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All right, we're starting this. It's eight twenty one Pacific time. The rockets just came back and beat the bucks. This has been an awesome few days of basketball. I got to say, like I talked about a little bit on Thursday, every objective they had for this whole bubble thing worked are the players say yes. Are they raising awareness for social justice? Yes. Is is this a level of play that we're happy with?


Yes. Do we miss the fans?


Not really. How much she love bubble basketball. I got to say, I miss the fans. You know, look, I think there's an atmosphere to it that once these games really get cranked up for what's on the line, we're going to miss them. But I agree, my expectations were probably low just because I'm like, it's going to be weird. And as I pointed out, I've been in those buildings in Orlando before. But as low as my expectations were, which is sometimes me like, it's so beyond my expectations, it's been so good.


The players deserve so much credit for staying in shape. I don't know if 20 years ago that that NBA era would have come in like this. You know, I don't know if they would have and the basketball and a lot of it's on the announcers, but I'm so impressed.


So that's where I'm at. It's a cross between summer league. NBA 2k and some weird tournament that's happening in Turkey to qualify for like the world championships, that's the vibe with the wired cameras, a lot of room on the baseline science. You can kind of see some fans, but not really. The noise is a little different.


They did a nice job of using the hometown cues that, like, I'm so used to the Celtic games and the little Tenterden and Tenterden when they need a basket. So using all those. So it kind of fooling you into thinking it's a home game in some ways. And then I didn't like the digital fans in the background. The first game, I think they they made the faces smaller and it kind of looks realistic. You know, it doesn't totally look fake.


It's OK. Like there's movement at least in places that there should be movement. So I just think it's a day plus. I'm really impressed. Yeah.


The virtual fan thing.


Like I'm not going to ever be upset about it, you know, I'm not going to be like man this is unbelievable Giannis head to head with Harden Westbrook down the stretch a minute to go one point game Houston with another amazing comeback And Oh that guy looks stupid Like I tried in row three He look stupid So now I'm going to let that impact my enjoyment of this you know even even the audio like you know I've been watching a lot of baseball too and you can tell the level of like preparation, what went into like how they're going to do the home crowd.


It's all over the map. And the least shocking thing ever was the first day with Nesson where you go, you guys like you're hitting the button at the wrong time, like it doesn't even make sense to second late.


Right, that Utah was getting blown out the other day and Utah was the home team and they had Utah home angst crowd. And it was like they're down twenty. And then you can just hear the crowd booing her.


You know, Utah, like, I think there's a home angst button. And for Utah, it's a special kind of angst as we know how passionate their fans are. So, yeah, I'm in I thought that's what was happening.


Well, there's been two huge things that came out of bubble basketball. Other than the stuff we just mentioned, one is the March Madness benches that we suddenly have in the NBA and I don't know how much of it is for show, I don't know how much of it is. These guys are just trapped in a bubble and they're basically in their hotel rooms or hanging out at the same 20 people all the time that they are genuinely this excited. There's more room to operate.


There's you know, the benches are much wider. The reactions have been great. And I do feel like the players in the bench feel like they have to fill the noise a little bit because there is a little bit of a noise vacuum, I'm sure, in the court. I've enjoyed that. So I have one other thing, but just the March Madness benches. What are your thoughts? Because you could go either way on this stuff. No, I've always felt like when you go to the game and you pay for one of those seats right behind the bench, it's in theory one of the great seats you can have because you can watch all the interaction.


You can see which guys actually like each other. If it's a team that had high hopes and they're falling apart, then you're like, look where these guys are sitting. But this has been going on in the league now for a couple of years. So that seat sucks now because the team it's almost mandatory that if you're a team at the end of the bench that isn't feeling it on every single possession up, supporting guys like that. Part of it's great.


It sucks the people behind it. But I'm not surprised to see that even amplified because of boredom. I mean, think how long these guys are sitting there. There's no travel, so everybody should be fresh. And I just I just think it's this feeling of community because at this point, you don't even have any choice but to be around all these guys the entire time.


There's some sprinting going on with the bench guys, too. So they'll be like they showed Robin Lopez after big bucks basket today and he ran from like the corner all the way to midcourt back. There's things that I think they're just going to kind of look the other way on with the benches. But I really enjoyed that. The other thing I talked about a little on Thursday, because it was the first thing I really noticed. With with the first two games where you didn't have photographers under the basket, you didn't have the fans close to the court, especially in the baseline, and there's just a lot of room.


And it was interesting to watch the players kind of explore that room on drives. And I think that's one of the reasons, you know, this is stupid, but one of the reasons the points were so far up and why we had these games in the one thirties and the one things like that, you can drive to the basket now, full speed, 100 miles an hour and not worry about landing. And somebody you can dive into the sides and save loose balls and not worry about taking out like a family of four.


I wonder if the league is looking at this and if the players are looking at this going this is kind of the way it should be. Can can we make the underneath the basket, can we clear that out because it's actually better for basketball? I think the numbers are up because the defense is terrible with some of these teams are totally opposite of what they want to do. OK, so that's part of it. But there is a bigger conversation about all sports and what's going to change forever and what kind of access to locker room is going to have now players and every one of these guys in there.


And there's arguments that it's an invasion of privacy. And who would ever have to put up with what we have to put up in a locker room? You wonder if that'll ever go back. I'm not as extreme as thinking that we're never going to have a hundred thousand people in college football stadium. And I think that's done forever. But you're right. Like, those seats are great. Those we've Satnam, those those baseline seats are unbelievable. But it never really made sense that you have, especially now the guys are so much bigger and they're landing from these these spots.


Like I had a theory that we had just too many seven footers that were perimeter players.


And that's why they're getting hurt all the time, because it was just such a weird thing for the body to keep landing like that in the way this athleticism, combined with their size, kind of made them more fragile. And I don't know why now.


I think we all just kind of accept it because that's the way it was. But I'm with you. I don't know if the NBA is going to say, hey, maybe we should just stop putting cameramen underneath this landing area for these players all season long.


Well, how are they doing this with the cameras now? Like, I'm sure there's stuff under the basket that they're probably doing robotically.


And I think we just don't notice it, you know, if it's missing, like, has it really changed that much? Yeah.


And are you missing photographers under the basket? It's like getting crushed. I can't see my newspaper. The next step that we get in the newspaper, what do I care? I think they're going to have to clear that stuff out because there's just a field of these games and the space is kind of cool. And I'm with you. There's been defensive lapses and all that stuff. But I do feel like there's a pace to how people are playing that all of this fits into the same package.


You can fly up and down, you can push the ball, you can dive all over the place. And you don't have to worry about these people that are everywhere in your way.


So you're saying that you're not going to be like, man is MPD ass huge. You haven't seen that shot?


I just I just don't know. I just don't know.


During this this presentation, the other thing that announcers keep bringing it up and I don't I don't know if it's fair or not where, you know, there's just so much corner action now where you just you sit in the corner but you have to catch. And sometimes if you're moving a little bit, it's hard to keep track in the fact that these guys feet are enormous, how many times guys are stepping out of bounds. And they're basically saying that the bench is John Elliott was saying on the local broadcast for the Spurs because, you know, that was my spot, that right corner.


And the the seats being there gave me another kind of boundary kind of feel, and it kept me in bounds. I just think I don't know I don't know what happened with that. I just think players, they don't don't pay as much attention to the out of bounds line. So I don't know if it's the lack of seats. I've seen it constantly, but I feel like I've just seen that happen more where guys kind of set up a little bit.


Again, they're huge. You could move it back to just maybe move that around. But then it's like, do you really want to space it out even more? Would it be that big of a difference? But that's just something guys keep bringing up with all these kind of changes that we're learning about this week.


I always thought it was amazing how they have such a sense for that. It's because if you're actually on a court. The real estate is so much smaller than you realize. Throw in the fact that most of these guys have big feet instinctively, they always know where they are and I know they practice and stuff like that. But you're right, the perspective of where the seats are, the baseline is it's almost like they have this photographic imprint of where they are at all times.


Even if you could spin them around, put them in a spot, and they would still kind of have a sense for where they are now. You have these baselines. The actual baseline is fat, which may which is what makes it seem like we're playing in Turkey or something more than anything, is just the actual geometry. The court is different. They'll get used to it. The other thing they have to get used to, and this was in the Memphis Portland game, which had like five or six technicals.


They're talking shit to each other, but there's no noise and the refs are picking up everything. So it's like I make a shot of you. I'm like, Rowsell, you fucking motherfucker, fuck you. And as I'm walk away, the refs are actually hearing that, though, and they're just taking these guys up. So now these guys have to figure out a whole new way to of trash talk. Right.


But there have been a couple times where I think that would have been called in a regular season game where guys are staring each other down, probably cause they haven't dunked on anybody in five months. And it feels awesome. And they're looking at the guy. There was one double header where early on, like back to back games, the way the game was called was entirely different. Like there was one Utah game, I think it was the Utah game where they came back against New Orleans and they were murdering each other in high screens, like chucking guys in the ground.


And then the next game, like any kind of clogging off a screen, got called. And I'm like, man, this is this is like two different versions of this entirely.


But you might be totally right that in one game you're just going to hear more of this stuff more and more.


But I felt like in that one technical happy game, the guys are staring each other down a little bit just because they felt it just felt good to be back out there.


Well, this brings me to the next thing I want to talk about. So these are the best twenty two teams. And. Three of them suck, so we're really talking about 19 teams, but it's so we had so many good games over those four days, it seemed like an inordinate amount of good games. It was almost like March Madness, really. Man, that was awesome. Then there's then it was like, man, that was really good.


And I was thinking about it. It's because we got rid of all the shitty teams. The eight worst teams are just not playing. And you think about especially when we get into February, March, April with the real season and you have teams that are tanking, teams that got hurt and it's just shit game after your shit game and you just say, oh, man, Milwaukee, Orlando, this is going to suck. BOAC is favored by 20.


Now we just have the top twenty two. They're all playing each other. And to me I was thinking it's they'll never do this, they'll never have relegation. But this is what NBA Premier League would feel like right where he was like our best twenty two teams. We've jettisoned the worst date they're going to have to play their way back in. But this is the cream of the crop and that's what we're getting. So in a weird way, it's almost like the playoffs.


And I think that's why a lot of these games really feel like playoff games, because the reality is it's not like there's real stakes here. There's no home court advantage anymore. It doesn't really matter if Dallas is the seven seed, you know, because it's it's only because of matchup.


The only reason it matters, that's it. Not right. But you can't really control the matchup because you don't know where people are from. But when you talk about like, is Denver going to be the three seed, the four seed, are the Celtics going to play Philly in the three six or they can play in? It's like ultimately it doesn't matter if you're the lower seed because you can just go into the you know, there's no home court.


You have to win a game seven in Boston. So why is everybody obsessed with relegation? Like, I get the concept of it and the idea that last game of the season in soccer, where you go, if you guys end up on the wrong side of this, you get dropped down to a different league. I just think the people that love soccer and love relegation are the same people that are so pro player. Do you really want to argue for one hundred and twenty less jobs?


What do you what do you want to put them in the.


It's never had the G league put them in this ever happening. It's never, never going to vote for it. I like having the full amnion league. I like having the best twenty two. I like that half of the other teams.


Were you limited to wizards nets. No.


I wish neither of those teams were here. I mean, honestly missed the Knicks. I you know, I don't they're not involved here but you that you couldn't see Mitchell Robinson. But I think that's such a predictably critical thing where when the Nets and Wizards were there. Well, Grant, look, the nets of the AC right now, but like, why are the Wizards there? Why, you know, why are you doing this?


You just go, well, because if you had left them out and the Wizards go ahead. Mathematically, we're still in this thing. As absurd as it may seem like, you can't just tell us we can't come to Orlando. So those are little those are just minor things that like when I look at debates about it, there's no debate for me. Like, who cares? They're there and they're not going to be there very long. And we just keep moving on because the rest of the basketball has been incredible.


