What Gives? Pac Div – Chris Paul's MVP talk, Suns in chaos
Golden State Warriors (47-12, 1st in West) – Routine wins over the Celtics and the Bucks did not cover the disappointment of losing to the Nets.
What is more interesting, however, is the recent comment by Draymond Green on the state of the team:
“I’ve said it multiple times this year, we know how good we are,” Green said. “We’re having so much fun. It’s a fun group to be around. It’s easy to capitalize on this, when you enjoy being around the people you’re around every day. This is a special group, a special bond, so let’s make the best of it, because this team will probably never be together again.
“That’s just the nature of this business. One addition, one subtraction, and the team isn’t together no more. So take advantage of it while you’ve got it because I’m sure this team will never be together again. It’s a fun time. One of the funnest [sic] times of my life. Live in the moment.”
Green’s comments are not surprising: Detroit has long been rumoured to be the preferred destination for the Michigan State product and the Warriors’ failure to trade David Lee away would suggest that his contract is too difficult to move, at least until it expires in 2016.
With the uncertainty surrounding Green, it would be interesting to see how Steve Kerr deal with the dynamics when the playoffs arrive, where Lee and Green would likely be shuffled for the starting 4 spot based on match-ups.
Los Angeles Clippers (40-22, 5th in West) – Wins over the Bulls and the Timberwolves are decent, but the loss to the Trail Blazers hurts with DeAndre Jordan’s brain freeze moment.
If the video above does not convince you that Chris Paul is the ultimate competitor, I don’t know what will.
On the topic of Paul, it is strange how he is not in the MVP conversation, considering his importance to the team and the team’s record. With averages of 18.5 PPG, 10.1 APG and 1.8 STLPG, he should be in the top five of the ladder.
(For the record, my MVP ladder is the following in descending order: James Harden, Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul)
I have mentioned the lack of quality wing players for the Clippers in the past, and it has gotten to the point where Jordan Hamilton, on his second ten-day contract, is now starting in place of the injured Matt Barnes. Barnes is the recipient of a lot of criticism from fans due to his inconsistency on the offensive end, but he is a quality three-point shooter (36.9% this season) and his presence has definitely been missed.
Phoenix Suns (32-30, 10th in West) – Losses to the Spurs and the Goran Dragic-driven Heat in a 1-2 week was predictable. (They defeated the Magic for the lone win)
What was more telling about the loss to the Heat was the animosity shown by Dragic towards his former teammates. While we knew that Dragic was in a feud with the management, not much was said about Dragic and his Phoenix teammates. (If anything, Isaiah Thomas would have been the more likely player to show hostility towards Phoenix, and he most certainly did last week when Boston played Phoenix.) Dragic certainly proved his worth, chipping in 21 points in only 15 minutes.
The lack of discipline coming out of Phoenix is concerning, particularly from Markieff Morris. The hard foul on Dragic, the technical fouls (13 so far, a career-high) and the recent comments with regards to the home fans not being vocal enough would not have endear him to the Phoenix fans. After combining this with the recent personnel changes, it is clear that coach Jeff Hornacek needs to put a clamp on the team to make sure they are more composed, both on and off the court.
Sacramento Kings (21-38, 13th in West) – Defeated the Knicks very easily, but losses to the Spurs and the Magic ends the honeymoon period for George Karl.
The personnel in Sacramento is interesting, and not in a good way. While Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins are the clear centerpieces of the team, the rest of the team represents conflicting styles. For example, a half-court offense would favour Jason Thompson, Andre Miller and Nik Stauskas, while a faster offense reliant on speed would favour Derrick Williams, Darren Collison and Ben McLemore.
As Denver and many other teams can attest to, having an identity is the most important part of leading an effective offense. Karl would no doubt be trying out all the different combinations that the Kings can provide the rest of the season and make changes when the summer arrives.
Los Angeles Lakers (16-44, 14th in West) – Surprisingly competitive losses to the Thunder, Hornets and the Heat provided some positives in a 0-3 week for the Lakers.
What is most striking about these games was the balance shown on the offensive end: at least five players had reached double-figures in scoring in each game. Carlos Boozer has been restored to the starting line-up in place of Tarik Black, who drops out of the rotation completely. The bench comprised of Wes Johnson, Jeremy Lin, Ed Davis and Jordan Hill was very impressive, reaching at least 40 points in the last three games. It’s not Lakers’ Showtime by any means, but it is not a bad way to keep the team competitive.
With news that Jeanie Buss has guaranteed changes if the Lakers’ fail to reach contention soon , it is clear that they want to make good use of Kobe Bryant’s season(s?) left in the gold uniform. The incumbent players may not be part of the future, but they sure are trying to make use of the present.
Thank you for loving Aussie hoops! From Kein, Damian and #TeamPnR