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Coming up, my old friend Zack Lo, Talking Hoops, next. We're also brought to by the Ringer podcast Network, where I popped on the Off the Pipe podcast with Brian Barrett right after the Celtics Thunder game, and we did our little instant reaction podcast. Really fun. We're going to start putting that stuff on my YouTube channel, too. Youtube. Com/bilsimmons. If you're a Boston sports fan, I know I've talked about the Off the Pipe podcast, but I think Brian does an unbelievable job breaking down the Pats, the Red Sox, Celtics, little Bruins. But please check that podcast out. We also put up a new Rewatchables on Monday night. We did Searching for Bobby Fischer. It was me and Van Lathen and Charles Holmes. First time the three of us had been together doing a Rewatchables. Had a great time. One other thing I wanted to mention on the Ringer Reality TV podcast last week, and I forgot to promote it, but it's really good. We did a little three-part mini podcast called An American Scandival. About the Skandival scandal last year on, what is it, Vanderpump Rules? It's a hole for me. I never got into the Vannerpump Rules.


All the awful trashy TV I've watched in my life, and somehow never watched that. But people love this story, and Jody Walker dove into it with a little three-parter. If you care about Skandival at all, I would implore you to check it out. It's on the Ringer Reality TV podcast. Coming up on this podcast, me and Zack Lo, we're doing a Home and Home. I'm going on his podcast next week or the week after. He's on mine right now. We're going to do an old gimmick of ours from the Grantland days, the League Pass Rankings is next. First, our friends from Projia.


All right, taping this.


It is a little after 9:15 AM Pacific Time. Espn TV personality, Zack Lo is here. I just thought, wow. Have you ever been introduced that way? You're like a TV personality now. I turn on TV and you're just sitting at a desk with people talking about stuff.


You will be happy to know that on a recent flight somewhere, I the Grantland hoodie. It's been almost nine years since Grantland closed. And a guy just came up to me. I don't think he knew necessarily who I was. He just said, Hey, love that hoodie. Really miss that site. And I was like, Man, that's so nice to hear. As the years go by, I don't hear about it much, but you can introduce me however you want.


There's going to be a circle back where people will be like, Wait a second. That site was up to some cool stuff. They did a lot of things. I was thinking it's our 10-year anniversary coming up of when we did the celebrity All-Star Game.


Oh, my God. Is it really? Yeah. It was in New Orleans. I remember that.


It was 2014, February.


In retrospect, I wasn't ready for that. I wasn't ready to be sitting next to a supermodel and Snoop Dogg on the bench. I just wasn't ready for the national scrutiny.


A couple of WMBA players, Kevin Hart.


I just wasn't... I meant Michael B. Jordan, and I was too intimidated. I would be a little more comfortable now.


I still have a lot of regrets and still think about things I could have done differently in that game. We lost down the stretch, but it was super fun. I was 2008, Doc. You were my tips. Just trying you to clipboard. We were both wearing suits, trying to look professional.


Honestly, I just wanted to get through the game. As soon as the supermodel, and I'm sorry, I forget her name. I don't really follow the supermodeling industry. She's enormously famous. As soon as she sat down on the bench and started talking to me because I think she could sense, schedule a uncomfortable, it would be nice I was like, the TV cameras are going to pan to this. It's just the disparity in attractiveness is going to become a thing. I just want the game to be over.


So you've been doing more TV stuff now. We're going to do, by the way, we're doing League Pass rankings in a second. Oh, yeah.


We're going to have some fun. We're going to hit all 30 teams.


For some reason, when I start my podcast, I always dive right into it. But somehow you have a tendency, whoever you're with, that's seven minutes of bullshit at the top. I just can't help myself because we haven't talked in a while. You're doing more TV stuff. I famously used to call you Spock when we were together at Grantland because you just try to be unemotional and analytical. But TV is the land of hot takes and proclamations and semi-crazy thoughts. You're sitting there next to Perk, and we both love Perk. Perk occasionally just say something nuts or he'll say they should trade him but not think of who should be in the trade. I can just see your head, I can see your brain turning in a tapioca a couple of times a week.


No, it's not. It's actually... So this, not blew up, but this was thrown into most stark relief when Perk decided one day, I'm just going to say, The Warriors should trade Klay Thompson. He said it before the show. He said, I guess that's what I'm going to say. And I said, That's cool, but for who? Because Perk's whole thing was, Klay Thompson's washed up. He's playing horrible. Look at these numbers. They should trade him. And I said, Well, Perk, if we're going to say that, we should say for who? And so what I've learned is that's considered good television. If I use my SPOX-Just zagging.if I use my SPOX instincts to be like, so let's bring this thing back to reality. And you can be emotionally unemotional, and then that becomes a good... And we had a good... And Perk is totally cool with, you want to push back at me and say that I haven't thought this notion all the way through? Go ahead, let's do it. So it is a different world, though. It's It's a lot of Lakers. It's a lot of Lakers.


Oh, my God. Everybody falls. I remember when I was doing it, you fall into whatever your persona is on the show, right? You're like, well-sourced reality check guy. That's your lane, and it's going to come back to you, and you're going to be the more grounded one who's like, I put some thought into this. But then other people will go on and be like, I'm throwing the chainsaw on to the hot tub guy. I'm just going to say some stuff, and I'm going to call people out, and that's my job on this show, and everybody has a job.


Yeah, we talked about the Bucs yesterday because the Bucs lost to the Pacers again. They're playing it again.I watched it. Tonight. I mean, there's so many Bucks Pacers games. They lost again. It was the first game after Ballgame Gate, which inspired Perk and I to have a mock trial on television, like with deuses, deuses and everything. And the segment was essentially, all right, the Bucks lost. How worried are we about the Bucks? What's the Bucks anxiety level? And then they come to I'm like, I don't know, they're 24 and 9. They're 11 and 3 in their last 14 games. I get that they're probably not as good as Boston so far, but worry level? And then Dame had a bad game. Oh, Dame's three-point shooting. I'm like, He's shooting about the same as he has for his career. Sometimes you just got to be that guy. Anyway, let's do League Pass rankings.


There was some tough halber and just flying by Dame stuff in that game. Now, everybody flies by everybody in the league now, and that's going to be factoring into our League Pass rankings. But sometimes I wonder Does defense, does it even really matter anymore? The Knicks get O'G and O'Bee. That mattered because there's what, five, six guys in the league who can guard everyone from Jason Tatum to Shay Gilgish Alexander. There's only a couple of Swiss Army and FD guys. But I think Derrick White is an incredible defensive player. You can still go buy him because anybody can go buy anybody with the way the game is called now. I thought Steve Kerb, he took shit for... There were some sour grape stuff with what he said, especially Jokin Hitchhike, who's certainly not a fishing for calls type guy. But at the same time, I do think about that when I watch these games. How are you supposed to defend? Where are the rules now, especially in the regular season? I don't understand it.


I still think you can't win the Championship with a bad defense. It's all relative. If defense is harder in the NBA, there are still teams who are better at it than other teams, and more of those teams will get further in the playoff. So like, Derek White gets burned, let's say, right? So Derek White gets burned. Think of the Celtics options in that moment compared to, to name another team, the Blazers options when Anthony Simons gets burned. Option one is Derek White is just awesome, and he might block your shot from behind. Option two is Drew holiday might diagonally switch from the three-point arc, and Derek White might read that and diagonally switch the other way, and you're all cool. Option three is Chris Stapp-Sporzingas is guarding your crappy wing who can't shoot, and he's just going to destroy you. They're like, did they have better built-in options on the back? Totally. What was your favorite Steve Kerr. Before the rankings, did you enjoy the Steve Kerr defense rant more or the Steve Kerr is this a techno music club or a basketball game rant about the Phoenix Arena music? Which one of those did you enjoy more?


I like that one. And listen, we don't know how many more years Greg Popovich has left. I think Steve Kerr is starting to see an opening for him as the random, unexpected rant guy because there has to be a coach, Stan Van Gunde was in there for a while. He would do him. Doc would do it occasionally. But I think Steve Kerr sees a window now every once in a while.


The keeper of basketball's soul and values. That's what he is.


Soul values and zags. Just be like, Oh, I'm going to zag this way. You're not expecting it. I did a podcast with Brian Barrett on our Boston pod last night, but one of the things I talked about on that, talking about the defense. I went into that OKC game last night. Now we're delaying the league rankings even I was like, If the Celtics are really serious about winning a title, we're going to see Tatum on Shay at some point in this game, maybe in the second half. If this will be the next step, not just for the team, but for Jason Tatum, because Jason Tatum a year ago, two years ago, is looking at this game like, Shay is one of the best players in the league. I'm one of the best players in the league. We're going to go mano a mano on both ends as this game gets to the end. But actually, that's not what's best for the Celtics because to defend a guy like Shay, the ideal guy is somebody taller who can move with him like Tateum. It's not Jalen Brown. It's not really White or holiday as much. It's actually Tateum.


That's one of the ways to unlock the Celtics team is, can Tateum give up a little of the offense in some of these big games if they're playing, let's say, Dame Lillard, let's say, Jalen Brunson in round two, let's say, Shay in the finals or Devon Booker, are they going to use him that way? And they did. Did you see what happened the last 6, 7 minutes? They put on Shay. I felt like I was like a baby all growns up moment for me watching it.


Yeah, they got down 18, I think, at some point in the fourth quarter and rallied to make it a real game at the end. And yeah, the last 6, 7 minutes, mostly it was Tatum on him. Holladay was on the bench. Payton Pritchard was playing over Holladay. And I did notice that. I did take note of it, and I did just bookmark it in my head. It's like, Okay, that's interesting. I wonder if he asked for that. I don't know if I didn't read the postgame comments if they talked like Missoula, that was just his idea or anything like that, but I found it interesting.