Like, I just I don't know. I don't know what I expected.


I guess, you know, sometimes you think, like, are they going to be running around and use pinnies? Were like one of the numbers. Good Iand wrong and it's stuck in the nine is melted to itself. And you know, there's, there's people off in the corner with like warm buckets of water because people can't find ice like. No, it's been all first class considering the circumstances. I can't imagine and I've said this on my podcast, like if it doesn't work out and one team for whatever reason gets exposed and then they're eliminated and we have all these bad headlines or whatever, as far as putting themselves in the best position to pull this off.


It's unbelievable, man. It's unbelievable what this league has done. It's also rejuvenated a few of the teams, right. Like Milwaukee right before the pandemic Giannis got banged up they were kind of you know they had the one seed clench they were kind of on autopilot at that point. Now that now they look like the Milwaukee from the first part of the season in the last night, a couple of the other teams like Portland has been completely reinvent Nurkic looks awful We'll talk about them in a little bit but yeah Portland looks you know they might not make the playoffs and yet you could make a case there one of the best five or six teams in the West, but there's been a couple of teams that needed it.


I thought Boston was going to be one of them because they'll be like Oh Kemba will be back, you know, his knee will be fine. And meanwhile he's still somehow on a minute's limit. But I think if you're just talking about a quality of play offensively. Really high level, like some of the stuff Lillard was doing in those two games, he had these quarter long stretches where that's about as well as I've ever seen him play. You know that TJ Ward just annihilated in the six years that he had career high.


I think it was fifty three. But it's just the kind of stuff that when the when the real season starts in October, guys are coming out of the gate usually playing like this, you know, where it's like, man, oh my God. And and it was all over the place. I didn't. Didn't you think you'd see more people that are like man, that guy hasn't worked out for four months that Tatum was the only one where it looked like he hadn't touched a basketball in forever and then he was awesome today.


Yeah. I mean, Tatum scrimmage games in the first couple of games you're like man, you know that you'd heard rumors about he doesn't have a basketball hoop at his house. Like, you know what? You could probably get access to one. I understand there's some limitations here and then you watch you go actually hard and I thought looked a little beefy, but it doesn't matter. I mean, it doesn't matter, considering what he did to close out against Dallas.


I think that's about that thirty three footer he hit.


Did you see that regulation? Yeah, yeah, from the hashmark in the flow of the game and as he was taking it, I was like, not a bad shot there like that. And sex, that's like, yeah, he can make that now.


He's he's it's just like, look, I've done my heart and France before, but it's not like I don't appreciate what kind of shots you can make and think about that game, that game.


Dallas had eighty five at the half. Their offensive efficiency if you just want by like per 100 was 145 in the first half.


One hundred and forty five. Dallas has the best offense in the NBA like 111, 112, I think during the regular season, which I think still surprises some people. And Houston still ends up winning that game. So some of it's great offense, some of its guys. I think the majority of it, Bill, you're right that whatever the standard was, there's there's very few people that just said screw it and didn't care. They were professionals about it.


They took it very seriously, which I think is what everybody wants that cares about this. And it just shows that you care about what's in front of you. Like if you're the Clippers or if you're five or six of these teams in the West, you know, you have a real chance here. You have a chance to do something. Maybe it's less teams. It's obviously less teams in the east. But there's also defensive things that have happened.


And, you know, I know we have a long time here to go through it. So I'm not going to just do a five minute monologue on bad switching. But there's some real confusion. And you can see the difference with like Toronto against L.A. last night where they knew exactly who they wanted to be defensively the whole game, like they had the rules in and Philadelphia in their game against, say, say, Philly, I want to hit that.


OK, but I mean, that's just another example on the other side of it where you go, none of you guys even know what you're doing right now, at least on the high screen.


There are a couple of teams that looked like they had in practice yet. It looks like first game four, it was almost like when a high school team comes back for the first day of practice and they just there's a bunch of new kids. It's just a disaster.


That's what Philly looked like at Philly has good defensive players. I mean, they have five Ball and Simmons. It's not a team. TJ Warren should be scoring 53 points again. We're going to take a break. We have a lot to cover on this.


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All right. One thing I was I mentioned on my Thursday pod just want to hit it again because I was bummed that I had to turn in my entire awards ballot and not count these eight games. I get it for all rookie and even our defense, stuff like that. But I really felt like MVP, all NBA. Those three teams were up in the air for me a lot of ways. And I kind of wanted to see these eight games.


Like I put Donchak on my MVP ballot. I didn't put it on. If Houston goes like eight no. In this bubble and Houston rises to like a three seed, I would have wanted to account for that in my ballot. I really would have. And I just think they made a real mistake. I admittedly care about it way more than most people, but I just thought it was so weird that these eight games don't matter for purposes.


Yeah, but when you have a vote like you should care, you know, it's a really important thing. I think it's an honor to even have it. So I get you know, there's there's so many pots we've done before. We're like, hey, I want to do kind of my updated all NBA teams.


And I'm like, yeah, OK. I know you've put so much time into it. There's been a couple of times it would be like last minute, be like, hey, I'm doing it. I'm like, man, I need like a few hours to take it as seriously as you do to hang on that conversation. So who did you do? Because I didn't I didn't catch it all, I imagine.


I'm Marcus Smart, first team all NBA and first team all defense.


Right? I did. And I had I had him as MVP, coach of the year. The trifecta. Oh, no, he coach of the year to give me your quick though. Go ahead. Well, I'll give you like a good example. I didn't have Lowry thirty.


Moniba and I really agonized over it, him or Simmons and I thought Simmons defensively. And as a Two-Way guy, I just thought I just thought he had a better season, he was healthy the whole year, all that stuff, and I went with him like by thumbnail over Larry. And then after one game over the weekend, I was like, I'd flip that. Like, if it goes this way for the next day. Toronto looks so good in that Laker game and they're just running on all cylinders and louris their best players and Loures their best player.


And I really wanted every part of the problem is the league has too many good players right now. So the MVP battle, you only have five picks. Davis wasn't on my ballot. Who was your pal? I bet my bat was Yanase. LeBron, Kobe, Yokich, Loka. OK, but so no nuts to have hardened on it, but I mean, if you really want to know where it is, I put hard at first to be able to put Lucashenko to my bed.


So I kind of split the split the vote on that. I just thought Luco was more important to Dallas throughout the season where it's Harden had that which we talked about in detail on our pod, the last 20 plus games for Houston when Westbrook was the best player in the team. Yeah, we're Harden wasn't as good. Yeah. But now you saw, you know, Houston, they had these two huge come from behind wins. When we did that last podcast right before the pandemic hit, Houston looked like they were running out of gas, right?


We were like, well, not sustainable. You can't keep playing like this. They got out, rebounded by like 30 today. It didn't matter. They somehow won. I think we're going to change our opinion on Houston. How many more times over the next 12 weeks I'm going to say like eight, 12 weeks out it.


Well, we have 12 weeks of reference from because I think once they run into the Clippers, I mean, would you pick them to beat the Lakers? I think, like you asked me to do the third best team exercise, and I don't do that now.


You now can I give it a green set up? Only if I can give you one, because I've missed. Can you do for one to do a group?


Why don't you do the green set up for this segment. Beach erosion, the next great coastal dilemma. And of the Rockets, the third best team in the West. That's next, big picture this year. Houston is now our Forese, just FYI. They've left the two spots, there is a whole tapioca pudding, Denver's forty three and twenty three, Houston forty two and twenty four, Utah forty two and twenty four, Oklahoma City, forty one and twenty four.


And Dallas is basically too far out. So I think the team out of the we'll get to the question a second. I think the team I would want to play out of the top six plus Dallas is Utah. I think that's the weakest of the seven, would you agree or disagree? Totally agree they even though they had a really nice come back with Mitchell, I just can see the frustration with Mitchell without a second score. And Bogdanovich, even though, you know, Connely actually looks better than he did.


He's look better this week than he did. Yes. Long stretches. So that is a little bit of hope. But can I throw a Utah theory at you? Because if we're doing this, this all part of it, right. We're trying to figure out the question is the third best team in the West OK? Because the Lakers. Clippers, who's third, right? Unless you want to be really funny and go, well, I have the Clippers there, but I don't I'm going to throw a question to you is Gobber.


Peek Dwight Howard lite. So I left him off my combat team because after, like, the fourth piece where you had to read between the lines because it was obvious his teammates didn't really like him that much as I can, I just vote for Bam Adebayo. I know, I know Miami, I know they love him, I know he's valuable to them, I know they're over TV. I'm just going to vote for him, that there's there's stuff going on with the whole gober package, it seems like.


And I think a lot of it has to do with the basketball side of it. I do think that there's a there's an issue, but it doesn't mean like there's plenty of teams that have had guys that haven't gone along that win. So that's not always like the first impediment, like, hey, everybody needs to be best friends, but go goes from project to, oh, my God, this guy is incredible what he does defensively.


And then the screens, the no screens, the guy sets all these plus minus numbers that we've all talked about now for years when you really dug into like Pekoe barrier, like I can't believe this is the kind of actual statistical backup to how impactful this guy is and such a great way.


But you become that guy and, you know, you're staring at big money, which is going to get anyway and you want to be more a part of the offense. Like the joke is that all big men don't actually love basketball. That's always the joke that we always hear. And it's like if you're going to keep the big guy happy, you got to give him some more touches.


Yeah, but here's the thing. But we have the blueprint for how this should work. For Gabbard's 2011, Tyson Chandler in Dallas played defense sets some picks, but he's too young.


He's not there yet. And that's my point.


Like the Dwights, who is though that he needs to be. So you're answering my call. You're saying yes, because Dwight was this credible force. But it's like, well, look, if I'm like the guy, which he isn't because Mitchell's the guy, but Dwight's like, I need more of those touches, late games and stands like you don't you don't have any moves, man. You don't really have any moves. And I think they're, I think with Gobert all the clean up stuff is great, but the number of times that he loses the ball or he waits and he stalls, I just think that that drives those guys crazy.


And now with no bogdanovich to kind of balance the wing scoring, even though there's some other players that I kind of like, that's why I just I had really high hopes for Utah and now without Bogdanovic that's the team that everybody wants to play right now.


In the first round there's another piece of loose Bogdanovic Where. Connelly can make up for some of that. But their bench, their bench is just bad now. It's all cause they're teetering on not being good, but then now everybody moved up a level. So now you're basically riding the Joe Jordan Clarkson roller coaster, which he had some good moments for them after the trade. But I don't know. He definitely he can't be your only guy, you know, anyway.


All right. So here's who I have. For, in my opinion, the third best team in the West. I think it's Oklahoma City. I think if my life depended on it, I'm using that corollary of what team do I trust the most, especially in this bubble situation? I think I trust them the most. The Houston thing, I still can't get out of my head when they basically careened into the guard. Well, those five games before the pandemic, when, you know, even saw today, they fell behind on the Friday game, they should have lost.


There are some stats. It was, I think, the third to seven times that.


Seven hundred and twenty games, somebody seven in the last minute teams down seven was, what, 45 seconds to go were two and seven hundred and eleven.


Yeah. So that's a total fluke. But they did come back today against this marketing that more actively that Bledsoe they really but they don't point guard now but I thought they were really missing a point guard in the last five minutes kind of going down. They look like David Genzel, one of the two seed most of this game. He was bad was so bad but OKC. The guards, the way Chris Paul's been playing, the way they looked this weekend, they had the Adams thing.


Roberson coming back, if they can get him, you know, as a rotation guy, by the time we get to about five weeks from now, they're feeling good about him. I just like their team. I think they're really hard to play. They really bring it and they're unconventional and they can put up different lineups and stuff, and I think the irony of all of it is they make this Paul George trade. It seems like they've completely tanked the decade.


