, as many of the translated movements are great for separation.
Doug Baldwin: Seattle Seahawks
Doug Baldwin has gone on the record saying basketball was his “first love.” Some of his route running footwork and releases have basketball crossover roots. It is safe to say his use of basketball-style movement was successful as Baldwin amassed 493 catches, 6563 yards, and 49 touchdowns over his eight-year NFL career.
Packers Pro-Bowl receiver Davante Adams also credits his release off the line of scrimmage to footwork and positioning he learned while playing basketball.
Adams is known for having one of the best releases in the game. His signature hops at the beginning of his routes allow him to react to the cornerback’s positioning and always keep them off balance. Adams’ route running basketball ties go beyond footwork and positioning. Adams also credits reactionary basketball skills as a tool he uses to recognize how a defensive back is trying to play him, and he adjusts based on the situation.
In the 2020-2021 season, football fans witnessed the effectiveness of this route running style for Adams every week, as he shredded defensive backs to the tune of 115 catches, 1,374 yards, and 18 touchdowns.
There are always benefits to playing multiple sports in developmental years, as many skills can overlap. As evidenced by the pass-catchers mentioned in this article, the overlapping skills may provide situational advantages that a player without the multi-sport experience won’t have in their repertoire.
It was eye-opening to see how basketball skills can impact a football field, and I can’t wait to see how Davante Adams displays his mastery off the line of scrimmage next season for the Packers.
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Last week, my focus was on Sixth Man of the Year front-runner Jordan Clarkson who has done nothing but push his lead for the award further since my last post.
This week, my focus shifts to players who may thin the gap of Clarkson’s lead if the opportunity presents itself.
Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon is a player who, when healthy, can catch Clarkson’s production.
This season, as of February 17th, 2020 (7:00 pm EST), Gordon is averaging 18.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game. These raw numbers plus his shooting splits of 46.5 percent from the field, 35.2 percent from three, 84.4 percent from the line, and most impressively, 61.7 percent on two-point attempts.
Statistically, if the numbers stand, this season would land somewhere around Gordon’s third most productive in his career, an impressive feat for a vet who has played in the league since 2008.
These numbers place the 2017 Sixth Man award winner in striking distance if Clarkson ever slows down this season. Aside from the numbers, it is always important to look at how Gordon impacts a game.
Gordon has all the tools to be an effective scoring guard at 6’3, but what puts him on another level of bucket-getting, in my opinion, is the way he uses his frame to attack the basket. Plenty of players can use raw strength to bully their way from time to time, but Gordon has an innate ability to know when to initiate contact. Initiating contact with a defender at the right time and with the proper amount of force to avoid offensive fouls can ruin defensive timing and create space in any part of the court.
Combining his ability to create space using his body and masterful guard skills is what makes Gordon one of the most difficult players to guard in the NBA, and he’s easily one of the players who can make a legit run at the Sixth Man of the Year award in 2021.
Check back next week for another player firmly in the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year race.
To tip-off this mini-series, I had to start with Utah Jazz combo guard Jordan Clarkson.
Jordan Clarkson has been an NBA journeyman since his selection out of the University of Missouri in 2014. Despite his frequent change of scenery, Clarkson demonstrates nightly that the one constant in his career is his ability to put the ball in the peach basket.
Clarkson has a wide variety of moves in his bag, a respectable jumper, and the athleticism to mesh with his skill and create a lethal assassin when the ball is in his hands.
Clarkson is a piece that makes the 20-win, 5-loss Utah Jazz a force to be reckoned with and a legitimate threat to the Lakers’ repeat.
What’s changed? And what value does he add to his team?
So, you may be wondering, if Clarkson possessed this ability for so long, why did it take until now for him to finally become a front-runner for Sixth Man of the Year?
Opportunity and fit.
The current setup of the Utah Jazz is a glass slipper that fits on Clarkson’s game.
Clarkson gives you instant scoring, and the Jazz desperately need shot creation on their second unit.
Also, Clarkson’s athleticism and commitment to the game allowed him to grow substantially on defense, and because of that growth, he’s seen high value minutes in the rotation.
Receiving a golden opportunity to play within the comforts of his game has taken Clarkson to new heights.
Clarkson is averaging a career-best 17.5 points per game and 4.4 rebounds per game on 46.3 percent from the field, 38.7 percent from three, and a blistering 97.2 percent from the line.
This level of production should garner him All-Star consideration. Remember, I said “consideration.” not an All-Star spot.
Clarkson is playing at an All-Star level—and I plan to start the Jordan Clarkson #NBAAllStar movement with this post— but, due to external factors such as fan and player voting, and the productive seasons of other guards in the west, I don’t think he will get the nod.