League Pass rankings. I mentioned OKC in Boston who are going to be very high on these. What year was it? 2012, we came up with, and Grantland, we came up with heading into the air in one of the NBA previews. I think it was the first year we were working together. It was like, All right, let's try to rank these teams from 1-30. But we're not even just doing it totally arbitrarily. We're going to have categories. We exchange all these emails. What should categories be. One of the ones you really cared about was the court. That was when I was like, Zack Lo is super weird. I love this guy because he really cares about the court.


The general environment of the game, the court, the uniforms, the announcement. There are some good announcement, some bad announcement.


You cared about court design.


I do. I mean, look, and I felt like I had my moment this year when the in-season tournament courts came in. All of a sudden, everyone was an expert and everyone cared. I'm like, Yeah, these are interesting.


That was funny because initially people were like, I hate the courts, but people begrudgingly came around on the courts. It did. It did feel different. It was good. But yeah, that was a big moment for you. It's stuff for League Pass, it's stuff like anunciors, which you don't have to get into on this, style of play. Is there a go-to player in the team? We absolutely love watching. What are the stakes, et cetera, et cetera.


What are the highlights? Is there a guy that you just know any moment, even if he's not that great, a player can just uncork a monster dunk, that thing.


When we started this, it was the peak of Lab City. Even though the Clippers weren't the best team in the league, Blake at that point was must-see TV night after night because you just never knew when he was going to take somebody's soul on a dunk. There hadn't been a guy like that in a long time in the league. As we go through this, what's interesting about League Pass rankings in 2023-2024, there's so many good offensive teams now. This is such a crazy offensive league. I actually had a hard time when it went down. What we're going to do, we're going to go back. We're going to do this draft style. We'll just alternate and we'll keep track, and then we'll try to figure out who had the best team. Maybe we do seven each of teams we like, and then we'll go flip side the three we don't like. Then we'll just put teams in the middle that we won't even acknowledge. Maybe like Atlanta, it just never gets acknowledged, this entire podcast.


Or maybe they do.


Or maybe they do. I'm giving you the first pick. You're number one team. We have been doing this season now 10 weeks. You're number one team that you're like, yes, these guys are on.


I did the list yesterday tentatively, so I am not totally a prisoner at the moment. I'm going with the Oklahoma City Thunder. I think this is this is appointment viewing. They're not this crazy passing team where they're going to wow you with their ball movement. We all know Shay. Shea. Shea is just a one of a kind, herky-jerky, gets wherever he wants to go. No one can find him. He's impossible to guard. No one can get a hold of him. I just think more than anything else, two things are beginning to make this the number one team for me. Shay Jalen Williams, wing good Jalen Williams, and not that the other one is not good.


We call him J Dub. J Dubb. J Dubb. J Dubb is how we talk about him.


Okay. Shea, J Dubb, and Chet Holmgren already look like a traditional big three, just the way they complement each other and how good they all are. That's come together real fast.


It's a foundational three guys that we know are going to be in our lives for a long time.


Number one ball handler, all around big man, wing in between them. It's perfect. It's unbelievable. Then you have the interesting, how do they fit all the pieces around them? I mean, Dort is Dort. He does what he does. The gitty thing, we've seen now two games in a row. He's made a lot of threes when people don't guard him. Porzingis didn't guard him last He made four threes.


That was the Celtics game plan last night.


Hey, Josh Getty, go ahead, knock yourself out. I think the Wolves, the game before, same thing, he made four threes. But more than anything else, what's so interesting about this team to me is, you know the history of the League better than anyone. This is not a thing that happens. Teams this young do not get this good ever. And the teams that have been this young and this good, like the Oklahoma City Thunder team of 10 years ago with Durant and Harden and Westbrook, get there, at least in that case, on the back of incredible young athleticism. And not that they didn't have basketball talent and IQ, they did. But Durant is the seven-foot unicorn. Serge Abaka is jumping out of the gym. Russ is a locomotive, et cetera, et cetera. They just overwhelm teams with force and speed. This team has some of that. Chet is big and mobile, and Jalen Williams is a tank. J Dub is a tank with these step-back jumpers at the end of games. But they play with a calm calm and a maturity and a lack of mistakes that is like, I just don't ever remember a young team.


If you just looked at them on a blurry non-HD TV from 15 years ago where you couldn't see their faces and how young they looked, you'd be like, Man, this team has been through the wars. They don't have to turn the ball over. They make the right pass every time. They make the right read in space. They just don't play like a team that's their age. You've been on the bandwagon all year before the season. Credit to you. I didn't think they'd make this big of a leap. And you've also been on the, they're ready to win now. They can make a trade and be a championship contender. They're a contender right now. I watch them and it's part enjoyment and part like, what the hell am I watching? This is not supposed to happen.


There were some historical signs this could happen because they had, and that was part of my case before the season, why I thought they could be a top three seed, because they were hitting these little checkpoints. Even last year, going 40 and 42 without Chet. It's like, All right, let's add Chet. What Jalen Williams did in the last two months of the year, and if Shay can go up a tiny bit of a level, and the conference is funky, 50 wins. I really believed in it. I think the part that I underestimated was the Shay part because it's just happened too many times now. I went on Terminy and Eddie's show yesterday, and I was saying, to me, we always throw around the phrase top five guy, but at some point, you really have to name your top five. To me, he's bumped out Tatum at this point. I just think he's one of the five best guys in the league. Over and over again, he's either beating the other best guy in the team or he's matching them, but he's never getting beaten by those guys when it turns into a mano a mano thing.


Yesterday, what was so interesting, there were three possessions where they won the game. They were all on offense. The Celtics' offense was actually pretty good down the stretch. Two Two Shay, Chet, little pick and pops where Chet hit a three and Porzengus didn't come out in time. Then the third one was they wanted to get Shay on a switch on Derek White, which is nuts because Derek White is great, but they wanted to get him off Tatum. Jalen Williams was on Tatum with the ball, and he's like, Fuck it. Just went by him and scored in the last minute, the most important thing. When he did that, I was like, Oh, you guys are ready now. I guess the question is, what's the trade? By the way, I had them number one, too. And not recently, Biance. They've been the team I've watched the most this year other than the Celtics. I enjoy watching them the most. They passed Denver for me because Denver is just so clearly in a, We won the title last year. We're going to be fine. Don't worry about us. We'll see in April. And Okay, see, night after night, has been the star of the league.


Well, and people know us, both of us, for a team to pass Jokuj's team in the league past rankings is very, very hard to do. And I'm glad you brought up those SGA, Chet, pick and pops at the end of the game, because that's the maturity I'm talking about. As soon as they moved Porzingis from Gidey to Chet, they pivoted right. They didn't waste one possession. Okay, now we got the big guy on Chet. Let's go pick and pop and see if KPM can get out there. Right away. Was really... They're well. Mark Dagnol, too, man. They're well-coached.


Dagnol might have a case for best coach in the league now. Because I was feeling that way- He can't go there.


Best coach in the league?


I'm just saying he has a case. I'm not saying I'm ready to call him the best coach in the league. But I started thinking about it last year when they had no big guys at all, and they were always in these games. I remember seeing them in person against the Lakers. I've talked about this, the LeBron scoring record night. I was there, too. There was that long, long break, and most Most of the time you see situations like that. The other team is just like, Man, this is such an honor to be here. Lebron is incredible. They were pissed. They wanted the game to keep going. They ended up winning the game. Presti clearly has figured out some secret sauce that smartly, unlike Darryl, when Darryl had figured out some inefficiencies in the late 2000s, he's like, I'm going to give a long interview to Michael Lewis and talk about all the things I'm doing. And the league was like, Wait, what are you doing? And they stole nine of the things. Presti My guess is he looks at length and competitiveness. I think he specifically targets certain guys that just are wired differently. And Kaysan Wallace is like that, too.


That guy, he comes in, what, 17, 18 minutes a game. He'll guard the best guy in the other team. He hits threes, he plays under control, and he's really competitive. They'll miss with the occasional Poku, but even Poku makes sense with that Presti model is because long, gangly, weird guy, but he's maybe something. So they rolled the dice with him. But don't you think, is there anything else? Competitiveness and length.


And also IQ recently, the last few years, he's been looking for guys who can really make the next play in open space. Listen, Poku is the swing you can take when you have more swings than anybody else. You can afford to say, All right, this guy's just a weird seven, whatever he is, and take a shot at him. That's so weird way they didn't take Schengen. I'm still stunned that they didn't take that. You'll never get over that.


Eight teams in a row passed them up. We did the post-draft preview, and we were like, Oh, my God. How does he go 16? But he just felt like a classic OKC guy. I do think they need one more big body, and they have to decide those role guys they have who all play 13 minutes a game. Are they better off cashing in and getting somebody who could play a legitimate 22 to 25 who's got real experience? I think they're in a dangerous spot because you almost don't want to mess with this. This team plays so well together, and they all have Shay's personality. That's another thing. I think part of his MVP case has to be the team has taken on what his personality is, which I think, is part of... That's what happened with Jokuj the last couple of years, that that team is unselfish like Jokuj. Shay, the team is calm and in control, and they play really hard. That guy, can you name five things about Shay? I think he's the most unlikely NBA superstar we've had in 15 years. I don't know anything about the dude. He doesn't really do interviews.


He's not a big social media guy. He's just atypical with all these other dudes. You feel like you have so much knowledge of every piece about them. He's just this mystery dude that just comes in and takes on all the other guys. Think about Tatum. We know what Tatum's kid looks like. We watch him shoot shots before games. Tatum's in all these commercials I'm sure Shay would do commercials, but he's the most mysterious star we've had in a long time.


Well, and there have to be. I have not done it, whether here or in Oklahoma City or anywhere, but there have to have been national writers in addition to local writers who have put out the ask of like, Hey, I'd love to do a 20 minutes sit down with Shay or do a big thing on Shay and Shay's background, and like, What's this guy like? And just like, Unless I've missed it, that just-He doesn't care. That's either no Noone's asking or the Thunder and or Shay are saying no, and we just don't see that piece ever. Yeah, well, I don't know much about him.