They're just going to move into this other direction with all these picks. And yet you could argue they're in a better spot than they were with Paul George, with SGA and with Gallo being able to get Chris Paul, who I feel like they're going to trade at the end of the year. So this feels like an all time Rentoul to me. I just like the team and I think without in the bubble, with no home court advantage. That's it's just not a team I would want to play in a playoff series, I wouldn't want to play them if I was the Lakers, because what we saw in that Toronto game, if you have multiple guards that can create shots, you have somebody in the middle who can at least put his hands up and bang bodies around and make it a little bit hard for Davis.


And you have 18 fouls to throw against LeBron. That's how you beat the Lakers. OK, you know, what's funny is I went into this when this was the homework for tonight where I was like, I think I'm gonna pick Oklahoma City for a lot of things. You just said three guard lineups to close three ball handlers that can all get to the rim. I think shooter's finally hit that point. That's so hard for young players. It's like, look, if you just accept that you're never going to be the best player on the floor.


I'm not saying lack confidence, but if you can just accept you're no longer the best player on the floor, you can have a really nice second half of your career. And he's somebody who I went from not really liking that much when he thought he was the guy, kind of the Reggie Jackson syndrome, where then he's fit in perfectly. And Shay is going to be a multiple time All-Star when he has his own team. And I think all of us would want to Steven Adams on our team.


And then I think we always thought somebody's going to get hurt, whether it was Paul or Danylo like you like when one of these guys goes to get hurt and now they're healthy, they have the best net rating of any team in the NBA in the fourth quarter. And it's a massive no, they're like a plus two in the fourth quarter. But here's what it is.


It's it's it's a professional basketball team.


They they know what they're do in the last five minutes. I worry about their small. Well, Chris Paul is the reason why they're so good in those close games. But I worry about what their small lineup will look like. I've like what Lou Dort has done because I think he's just a dog. He's like out there to fight, but he's a bit of a to dribble guy offensively.


And then the collection of the rest of those wings, like there's little moments, they're all kind of mini Jeff Green's run like mad.


Look at that play by Beasley and then it's like Oh he's been out there for twenty minutes. Oh yeah. So like they kind of have a rotation but I'm just going to tell you that you're wrong and that it's Houston. I went in trying to say it was Oklahoma City, but I think it's Houston. The defense has not been a problem. It's really not like I'm not saying there's this great defensive team. There are middle of the pack. The rebounding rate numbers are atrocious for them.


They are. If you look at rebounding rate, they were like twenty fifth in the league. And if you go since they went small their last and it hasn't hurt him because like look at that Milwaukee game tonight, they set up in a Brook Lopez historically sets up probably too far in the post anyway. And when you got deep he got results. But people aren't really posting him. I mean, Dallas had this big line up against him a couple of nights ago, and yet Dallas still kind of played five out with Lukáš.


They played small with big players. And so even though the defensive numbers are through the roof and I worry about those rebounding numbers, here's where I kind of decided, you know what, I can't pick anybody other than Houston records against teams. Over five hundred of those top teams in the West, Lakers are 1811, Clippers are seventeen and twelve. Houston is sixteen and eleven. I think that's seventeen and eleven now with the night tonight. So when he gets the worky and OKC ten and seventeen.


That's a that's a good stat, I like that one. So can we can we agree? Houston has the highest ceiling for the three seed, but OKC is the safest pick. There's still stuff that scares me about Houston, and as I've admitted to everyone in that city. You know, we all know how I feel about watching him play, but I have to give him credit there, defense that he gets. I mean, how many times is Milwaukee keep driving through these guys and they keep batting the ball away?


So, you know, it's not like they lit it up from three. They just took a million of them. They didn't turn the ball over. I think Houston. Yeah, I think the Houston ceiling thing is the thing I like the most about them. And I don't want to just make it the hockey playoff analysis where it's like, man, if they just get hot, like the defense isn't killing them. And I, I still think whenever we expect these bad matchups, big versus small, it doesn't burn them the way you think it should.


And I think it screws teams up sometimes, too. Now, look, Anthony Davis, seven game series, he better have his ass on the block, going to work against those guys and just making it hell for him.


Well, it felt like poison gas could have done that on Friday night. I think he still had like thirty eight, but it seemed like he didn't want to just stood on the block. He just could have had a five foot jump look over and over again for the entire game if he wanted it. Yeah.


You know, look, I get PJ is going to get in your way and you know, Lopez trying to back down PJ Tucker, you think Budenholzer would have been like, hey, guy, you're not moving him like you're just not moving him. You have to set up early and you have to go as soon as you get the ball. You've got to make a decision. You've got to make it quick. So, yeah, over the course of a series, there's still some some limitations I think they could possibly have.


But and I'm not even doing this is a recency bias thing. Like, I went through it thinking I was going to pick somebody other than Houston. But when I saw that record against teams over five hundred, like, they can hang they can hang with these teams. I'm not picking them to come out of the West. But, you know, considering what happened with Utah and then Denver with all their injuries, so it's probably not fair to make a full statement on who they are.


But even better, Denver has the luxury of it doesn't really matter where they end up with seeds. I think if, you know, if we had a home court advantage situation, like with the normal we have a season, Denver would be really nervous about dropping to four because it adds to the Lakers around to. But now it's like, all right, whatever, we just need to get our guys healthy for four rounds. I have a Houston comment.


And this was something that was happening the last couple of weeks before the pandemic hit. Westbrooks offensive rebounding. And how he is figured out when Harden has the ball and he's heart is doing his thing and it's the six seconds, neither he's going to do the job back or is going to do whatever he's going to do. Westbrook seems to have mastered knowing exactly when Harden is going to do it. He's going to do and taking this angle. I don't even it's almost like watching a pass rusher, trying to get to the quarterback who's just figured out, like, I'm going to do this and I'm just going to hit him in the back and strip him for a sec.


He's going in. He's getting these crazy off balance. I don't know how many times I saw over the weekend.


It was at least four where I'm like, what are the guy in the league has those.


Yeah, his his step with purpose is it's always been something he's just over his career, he's got rebounds that no other guards have ever gotten in the history.


Do you feel like he's better? I think this is the best version we've ever seen of him. Well, the great thing is, is that he's not making every single basketball decision for 40 minutes. Yes, that's a plus because he can get so frustrated because he's so intense. And that was one of the things. Look, I mean, look, this is real. They got bounced in the first round with him running the show every single time.


And that team that lost to Utah like that shouldn't happen. You shouldn't lose the rookie Donovan Mitchell in that series in the first was a two years ago.


And, you know, that was that was a problem. So now to know that, hey, all this room is going to be wide open, you know, he was making and it was bad, like they got rid of different ginzo defensively. There were times where Marvin Williams got stuck one on one with Westbrook and Westbrook's like drooling going, I don't know how I want to score. And then they brought D.J. Wilson in to add some late. He didn't even play anymore really.


And you know, Jay gave up an offensive rebound because he couldn't even comprehend that Westbrook would have that energy of a cut behind him. And then Wilson does the classic like my bad. You're like, no shit, you're bad.


That was a huge, huge offensive board you gave up because you just you just assumed it was a guard that couldn't get around you was a terrible rebounder give up.


I think it's really hard for a guy to reinvent himself when they turn thirty and after because I think he's thirty one. Now, what he's done, I think if you look at him almost like an NFL running back, he was like your typical high usage priest, Holmes, in the early 2000s, kind of running back right where he's going to have three hundred fifty carries, nine ninety receptions, whatever, and just the whole offense revolves around him.


But then you get to the playoffs and somebody like Belichick comes along and yeah, we'll just take that guy out. We'll win. He's he's kind of changed himself into more of an Alvin Kamara type running back right where he's like maybe twenty carries a game now, but now he's doing all this other stuff and he's got the little wheel route coming out of the backfield and the offensive rebounds. And I don't know. I just think it's pretty cool. I think usually guys are finished products by the time they're like twenty eight.


You don't see in the NBA like somebody. Kind of rethinking what they do, and I'm really surprised that he's been this happy being a second banana. I mean, technically, he's one being hired into one day, but I didn't think he had it in him.


I got to be honest, I think about these years in Oklahoma City, OK, 25 year on 32 percent, five attempts to gain from three under 30 percent for attempts, three under 30 percent. He's a twenty nine ish rounded up four. He took seven threes a game one year and he actually hit thirty four percent, which is weird. And that might have been the worst thing for him because in the next two years he's a twenty nine percent again at four and almost six attempts per game.


And so he hasn't hit it from three this year. But he stopped. I mean he'll throw one at you every stop I think. Six weeks in. Yeah. When he decided. You know, you don't make these anymore. I asked somebody that used to be with the Thunder, I said, what could you even say to Westbrook? Like, Hey, that 30 footer you took, like from Sideways that you almost broke the rim. What was the thought process there?


And you just Westbrook's a stubborn guy and he would just go like in the moment, you know, that was the right shot and you'd go, well you know, we're on year five of twenty nine percent here, man. And the league average I think used to be like thirty three. I think it's thirty six now and you can't keep taking those shots. And so now because of Harden, because of trust and the fact that he was shooting it, I mean his first two months is the worst Westbrook we've ever seen of his career to now go to seeing what he would do in these switch reinvention.


Yeah, it's it's your boy.


Barkley was the first guy who was just volume three is not making any of them. And they're like, wow, he's almost making one third. It's a Gebert. The defense is delighted every time he's taking now. It was like that that was opposite with Barkley.


Barkley was just doing that. To keep you honest. Can I give you one more team? My third favorite team for the three seed. So, wait, you have you have three rankings for the number three possibility in the West.


So I have Houston as high ceiling. I have OKC is safest bet to do damage. Houston as high ceiling. You do damage. And then I have Portland as my other one. I think poor resource, the poor, the portlands, a wild card, they got back Dakich and Colins, it's shocking how much better they are than they were four months ago. And I don't know what happened. This Gary Trent Junior, I know he was playing 20 minutes game during your jersey today.


I was blown away by him in the two games like on, because just to share with everybody listening right now, I get a text from Bill said, I think I'm gonna need about 45 minutes like Gary Trent Junior tonight. And I said, I'm with you.


Just let me add five to it. This is a team that was completely destroyed partially by their wings. Right. Hezonja who I think pound for pound is the worst player in the league. I really do. I think he's a zero two player. I don't know what he does. Well every time is in the game, his plus minus every game is awful because he's awful. No we need to do a better job of that. No we needed to constantly stagger over 20 minute game like who currently holds the worst.


He's not the last player. But what does he do? Well, what is it? What does he bring to the table? Then they bring Carmelo in, who all he can do is do like pull up jumpers and that's it. Like he can't guard anybody. He's actually he's pretty good at boxing and grabbing rebounds. I think AirTrain Junior comes in and their whole team falls into place at that. Nurkic looks spectacular.


I thought Nurkic was going to be somebody that you know maybe was going to be eighty percent what he was. I didn't know how bad that leg injury was but he's one hundred percent what he was. Collins is all over the map every five minutes I change my opinion on a his body and and I got to say dame. I don't know where he is on the top 10 players in the league list and what the qualifications are. But like, is Curry better than him at this point?


Well, come on, let's let's take it easy. Game the game, because I'm not talking about. Don't you encourage me? No, no, no, no. I'm not talking career. I'm not talking like playoff job stuff. I'm just talking game to game. The stuff team is doing now consistently reminds me of curry. Like, he's just I just feel like his money, I feel like he's going to get to 30 to thirty five every night they're down there that they're down twenty four to the Celtics.


And I'm not turning the game off because I'm like, I know fucking no portlands, make your run. I know Damon Sijia coming back and they did. I just think he's he's in the top eight or nine for me now and I don't know what the list is but I just think he's great. Some of the stuff he's doing on these drives when he's thirty five feet from the basket and he's bringing whatever and he's going in, he's wading through traffic and doing these crazy full speed lefty spin layups like he's fucking unbelievable.


