Quick Takes: Pre-Trade Deadline Edition

In light of writing a piece about how Damian Lillard was snubbed for the All-Star game 3 years in a row (he got picked. Yay pettiness wins!)

I’ll be spending a few paragraphs on some things that I wanted to get off my chest.

Disclaimer: These are rambling opinions (so basically nothing new, cool.)

1. Paul George not making the All-Star reserves.

George’s season stats: 20.9 PTS 5.6 REB 3.0 AST 2.1 STL 0.6 BLK

Klay Thompson’s season stats: 20.4 PTS 4.0 REB 2.5 AST 0.7 STL 0.3 BLK

I’d make the argument against Draymond too but eh.

So I get rewarding team success over individual performance but the Warriors aren’t fair and OKC is steadily moving up to their rightful place in the standings.

Did I mention that PG is leading the league in steals? Or that he’s a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year? No? Yeah, that stuff too.

It’s a thin margin but Klay has more or less been about his normal self this season whereas George has had to adapt to two ball dominant scorers in Westbrook and Carmelo.

And yes, George is the 2nd option on the Thunder and Klay is the 3rd on the Warriors but George has way more of an impact than Klay on his team overall. Just look at the numbers when each of them aren’t playing. I’m much more impressed with George acclimating to his new situation versus Klay just being Klay.

OKC, at their best can contend for a title, and so could the Warriors without Klay, take George out of that equation and you basically just get the Thunder from last year plus an extra 20 points from Carmelo.

2. Kawhi Leonard wanting out of San Antonio.

No fiber in my being can possibly make sense of how ridiculous and short sighted you’d have to be to want out of San Antonio right now.

Now I get Steven A. Smith is just there to make hot takes and blow smoke but I’ll entertain the idea.

-Budding young talents in Dejounte Murray and David Bertans.
-Good veterans who are being used to their best potential despite being old.
-Winning culture that has lasted almost two decades.
-Your All-Star power forward returned to form this season.
-Best coach in the entire NBA coaching as well as one of the best organizations in terms of talent development, scouting, and salary management.
-You’re the franchise player.

-Can’t attract free agents to come play with you either due to the location or having to adhere to the Spurs system.
-Can’t truly contend for a title. (It’s getting harder to contend for a title in the West, the Spurs always get farther than other teams but aren’t actually good enough to beat the Rockets/Warriors this year).
-Hates the coaching staff/system (this is literally the REASON Kawhi is who he is. Without Pop’s X’s and O’s, the Spurs’ ball movement, or  Chip Engelland (Spurs’ legendary shooting coach), Kawhi would have just been Justice Winslow (good defensive all around player who can’t shoot).
-Ego (dude drives a ’97 Chevy Tahoe and makes MILLIONS of dollars. Pretty sure this isn’t an ego issue)
-Money (see point above).

In short, Kawhi should stay put. End of story. If it really is that bad just have a talk with Pop like LaMarcus did and then everything will be just fine.

3. Kemba Walker being thrown in trade talks.



He’s the franchise player and has done nothing but work hard and play hard for a middling, mismanaged franchise. He’s the only reason Charlotte was relevant in recent years and now, just to unload a bunch of bad contracts, y’all gonn go and trade him? Come on man. That being said, if it can be done, I’d wanna see Kemba on the Suns, Spurs, Cavs, Knicks or Pacers. All fun hypotheticals there.

4. The return of Isaiah Thomas


Jose Calderaon did better than IT has since he came back. Have you seen him just move? Doesn’t look good at all. Maybe throw him on the bench and let him be a sixth man until he gets his legs back.


5. Tom Thibobeau running his starters into the ground.

So back in his Chicago days, Tom Thibodeau was notorious for being the one coach who let his guys run 36+ minutes a game every single night. Those guys were Jimmy Butler, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, and most famously Derrick Rose.

Looking at where those guys are now, only Jimmy Butler has survived. Noah is literally a ghost on the Knicks, Luol Deng is getting paid by the Lakers to do nothing, and Derrick Rose… well he’s contemplated retirement since his knees blew out from all the usage by Thibs.

That being said, Jeff Teague got injured earlier this season and Jimmy Butler has been having nagging knees issues so it wouldn’t surprise me at all if we see Taj or KAT start to wear down come playoff time.

6. NBA drama in general

The Clippers Rockets locker room confrontation, Afflalo throwing haymakers, Paul Pierce ‘s retirement ceremony, the Cavs attacking Kevin Love in a team meeting, All-Star snubs, Player vs. Referee altercations, just GIVE ME MORE.

WHY WATCH HBO WHEN YOU GOT ALL THIS DRAMA viewed at a distance and at no expense to yourself. KEEP IT COMING, it’s good TV.