One of my big regrets, just as you know, I love being right and love predicting things ahead of time. I watched Shay for that I never saw this. I knew he was good. We all knew this guy's good. This guy can be a starting guard on a championship team. He's really good defensively. He's really smart. There's a lot of great stuff here. I never saw 30 points a game and night after night just outplaying the best guy on the other team.


Well, and you rack your brain. A game last night will make you do it is where you're having the conversation. I was thinking to myself, who's the best guy to guard him.


There is no best guy. It's a 6-9 guy, basically.


The Celtics have five of them, and it didn't matter. I don't even know. Is it Prime Kawhi? Is it what's left of Prime? I don't even know who it is. But you want to say, Hey, would Yannis be on him? Be interesting, but Yannis is not guarded quick guards all that well compared to how he does other stuff.


And Shay can get those guys in foul trouble, too. That's the other thing. It's like, Oh, cool. You're going to put this guy in? I'm just going to get a foul on him. I thought of something last Last night, an analogy that I had never thought of watching him. And as soon as I thought of it, his entire game clicked into my brain. You're not a hockey guy. But the way he plays is the first basketball player, and it makes sense because he's Canadian, right? The way he moves and rotates around and waits and picks his spot and then strikes and comes back, it's like watching a great hockey forward. If you watch Connor McDavid on Edmonton, see that now I'm losing because there's been a hockey match.


No, he was the guy everybody tanked for, right? Yeah. There was a great tank year in hockey.


Or you watched Gretzky, or you watch any great hockey forward. They're always gliding around. They never seem like they're moving full speed, but they have the speed, and they're always waiting to strike. They're almost like Panthers or cougars, just in the wilderness, just waiting to make their move. And the best hockey players, they float around, and then all of a sudden, they're doing something. And I was thinking about that last night. If he doesn't get what he wants, he brings it back, and it's like, Oh, he's not. All right, he's going to... Oh, no, he's not resetting. He's going to the basket. Or, Oh, he has the defender on yo-yo. He's flying by him. Oh, he pulled back. Step back three. Oh, he's... And it's just like he's constantly moving. I wouldn't consider him a helio-centric guy, but It's not like one of these, they give him the ball and he's just like, All right, and everything has to set for eight seconds as he decides what to do. He's always in motion. And I think that's what's so hard for him to guard, or for people to guard him.


It's interesting you say that because I've been thinking about I'd like to go back and watch him from two years ago when the breakout began. Because to me, watching him this year, we all know that his change of pace and herky-jerky style, that's his trademark. You just can't get a hold of him. I feel like this year he's been smarter about, yeah, I'm really good at the herky-jerky change of pace stuff, but sometimes it's better if I just go because I'm also really, really fast in a straight line. And I feel like he's been smarter about leaning that way a little bit more in the right spots and just like, oh, my God, he just blew by this guy. And maybe it's time to dispense with the herky-jerky every single time and just go. And I feel like he's better at that. We've only gotten through one team.


I'm aware. I have one last shape point for you. We do those Ringer top 100 rankings. If you worked with us, you would hate it. I can only imagine what your response is. Hey, Zack, we need your top 100. You would just be like, oh, my God, I'm dying.


I did it once. You're murdering me.


This is going to be a spit take from you. I'm going to say this as somebody who thinks Stephen Curry is the ninth best player of all time. I think I have him ninth. I have him a spot ahead of Kobe. He's one of my favorite athletes of all time, much less favorite basketball players. I had Shay bump him and Tate him out of my top five. I gave Shay the fifth spot at Curry 6. Curry has the playoff experience. 2022 finals just happened. He's an amazing player. But if I'm just judging right now when I'm watching day after day, Shay is just a little more consistent than Curry is. In April, Curry might jump on in my rankings again. But from what I've watched these first 10 weeks, Shay is the best guard in the league, and I don't even know if it's debatable.


Well, I know you don't count Luka as a guard.


Him and Jokić, they're in some different positions. They're over there.


I don't think the Curry thing is a spit take. Curry's been in... Okay, good. He was in a long shooting slump until last night when the Warriors beat Orlando. I think he had 36. But all-star stuff came out, and so we started picking tentative all-star starting fives and all that. I don't think there's really an argument that Steph should start over SGA. Now, Luca is listed as a guard. I know you're personally offended by that. Everyone on the panel has Luca.


Well, you stood next to him. He's 240 pounds. Yeah, he's a big guy. If he's a guard, I don't know how he counts.


But Luca and SGA were the choices for everybody. They have to. There was no pushback about, well, Curry. I mean, historically, Curry is Curry. This year, what this dude is doing is ridiculous.


Can I read you one last thing, and then we got to take a break? We're not allowed to obviously wager on the NBA Awards because we have votes. But it always is interesting to me when we get to early January, how off some of the odds are. On Fandil right now, the clutch player of the year, who do you think is the favorite in the betting market right now for the stupid Clutch Player of the Year award that I don't even really fully understand? Who would you pick?


The favorite?


The favorite right now on January third, Clutch Player of the Year.


Tyrese Halliburton.


He's third at plus 650. For some reason, Dame is first at plus 340, and then Shay is plus 340. I thought Shay was going to be minus 300. I don't know how you can be more clutch than him. We We've watched them, man, game winners. We've watched him over and over again beat the best players in the league head to head. I guess I don't understand this award.


Well, the first month of the season, the Bucks had that stretch where every win they had was a close win, and Dame had a bunch of big shots. I think maybe that's still fresh in everybody's minds.


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All you have to do is visit fanduel. Com/bs, make your first bet of layup. Fanduel, official partner of the NBA, you must be 21 plus and President Select State's five-dollar pregame money land wager required. First online real money wage or only $10 first deposit required. Bonus issued is non-retrouvable bonus, but it expires seven days after receipt. See terms at sportsbook. Fanduel. Com. All right, coming back. League Pass rankings Okay, so he was number one to me even before last night. By the way, you forgot to mention they're shooting 50, 39, 80% as a team. These 50, 40, 80 teams, when we first got to know each other 12 years ago, if I had said 12 years from now, If there's going to be 50, 40, 80 teams, you would have been like, Fuck you. No way. What did they change the rules? Did they increase the size of the basket?


They have eight guys shooting 40% from three. Thunder.


My number one, or I guess my first pick is the Celtics.


I'm happy about that. I did not have them this high.


That's ridiculous. That's a bad job by you. Here's why. There's two reasons. Now, obviously, I know it's my favorite team, but as you know, I'll be I'll be hard on my team if they deserve it. I would not normally want to put the Celtics second on this list. But there's two things. One is the Porzingas piece has been so much fun to watch, game to game, how they use him. I'm just fascinated He's really motivated by it. I was looking at some of his stats from Dallas. He's basically averaging the same he did in Dallas. He's 20 and seven. That's what he did in Dallas. But in Dallas, his two-point shooting is like... His two-point shooting was way lower. His free throw attempts, I think he was at 3.2. He's at almost 6 for the Celtics. The way they've used him, they've unleashed him into this way more efficient version of him versus the guy we saw in Dallas who was basically, Go stand over there. Occasionally, Luca will do a pick and pop with you. We're going to post you up with no warning. It's going to be super obvious, and it's going to look ugly, and then people are going to think you're not a post-up where...


The Celtics are like, All right, This person's on you. We're going to leverage this. Let's put you at the foul. Oh, they're putting Bogdanovic on you. We're going to put you at the foul line. You're just going to shoot over him. Oh, they're going to put a guard on you. Go into the corner. You're going to get wide open threes. He's not even shooting that well. I think he's 33% from three. That's one of the interesting things about the Celtics team. Tate and Brown and Porzingis are all under 35% from three. This is one of the best offensive teams in the league, and I don't even think they're shooting that well yet. I think White and holiday Their three-point shooting has been up, and some of the bench guys. But for the actual starters, not the same. So that's the Porzingas piece is one. And then second, just quickly, just Drew and White on the same team is super fun. You mentioned earlier with the OKC, they're allowed to do some stuff on defense that other teams don't have access to. With guys jumping off, guards blocking layups at the rim, guards messing up three on no fast breaks like what happened with the white last night.


It's just so fun to watch those two. I don't really know what point of the career Drew is at right now. His two-point percentage is 47.9, which is brutal. Last year was 56. It adds up to the eye test of he's not really finishing in the ribbon the same way. Three-point shooting is good. But he did get hurt earlier in the air. I'm not giving up on that. But those two things have made it super fun for me. Also, they're really good.


Yeah, they're awesome. I had them sixth in my draft. As you will see from the teams I I'm a prisoner of the moment a little bit in some teams that are fresher and have more interesting questions to answer. I just think the Celtics are awesome. They are very fun to watch on both ends of the floor and how they play. I am probably guilty of watching a lot of Celtics games through a pretty narrow lens that is just the same lens every game for me, which is, how often are they getting to the rim? How often are they getting to the rim? How often are they getting to the rim? And so maybe I'm not bored because, again, I had them but maybe I'm bored of watching them through that same lens over and over. And about Porzingas, the thing I've loved about him this year is he's not just turning and shooting those 16 footers. He really is trying to carve out every inch of space he can get, even If he ends up falling over, he gets fouled a lot more. I just need rim, rim, rim, because everything else about this team is pretty damn air tight.


What's their one move?


Yeah. Are you of the school of thought that Hauzer, Horford, Pritchard, Cornet, whoever is not enough off the bench? They need one more guy off the bench.


I think they need a big guard. They need a 6'5, 6'6 guard who... They could just have two skills. Can they defend and can they at least hit an open shot 37% of the time?


I think that's what's missing. Would you give up two first-round pics for Alex Caruso?


In five seconds.




Yeah. I don't care about pics. This sounds like going to be good every year. I did not sound like James Jones, who should have cared about pics, and was like, Yeah, I don't really care about... We don't care about first-rounders here. It's like, Maybe you should have. You took Jalen Smith over Tyrese Albert. But in the Celtic case, I mean, one of the reasons I have them ranked so high is... And Tatum, watching him hit the checkpoints of who he should be, and he's not there yet, and he still does stuff that drives me nuts. He'll take pull-up threes that you're just like, Oh, my God, you're never going to figure this out. It doesn't go to the rim enough. The game they played last night, they only took 43. I think they had 29 free throws. That's more in where they're going to have to be in May, June. But to me, it's like, I don't know if this team is going to be together in the same way again. I don't know how long Jalen is going to be in the team. He's making 50 million a year. At some point, you got to pick and choose how many expensive guys you can have, especially if the media deal isn't what the league seems to think it's going to be.