I know. I'm not. I'm not, I know I'm not. Breaking new ground say they is unbelievable, but I just think he's at another level than than he ever was. Yeah, but I still think, you know, when he closed out Oklahoma City and he did it against Westbrook, when Westbrook looks a dame is like you're not even in my neighborhood and you're like, actually, well it might be better than you, but you know, here we are praising both of them just because of how deep.


As you said the top is I wouldn't have lulia outside of my top 10. No doubt. You know the curry thing I'm not going to get into other than I think.


Well, we both asseri. Right. But if you ask Curry to say, hey, take every shot, although, look, he had Seage offices and balance. I don't know if you want to do more on Trent, but Trent like forty percent from three. Now he takes four of them a game. He doesn't give you a ton of rebounding that assists. But he just he you actually need his toughness as a guard because sometimes you worry about defensively, like if you come at them with big guards and it's CJ and Dame, then you really worry about it.


I also thought like some of the stuff they were doing offensively in the first half, like I almost feel like Brad tests the other team with Kanter, like we like Kanter's rebounding, we like his effort. He's really good around the rim. You can get like cannas incredibly. He's always been good. Going back to when I'd watch tape of him for the draft was like man this guy's really good around the rim but I would watch what they were doing.


I'm like how do you not test Kanter in the high screen roll with Lillard McCollum combinations are a rolling Nurkic or even Zach Collins who I'm with you his footwork and his hands. I fall in love with Collins all over again and then I'm like What the fuck are you doing out there. And then he's like playing somebody three feet from the basket and you're like What do you think that category.


And so you know they were running like side ISOs for Melo against Jaylen Brown of all people where you go Hey advantage Jaylen on this one. Like as good as Melo is and I'm not an anti Melo guy, I saw you guys doing and then they switched it back where they're like, hey, we're just going to have Daim get into a shot off these high screens and Boston was screwing some of it up. And a lot of it's deemed too, like I thought they were kind of talking it up, going there was one was Wannamaker and thise entice just went the wrong way.


And you're like, what happened there? There was another one to Tatum had a chase him from the corner and being gunnysack. Well, Tatum lost it because he went under and you go, he was going to catch him over and then dame just starts pulling up for anywhere and they're like, this isn't coverage anymore. And then Boston brought all of its pressure up to just meet him and stay too with him as much as they could because he was changing everything that was happening in the game.


I am stunned the defense is now I mean, they're basically like Memphis was throwing traps at them, they're trapping them thirty five feet from the court. He's he can't even get the handoff from Nurkic because the guys are just there on him like flypaper and he's still navigating this whole thing. I, I, I can't remember a smaller guy who has had defenses more thrown at him like this other like going back to like the Iverson era would be the last guy.


But Iverson stretched the floor like I mean the can stretch the floor like this. So you can't even really it's not a knock on Iverson, it's just a different you approach. People are going in this Portland game going when dame gets the ball. Thirty five feet for the basket. We've got a shot like his James Harden. Yeah. Do not just make him give the ball up. That's why I think he's gone to another level, because he's solving this whole different level of chess that teams are playing against him and he's still getting his points and he's still getting everybody else.


Well, we're going to take a quick break and come back with some more.


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Age and location restrictions do apply quickly at that Boston Portland game. How many seconds do I have to complain about Boston's 12 19 draft? But 45 years, no man take as long as you want, no, I don't. I don't want to I don't want to do a whole Celltex rant. Yeah, but you're going to.


So why am I going to get in the way that. They're like one guy's short. They had. I think the 14th, 20th and 22nd pick in a draft that had good guys and they took Langford, who I still kind of like whatever that is, a potential pick. Did the 20th pick the trade theorbo to the Sixers, trade down four spots and get thirty three? Clark goes twenty one to two, OK, who trades in in Memphis, they could have just taken Clark at 20 and if you noticed this, but Clark is pretty good and the Grizzlies, he would be playing for the Celtics.


I tell you what, though, scouts it all all over the place. People were all over the place on him. And now I'm just like, oh. Go ahead. Well, Grant Williams, the twenty two teams are now leaving five to six feet open in the corner. It's like one of those. It's like when we were watching the Jordan games, when they were just leaving Adam QIf open by seven feet. So he's basically unplayable. And then Carsen Edwards is headed for Italy.


They had all these picks and they just went went, oh, four. And then but then you think the other piece where they thought the Sacramento pick from last year was going to be this crown jewel lottery pick, awesome. Pick somebody that was going to be a potential all star along the lines of Jaylen and Tatum, then Sacramento inexplicably does well. That pick ends up being fourteen instead of four. It's just crazy to me that they got nothing from that draft.


If you took a year, go, if you told me a year and a half ago, Boston is getting nothing from this draft that will help them in the 2020 playoffs out there and they get the fuck out of here, what happened? Do we trade our picks for like a future pick? We went we just got it. We got nothing. But that's that's the reality. They're going into this playoffs and none of these guys are gonna be able to help them.


Anyway, none of my rent, yeah, no. I still I'm looking at this and going Cam Johnson over Tyler Hero. That's that's unbelievable. Well, that was it when the Celtics lost the coin flip and instead of Tytler hero, they fell to fourteen and they took Langford. But then I just can't believe they didn't they didn't get anything better from that. Can I can I give you one more Boston? Be a 20 second one. Only one more.


You're going to let people down, is it? I'm kind of back in Gordon Hayward, a.k.a. Mr. Education Reform, he's he's he's got his mojo back a little bit. And I actually thought they made a huge mistake in the Friday game because Brad was so determined to get Tatum out of this crazy black clad funk he was in. Hayward was doing kind of whatever he wanted in that game, but was never getting the ball. And then this game today, I like some of the stuff he did, too.


I'm wondering, do you think Gordon Hayward, the one player who doesn't need fans because he's like he's a fucking gamer at his home by himself, just playing video games for eight hours a day? So there's this weird bubble with no fans. It's like Gordon Hayward, his home, his back heads up for Gordon Hayward, I'm afraid.


Well, first of all, you know, now that we're in year three of this thing. Yeah. And it's not a bad signing. I just I will argue that with anybody. Who. Hayward. Yeah. You signed them. And but then to have the development of not only Tatum and then getting Kemba, but then Jaylen Brown turns into this guy where Tatum and Brown, even with my buddies, they're like, how come you're so much harder on Tatum and less on Brown.


And I go Well because I think Tatum has a chance to be something I don't think Brown can be yet. There are moments where like Brown close that game out against Portland because he's just he's probably the tougher of the two mentally, you know, like Tatum. And I don't want to make too much of the Tatum scrimmages and some of these early games because he was really good, especially in the first half against Portland. But when Tatum floats, it feels like he's almost floating out of the game a little bit.


I never feel like Jaylen is floating, like no matter what. I always feel like he's kind of locked in. But you add that development of two other wings that kind of play your position to Gordon Hayward, like we were never going to get the version of Gordon you want to just because of limited opportunities, because of the roster, too. But I'll ask this. If you're going to go full pirate, don't you have to be a little more aggressive?


Because if you're going to go with the pirate, look. I just feel like it almost raises our expectations of what you're going to be like as a player if you're going to go that kind of, you know, swashbuckling mustache, you know, I agree.


And I've been very open about it over the years. Toronto fans are going to be mad that we didn't we didn't have to jerk session about them. They looked awesome. I'm going to throw this to you. Is that the worst possible matchup for the Lakers in a seven game series, multiple ball handling guards that they have to account for, Larry, is just they don't have anyone on the roster to cover him. Toronto has multiple dudes to throw at LeBron who are athletic and can make him work.


They're not going to turn down, but they'll make them work and then size to throw Davis. And a better coach and Vogels a really good coach, I think Nicklaus is the best coach in the league. Yeah, that's that's yeah, I was actually thinking about that today because I go there are some things in that Lakers Toronto game that I couldn't figure out what L.A. was doing, but I'm not an anti vulgar guy at all. But I just you know, it's always going to be advantage.


Nurse and the rest of the league will tell you that like the rest of the league was a nurse. And when I would talk about tiers of teams, I was always surprised how many people in front offices would include Toronto as the fourth team. And there's a couple of teams that were like, yeah, maybe you're right or whatever. I go, well, isn't isn't it the tier of the two teams in Milwaukee and in the second tier starts with Toronto or whatever?


I guess it just still seems unfathomable that they're going to have a chance to come out of the east. But I think we all have to accept it because you're right, the the depth with them was something we noticed last year. We like you know, what they did? They built a team were seven or eight. Guys are all comfortable with the basketball in their hands about the only player they play in the rotation that you don't expect to be able to create.


His own shot at the end of the shot clock could be Rondi Hollis Jefferson, but they went small with him. They can throw two different bigs at you. OG was like right up into LeBron and no one's going to shut LeBron down, but you just got to make them work. Right? And what I loved about their defense is they had pressure on the ball right after half court with it. And it's almost like the Lakers. It's like a pickup game.


Be like, are you guys going to be these fucking guys? Like, are you serious? And it's like, no, no, this game counts. But, you know, we're here to beat you. If if LeBron is going to handle the ball as much as he's handling it, you have to do that. You have to look for every little edge you can to wear him down even by two percent. And they have the guys to do it.


I thought it was interesting from the box score. And it was when I was watching it, it's how I felt and then I looked at it, they basically played eight guys. Toronto did. I like teams that are like, here's our eight, these are our guys will mix and match whatever we have our crunch time five. These are other three guys who come in and that's it. We're not trying to figure out who we are. We know who we are with.


These are our best guys.


And we'll play a little Hollis Jefferson might grab one of these other guys for five or six minutes, but we'll throw these at you to go small to show it to you, which was frustrating, I think, from a Laker standpoint, because I think the Lakers problems in that game were fixable, where, you know you know why why are you letting Trivalent Dwight get these good spots, you know, closer to the basket, even though Anthony Davis can do all these different things?


They were trapping Anthony Davis like crazy. And Anthony Davis is smart enough that he's not going to force things and he's going to make the right pass. But then you're like you didn't take a shot in the first half. Like, man, that can't happen. And then when it's Rondo, Hollis Jefferson in is this five and and Davis had a few, there was like a few minutes stretch there where they let that lineup sit there and they didn't even take advantage of that.


So I don't I interrupted you there for a little bit, but I just those are little things I was looking at watching that game going these are fixable for L.A. But they got to be they're going to make this quicker. Like they've got to understand this a little bit quicker because it just it felt weird that Davis was such a nonfactor just because of the trapping. I so I was in that Cantarella because because of the two guys, but. Green light green was 047 in that game, and we've seen this with green greens, not reliable.


One hundred percent of the time he's almost like when he's playing well, it's the added bonus, but I don't feel like you can count on him for four straight rounds. He's going to have games like the game Saturday night over seven. Caldwell Pope played 30 minutes in that game. I think that's a real problem because I think he is a bitch, but he's our best shooter, like if you look at the percentages, he's like right at thirty nine, I think 39 percent.


So do you think he's an average player? Would you say he's below average?


I'm saying there's I think he's average, but I think he's needed because he's another space for the floor. Like think about this. This team is the one seed in the West. And because of everything that's happened, they added Dion Waiters and J.R. Smith, and then they're done now. So that brings about the next point than waiters. The good news is he actually looked good in the first game and OK in the second game, it might actually be able to give them a little irrational confidence guy off the bench.


The bad news is they're relying on their waiters and I actually think they need them because. It's just a lot of Kuzma. I think they've figured out how to unlock him at least a little bit and he's their third best player, but the four through 12 is is pretty sketchy. And the fact that they don't have that Avery Bradley piece where it's like Oh here's a game or. The other team has a really good offensive guard, here's a game or we'll play Avery Bradley a lot and we'll put up with whatever happens offensively, but we know we're getting defense out of them.