If Clarkson’s production withstands the marathon of the NBA season, there is no doubt in my mind that he will be the Sixth Man of the Year for the—currently—first-seeded Jazz.
Clarkson is the top dog in the Sixth Man of the Year award race, but that doesn’t mean he’s running unopposed.
Stay locked into District of Buckets for more on the Sixth Man award race, and take a look at the latest episode of Fantasy Basketball – This Week for more updates around the NBA.
The NBA regular-season is approaching fast, and here are some trends to note before the games start to count.
Here is a quick rundown of a few NBA stories to watch heading into the year.
The Lakers rotation looks deadly
After winning the NBA Finals in the bubble, many people expected the league to catch up to the Lakers.
However, in the offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers retooled their lineup by adding 6th Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell, 6th Man runner-up Dennis Schröder, Wesley Matthews, and Marc Gasol.
LA re-signed key veterans Markieff Morris and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and saw flashes of increased development from Talen Horton-Tucker and Kyle Kuzma.
In the preseason, the Lakers beat the Clippers 131-106 while running an 8-man rotation without superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
I usually hate to put this much stake into preseason games, but the limited rotation showed that when everybody is locked-in and clicking, this team can go 10-12 deep in their rotation without missing much of a beat.
A scary sight for the rest of the league.
Russell Westbrook intangibly improves the Wizards
Russell Westbrook is a player who is no stranger to stuffing the stat sheet, but his impact to the Washington Wizards organization is the way his competitiveness will rub off on the younger players.
From his first practice, Wizards coach Scott Brooks said that Westbrook set an “intense” tone for the rest of the team.
His impact showed in the Wizards’ sole preseason win in Westbrook’s debut, and even though there are still plenty of question marks on this team, we know that Westbrook has the potential to change the culture in the District.
The Suns are the best they’ve been since 2010
The Phoenix Suns offseason addition of Chris Paul will maximize the potential of Devin Booker.
Booker was an All-Star in a season that saw him average 26.6 points a game for the second consecutive year on increased efficiency in 2019-2020. (+2.2 in field goal percentage and +2.8 in three-point percentage)
Booker also led the Suns to an 8-0 NBA Bubble record, a run that symbolized a changing of the culture in the valley. The change of culture mixing with the influx of new talent and the addition of a future Hall of Famer in Chris Paul makes this the best Suns team in a decade.
Patrick Williams is a Hooper
I’m not here to absolve the Chicago Bulls for reaching to take Patrick Williams with the fourth overall pick, however, I am here to let everyone know — Patrick Williams can hoop, and can make a big impact in year one.
In the preseason, Williams’ skillset showed his game is better suited to the spacing of the NBA game than the college game, which would explain his lackluster numbers in college. (even taking into account the limited usage he had at Florida State)
He’s not in the Windy City to lead the team in scoring, or honestly anything. He’s a do-it-all player who can give you solid minutes, play good defense, and fill some of the holes the Bulls have in their roster.
Steph Curry Has a Legit MVP Chance
The Warriors aren’t the powerhouse they used to be, but they still have Steph Curry.
Curry’s increased usage could bode well for his MVP chances assuming he stays healthy this season.
Side note: The extra attention on Curry on the perimeter allows for first-round big-man James Wiseman to have matchups inside he can take advantage of with his athleticism.
New Look Rockets Aren’t Enough For James Harden
The Rockets made drastic changes to their roster this offseason.
John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and Christian Wood give Houston a different feel on the court, but it isn’t enough to entice superstar James Harden to stay.
Kevin Durant is Healthy
After a long recovery from an Achilles injury in 2018, Kevin Durant will be taking the floor tonight. Durant has looked good in preseason, and you can tell he’s worked his way back near the form that has his status cemented as a basketball legend.
His talent will always be there, but the main question mark will still be his post-injury explosiveness. There were moments in preseason games where you could see him move a bit slower.
Either way, it shouldn’t matter too much, as Durant’s ability will keep him in the upper echelon of NBA players this season.
The Pelicans are primed to compete
In case you haven’t seen the news, Zion Williamson is not on a minutes restriction this season.
A healthy Zion, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball are a young trio that will be one of the NBA’s toughest combinations to stop this season.
The impact Zion had on the floor in limited time last season was special.
Every player on the court has to account for every move he makes.
Zion will open up opportunities for Ingram to continue being the offensive threat we’ve seen him grow into.
Lonzo’s playmaking and defense allows New Orleans to compete with any team in the league.