What's holidays next contract going to be? Is he going to take less? Is it going to be like an Al Horford situation? I love it here. Or is he going to cash in one more time for 100 million for three years from somebody with Capspace? So this feels like this literally feels like their best chance to win a title since '08. I mean, they have the most talent.


It's the best team since '09. It's the best team since '09, which got derailed by KG's injury.


Yeah, and this is it. They have the most talent. They have a guy who can who can go head to head with some of the best guys in the league. They have balance. That's why I would do Caruso in five seconds. All right, you're up.


I don't think we need to spend too much time on this. My next pick was Denver. They have the most watchable player in the entire league. Every game- God damn it.


I already like your draft so much more than mine.


I got O'Keecey in Denver. Jokić will do five things every game that make me cackle like an idiot. And this year, every good team that is proven. Like you said, Denver is playing with a little bit of like, We got this championship confidence. Not casual in this, but you know what I mean. They still have to have a subplot that ropes me in and the bench and like, Payton Watson and Julian Strather and Christian Brown. That's the subplot. It's a fun subplot. I like that subplot. Doesn't always work for them every night, but I like it.


Not sure about Strather yet. I like him. He's actually playing. I like him, too, but what's that going to look like in May? Not sure if I trust those guys.


You But it'll look a lot better when Jamal Murray is on the floor with those guys or Michael Porter Jr. And Aaron Gordner on the floor with those guys. Right now, if you look at their numbers, the five-man benchmobs are getting destroyed, and that's deflating all their overall plus-minus numbers. But it's interesting stuff. Do we need to say anything more about Denver? They're Denver.


We don't. The only thing I would add is, and this is before the crazy dog attack, but Gordon just wasn't playing as well this year. He was down statistically in a bunch of spots, he wasn't making threes anymore, and I was just monitoring it. They don't have a lot to trade. They don't have a lot of moves. Basically, their picks, the stuff they've already traded, plus their picks have those stupid protections where they're handcuffed anyway for what they can do. Unless they trade a couple of those bench guys, they need him to be the third best guy in the team. With how good the league has gotten, I think that's a harder case to make this year. You remember, he almost went sideways in round two last year, and the Lakers just weren't guarding him at all, or round three. Lakers weren't guarding him at all. They were like, All right. It was a little like Gitty last night, but then he rallied and got out of it. But I'm just are in that. You're monitoring. Okay. I get frustrated with them because, first of all, I've watched them for so long, and I just know when they're a little bit on autopilot now, we're like, All right, fine.


All right. And they have a bolsa every night, which is just a different place to be in. Every night, they go to whatever city or they're playing whoever, they're the champs, and teams go at them really hard. And sometimes it doesn't seem like they totally want it. All right. My next team, Minnesota. Now, we basically listed the four best teams in the league right now, or four of the five. I've just really enjoyed how improbable all this was, watching Edwards trying to figure it out as a guy. The Gobert renaissance has been bizarre, but the thing I really like about them and why I think they matter in the league past rankings is they really bring it every night, and you either have to keep up or not. They've been in a few games that just feel like playoff games. The stuff they're doing is pretty high level. Even what they were doing at Brunson the other day, where they put McDaniels on them. They're just like, We're taking out Brunson. They lost the game. But they're doing stuff that you usually see in April, May in these games versus just, All right, it's game 41.


Let's go. Because they're trying to discover themselves as a contender. And Edwards is just so aggro. It's great. He really thinks he's the best player in the league. He loves talking shit, and he's not afraid of anybody. And I've enjoyed that. Do you see their 11 and 1 in clutch games this year?


I did not see that.


Their close games are really fun close games. So if it's like they're seven minutes left and it's like, Oh, it's Minnesota, 90, Toronto, 88. You're like, Oh, this will be fun. So I have them fourth.


I don't know if I can remember anyone making a bigger bank shot leap than Anthony Edwards has made from last year to this year. Last year, I was like, Does he have a bank shot? And this year, it's like, he's making these wide angle bank shots that don't even look like you should shoot bank shots on them, and they go in every time. I had them eighth, and only because they're often can get a little bit sluggy. So clunky, yeah. And that's all. But I love watching them. Mcdaniels, the defense is ridiculous. But on offense, that guy's getting a little more comfortable and has a little more juice in his game every night. I think that's big for them. I always love slow-mo. I'm a sucker for slowmo. But you said you're monitoring Aaron Gordon. I'm just monitoring. Minnesota has got the best record in the West. They're awesome. 19th in offense right now. It's sitting there as like, you keep waiting for to get... On some nights, it looks really good, and then you look at the numbers. Okay, number one defense is their defense is real. Just I'm monitoring it. That's all.


I had Kyle Anderson written down as the one move they could make if they needed to do something. It's 9.2 million expiring. He's not having a great year for them this year.


They love him, though. They love him. No, I know they love him, but- A connector guy.


Seems a little expendable, though. I mean, what they really need is Conley Insurance because on the nights where Conley doesn't have it, it looks super choppy. Anyway, all right.


Yeah, Shaq Milton was supposed to be that guy, and he's fallen out of the rotation. I bet within three games of this podcast, Jake Milton plays like 21 minutes in a game. They're going to try to resuscitate him because they know this Jordan McLauchlin thing is cute that's going on in the last five days, but they need to shake. All right, so you took Minnesota. Okay.


I probably should have gotten more cut for it with this draft because I know who you're taking next, and I could have just taken them, and I feel like I still could have gotten Minnesota a team later. I know what you're going to do. You're going to take the Pacers.


No, I'm not. My third pick, and this is when I said I'm prisoner of the moment.


No, don't do it. It's time now. Don't do it.


It's time now to direct our full attention to the Phoenix Suns.


Beal is healthy. I thought you were going to say the Clippers. I was going to get mad.


Beal is healthy. Durant was healthy. He missed the game against Portland. Hopefully, that's just a one, two-game thing. Now we get to see, Okay, this is what it is. All these guys make $130 million combined. You traded everything you had, literally everything. Every swap has been split up four different ways to build this team around these three guys. Every analysis of your team until now was like, well, I don't know. We don't know what to make of it because Brad Beel is not held. Now everyone's here. All right, let's see what you got. Let's see how it shakes out. What's the bench rotation? What's your closing lineup? Now we get to see the full thing. And I have light now. The competition has been great, but I liked the first 65 minutes of Beel, Booker, Durant have been monstrously good. I'm in. I'm excited to watch it now.


Well, you know they're serious because they finally improved to over 500 at home, 10 and nine. Congrats to them. Yeah. So Wosh did that story on Christmas where he put out something I think all of us had heard in some form that maybe Kevin Durant wasn't that happy. And then they sucked that night. So then you know how this goes. It was Christmas week for them, which was, I think, helpful because I think if it had just been a normal week like this week, it would have been just Phoenix, Phoenix, Phoenix for the next four days. But what was interesting was the way he responded after that Christmas game, because that Wednesday game, he played one of his best games of the year, if not the best one.


Was that the 16 assists game?


Yeah, 27, 16, 11. It was just like he just was locked in. That made me feel better about maybe where this was going. But I like what I've seen the last few games. The problem for them, there's two problems. One is I just don't trust Biel and Durant to just stay healthy for the next six months. Durant's body has a lot of wear and tear, and they They're putting a lot of miles on him, which just makes me nervous. Then Biel, I just don't trust to be out there. They got to be out there for the next five months. You don't want to be in the play-in. You don't want to be the lower seat every time in a playoff series. So they got to get going now. I'm just not a Nerkage guy. I'm just not.


Look, I was with you on, there's a lot of risk built into this Aten Nerkage thing. He's delivered so far this year. I get it. And Aten has not. And that's leaving aside the fact that the Aten Bridge was burned and the rubble was burned to ash and all of that. He's been good. Now, if you don't trust him, you don't trust him. But like, NERC is delivered so far. Not a good defensive player. Can I give you two more Phoenix things?


Not a big health risk for me, but keep on.


I just want to give Kevin Ray and Eddie Johnson a little bit of a shout out. They've become one of my favorite broadcast teams in the league. The home thing, this is not Phoenix related. But you mentioned their home record finally being over 500. Your beloved Boston Celtics are undefeated at home.


Oh, I'm aware. My dad and I are very focused on this.


When as a Celtic as a Celtics fan who was attending games in 1986, when does your brain start thinking about 40 and one? Remember Cleveland in 2009 was 39 and one and lost the last game of the season to finish 39 and two? When do you start thinking about 40 and 1. That's like an underrated fun NBA number.


First of all, how dare you? Because I started thinking about it a week ago. Five and 0.


I watched the entire Detroit game. Five and 0.


You're like, It's on the board. The Detroit game. I'm like, We got to get this one. Why Why did we bench so many guys? It's not just the 40 and 1, it's the 50 and 1. They went 50 and 1, including the playoffs that year. I just don't know if we see that again. I think teams have gotten close, but just to play 51 games and win 50 of them at home during the entire season. It's on my radar. My dad is super excited about it. The 40 and one meant a lot to him. He went to a lot of those games. The one game they lost, they got their asses kicked by Portland. In '86. Portland, just super athletic, just ran up and down on them. But I don't know what week it's going to become a thing, but maybe if they get to 20, it might start mattering. I don't know what the record is for home wins to start the season. What's weird is they sucked at home in the playoffs last year, but they definitely have a good home court advantage, and you can feel it game to game. The crowd was so into that Detroit game.


Poor Detroit's trying to break their stupid streak, and the Celtics fans are acting like it's Mid Bay. All right. I'm up.