They don't have that peace now, and I don't know, I think it's a beatable team, but that but my bigger point is I think all these teams are beatable. I think the Clippers I think everybody has some sort of a flaw. We look at them and go, man, well, that's not great. But if you go down the line, you could say that about every single contender we have. Well, that's really been the thing now for about two years, right, because post Golden State, you know, we kind of knew what to expect.


And then we also had a Cleveland or really we had a LeBron run for eight years. So we actually.


But you didn't come for the before the injuries, though. You didn't feel that way about Golden State last year, did you? I still felt like they were like, wow, those four guys. It doesn't really matter. They're still the best. No, that's what I'm saying, is that we're on the same page here, is that we we became so accustomed to the predictability of LeBron against Golden State that this is this weird to you guys now where, you know, whenever it's new, it's hard.


You know, there's still reservations. I have about Milwaukee in Van Gundy was pointing it out tonight during the broadcast like, you know, in New York, kind of this space in three heavy. And they also give up a lot of threes like that. That was a weird loss for them. I thought that was kind of a weird loss when you're up 112, 104, which is a couple minutes to go. And that's what Houston could do to you.


Toronto, you never thought this would happen. I mean, I'm supposed to somehow buy into Philadelphia when they're the six seed all year and they still look screwed up even though Embiid has a monster. Save it save it. That's this. I know. I know I know but then you know you go back to the Lakers and we were really high on the Lakers before this whole thing. Remember we were starting to do those things. Are you like man you know what, I might just trust them the most.


It's Davis, it's LeBron. Like, we're going to make this complicated. And then I look at how he matches up against the Clippers. His shooting numbers are the worst against the Clippers of any team he's faced this year. His his field goal percentage, his three suketu against him. It's not the lowest, but he has the lowest overall field goal percentage against any team against the Clippers. And it makes sense because they've got the two wings. And when Beverly's there, you can throw it at him.


And I think of a Clippers fan, I'm going, look, I get it, Anthony Davis in the matchup and all that stuff. But no, Trese, the Lou Williams situation, Beverley not starting the game and the minutes out there. Yeah.


So the Clippers fans are not looking at that one the same way. But you're right. Like, I could talk myself in and out of all of this because it's still we don't have one group here out of any of these top teams, however many as you want to name. We don't have one group that's ever proven anything.


And everybody has a team that has a certain something that could be a problem for them. And that's what we're talking about, like we're talking about OKC before.


I have no idea who guards Chris Paul. On the Lakers, now, you could go the other way and go, who the hell is guarding LeBron on OKC? That's why I would be really fun series. But when you when you take Chris Paul and Sugar. How are you going to play LeBron Kuzma Davis, some sort of a wing and then I guess like Caruso or or I think Caruso's they're closer until the rest of the guard think it's finished.


I think about that. Do you even like Caruso like I think he's OK.


I think he's better expensively than he is offensively, but he's become such a crowd favorite because he's a white guy with, like, bad hair removal.


That is he is he a tenth man? Is he a ninth man? Is he like any other closing group man? I know, but that's sort of saying take him out of this and just think about it like, is this somebody that's going to be in the crunch time of a championship team? Alex Caruso? Like who is who's the worst person who's been in the crunch time of a championship team like Derek Fisher in 2010? The least talented guy who is closing a game for a championship team.


Richard Jefferson. Two days ago, when he was like old, old, kind of white, washed up a savvy Richard Jefferson.


Is that it? I was on our team.


I think he was on your team, like 12 years ago. Which guy I don't want to say his name because he's going to punch me. Who is it, Perc? Perquisite closing games up was in 08. I mean, their best lineup was a small lineup. Don't say it's a perk I ate at this hour. I just I wanted to I wanted to mess with you. I don't believe that. I was simply suggesting it to see what you would say.


And I'm glad you defended him.


Well, poor guy is better than people remember on the subject. So I think people seem to think, OK, Park was perfect the entire time. But but from 08, 09, 2010, I thought was an above average center.


He was perfect for what they needed. He was perfect for for the way they play because they never needed to score. So the Lakers thing. It's weird because I don't even think Avery Bradley is that good, but I thought he brought something specifically that they needed that they had not replaced. Now, could waiters. Coming off the bench as a reliable Jordan Crawford on Utah type of guy for six minutes, he chaffe be a new wrinkle that, you know, maybe that'll be a fun wrinkle compared to the defense or losing.


I don't know.


Stay on the koosman thing, though, because they were talking him up so much in practice. And this gets back to my kind of young guy finding himself. This is not a skill thing. This is a role thing. And the first half of the Clippers game, I thought he looked lost like really bad. And he had like a nice swing pass that led to three. Then he hit another shot. He was better in the Toronto game. So maybe it's heading in the right direction.


But, you know, the way Cruz is talked about, it's like, you know, he's still trying to figure out. He played 55 games. Fifty now. Fifty seven games, I think with the Lakers this year. And he is in that group of young guys were like, this was way easier when I was relied on. He's like, he's too young.


I think to accept that you need to figure out some ways to win within the game off of these other guys. And so even when he has some of these moments, it still doesn't always feel comfortable.


So this this Koo's I shouldn't even say it that way, but this Kuzma that revelation like this all of a sudden that he's going to turn to this guy that really helps them. I mean maybe it happens but it starts to feel more unrealistic when you're. What are you asking. You're asking him to be like the number three guy every time in big time playoff games, maybe on the way to champ way to win a championship when for the most part, most of the season, he's proven that it's just still a role that he's incredibly uncomfortable with.


So we'll see.


I think his when he's playing defense and he's really active. It seems like it unlocks a little something for them, but I want to point out with Kuzma because you talked about how young he was, he's twenty five.


He's twenty five years old, he's been nearly three years, that's what I mean, it's three years in the twenty five thing. And he was, I mean, score last year. He's a career thirty three percent, three point shooter last two years, last year, his thirty point three, this year he's thirty point eight.


I think people seem to think he's like Robert Horry, you know, just as that guy from three and he's just not he's just not. You're right. And teams are going to leave him alone in the playoffs and make him take threes and they're going to play way off. So, you know, look, if they win the title, it's going to be because LeBron and Davis just about everybody. And that's very, very, very possible. It's certainly something that we thought was probable heading into the when the pandemic shut everything down.


I still like the Clippers slightly, but I also think that Lakers are just a good that that's a good matchup. The Clippers, because of the Davis thing, Davis can do whatever you want. There's never going to be I don't care if Harrell's they're not they're not stopping Davis no matter what happens. So I had a couple of bubble favorites for you, actually.


Let's take a break and then I'm going to go bubble favorites.


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OK, we mentioned Gary Trent Jr. Mentioned Nurkic. You mentioned Jaylen Brown. I thought he looked really good, Lowry was great Westbrook. I liked all the stuff he was doing. TJ Warren we did not mention. Grayson Allen. No, we didn't didn't know we were who who closed with the Grizzlies in a very dramatic last second loss to to nerd basketball, punching D'Amato Rosen, who made a couple of huge shots and won the game for the Spurs, Grayson Allen closed the game and was having some moments.


Is Grayson Allen going to be like a 12 year NBA player starting to feel like he is? I couldn't believe, like when he couldn't get any minutes with Utah, he must be bad, right?


Especially Utah they love.


Like I said, you can't give them any minutes out of the floor. And it wasn't, as we've talked about this Utah team.


Was it the deepest team and I would ask about him and I was told we really like and we really like him, which, you know, I rarely will you get a front office to say he sucks.


Yeah. This guy.


So he fucked EPICA pretty bad when they made the semi. I know we really like him because when the trade happened, you know what?


I'll say this now. Utah says when the trade happened, I was like, oh yeah. You know, looking at it, I go to Gracin like, who cares? It was like, no, no. We like Gracin as it.


Come on, come on. So maybe, just maybe he don't he wasn't a lack of athleticism. And it's not like he's really small and, you know, he's a credible shooter. So sometimes I have a heart like there was the longest stretch where you'd go, oh, this guy will be good.


And you're like, nope. And then the next big white guy comes along that can make shots and was shooting being such like the only thing anybody cares about anymore. But it's not just automatic for those guys.


So maybe he's he's figured it out. And I like that he can go to the basket too. He's not just that he can drive. Yeah. Yeah, he can drive and drive. The other hand, I really like Dillon Brooks. And he he might have cost them both of those games. Especially today, he the rose and just took them to school down the stretch, and especially on that last play, but in general, it maybe it's because we haven't seen these guys in a while and I'm just they set our basketball back.


I thought I was at another level. Job was going wherever he wanted on the court. I watched every minute of both of their games. And I you know, he doesn't have to step back three at their shots. He doesn't have that. He's going to have three years from now.


But, man, if I was a Knicks fan, I know we've talked about this before, but the Knicks fan and we came within one pick of that guy on top of all the other shit that's happening, Knicks over the last 20 years. As just brutal, I mean, they had the most ping pong balls. They had the highest percentage by far to get Tzion or Jamma, and they had up three and I still like RJ Barrett, but I mean Jeyes out of control teams when he when he has a head of steam, guys are just back pedaling like full speed because they just don't want to have their ankles broken and he's still getting wherever he wants.


The other hand, and Jackson, although Jackson is not rebounding for some reason, but Jackson offensively, he looks like he's back that team. I like that team. They're going to make the playoffs. But that is really the foundation.


I'd almost like to see violence. You just get out of there just to let everybody go wild and get them out of the way like, hey, you know, I know you're talented, big and everything, but we're just we're going to put you in a time machine back to 2002.


No, no. You know where we put them? San Antonio. It's like your time. Your time is. Yeah.


You're always supposed to go for it.


Look, they were supposed to say Tony Parker for him and then it didn't happen. They remind you remind them of Tiago Splitter. They really want you like a better Tiago Splitter. So Memphis and Portland, who I think are very entertaining to watch. And then New Orleans, two people were trying to will into this aid and meanwhile they couldn't guard you and me. And so not a layup, it's a layup line, it's a layup, it's embarrassing, yeah.


So be like, oh, cool. Well, Portland or Memphis will be the eighth set in San Antonio. I was like, hold my beer. Would you guys be interested in a little to Rosen in Gay and Patty Mills and you would match up anybody say, to tell you you will not go away? It's unbelievable.


The Lakers look like we don't have to worry about the Murray. Like we just go under every single screen right now and him a little. Let me let me just do a minute here on New Orleans. Yeah. You got to imagine how they're just going to be psyched if they don't make the playoffs that they can rest on. Look, we all want to see Mazatlán, we get it, there's a limit on the minutes they're going to baby the hell out of them and that's fine.


But when it's a game that matters for seating for the first real game back and you can't figure out how to have them close the game, and it's embarrassing. It's just what's the point? You know, and I like that whole organization and I really like a lot of the pieces of the team. But there's just, you know, to have Derrick Favors catch the ball and watch everybody just do stuff while you're like, are you going to do something with the basketball?


And then Tzion sitting on the bench when it's a game that you need to get in the playoffs, like, why are we rooting for them to get into the playoffs when they don't even seem to want to get to the playoffs?


And then the flip side of it is Portland on on Friday and then especially in that Celtic game today when they could have rolled over. And Portland is playing every every game like it's a game seven. You know, I don't think little Matt Lillard didn't come out in the second half in there pressing him. They're doing a million things. He just stayed in the game like he really wants to make the playoffs. I do not feel the same hunger from New Orleans, but the shame of it is Portland schedule is so tough.


And they just so much damage, they go into the bubble playoffs at twenty nine and thirty seven other thirty and thirty eight, but they did so much damage to themselves that first part of the year they might not be able to recover. And it's a shame because they're one of the eight best teams in the West. And I think Memphis is Memphis is certainly better than Orlando or Brooklyn, you know, and it's just another classic west here where you have ten good West teams and six good teams, thoughts and prayers.


Jonathan Isaac, it was so fun again to watch him. And you have this hope that, like one of these Orlando guys is going to work out and be something. And to see Isaac her, that one didn't look good.