7. The NBA Trade Deadline

Here’s 10 players I think will be traded:

George Hill
Greg Monroe
DeAndre Jordan
Nikola Mirotic
Nerlens Noel
Dario Saric
Tyreke Evans
Mario Hezonja
Dewayne Dedmon
Tyson Chandler

Here’s 5 players I want to be traded:

Ricky Rubio (Donovan Mitchell has arrived and he took Rubio’s everything as tribute)
Skal Labissiere (Willie Calely Stein is already eating up those front court minutes, I wanna see what he can do somewhere else)
Nikola Vucevic (Magic are rebuilding, might as well keep AG and dumpster fire the rest of that roster)
Kemba Walker (unleash Malik Monk! Also get him out of there if they don’t want him)

That does it for my quick takes of the NBA pre-trade deadline, hope it was at least entertaining because I had a lot of fun writing about it.



Rook Roundtable: Lauri Markkanen

Photo via NBA.com

It’s been a while. But with the crazy offseason and equally bizzare start to the season I figured I’d dust off the keyboard and write again.

I haven’t written anything about basketball in like a year and a half so here’s some disclaimers:

I’m not a writer.
I like to think I’m mildly entertaining and funny.
I spend way too much time reading about basketball.
I have a lot of time on my hands after work.

Okay, okay, let me level with you – my only basketball credential is that I’m an arrogant, egotistical, ultra-opinionated basketball super fan.

Right, so with all the disclaimers out of the way, let’s get to it.

Through the early part of this new NBA season, there’s been a lot of talk about Kristaps Porzingis. Who, in his third year in the league, is having a monster season with 30 points a game, 7.5 boards, 1 assist and 2.5 blocks. The Knicks are actually collecting some hope after years and years of disappointment, finally abandoning Phil Jackson, and ditching the Triangle offense.

But did you know there’s another European talent who, due to being on a bad team, isn’t getting the spotlight he may so rightly deserve?

Yup, today I’m gonna be talking about the Chicago Bulls newest recruit – the Finnish sharpshooter, Lauri Markkanen.

At the age of 20, Lauri Markkanen shows NBA readiness, confidence beyond his years, and an innate poise to get to his spots and drain shots despite the Bulls’ very real early season struggles.

A 7-footer with range, Markkanen fits the mold of some of these tall sharp shooters from Europe such as Peja Stojakovic, Dirk Nowitzki, Nikola Mirotic, and Kristaps Porzingis.

Pre-draft and during the college basketball season, the former Arizona Wildcat couldn’t escape the whispers and comparisons made between him and future Hall of Famer, Dirk Nowitzki.

The former Arizona Wildcat continues to shine filling in for injured forward, Nikola Mirotic, who was caught in a scuffle with teammate Bobby Portis, ending with an eight game suspension for Portis and a concussion and facial fractures for Mirotic.

Per K.C Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, Markkanen has already made waves by setting an NBA record for most three’s made by a player in their first three games with 10. And continued that effort draining 17 threes in his first 6 games. He is leading the Bulls with a team high 15.8 points per game to go along with  8.2 rebounds, and 1.2 assists.

Only 9 games into the Bulls’ season and it seems like there’s hope for the rebuilding franchise in their Finnish rookie.

Markkanen was the 7th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, originally drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves, who traded their pick and other assets in exchange for All-Star Jimmy Butler. This led the way for the Wolves to maintain being competitive in the West while giving the Bulls fresh legs and a start to their rebuild.

He’s started off the beginning of the season in a very good spot and has seized every single opportunity to shine in light of team discord and the growing pains of a team rebuild, but it wasn’t completely unprecedented.

In his one year with Arizona, Markkanen averaged  15.6 ppg, 7.2 boards and he was named first team all Pac-12 selection, third team all American, and Pac-12 player of the week in the month of January 2016 as well as a bevy of other collegiate awards and honors. During the 2017 Eurobasket, Markkanen averaged 19.5 points and 5.7 rebounds on route to a top 16 finish for the Finnish national team.

Again, all of this at the age of 20.

Per Basketball Reference, Dirk Nowitzki, at age 20, averaged 8.2 ppg, 3.4 boards, and 1 assist, but he also only played 47 games.

So let’s move to age 21 with a full season Dirk – 17.5 points per game, 6.5 boards, and 2.5 assists

He would eventually go on to make the All-Star team at age 22, with a stat line of
21.8 points per game, 9.2 boards, and 2.1 assists to go with 1.2 blocks a game.

Lauri Markkanen is on pace to put up Dirk’s sophomore numbers in his first season, a whole year earlier.

Chicago may still be struggling through a franchise overhaul but they might’ve found a potential star in their Finnish rookie. With the impeding retirement of Nowitzki looming ahead, maybe it’s time to look and see who takes up that European torch for the next generation.

(Note: Porzingis is the obvious “European sensation” torch bearer but he’s an NBA unicorn and doesn’t play quite as similarly to how Dirk does, Markkanen just fits the bill a lot better.)