You're up. I've taken Phoenix, Denver, and Oklahoma City. You've taken Boston and Minnesota.


This is sad. I'm almost letting you win this. I can only go with my heart. I love watching the Warriors. I still love Steph Curry. I'm still super focused on it. I think part of it might be that it's the West Coast team, so they're on. But I've been really, really, really absorbed by how weird their season's been and all the ups and downs and just Wiggins just being almost unplayable for six weeks. Then he is playable, but then he's not. The Draymon thing was so bizarre, especially when he really started unraveling and just game to game. It was riveting to see if he would lose it again. Then he did twice in a week, and that's it. I'm a huge Kominga guy now. I'm back. I had Kominga in the trade machine all over the place. He's won me back because he's got to be first-team all rational confidence. He's out there like, Finally, Draymon's gone. I can do my thing. He really believes that. I'm not saying he's true, not true. I like Brando Pods. Jackson Davis, who I found out was Dale Davis' son 10 days ago. I can't believe it, but I think he's been really good for them.


He's your guy. And just the last days of Clay, how that's been planned out has been fun. And then the Curry piece. It's just every game is hard for them, and it's fun from a league past standpoint. So that's my case.


I had the Warriors 10th, and that's the floor for any Steph Curry team. Yeah. And I agree with you. The chaos, and it's like new starting five. You know what? We don't like that one. Let's try a new starting five. Okay, these guys can't play together. Maybe they can play together. The chaos is both fun and sometimes a little bit frustrating and sometimes can lead to bad basketball. If you look at their numbers, their transition defense has been awful this year, and it's been really awful since the Draymon suspension. And I think part of that is, A, he's still one of the best defenders in the league, and B, they're throwing out so many lineups that are new or newish, and these guys just are learning each other on the fly. And there's something fun about that. It's been fun to watch Jackson Davis. It's been fun to watch Pajemski settle in.


They're just adult rookies. They play hard, they know where to go and what to do.


I've always liked Kaminga. It didn't look good for me a year ago. He's been playing really well lately. When he just takes a half second to exhale on offense with the ball and he starts making the right pass at the right time, that's when I get very excited. It doesn't have to be straight line chaos all the time. He made a couple of reads in recent games. All right, there it is. I like watching them, and I do think the puzzle solving element of this, all of a sudden, Moses Moody is out of the rotation. And it's like, I actually... I like Moses Moody. I actually can't quibble. I don't know whose minutes he would really steal from at this point unless you're just cutting bait on Clay and Wiggins completely, and they're understandably not going to do that. They're a fun watch. I like to pick.


You left out the Chris Paul subplot.




Chris Paul, year 19? Still good. What year is it for him? Still good. His shots are short. I think he's hit the front of the rim more than any other player in the league this year. But it still looks like Chris Paul. It's like watching an actor in some TV show where you're like, Oh, I love that person, but they're just older. But he still knows where to go, what to do. My guess is he's the one they trade. I mean, not to step on Perk's corner, but the real baller trade would be if Clay was in it, because I think then you give Moody those minutes, you Clay and Picks, whatever you want to do. Clay is probably the most extendable of these dudes, but Clay also has the playoff pedigree, and they're going to wait for him. I just don't think they would ever trade him, ever.


Which you have to understand as someone who got into sports because you loved sports and you loved certain teams and players. That's understandable. There are certain guys who It's Clay Thompson, man. That's game six Oklahoma City.


Can't. It's Clay and Curry. It's a whole era. I think it's really hard to cut the ties with that. With that said, there is one trade I think they could and should make We're going to get to that next. Last note on Golden State, and then we'll keep going to the League Pass rankings. I didn't think they would trade Draymond, and I think they will now. I say that in a way that will probably get aggregated by one of those stupid sites that we hate. I just think they're playing better without them. I think too many things have happened, and I think it's one of those relationships where you just have to break up at this point. He's going to have real value to other teams. Not sure who those teams would be, but we could probably guess a few of them. I think maybe you move on at this point. It's been really interesting how little everybody has said on both sides about this. What the warriors aren't saying is, Look, Draymond is always going to be in this team. When he gets his head right and he's back, he's a warrior for life.


Nobody's saying any of that now. I just feel like the door is way, way open for some move. And by the way, the trade deadline is in six weeks. They haven't even... They asked her the other day, Drayman hasn't been back in the building, and he's like, he needed some distance from us. We needed some distance from him, whatever he said.


That was 18 hours ago. Steve Kerr said that after the Magic Game last night.


Yeah, that was not nothing.


No, because we're 10 games in. And I remember there were some anonymous reports a week, 10 days ago that 15 games started to be the number that was ballparked in some published reports. I can't remember where. Well, we're at 10 now. And part of the reason they are interesting to watch is you can see them in real-time, not necessarily evolving past Draymond, but having to construct a team without him and finding some answers that work and some that... I mean, they've been hovering around 500 without him. It's not like they're killing it. But I do find It's been interesting that you say he would have a lot of value because he has three years left on his contract after this. And obviously, what's happened has happened. I think trading him for something that can help you win today, if that's your goal. I would be interested to see you. We may not have time now, but he seems to be a very tricky player to trade right now. You'd have to imagine there are some teams who would be like, oh, no, that seems like a lot for us to take on at this point.


I'm glad you corrected me. Saying a lot of value is strong. Do you think teams would talk themselves into him? Yes.


Are you thinking like, Lakers teams?


Or are you thinking like- The Lakers have to be on the Are you thinking just bad teams who like, Oh, culture and defense and grit, bring them into Detroit or Charlotte and he can help our young guys? Culture might be a little tough. That's what I'm saying. Might be a tough case. I don't know if you're Cleveland.


Now we're going crazy now. Let's go.


Well, if it's Cleveland, and it's like we have this whole pretty big sample size now that maybe this Jared Allen mobile thing doesn't 100% work. And what if we got Draymond and Moses Moody and a couple of assets, and we gave him Jared Allen. Now we put Draymond with Evan Mowbley, and we have a proven four-time title guy, and maybe this will convince Mitchell to stay. They claim they're not trading Mitchell. They do. That was the team I was thinking. By the way, don't aggregate that because that's just a thought experiment. I have no inside info. What if you're Orlando?


I I don't think you're right. I mean, I know they've come back to Earth a little bit. They're only five games over now, I think, or something like that.


They're not beating any good teams.


But if you're Orlando, aren't you okay with not beating any good teams? Are you worried about like, Oh, we're not going to be a strong playoff team Maybe we'll make the playoffs and be a one and done, and that's the best we can do. Are you worried about that?


I'm just good with, let's make the playoff. That was our goal this year.


They need a guard. I mean, this Fultz thing.


I mean, I don't- Well, there's something wrong with his name.


He's the problem. My guess is Orlando is not going to really come up at the top or the bottom of our drafts. They're a nice middle, fun, decent team to watch, so we might as well do it now. The Fultz thing is taking a long time. This whole- He's taking a long time for a reason.


He's hurt.


Yeah. Anthony Black, it's a nice thing you can do in the regular season and stay afloat. It's not a real thing that you can start that guy and play him for 14 minutes. Then your backups are Cole Anthony, who's good, and Gary Harris, who I don't think was projected to be this big a part of the team this year, and Joe Ingles has already heard. They need a guard.


It's a lot of Cole Anthony.


Who's good.


No, but it's a lot of Cole Anthony.


It's a little too much. Sugs, for as much as you and I like Sugs, and Sugs brings all the intangibles and the grit and the toughness, there still are going to be a lot of three of 11, seven points games for him.


I had this written down because I don't know if we get to Orlando. This is the exact sentence I typed. Kind of a fun Zack Levine team. If it's just the Fultz-Harris expirings are over 30 million, maybe you throw them Denver's protected 25 first so they could save some face and say they got to pick, and they take on that Levine contract, and now you're putting Levine in those Gary Harris, I don't know, Fultz-slash-whatever-minutes.


Just letting them cook. I'm not doing that from Orlando.


That's why I said, I'm not putting Levine in any team where he can plausibly tell himself, I'm the guy.


I'm the best player on the team. And I could see him going to Orlando being like, Well, these guys are young. I'm a two-time All-Star gold medalist.


So you're saying he has to go to the Lakers?


I'm not. Do you think the Lakers want to do that?


No, but we've seen GM LeBron has made some crazy things happen. Gm LeBron has provided a lot of father over there. I can't wait for owner LeBron.


I was just about to say you're excited about- Owner LeBron is going to be unbelievable.


What's going to happen when he's actually in charge of a team and he's just like, Let's do this.


What's the name of the Vegas team going to be? What do we think is a good name for the Vegas team?


Like the Vegas Dice?




All right.


Does it have to be gambling related?


Yeah. Well, what's the... What do they call the WMBA team? Asus. Asus? Yeah, that's gambling related.


Yeah, I understand. I'm saying we can't get more. I'm not anti-gambling. We just could be a little more creative. Las Vegas just has to be... Can't get a little... Golden Nights is fun.


Vegas Blackjacks.


That's a hockey team, right?


Blackjacks, craps, roulette.


I mean, we know what the Seattle team is going to be named.


The Las Vegas Wheel. Wheelers? Kind of like the Whalers? All right. So so far in the League Pass draft, you took OKC Denver and Phoenix. I have Boston, Minnesota, and Golden State. I like your side way more. What do you have for the 7-6?


I'm thinking of zagging and going further down my rankings just for the sake of fun, but I think I can get this fun team that I'm thinking of taking now, one more pick from now. So I'm going to stick chalk, and I'm actually going to take the fourth team on my list, which means I've gotten one, two, three, and four on my list. And we've spent all year, all of us, nitpicking, nitpicking the fault. They don't do this well, they don't do that well, the coach is this and that. You know who's really fun to watch? Giannis. Giannis is still really fun to watch, and Dame and Giannis together are fun to watch. This has been the best offensive team in the league for the last six weeks of the season, thereabouts anyway. I think they're third overall now. I still think the Bucks are pretty damn fun. So I'm taking the Bucks. Easy, right? I don't enjoy them as- We all know the perimeter defense, and I want to see Bo Shamp and Jackson play. We all know that. I get the problem. From a sheer entertainment standpoint, this team's pretty damn fun.