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All right, so watch in this Philly thing, which was hilarious because we're reading for two weeks about how they finally figured out their lineup was shake. Milton Crawford's going to come off the bench. They've really unlocked this. Here we go, Shake Mountain at zero points in 19 minutes against Indiana, Horford was I think minus seventy six in 10 minutes in the game. And and they get torched by TJ Warren, even though, as I said earlier, they have Simmons and Diable two guys who you would think would be able to slow down TJ Warren.


They do have Embiid. Who for, I would say at least half the game was being guarded by Sampson, who was six foot seven, Jaka Sampson, St. John Sampson. Yeah.


And it's like, let me get the ball twenty five feet from the hoop and I'll decide what to do. It's like you're being guarded by somebody with six, seven, go go close to the basket and just score them every time. It was a Brett Brown disaster. They look terrible. At one point, Sheik was yelling at him beat in the huddle, which I watched live. I was like, whoa. And they cut to commercial. That's like, wait, is that was that was that a fight?


And then come back and they're downplaying it, but. It's Groundhog Day. And I just I don't get it. That team is so talented, it's such a tragedy from a basketball standpoint that that team is going to lose in the playoffs early. OK, we need more just so we you know, I know we have a time limit here, we want to get this over before the sun comes up. But I told myself, as I like, did the riprap, like when I'm in it, OK, I can name everything.


Right, for the most part, the same way all of us that are really in a day in and day out. We know who everybody pays for that kind of stuff. If you ask me, as close as I am to college football, who every quarterback was, all the power five schools, I would get so many of them wrong right now because I'm just not thinking that way. Two weeks into the season, I'm going to know everybody what the recruiting ranking was, who offered them, and then the backups, because I just do my own prep on that, too, always, because I just love talking about quarterbacks.


So when I started ramping up again for the restart a week or so, I'm going over everything again, OK, because it's been four months plus a shutdown where I wasn't reading stuff religiously like we normally would be.


And I looked at their roster and went, how are they the six seed? OK, it happened again because the same thing happened. We did the preview of the entire season where you go stack up Milwaukee's roster and stack of Philadelphia's roster, like, I can't pick Milwaukee, I can't. And then it plays out again, incredibly frustrating. And so what I've told myself on this restart was don't have a second first impression. Don't talk yourself into something that completely contradicts what you felt about a team.


Yes, some teams are going to be more apt for this just is going to be some outcomes that we can expect.


Obviously, this is sports and it feels really unpredictable going in the playoffs, but don't completely change how you feel about a team or players just because we've seen it now for a week when we had four months off. Don't let there be a second first impression. And when Philadelphia, when I watch them in that Pacers game again it's Pacers know Sabonis Brogdon to the play and the shake Milton thing's been a nice stories like forty percent from three. That's not who he was last year but now all of a sudden it's all unlocked and Ben Simmons is going to be incredible who they still stagger that Ben Simmons Embiid thing for all the people that say that's not an issue because it is an issue and I still don't know what's going to look like when they're close in big games.


Horford has been a disaster except for certain things defensively and I get that I forget Tobias Harris is out there all the time. Even though he had a monster game against the Pacers. Josh Richardson is not even close to being the guy that he thought he was going to be. But Milton, good game.


I forgot about him. Yeah, I even mentioned him. I'll tell him when you look at the roster, you go, wait, how is Josh Rich like Josh Richardson used to be a guy everybody would want on their team.


I got to say, I can't remember one thing he did in that game. They had to put in Raul Netto to run the offense and Netto, I don't even know how much it was his fault. Sometimes I'm I'm second guessing myself and some of the coverages, but I know when the players all start yelling at each other or when Shake Milton gets yanked seven seconds into the second half, they played seven seconds and something got messed up on a defensive thing and backgrounds like, fuck it, you're out nettles in.


And the announcers, at least the Pacers side, they're like, what's going on? But what happened today, it's still on the jump about Shake Milton, I guess. I guess we have to do it. That from the Internet, it felt a little like that's kind of the other point is that I'm supposed to take the Pacers this year excuse me, the Sixers this seriously.


But their their prospects have improved this much because of Shake Milton.


That was like last week, Shake and I get credit here. He played well for like four games. And they're like, well, we've we've solved this. So here's my thing with Philly. And you saw it at the did you watch that whole game like I watched you?


OK, and that high screen thing, they couldn't figure it out and they were getting it wrong every time. But remember, Indiana is up by like seven or eight or something. And Philly's just like they do this crazy full court press on them and unleashed their athletes and they got like one steal. They almost got like two more steals. And it was you're watching this. You're like, oh, my God, this is the twenty Ravens. What what is happening?


And I realize, like. They just have to not worry about offense at all, like the only way that they can turn this around is with their defense, because they have they have size, they have speed, they have athleticism. They have like two high end guys and thighbones. Simmons Richardson used to be a high end guy. I don't know what happened in this year, but if they if they could bottle what they had in that last minute as they're like scrapping to try to come back and just kind of make that their style and then on offense, whatever you have Embiid you have three point shooters like you're going to get to 100 points.


But to me the defense is how they're going to win and it's like they don't even care about it until they're down 10.


With a minute left they give a fifty three points to TJ Warren and they still and they still like didn't believe it was real. They had, they kept following holiday on these high screens and then they would they like a couple of shots granted from Warren are incredible. Yeah. Like twenty eight point you go, you just have to, you have to get ahead of. And by the way, that frantic thing towards the end, I think they had an incredibly stupid foul where they were down a possession.


And so it was it was the thing was they basically were going to have to ride it out a little bit or wait it out because, you know, there's always this thing depending on where the shot clock and the differential, OK, but it doesn't mean you have to file right away when you have to foul. And they ended up just you go, OK, so you guys screwed up on defensive assignments. You didn't even have any idea, because I think Netto all of a sudden is like, wait a minute, I'm the starting point guard and I don't even know that was always on him.


Guard. Yeah, and they're all looking at each other going, what the fuck? And then they're looking back at Brett Brown and then you have this foul at the end where you go, OK, so now we're just going to foul guys at the wrong time. And it's just a very hard team, despite how a week ago I'm looking at that talent going, oh my God, how is this team bad? And here's here's the funny thing. I talked to somebody about this like, wouldn't Philly be better off getting the sixth seed playing Boston, being on the other side of Milwaukee and then maybe facing Milwaukee?


Like, wouldn't it make more sense for them to take into the six you go with? Brett Brown doesn't have that kind of equity. This group doesn't have that kind of equity. It can't happen. They're clearly going to catch the Pacers. And now you go. They might be what could they possibly be there by trying?


Right. Well, we were heading into the bubble and I even sat on this pot. I was like. The three sects like Boston playing Philly and B, that's going to be a real problem, and it mainly because I had to watch Philly for four and a half months and I forgot how dysfunctional, how weird they coach they were.


I watched that game. I'm like, that's fine. If that's the three six, I'll welcome it. I'm not their coach. I'm not a better coach. We'll figure it out. We'll be fine. But even Steven Adams looked like Shaq against the Celtics as a scrimmage. If Philly just says we're going down in flames with Embiid, Simmons, Harris and Dyball and name the fifth guy and we're just trying to make our bones that defense and we'll just post up Embiid That's what the league is kind of hoping that they don't figure out and I was thinking like who did this remind me of.


So Shaq goes to L.A., 96. Shaq doesn't win the title and to thousand. Shaq, during that whole stretches like 29 and 12, he is the best center in the league, Hakeem's getting a little older at that point, Robinson starting to fade a little bit. Duncan's in there, but he's more of a powerful at this point. And every year, here's what I wrote down. Talented, expensive, awesome franchise center, poorly coached, will fold in any series.


So here's how it turned out for them. 97, they lost four to one in round two to Utah. That was the Kobe airball. And everybody remembers that 1998, they made the West finals. They won sixty one games, got swept by Utah. That was the series with Nick Van Exel, the one, two, three Cancun. When they when they were down three, nothing in the practicing, it became a big deal. Go look up.


Go look up. McFadden in one, two, three, Kancoona. Lots of stories written about that.


Then in nine, the lockout year. Three coaches swept in the second round by San Antonio, so a team was back in his prime, in his prime. Got swept in back to back playoff series, if you look at that now and you're like, man, what the fuck happened? I mean, they had young Kobe, they had checked at any given possible weight, they had Robert Horry, they Derek Fisher like not to talk to players, maybe maybe to top ten ever.


Right. How did that happen? But I was there. You were there. It happened because they were terribly coached. They're dysfunctional. They had weird chemistry. The pieces didn't quite fit. Phil Jackson comes in, Kobe kind of becomes Kobe, and then it all kind of fell into place. And I wonder if Philly is like that late 90s Lakers team where we're going to look back 20 years later and be like, oh, my God, what happened?


They had Embiid and Simmons. They had a hundred and fifty million dollar payroll. How do they get swept. But I feel like that's where we're heading. I don't like them for the Celtics, despite the dysfunction, but I. It's just weird, like we're supposed to keep sitting here going, well, if he ever pulls it out, you know, there's just this rule that I've believed in more and more when you have all this evidence in front of you, whether it's quarterbacks or basketball teams or relationships, and you go, no, this is this is what that person is.


This is this is who it is. We have seven seasons of this. We have five seasons of this. You know, you've known this person for a couple of years and this is how they deal with you.


Believe them, you know, and Philly. All at this point, it's just I would imagine, I mean, even as brutal as Sixers fans have been to you and I over the years, everything we've said they feel. And that's probably what's so frustrating about it. Like none of this is. None of this was unfair, none of it. I mean, just watching that Pacers game and going, this is where you guys are at right now with a handful of games to go before the playoffs.


And I expect you just turn it on and they I still may pick them to beat the Celtics, but I'm not going to pick them to beat grown ups like Toronto or Milwaukee. And that's kind of like your grown up lines with Oklahoma City. The other the other side of it is a team that isn't they're not grown ups. I don't you know, I'd like the biggest accomplishment they have as a coach. I bounce like, man, if we had won that game like it was in the second round, OK, like you're you're you're imagining a lot of stuff going right after that shot.


If you were to win in overtime, which was, again, a dismal game, you know, they have two spectacular players. Simmons has these moments. We're like sat like Saturday, they give him the ball, you know, his little spot in the foul line in the left. And you kind of know he's going to go left, the defender knows he's going to go left and then he still goes left. And does that swooping lefty, Dr. Julia.


It's unstoppable, he's unstoppable in transition. I really like his game, he's, you know, obviously missing that one thing where he doesn't trust his own shot, but a lot of the stuff he's doing off the ball is really good. And same thing with Embiid Embiid had like eight baskets in that game. We're like Oh my God there's nobody in the league like this guy and to not be able to harness that is embarrassing. It's embarrassing and they, they could have handled it by getting.


I just think they ran the course with this coach and I think we thought that a year ago. I think he's very well liked and very popular and it became that Scotty Brooks OKC thing. That's how we got to give him one more year. And you just you're just throwing away years in the window is too short in the NBA, as we know, everybody thought a year ago.


OK, well, we're past a year after the title, but leading up to that playoff series or multiple playoff series for Philadelphia, I think most people don't remember the solutions now, but it was just a foregone conclusion that Brett was going to get fired if they didn't do something special. And then they're like, oh, wow, they kept him. And I'm telling you now that same stuff is picked up again. But now, at least for Brett, he's just, I guess, going to get paid more if they go ahead and make a change.


And if they were to get bounce in the first round or embarrassed in the second round, like five games and everybody's looking at each other going, what the hell? I don't know why you would try it again with everybody. And I'm not even on the break up Embiid Simmons thing. Even though I understand all the different arguments, the numbers, how they're better together. And you know I think some of the eye test stuff is just different than what some of the efficiency is with both them on the court, which definitely has had awful stretches and it has improved with just those two and how Horford misses the whole thing up but.


