Hello Shakers, it’s good to know that you haven’t entirely died out. I think this season should prove a lot more fun for Rockets fans, for a number of reasons, one of which I’ll cover below.
Run to the corner.
- Damien Lillard traded at last. Portland’s iconic shooter Damien Lillard has been traded to the Milwaukee Bucks, who are by any card-playing definition, all in. They’ve been in the luxury tax the past few seasons. They have pretty much zero picks. They’ve got the second apron on. They’ve traded quite possibly the NBA’s best defensive guard for quite possibly the second best scoring guard. Oddly enough, Lillard suffered the same fate in Portland as Portland’s other Second Best NBA Guard of His Era, Clyde Drexler. You can argue that Drexler’s Blazers were much better teams overall, and largely bad luck stopped them from winning a title (and Michael Jordan). I’d agree, since I’m arguing with myself here. Lillard, I think would have been a bigger deal, nationally, if he hadn’t one, been in the PNW, America’s Forgotten Corner, two, hadn’t played at basically the same time as Steph Curry, a somewhat better in every way version of Lillard, as Jordan was a somewhat better in every way version of Drexler. (Titles are often won on very thin margins, like an offensive foul.) In any case, if he can’t win a title with Giannis, Lopez and Middleton, well, maybe that’s on him in some respects?
- The Lillard trade puts the NBA’s acclaimed erstwhile best perimeter defender Jrue Holliday, on the market, presumably. Where will he go? Personally I’m rooting for Portland to send him to Miami for essentially the same crap package they offered Portland for Lillard. Yes, I admire Heat Culture in some respects, but in others their hardline, hardhat, hardcore, hardass, act just makes me tired. It’s as though the Heat as a group genuinely, deeply, believe they’re the US Marines or something, when the most dangerous thing they do is workout really hard and play hoops for millions of dollars a year. Holliday going to Miami, though, makes the East an even bigger meat-grinder, which I endorse.
- There’s also the most severe case of New Owner Syndrome I’ve seen in quite a while happening in Phoenix, and involved in this trade. The Suns just gotta do something, anything, and they took part in the Lillard trade as well. They sent DeAndre Ayton to Portland and in the course of the trade recieve Jusuf Nurkic, Nassir Little, the execrable Grayson Allen, and Keon Johnson. Some are claiming the Suns got better, because they got rotational pieces in Little and Allen. Well, for the regular season maybe? Nurkic, since he began his streak of constant injury, has gotten considerably worse. Even at his best, he’s never been the perimeter and inside stopper that Ayton is. Maybe Phoenix can summon the training staff magic from the Seven Seconds era and fix Nurk? Cheap shot artist Grayson Allen is amusingly, and constantly, hunted and utterly unplayable in the playoffs. He’s a big part of why Miami kicked Milwaukee’s ass so hard in the playoffs. There’s no way Grayson was going to try any of his crap with James Butler, Kyle Lowry and Bam Adebayo nearby. (Ok, to give the Heat credit, most of their players are tough in an Old NBA way.) Nassir Little might end up being the most useful player in the deal. But at least they got rid of their super high pick center, Ayton, right?
- In Rockets news, (you thought there wouldn’t be any, right?), Rockets #4 draft pick Amen Thompson has spoken recently of workouts with Rockets coach, and (hopefully!) shooting guru, Ben Sullivan. This is nothing but great news. Even if the shot is fixed immediately it’s difficult to see how consistent work over a couple of seasons doesn’t fix Amen’s shot. Maybe he’ll be Russell Westbook, but I don’t think so, as Amen actually believes his shot is broken, if this article is anything to go by. Amen Thompson, even as an NBA average shooter is possibly the best player in this draft class, and yes, I include Wemby. (See below.)
- Wemby et al. So, is this a changing of the guard in the NBA? Wemby? Chet? Etc? Is the NBA going to be dominated by super tall, super skinny, do-it-all players? We saw a changing of the guard for shooters with range even beyond the 3pt line. We saw the devaluation of the beefy center (unless he had significant other skills). Are we now going to see nothing but Wembys and Chets? Personally, I’ve got to see it happen first. I think when we haven’t seen a type of player succeed before in the NBA, there’s a reason. What I think will happen is simply this - injuries. I think that the time we see the likes of Chet and Wemby will be really amazing, but those times will be short-lived. Not necessarily due to the strength and size of the NBA, but simply the schedule. Wemby played about once a week in France, and lived the rest of the time as some sort of basketball shaolin monk, resting, working out, meditating and really, really, sleeping. The NBA travel schedule simply doesn’t allow that. The NBA’s new player availability rules will make the monastic lifestyle harder to attain as well. In the end, I think the wave of super tall, super skinny guys who stay super skinny, will, sadly, just break. See, I’ve put it in writing. Now you can make fun of me when I’m wrong.
What Do You Like Best About Five Out?
The five parts.
Running to the corner.
When it’s over.