They seem to be in a lot of fun fourth quarters. Yeah.


You never know when Giannis is going to blow a gas basket about something dumb that has nothing to do with the game and just create a WWE scene, knocking over ladders and storming into locker rooms. You never know.


I had them later in my top 10, but the big thing is Yannis, who seems to have a real edge to him now, and I don't really fully understand it. And it's game to game. It's not just what happened that Indiana thing. He seems mad way more often than I ever remember at any point in his career. I mean, competitive mad, not like Draymon might unravel mad. But he's just really feisty. I always thought he was pretty... Remember early in his career, who was the guy that he absolutely nailed when the guy cheap shot at him and he came back and he knocked... It was a three-point shooter. Who was it? I do remember that. He knocked that guy into the... He absolutely... And that was the first time because we were like, Oh, the freak. He's so much fun. And then he did this WEE move and we all said, Oh, he's got this. He's got a little of this, too.


He and Ben Simmons had a thing, remember when he and Ben Simmons had a little thing for a while?


Yeah, he's very pissy this year in a good way. Have you noticed he's shooting 61%? Seems relevant. So averaging 31 points a game, shooting 61%.


Yeah, he's amazing.


Yeah, he's still really, really great.


And talk about a guy who's good for four highlight dunks a game. And his highlight dunks run the gamut from the three steps to traverse the whole court, one-handed extendo dunk. But my favorite Jahnis Dunk is when he's just stuck under the rim with four guys around him, and he just rises up like a superhero and just rudely dunks on top of all of them. That's my favorite one.


They're also fun in the fourth quarters because they can't get stops, and nobody can really stop them either. So it just becomes a pinball game. I will say, though, the one thing I don't love about them is it's a lot of free throws. I think him and Dame combined are almost 20. And that's just not that fun for me. I like the flow. So that's why I had them.


Middleton is playing better, too. But yeah, free throws, knock teams down. Orlando is number one in free throw rate. That's one of the reasons they're not that entertaining to watch.


Well, I can't believe what value here at number eight. I like my group more. Indiana has got to go here. Indiana should have probably gone sooner. Indiana is averaging 126.4 points a game. 126.4 points per game. That's their average for games. Every single game, they score at least 126 points. I looked up some of the mid-2000 seasons. The 2000 Mavericks led the league at 103. They scored 23 more points a game than the leader in the league in 2003. They have eight guys averaging 10 points a game. They're shooting 50%, 38%, 80%.


They have 80 guys averaging 10 points a game.


Eight guys, including Jalen Smith.


Not one of them is a garbage time guy. They're legit.


All eight, they have Aaron Neesmith is shooting 50% from three.


What a year for those of us who have been on Aaron Neesmith Island for three years.


For those of us, it was me and you and one other person. I think what we're watching, and I think Hal Barton got discussed more than enough during the in-season tournament, which you have abbreviated now to the IST. Is that what we're doing or is that you're just trying it out?


I think that's a placeholder until they name it, until it becomes something. The Amazon in-season tournament. The Pool and Weed Eater in-season tournament, whatever it ends up being.


What Halliburton is doing this year is very somewhere in my head to when Nash went to the Suns and just something was happening. They're like, What's this? This is weird. Oh, my God. They're going to play like this every game? I don't think it's necessarily going to work long term. I don't think they're going to win a first-round series. But they were the most intriguing team to me with the Ananobi I thought they might get into that. I don't know if they're buyers or sellers. My guess is that they might be buyers because they have some assets. I'm not really sure where this team goes over the next six weeks, but I really like watching them.


Yeah, they're fun to watch. I can't quibble with it. There are just some nights- When they get killed. No, not even when they get killed, when it feels a little circusy to me, where it feels a little bit like a carnival. It's like, can either the teams involved try a little bit on defense? Do you have a plan? Do you have an idea? Do you try out an idea for not giving up 125 points a game other than score 130 points a game? I do think their whole, we will just give up layups so that we don't give up any threes defense is a novel thing. We just really don't care if you get a bunch- It's a little Paul West head early '90s when he tried to do that Denver thing and it bombed. It feels a little circusy to me on some. That Hawks Pacers game that was 150 something to 150 something. By the third quarter of that game, I was like, I'm now... It was like an All-Star game. Is that right? The 17th alley-oop in the first quarter. I'm like, Okay, I've seen the game now. I'm a little bored now.


It was like when you watch volleyball and there's just so many points You start to become numb to the points. I've really enjoyed having them in the league.


No, they're fun.


The Halleburn thing is really weird because they gave up. They got healed in Halleburn for Sabonis. And just that they traded a guy who is now a guaranteed top 10, top 12, wherever he is for the next 10 years. You would think that's a disaster, but I feel like the Kings would do it again with what it's done for Fox, I think they run the trade back. So you have this trade that's the most important trade in Indiana has made this century. Now, maybe if you did Trucerum with Sacramento and put five vodka shots in Vivek, maybe you're like, Man, maybe we shouldn't trade Halleburn. But I still feel like they are... I mean, they double down on Sabona. They gave them that giant extension. I don't know if it's huge regrets, but can you remember another time somebody gave up a guy like that? And it's not like, oh, my God, their fans being devastated that they gave them up. It's just not there in this trade.


Yeah. I also can't really remember a time where a team didn't make the playoffs for 16 years, so their fans would be happy with any level of base competency, which the Kings have achieved with this team. Yeah. So by the way, King is one of the most fun trade deadline wild car teams right now because they're 19 and 13. That's in pieces. They're on the same win-loss pace as they were last year. Point differential, just about zero at this point, and they lost at home last night to Charlotte. And they bench Kevin Herder, who's now starting Chris DiWarte over him.


Harrison Barnes is- There's some Davian Mitchell, just out of the mix.


It feels like I like the Ananobi. I like them as an Ananobi fit. I think they had some... Obviously, they didn't get Ogie Ananobi, so they must have had some hesitancy or they didn't... I think it was more they didn't have the piece that Toronto would have wanted and was gettable.


Are you saying you think when Cleveland traded for Mitchell and Minnesota traded for Gobert, and it was a little bit of a... Okay, I guess you guys are going for it. You think Sacramento is the number one draft pick for, Whoa, you just gave up four unprotected first rounders because you're doubling down on Fox and Sabotus? I don't know about- This is what we're doing?


That's the thing they don't have for because they still owe the one to Atlanta for Herder. I don't think a deal that big, but I do sense some... In the next two or three weeks, they're going to have to decide, is our team Does our record more accurately reflect the quality of our team, or does our point differential more accurately reflect the quality of our team? And if it's the latter, how much risker are we of not making the play-off? So falling into the play-in where anything can happen, we could not even make the play-off. And if we think that risk is substantial enough, how aggressive are we going to be? I just don't know who the player is that they're going to target. Exactly. And if they're not going to give up Keegan Murray, that's going to take them out. And they shouldn't. That's going to take them out a lot of conversation. I've mentioned them as a Levine fit because offensively-We know they liked them.


They tried to sign them.


I forgot about that. Now, this is a different regime there, but They were the offer sheet team. Conceptually, he fits on offense between Fox and Sabones and would be the third guy with the ball, which is the role that I think he needs to be much more finisher than initiator. But the contract is huge. The Bulls have been better without him. You're just punting defense forever and ever and ever if you're playing those three guys together. I don't love it. I don't see them doing it, but I don't know. They and Brooklyn are my two trade deadline wild cards. I can't figure out what they're going to do.


Brooklyn doesn't have their pick.


They don't have their pick, but they have picks from other teams. And they have veteran guys that other teams would want that may be extendable, like your Finnie Smith and Roy Smith. They just have a lot of ingredients, and they're sliding down the standings. They feel ripe. Those situations feel ripe to me for something unexpected.


Yeah, because with Brooklyn, it doesn't make sense for them to bottom out. So they actually have incentive to get better. In Sacramento, I like Kata, the guy that Celtic got, who I think he was the 37th or 39th pick for Sacramento two years ago. And Sacramento just didn't offer him the option. And he left and the Celtics got him. And he's something. Could he be a clumsier zoo bot two years from now? I don't know. But he's clearly, if you're going to have 15 guys on your roster, he's something. I asked somebody, When the Celtics were in town, I was talking to a couple of different people and I asked somebody, How did you get Keita? I don't understand that. Why did the Kings give them up? And they said, Because they're the Kings. That made me think, even though things have gone well for the Kings the last couple of years, there's still some prove it to us with the Kings. I know you made a couple of decent trades, but I'm still not sure teams trust the infrastructure from a common sense standpoint. It, which makes me wonder, would that be a team that makes a crazy trade?


So I think we're seeing this the same way.


Should we go rapid fire through some more pics?


Yeah, we're almost done here. Go.


So I'm going to assume A couple of my chalk pics just to shake it up. So I have OKC, Denver, Phoenix, Milwaukee. I'm going to take... This is going to surprise you. I really like watching Houston. I'm going to take the Houston Rockets as my next team. I just think Even on nights when Jalen Green is like three of 16 and gets benched in the fourth quarter, I'm still curious about every time Jalen Green has the ball, what's going to happen. I love Jabari, I love Easton, I love Schengen. The veterans have been fun. I think they're a fun team to watch. Houston Rockets.


Had them in my top 10. The Jalen Green. Yeah, the Jalen Green thing will be... They're going to be my next pick. The Jalen Green thing will be what makes or breaks whatever they're supposed to be this year. I still don't 100% love Van Biet as somebody who has the ball a lot in the last five minutes of a game. I think that was one of the reasons Toronto wasn't that successful the last couple of years. His stats are good. I get it. You could point me to a bunch of different advanced metrics and be like, Here's why you're I'm sorry, I'm wrong. Fred Vanbleet is good. But if they're playing Golden State and it's Fred Vanbleet versus Steph Curry, or you're playing OKC, and now it's SGA versus Fred Vanbleet, I don't feel great about my odds. It just seems like they need Jalen to be that guy who steps up, and I just don't think he's ready yet. So now you're going to Schengen, and Schengen is ready. And how that unfolds. I love Jibari. I wonder what their trade is. They They had to get rid of Porter, but they also could have suspended him and just kept it for a possible trade.