You always are probably to lose a trade. We have this you guys, you know who you were talking about Westbrook on offensive boards. Simmons' almost does some of those offensive rebounds at his size that make less sense than Westbrook. And I'm not talking about his size is the advantage, just that he's that quick to the hoop on anticipating some of these offensive rebounds you like. It felt like everybody else thought it was a time out and Simmons is just that much better than everybody else.


He looks LeBron ish sometimes when he goes absolutely it where it just seems overpowering. I really like the top four in the East though I am a huge fan of Miami. I got to say, like, I just typed out their top nine. Butler Bam Dragic Duncan Robinson, who's just keeps getting better, Crowder, who in a playoff series is not going to be scared hero. Oleynik, who always has moments in a seven game series, will have to really get games, he might get some Eppy votes this year, Kendrick Kendrick Nunn, who if he's your, you know, third fourth in the rotation.


Yeah, yeah. Considering what where you got him. Yeah. And then Iguodala. Iguodala. That's right. So you had that as your top line. You have Spoelstra. Is that as the head coach and you have a team that seems like they really like each other and overachievers and I don't know what happened with Butler in that practice today. I don't know. By the time people hear this podcast, there might be some story behind it, but you can kind of see why.


Butler. Left Philly because he was like, wow, this is so dysfunctional, I'm out. He leaves Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid is like, I'm good, I'm going to start my own, my own little family over here in Miami. I think it turns out way better than he ever could have expected, mainly because I don't think there's any way he could have known the kind of player Bam was going to turn into this year. And the Duncan Robinson thing was just bonkers.


There's no way he knew Tyler Herot was going to be a rotation guy right away, but probably like the rest of the draft and was like, yeah, yeah. As of they'll probably be a four seed. There's an outside chance they could catch the Celtics. But I just really like that team. I think they would be hard to play in. And I'm just thinking in my head, like, if Philly somehow got the five and we had this Miami Philly series and all the talking heads are gone, I'll tell you, it worked out great for Philly.


You just look at the talent on both sides and they're just the board. And it's like we've seen this over and over again. The overachiever well coached team is just put on earth to beat a team like Philly. And maybe you're right, maybe they are better off playing. But I think Boston's too talented for for this team that has as many holes I think they would lose to both of those teams, actually.


The Miami matchup is really interesting because the zone numbers where, yeah, once I don't have this to the to the letter here, so I might be I'm paraphrasing the number that I read, but essentially Miami's played more zone possessions against Philadelphia in just the games against Philadelphia combined.


I think it's like over 100 possessions of zone. Then 20 plus teams have played zone all season long. Wow. So Spoelstra doesn't care. He'll go for it. And you're seeing more and more. I just love that these coaches go. And it's really kind of stupid how stubborn everybody. But it was about it for years going, why wouldn't we just throw somebody off with Zone if we don't respect certain things that we're doing now, maybe you get more used to it.


And the the surprising nature of it is gone over some kind of series. But I love watching BAMN so much. And even though I worry about what he would give up defensively to battling Embiid over seven games the idea Embiid has to chase Bam around. That doesn't seem like maybe you put Simmons on it, but then where do you put you know you might be putting Embiid on Iguodala like seriously you might try to do some cross matching there because Bam initiates so much of their offense.


It's not Yokich level, but it's a trust that's along the same lines.


And he had a couple of plays in that Denver game and that Denver game is not the end all be all. They're missing their entire backcourt. Their mission will be missing their top three perimeter guys.


Michael Porter, Junior, making some cameos where I was like, oh, this is why his coach, Coach Malone, can't stand him because Porter was screwing up all these different things and like Malone is about to lose his mind. But in that game, at least for the execution, for what Bam does, he's just a really difficult matchup. So you can't just write him off because of the size disadvantage against him because. Well, yeah.


So Joel has to chase him around and he won't be afraid when Embiid does that intimidation thing that it is. Sometimes it centers. That works. I don't think he's intimidated by him, he might overpower him and have four or five points, but Bam will keep coming at him. Do you think? You know, the all these teams are in the bubble, there's nothing to do. They're basically hotel room going to the barbershop that created for them. I think they have like ping pong and shit like that.


Maybe they go to the pool. These teams are just spending a shitload of time together. And I wonder for certain teams that are really close, like the Bucs, like that's like a really good thing. You have all these teams, these teams are getting along anyway. So you put them in that situation. It's like, that's great. Like the Lopez brothers are best friends. Janet says his three brothers, like George Howell is a great guy going down the line.


Then you go this Philly team where it's like. We always hear that Ben and Joe ought to like each other, who knows how much of that is true, but it's the same kind of whispers you always heard with Chris Paul and Blake way back when. And that turned out to be true. But just in general, where you have like a semi dysfunctional team that can't really figure out what it is, you get Al Horford to make it 30 million years and happy.


I wonder being in a bubble, if it makes it worse, better or the same. What do you think? I feel like you'd make it worse. Well, at least you can always go to your room and just hide from everybody, you know, you're not traveling. So even though the schedule when people are it's condensed, it's going to favor younger teams, all these different things, people really didn't factor in not flying for two and a half months, I would imagine is the best version of of wresting yourself.


Then I don't care who are you cross you fly cross-country. You just kind of wiped out for a little while and then might have a basketball game. So that's your Jaylin.


Yeah, he just do it. But private jet now.


Right now, Jaelynn, just sleep budgets you might say.


Is it is it private jet. Kind of maybe. The fact that you're not going anywhere is something I don't know that we talked enough about as far as the condensed schedule, because the condensed schedule isn't it doesn't feel as condensed, didn't have to fly cross country all the time.


But now it's a really good question because I don't I think you could still hide from everybody, but it would suck if you were a loner, like if you're that loner type and then you're forced to be around everybody and you're just kind of wired a little differently and then you don't really know what to do. I mean, I don't know that's going to impact wins or losses. I think the Clippers thing was maybe the only time we wondered how can the Lou Williams think bum me out?


Because you just go you have a chance to win a championship. And if you expose yourself to this and then you hit up the total team and expose them to it, like, imagine if that happened and you ruined the chance for a franchise like the Clippers, especially I mean, forget any team. It's a selfish move. And so maybe that stuff's all in the past and that's all done. I could only see that maybe being the kind of thing that could completely disrupt a team, not even necessarily somebody testing positive for covid, but somebody becoming, hey, three weeks in, we're not as good.


We're down to three. You know, maybe maybe it's a selfish act where the team ends up getting upset. I could just imagine Caruso being like, you guys go to the barbershop again.


It's like, all right. Yeah, cool. I'll see you guys want to get burgers later.


Now deathin Danny Green or hanging out with them.


Scott, I have a couple of people. Well, the funny thing about doing this podcast Sunday night, now it's nine fifty. We have all these games tomorrow, it's just never tomorrow, Monday at ten thirty in the morning, Raptors heat and then at 1:00 Nugget's Thunder and then at Three Thirty Grizzlies, Pelicans, it's a huge game. And then we have this random Spurs seventy Sixers game tomorrow night like Embiid might have forty eight points. This might be the most dated Sixers discussion on the planet in about 12 hours.


Then we end with Lakers jazz. Just that's going to move fast. I still think we're going to have some injuries. Knock on wood. I hope we don't. But to go from just ramping up like this and playing every other day with the intensity that these games have, I think I'll be interested to see how it affects the other players. But I'm so glad to have back. I loved all the social justice stuff. I think they did a really nice job across the board, hitting a balance between all these different things.


Westbrook that was awesome too when he just talking about unity and everybody coming together for it. It was really cool.


The announcers did a cool job. I like the Plexiglas that the dumbest thing for me was the coach interviews. I hate those anyway but now we have the sideline reporters with the fucking mask on like they're, you know, cleaning up Chernobyl with the microphone from eight feet away, interviewing some coach, being like Brad, what happened there in the third quarter? And Portland scored forty. Like, what are we getting out of this and why is this happening and do we need this?


I would say no. Other than that I was happy with everything. Budenholzer when he does those interviews like he's clearly learned from the pop, he's under the the Yeah. The family tree.


I mean he's acting like. A pissed off parent whose son just fucked up the amateur at the local country, club member member who like his kid three putted, and he's just had like seven gin and tonics, like that's what blood is like in those interviews where he's just so, like, pissed off about the whole thing. I hate you. People speak to your ESPN people about this. When they got to turn Doris Burke up, she said to games where when they go to the crowd noise you can't hear.


It's weird. It's different than some of the other people that have been in the booth, like Mark and Jeff and. I could hear perfectly the AT&T thing. You could hear the bigger spin thing was they had countdown and the guys were all interrupting each other. It's like, why do you have four people on a studio show in different spots on some, like, tape delay thing? That's never going to work ever. Why are you doing that?


Spik three? Why we ever think of this? I don't know why I care about pregame. Because you know how it is, though.


No, it's just because you can't you can't tell one of the one of the people on the show, hey, you're you're the fourth most important. So now you're not going to be on the show.


We'll have a double elimination show like in the basketball. Quickly, baseball. If I gave you over under three and a half more days in this season, are you going under over? I'll go over four days in the season.


But, you know, I've talked about this on my iPod every.


Piece of information that I had on it is that people thought it was like a less than 50 percent chance of this happening, which doesn't mean you don't try. I'm not in that camp. I say you got to go for it. You're going to try the blame thing. I'm really tired of all the different angles of blaming people because then it was like all the Marlins did all these things and these guys were casino. These guys are a strip club.


I don't know of any of that stuff is true, but it feels like everybody's so anti Manfred, which I understand that we're past the personal accountability thing. Like, you know what? If you're a young guy and you want this to work and you're traveling all over the place, you're going to have to make some sacrifices here. And like, trust me, college kids. That's why when I look at college football, I'm like, I don't think it's going to happen, because I would if I were college kid, I'd go out.


I'd want to talk to people. I'd want to go out and hang out. And I'm not going to criticize defense for the way that I would have done it.


You're like that now at the age. You know, I've been solo, man. This has been this has been I mean, I'm pretty low to begin with. But this is this is a pretty intense solo run for your boy, that's for sure. I was on a text thread with a couple of my high school friends, including my friend Jim Grady, who we used to go and play shuffleboard at at Sam's and Porchester until like 4:00 in the morning.


And I was asking him if we were twenty four years old. In this pandemic, what's happening? How many months before we just snapped and had like a four o'clock night at Sands and we're and we were like probably within the first couple of weeks, we've sort of been like, fuck it, we roll the dice. I totally get it. Like, when you're in your 20s, you have no regard for anything. You just you just want to live your life.


You don't want to be told what to do and you want to take chances and do dumb things. And we're just seeing this all over the world. I'm not saying it's right. I'm just I just know I'm not eight years older. I don't want to be a total hypocrite knowing that I wouldn't want to hear from anybody. I mean, that's the most predictable thing ever. And then on top of it, if you're a college athlete and let's face it, like you're a big time college athlete on this campus, guess what?


A lot of girls don't want to talk to you.


And you know the college. Mail that goes, oh, I'm I'm not dating this semester, I'm going I'm I'm staying in my room until this is all settled.


We have Iowa State on Saturday. Yeah. It's just not going to happen. It's not going to happen. So but the college thing scares me because I don't know how they're going to pull it off, especially if students go back. I just assume it's not happening. I mean, it's so funny, the Manford thing talking about it, the players, the players don't take this a little more seriously. The season is going to be over. It's like, well, you're putting your trust in the future of an entire season in the hands of a bunch of people who probably aren't going to make the right choices.


OK, but what was he supposed to do? And this turns into over. Cilla's defending Manfred. I'm defending. If you all agree that, hey, this is how we're going to try to do this, because everybody shot down the bubble thing, which the bubble thing looks a hell of a lot better now. Well, I think they had to stick with the bubble. To me, I can't believe they they didn't, but nobody wanted to do the bubble apparent.


Well, then you don't have a season, then you can't do it the way you're doing it now.


How much of this is impacted by this Red Sox pitching staff that you want the season to end in three days? It'll be great.