But it really handicapped them from throwing a contract in and trying to get one more guy. So they're probably a year away, right? I don't think they're...


Yeah, I've heard you say on the Bill Simmons podcast, it's quite a popular podcast. People may have heard of it. We're on it currently. That the team is now too good for Jalen Green. The team is too good to live through Jalen Green's growing pains as a young guard. I understand what you're saying. They're a 500 team, and they play a cleaner brand of basketball than he plays. I just don't care. Ime's Udoka solution to that has been like, Okay, then on those nights, you're going bad. You're going to play 20 minutes, and that's going to be cool. I'm fine with that because he can have seven, four of 16 games in a row. He's 21 years old. You've put him into trades. I can't remember where you had traded in a fake trade.


I think he has real value.


If I'm Houston, you haven't named a trade on any of your podcast that I'm doing if I'm Houston. I'm holding on to him tighter than maybe you have in some of your fake trades.


That's fair. And if you don't think you're going anywhere this year, Maybe use the next five, six weeks to figure out what do we actually have here. Is this a guy that could be a real creator in the last five minutes? He's got the perfect coach. I love Eme. And I just feel like whatever his potential is, Eme is going to get out of him on both ends, especially. He's not going to let him slack on defense. He's going to hold him accountable. If he's not doing stuff, then Emei has got it. My next team, Man, I almost want to break your brain, but I'm not going to do it. I actually have Sacramento because they're a West Coast team, which I like. They play a style that I enjoy watching. They're weird for all the reasons we mentioned, where there's a couple of guys that just aren't doing well for them. I don't really know. I like Davian Mitchell. That's somebody that I would be looking at as the best case scenario. I talked about this last week. The best case scenario is Kobe White for the late Blooming lottery pick. But there are some other guys out there that just might be in the wrong situation.


He might be one of them.


He's back in the rotation now.




That's been a little bit of like, Kean Ellis was actually playing okay. Is this a trade showcase thing going on?


I feel like it's a showcase. But the big thing with them, Fox has been so good this year. He's one of the five guys averaging 30 a game, like a legit 30, not like a 29.6. He's 30 a game, and he's the best version of himself at this point. His ability to get to the rim, how he's using some of his lefty backboard shit that he does. And he's really, really good. So it's fun to watch him. I was thinking like with the All-MBA, you got Luka and you got SGA and you got Halbert and you got Curry just for the guards. If we're doing it old school with the guard spots. But then you also have Fox, you have Maxi averaging 27 a game, you have Anne Edwards, you have Dame Lahrd. This guard, figuring out six guards in the old school way is going to be impossible.


Instead of the electronic ballot that we all get to vote, we get the Ernst & Young electronic online ballot. Are you, Bill Simmons, going to request a paper ballot so that you can write G for guard, G for guard, F for forward, F for forward, C for center, because you are an anti-positionless all-NBA, but you're not going to have a choice. You're going to have no ability to designate positions on the Ernst & Young ballot. It's going to be positionless. I think you need to make a special request for your own paper ballot that you can write in Sharpie, Guard, Guard, Guard, F-U, NBA, Here's my ballot.


Now, you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to still do Guard, Guard, Forward, Forward, Center.




I'm just going to do it. I'm going to pick five guys in my head, and I'm just going to do it the way I did it. I'm not throwing away 78 years.


But you're not going to be able to tell the NBA, This is what I've done. Ha, ha.


I'll tell them on this podcast. I'm not throwing away 78 years of history just because you got peer pressure by a couple of people on Twitter. It's like my least favorite thing Adam Silver has done in the 10 years. Don't get peer pressured. Oh, I'm sorry, Jokuj and Embiid play the same position. I'm pretty sure it didn't bother Bill Russell and Will Chamberlain.


It's not a good enough snapshot of the league if we're...


I How would you do it for the All-MBA if you could redo the positions? Would you go point guard, two wings, two big guys, something like that?


Yeah, I'd like to point guard wing big. But then you get into what is Luka? What is Harden? Are they point guards because they control the ball? They act like we consider, quote, point guards? Like creators? I will say we're 35-ish games into the season now. Our buddy Brian Windhorst wrote a piece today about Bam out of bio, and you know I'm just an auto-bashed Bam fan. And he got to sit down with Bam, and Bam talked about how much he wants to make all NBA, and he thought he was on track for it last season. And I looked it up, Bam has missed 10 games already this season. Man, we're about a month away from the game clock counting thing on 65 games to start to become a thing for some of these guys. And it'll be interesting to see if Bam misses five more games here and there, we get to the end of the season. It'll be a talking point. He'll get asked about it. Players in his position will get... I flagged it today because of Brian's story. That's all.


I'm a huge Bam out of bio fan and have immense amounts of respect for him. Bam, you're not going to make the OMBA team this year. I'm just going to tell you now. It's not happening.


I didn't ask to be a part of this.


It's not going to happen. With positionless players, there's no chance.


Okay, can I make my next pick? Are you done with your Kings?


Yeah, let's go. So you have OKC, Denver, Phoenix, Milwaukee, Houston.


And you're just handing me maybe the greatest show in the NBA right now, which is night after night, Joel Embiid has 35 points in three quarters. It makes it look so easy that it's ridiculous. And when it's not looking so easy, Tyrese Max is just zooming up and down the floor.


I gave it to you because you're my guest.


It's just boom, clean, done. I have nothing more to say. It was interesting. I will say this as gently as I can. Philly Bulls was the NBA TV game last night, which meant that the Philly broadcast was also on NBA TV. It was fun to see the announced team, Kate Scott and Al Abduanabi, go into their usual Philly homerism and then remember, Oh, there's other people outside of Philadelphia watching this broadcast, and then self-correct in real-time. Can we just tone it down 10% on the homerism scale?


I think the local announcing situation has never been worse. I don't know what's happened. You mentioned how good Eddie and the Phoenix guys are. To me, it's like an anomaly now when I hear a good local broadcast.


It's just nuts. I'm not going to go that I just don't like the ones where it's just like, we exist in this. I'm going that far. Let's do better, everybody. We exist in a Truman show world where it's all one... I don't know. You can be funny and entertaining and not discuss the game through blue-colored glasses or whatever. Anyway, that's all. Last night, they were very aware of it.


Also, follow the rest of the week.


Yeah, that's not that big of an ask.


I heard somebody on a game recently in the last week wonder if Wembeya was going to make the All-Star team.


Well, but could that be cast as a fan vote thing? Were they curious about the- That's his only chance because he's not even one of the six best centers in the West.


So I'm going to say he's not going to make it. One last thing on Philly. Embiid and Maxi together are averaging 60.7 points per game. As far as I can tell, nobody has cracked 60 since Will Chamberlain was in his heyday of scoring lots of points, and him and Paul Harrison had 72.3.


In 1962. Willton picked one of four different teammates. But we had- Paul Arison. Cracked 60.


Yeah, Shaq and Kobe, we had Durán and Westbrook, we had There was a Curry Steph here, and people always settle in the 55 to 57 range. For two guys to average 60 points a game, it just makes me think like, this is what happened to baseball when the home run stats got so crazy, you couldn't even compare them to old reasons anymore. And I'm starting to wonder if that's happening with basketball.


And by the way, Embiid, they were up by a million against the Bulls at the end of the third quarter. And so it was possible that Embiid would not return to the game. And he was chasing the 30.10 rebound streak hard at the end. He had 26, 28, and he got fouled with 1.3 seconds left shooting foul with 29 points. And it was clear no one else was touching the ball. He was going to try to get fouled or score. It's just so fun because I think it's up to 15 in a row or something, 30 in 10 games. So I'll take Philly. Lots of free throws, but I'll take Philly.


Are you aware of the LeBron 10 points a game streak?


Yeah. It was in the thousands, wasn't it?


Yeah. Somebody told me that to watch any Laker game where even if the Lakers are down 30, LeBron is going to still get to 10 points. I guess it's almost 12 100 now of 10 points in a row, and it's over 200 more than Michael Jordan, and nobody else is within half of it. I do think it's one of those things. He finds ways to keep invested in the day-to-day of the season. I do think it's one of those things he cares about.


These things don't bother me. I'm pro.


I didn't even know this was a streak. I was like, Whoa, this is a thing that exists? 1,200 games in a row of 10 points? That's fucking crazy.


Halliburton was going hard after the 20th assist the other night.


You know I love this stuff.


I don't care.


All right, let's do one more each.




I'm going to get... I think we have to do a team that's under 500 for our last pick.


Okay, that's fine. It's a little disappointing on my end, but it's fine.


I'm going to take the Utah Jazz.


Oh, that's a good pick. Frisky right now. Only two games out of the play-in Another West Coast team.


It's one of those teams where I like 11 guys on the team. They bring in another guy. I'm like, Oh, I like that guy. Oh, I like that guy. Hey, that guy. Their rookie that they took is really good, and they're starting to have trouble keeping him off the floor. George.


Keante George. I wish they would play Taylor Hendrix more. I mean, they don't have space for him, but when he's played, he's been fun, too. The other rookie.


It's a great Trade Machine team with Clarkson and O'Linnick. I personally don't think there's any chance to trade marketing. And in general, they just seem to be in good games that are fun to watch. There's just a flow of their game. They're really well-coached. They play the Celtics on Friday night. That's going to be a really fun game. I'm going to enjoy watching it. So that's my last pick.


They've been playing well, and they just have a lot of interesting pieces that some fit together well, some don't. So if I have to pick an team, you have left me with the following stall wards of the NBA. Atlanta, which got 35% more watchable with Jelen Johnson's return, but is still not a fun watch.


Really tough. Dejante Murray's Whatever happened to him this season is upsetting.