I was I was power walking on Friday. I just power walk around L.A. because I'm losing my mind and power the other day. And I'm listening to a podcast and I look up and there's these two dudes walking in front of me, and one of them is wearing a Mookie Betts Dodgers T-shirt jersey. And I just got so bummed out. I mean, it was already bad enough, I'm already hearing from all the people in my life who, like the Dodgers, just say, oh, my God, it's amazing.


I had no idea. I'm like, yeah, I fucking know. I get it.


I know. I watch it. I have I have no idea. Was like I had no idea it was this good man.


He's such a good baserunner.


It's like, yeah I know, I know but I'm so small.


He smashes that. I had one of my friends the other day. It was like I had no idea he had an arm like that. You see the throw he baby throw out the guy there to be like, yeah, I know he's you know, he's one of his things. He's a ten out of ten at every single baseball scale. Yeah. We all were aware as Red Sox fans. That's why I was so bummed out.


But my dad is texting me, asking me who the hell this guy is. Every day the Red Sox are a starter out there that's not named of Aldy.


My dad is like actually upset about it. I don't blame your dad. Remember, I had the whole five year grace period for when you win the title, but there is no grace period of my dad's like I'm 72. This is the worst pitching staff we've ever had. This is bullshit. I think it's the worst pitching staff, at least in my lifetime.


You and I were playing that game the other day and I was throwing some Jimmy Williams lineups at you. But still, at least, Mark, Portugal might get just six solid.


And I was telling you, we had that year and and slowly started opening day. And I always thought that was the nadir. But this thing today where they had to use the opener on a Sunday baseball game, they brought in Bryce. He was actually pretty good. He struck out the side. But that they just they basically have one starter and then the irad. Looks like the the the worst covid casualty of the sport, like like he really had like real complications is over the years.


And this was the guy they're counting on as the number two thing. But, yeah, rough year. And and I, I think it's going to I've been thinking big picture about. All right, let's say the season ends after two weeks, like just how weird the baseball reference is going to look 20 years from now when you have these, you know, Mookie Betts, twenty, twenty six and thirty eight at bats. And it's just this wiped out year like it's the only equipment, I guess would be hockey, that 06 hockey year when they just had no season, but they didn't have a season.


So it's gone basically not having one now. Yeah, but I guess the fact it will technically have happened the only thing.


I want to ask you about baseball is yeah, I kind of regret that Jeffrey Loria doesn't still own the Marlins, although I don't really mean that because he was just from a comedy standpoint. Yeah, because would they put up a division banner if they never played again at two and one and won the division?


Maybe they'd be like, hey, you got to come out next year, we're going to hang the banner. I think it was a sell out. It's so bad, I I think people have been asking me, like all of baseball, if this is happening in baseball, this means football won't happen. And I just feel like football is happening. And unlike what happened at the Marlins and in the Cardinals, if there's like 10 covid people on a football team, they'll just be like, all right, you guys you guys go over there and just bring in the next 10 like they're playing the games.


Once they start, they're not giving up that money.


OK, but it may be this is. Maybe this is the great Boston correction, you know, the city was an absolute fire, and so instead it's like, OK, not only is the second best player in baseball going to end up on the Dodgers where you have to hear about him every day, you're going to have a staff that Pawtucket would cancel the season on and. I don't want to say anything bad, but like, could Brad Stevens coach the Knicks in two years?


And by the way, all the Pats are opting out on defense. Maybe that's what's happening. Maybe this is a big a big correction coming 20 years. They were like, yeah, they're just the mystical things that are at work here. We're just like it was way we overdid it. Like, yes, they were a real Calvinistic group of people, but we overdid it. We just let them win non-stop for 20 years. And now let's have them have a do they get cut from the Reds is their number two starter and you'll be in L.A..


I don't want to say anything about Brad, Brad, Brad Stevens.


I'm trying to think what would be the worst? Not even the Knicks. Now, he was let go coach the Pacers, if he left the ASX, it would be or actually he'd go to college. Now he's going to do like North Carolina or something.


I do always think it's funny how Duke fans would be like, oh, well, you know, eventually he'll take the Duke job. Do you really think that Duke is if you're an NBA guy, you're an NBA guy?


I get what Duke is, but I just always kind of thought it was a little insulting to the Celtics that it would be like, well, then, you know, he'll move on to something bigger and better.


Like Duke, you're really counting out the Pats. No, no, I'm not, because the rest of the division, the rest of the division is not the Jets just got decimated, right. Buffalo's defense is a concern.


Miami, you know what? I don't I'm not writing off the Patriots, OK? Not one of those people that, you know, this Belichick tanking thing, I don't know about you. I'll tell you, this has your mind into it. Head by Ben Simmons, a red throwback, Cam Newton, Jersey. Pat, that's not going to be delivered to August 18th, he's the most he's more excited for Cam Newton than any Boston athlete that has been acquired by the Boston team.


Ben's rough kid and well, he looks like he loves video game cam.


He knows him from the video game. So it's like he just assumes it's going to be like the video game.


What's the rule on Ben swearing at home?


It's been broken a lot, unfortunately. I got to tell you something that would bother you from an annoying apparently Priscila know some bensimon playing a lot of 2k during the pandemic. He's really into it and they have so they have this whole card thing and it's almost like you have to buy packs.


My little brother shows me all the time so I don't get these special cards. The best card you can get is the Galaxy Opal card. They the galaxy basically gives whoever the player superpowers you try to get the whatever. So they put all the draft prospects for 2020. They put like Anthony Edwards and the Melo Ball and James wisemen. Those guys are in there with Galaxy Opal cards and they're fucking awesome like James Wiseman. It's better to have him than it is to have like Kevin McHale because, you know, he could make threes.


So my son is playing these games. He now thinks these guys are going to come into the league and be incredible. And I've tried to explain them like the is probably going to suck because they know. No, his galaxy cards amazing. Like, this isn't real life and he's not going to be very good. OK, just trust me. That's why I understood why Wolverine didn't stay in the UFC like a Wolverine were really that way. He would have just like.


Why are you fighting in backwoods dive bars in Canada? Like, just shut it down. You're miserable. You don't have much of a family. Kitty, Pride is out on you. Like, why wouldn't you just go? All right, Dana, I'm going to cut to one eighty five and just beat the shit out of everybody. Well, that's really what happened with Wolverine. Well, I'm guessing at least one of those three guys and maybe even all three lamella wise men at the end of was probably played 2k.


Right. So they get this card. They're probably so excited that this card was superpower's. It just feels like a recipe for disaster. They think about it, 12, 13, if we had like, oh, the Anthony Bennett Galaxy Opal cards out, he's fucking amazing. You like Karl Malone. And then he gets into the actual league and he's just hot garbage.


Yeah, that's cool. I wish you put those guys in there. I'm with you. That shouldn't happen. Here's another thing that you can't not ever have played in an NBA game and then be the best player in the video game.


You can't be better than that, Hakeem Olajuwon.


OK, but what's worse, making Bill Simmons quarterback Patriots. Ninety nine across the board and Madden out of Coalgate.


Yeah, that's also happened. Here's the other thing that frustrates so that then they created these Gote cards that are like higher level and gallaccio is the bends like obsessed with like they only made magic chac yanase liberatory. Now Barkley doesn't have one. He wouldn't be your guy wouldn't sign up for the game. There's no Barkley. Is that into account? All right. Yeah, that's right. So there it goes. Right. It's all the best players. And Vince Carter.


What and Tracy McGrady. Dunkers despise those two guys have good cards, but like. I don't know, Julius Erving doesn't Dirk Nowitzki. There's no Elgin Baylor Go-Kart, there's no Jerry West Go-Kart, but Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady are Kareem Go-Kart. Now and there is for Tracy McGrady, there's a Wilko card, but yeah, Tracy, so I was thinking about it. He didn't have one, Bill Russell has one that apparently came out this week, but I was just like where our priorities we're giving James Wiseman a Galaxy Opal card and we're giving Vince Carter a gold card.


Vince Carter. I love Carter, great, great Rigger podcast. I don't think he was one of the best 50 players of all time to you. No, yes, not I mean, I think it might have been just. I don't know, oh, I'll leave you with this big news, big news for next week, this I'll give you a week to research this, OK, but I've been redoing my pyramid again. Because I watched a lot of basketball games during the pandemic, especially from the 90s, I think I might have fucked up with Patrick Ewing is too high.


I had no I had him as the last guy in level two, but I think I should have actually put him in level three. I think I should have had him a little bit higher. I think he was a little bit better than I gave him credit for. And I have some regrets. I can see how you got to that, though, I can tell you it's a tough one historically. He's probably the toughest, right, because he was the best guy on a real contender there, 90 through 90.


But I was watching like this Pistons next series, the year after the Bulls beat the Pistons. The Pistons had this one last year, this one last hurrah team. And the Knicks, like, beat the shit out of them. They knocked them out of the playoffs. You had a lot of like he had a lot of skulls. You know, he won a lot of playoff series and was in the mix and a really relevant way really from like eighty nine to ninety five and I think I discounted it too much.


So I'm re-evaluating.


I was would always wonder if Ewing. Georgetown Ewing is as impressive as any college player at Dassin is a Georgetown, Ewing is the best defensive center I've seen since I've been alive. The most intimidating thing, you just were like, this sucks. And that team should have won more than one title, by the way. But John Thompson, I don't know. Because it wasn't as big of a deal. I wonder if you had not let himself get as big, if that would have changed, what would have happened?


Because he became kind of maybe it's the 90s and it was a plot of his office beating his knees, went on him a little bit. I don't because these I think by the time the late 80s, I think his knees were probably 75, 80 percent what they used to be. But think about it, though. He spent four years in college. Think about that. Think about John.


From years in college, John Thompson could talk Patrick Ewing into coming back for his senior year.


That guy could have come out right away. He could have come out at a high school football, would've freaked out about it if it happened.


So I don't I don't know that he was going to number one. But Ewing, that's. I don't know, man, it's tough. You think another one was Kareem, who's the best college basketball player of all time, but spends four years in college, and then when you start comparing, like the greatest players of all time, he loses these three NBA years that he could have had that if you're comparing him to LeBron and he still had this amazing longevity, he has, you know, all these days it's a huge deal.


But he lost these three years where he would have put up 30 again.


So, yeah, anyway, anything got a plug, Cilicia still we got we are still doing it, doing well and we got Kara Lawson, the new head coach of Duke Women's Basketball, and also she was an assistant with a cell flexible years. So hopefully we get some good stuff. But she's she's awesome house.


I had a great conversation with her at Summer League once in 110 degree heat, but she's a good Hank. I look forward to seeing that, Rosillo. I'll see you next Sunday that I can't wait to see how the NBA evolves over these next seven days. This is fun, though. Is good. Too good to feel normal again for two hours. Good to see you. Yeah, absolutely. And updating the standings. Your Oklahoma City Thunder. Imagine if they're playing the Rockets in the first round.


I mean, that's a dream, right? If we had OKC, Houston and the first round and Portland Lakers and Clippers Dallas, those are some bangers in Miami, Philly, those some bangers. All right.


I'll see you next Sunday. All right. Thanks to Rousselot, thanks to Spotify, thanks to Home Depot at the Home Depot. Decorating your home is now easier than ever before, even if you want to get a nice, awesome Keurig machine like I got. And it looks nice and fancy in the kitchen that for free delivery and select items. Forty five dollars or more. And now for a limited time, you get 10 percent off stores you love and use code.


Bill Simmons 10. I check out Bill Simmons one zero. I check out valid on select items online, only find exactly what you're looking for and more at Home Depot dotcom slash décor. We will be back on Tuesday with one more podcast here.


Newberry watch what's coming up Monday, the sandlot. That is coming up late Monday night. Stay tuned for that. Don't forget to check out the ring or NBA show with Logan and Raja. Their first podcast is going up Monday morning.


Go Suffolk's.