Toronto, a little fresh jolt of something, but Charlotte is dead last on my list currently with LaMelo Ball injured. Terry was yours in this game, so here and there, someone's always injured. Washington is 29th on my list, so that's a no. Detroit is 28th on my list, so that's a no. Brooklyn is 27th on my list. I find them strangely boring to watch.


Where's crowd, court vibe situation out of the 30 teams?


It's a bummer. It's sad to watch. No force. There's no force on that team. I guess By default, I have to go Memphis just because Marant is back, and that's both a good team. It's a competitive team with Marant. Smart's back, Canard's back. I'm starting to see what their team could actually look like. Marant, Bane, Jackson, we know that's a good foundation, and Marant is just a highlight machine. So I'll take Memphis. That's pretty easy. I can't take it. I want to take... This is why when I did my actual League Pass rankings before the season, I think I had San Antonio 14th, and people were like, That's way too low. Wembenyama must watch TV. I'm like, Well, here we are. I mean, remember, Yamma's best watched TV, they're five and 28. It's not that fun to watch a 5 and 28-I have a secret for


They were 30 for me.




I've had it. I've had it with them.


30th? You can't have Wemby 30th.


It's not a Wemby thing. The fact that they have Wemby is one of the reasons they're 30th for me. It's such a disgrace, the team they put around him and how they play, and just that they thought this was a good idea for him to spend his first season on this crap team that has no point guard, no real... I don't even know what their offense is. They get killed every game, and it makes me mad because I think Wemby's good. This is not how you build.


No, I think he's good.


Yeah. He's a really good player who's really interesting. To just say this guy doesn't need to play with a real point guard is fucking stupid. I've gotten to the point, I hated the Sohan thing from the get-go. Now I've gotten to the point, the Celtics killed them, the game was over in five minutes on Sunday. Just makes me mad. It's like this guy shouldn't be on this shitty of a team. They had options. They had cap space over the summer. They blew all of it on second-round picks. Great. Just the general demeanor of the team is like, they don't care. It's like they should care. We don't know how many... I watched Ralph Samson came in in the league in '83, and it was like, Oh, we'll have Ralph Samson for 20 years. These tall guys, you just never know. They're just wasting a year of his career.


I don't like it. What's weird is that Vasselle is pretty good, and Keldon Johnson is pretty good. He's now coming off the bench.


Would Keldon Johnson play for any contender more than 10 minutes a game?


I think so. I think two guys. Now, he might play. Will he play for the Celtics? I think he could play for the Celtics. For the Celtic, he's 15 a game, 10 to 15 a game. For other teams- Will he play more than 12 minutes for OKC? I think you could find 12 minutes for him at OKC. Yeah. But the rest of the team isn't very good. I have to ask you, though, is this all just residual bitterness, Bill Simmons, that the Lakers don't have to pay Austin Reeves $30 million a year on average for the next four years? Is that what this is really about? Does it go back to the Lakers?


They would have done it. They would have paid him 98.


Of course, they would have.


I did a whole thing about the Spurs last week on my pod. The Murray Trade was great. I know, I heard it. Murray Trade was great. Other than that, the last four years are not defensible. And how they handled last summer is not defensible. What the situation Wemby is in right now from a basketball standpoint is not defensible. And I think pop, if this were football, the way we treat football teams and how on it people are, even Belichick, people in New England wanted to dump Belichick halfway through the year because they lost that game in Germany. Belichick's won six Super Bowl's. I just think it's terrible what they've done this season.


I don't like it. As someone who doesn't follow football at all, that was a fun sentence for me to journey along with. The Patriots lost the game in Germany. I'm like, What did they play? Who did they play?


The Berlin Bobcats?


What happened?


By the way, I screwed up. I'm one team short.


Yeah, take your team.


I'm going to pass this.


This is like a snake draft. You get two in a row.


Well, this is my last pick. I'm going to pass on Orlando because their point guard situation really frustrates and annoys me, even though I like watching them. God damn it. Just shoot me in the head with this. Yes. If Kawhi and Harden and Paul George are all playing well at the same time. Got to take them. If you like basketball, it's hard not to enjoy it.


I had them seventh, and I only didn't take them because I wanted to spice it up with the Rockets. I think, look, just as a basketball science experiment, it's fun to watch, and the science experiment is working. And now Kawhi had the hip thing for a few games, which made everyone look great this week, again. The PTSD, the Kawhi stuff. He's They've been awesome. They're good. They're good. And I'm interested to see how long the good last, how good the good can get. But at first, the first five, six games where they were 0-5 with Harden, I watched every one because I was like, I just got to see how they're going to try to make this work, what the rotations are going to be, what the style of play is going to be. And it was so gross that I felt like, I'm going to need to just detox from this. And now I'm all the way back in. I want to watch every game.


I Obviously, the injuries, three guys I do not trust to be healthy a week from now. But when they're all healthy, it's pretty good. Kawhi this year is 52%, 43% from three, 87%. Percentage-wise, it's his best ever. I test last month. When he's played, he's looked awesome.


He's got a little more bounce back to him than he did the first month of the season.


Totally. There's a physicality to him that you forgot that he had because it's been so choppy as playing time. But the thing that's What's really interesting to me is the usage ratings. What do you think Harden's usage rating is this year?


What would you guess be? 21 %. Yeah, 20.


It's 20 %. Paul George is 27. Kawhi is 26. The big thing for me was, how are these three guys who all succeed the most when they have the ball? How are they going to play together? How is that usage rate going to get split up? Just watching it, will it make sense? And it didn't make sense for three weeks. And now watching it, they've navigated it. And this might be my big win this year was OKC, thinking that they were going to be a top three team. Me thinking the Clippers were dumb for this harder trade, I'm not going to give up on that opinion being wrong, but that might be my big loss this year because these guys are all so smart as basketball players. They figured out how to share the pie. And then on top of it, Zubats has been unleashed now as this Aliup lob guy. It's almost like they got a guy and a half in the Hard and Trade.


Yeah, he He and Harden have real chemistry. They did not for the first five or six games. I think part of the reason they figured out how to split the pie, respectfully, is that Russell Westbrook just doesn't get a lot of pie anymore. He's playing 15 minutes a game. He barely plays with Harden. Early on, it was like, How are these four guys who all need the ball?


How are we going to work PJ Tucker into this? And then they were like, You know what? We're actually not. Go over there, PJ. And they kept me and and Powell in the trade. They still gave up too much, but they did keep those guys. Powell has been good for them this year. They I always have three guys who can create a shot with the ball. That's a pretty good shot. No matter who's playing, who's sitting, whatever. Will Kawhi stay healthy? I don't know. I think my Clipper's shit detector of Did they rope their fans back in? These fans that have just been kicked in the nuts now for four decades, they have. And that makes me nervous.


Do you get to carry your season tickets over to the New Arena? How does that work? How much does the price go up? How does it work for you?


Me and my season ticket partner, Mike Tolan, we locked down for the next couple of years. They locked us up, and then they traded for Hardin. I was so mad. I was like, How do I get out of this? Because I'm just like, I can't watch this guy. I just can't. I can't do it. But now they're pretty fun to watch. I'm like, All right, new arena, maybe. Maybe this will be better. The big thing is they get the worst dates. Who's going to play on New Year's Day at 7:30? Oh, I guarantee it's going to be the Clippers. Who's going to play the Friday 12:00 right after Thanksgiving? It's going to be the Clippers. So now they have control over dates that are going to be way more the traditional Wednesday, Friday, Saturday type of games. But yeah, if you're thinking this was the biggest gamble of the year, so far, you got to say it's worked. They have no future. They're tied into these guys. But do they have a chance to make the Western Finals with the team they have? If all of them stay healthy, they do. Don't you think?


Yeah, absolutely.


That's me semi-admitting defeat. But then one of these guys could get hurt tomorrow, and it's like, I told you they were going to get hurt.


Not to sidetrack us or whatever, but I do think it's interesting that teams with the following players did not appear in our draft. Luka Donchik, LeBron James, Zion Williamson, Anthony Davis. Donovan Mitchell, I guess, if you want. Some big teams. We concluded we're not in the 15 or whatever most watchable NBA team.


It's a loaded league. This is where we are. All right. Anything you want to plug? No. Okay, good. I'm going to pop on your pot either next week or the week after, and we'll continue this. We'll be a little closer to trade deadline stuff things. When do you think our next trade is going to be?


I don't know. You've had some doosies recently. I mean, you were all over the Barrett for Ananobi. I don't know if quickly was in your construction of it or not, but I don't remember. But you were all over that. That was a fun trade.


I thought they were going to put in a bunch of pics in the quickly thing.


Toronto wanted a player. They wanted a player. That's why they made the trade.


I heard your podcast about it. We did an instant reaction right after. I don't think I put enough thought into Barrett, whether he was a positive or negative because of his contract and how many teams would have wanted it. I think we all landed there eventually. That Detroit pick was a better asset than I think we gave credit for in the moment when we did our podcast. You think like, Oh, it's the 31st pick. I had somebody in the league say to me who heard the podcast we did, You guys got that wrong. The Detroit pick is a better asset than R. J. Barrett. I'm like, Really? They're like, Yeah, R. J. Barrett for 25 million a year?


You and I are both a little more positive than the consensus in R. J. Barrett. I'm okay with that. I'm bullish on R. J. No, I don't know what he's going to be, really. But I like him as a... I think he can be something more than he is now.


You made the key point on your pod. For him to be whatever both of us like about him, he's got to be better defensively, and he's just not yet.


Yeah, he should be a good defense player. There's no reason he shouldn't be. The open three, it's either going to happen or it's not. He's never going to be a great offensive player. He's just got to shoot better on open threes. If he does, he's a different player. But we shall see.


You saw in that of the game. You know who's really nice to have on your team if he's playing hard is Ananobi. There's five of him in the league. So the Knicks got the best player, and you could argue, precious for what they needed at the contract he's at might be a better fit for them than R. J. Barrett.


I was a little surprised how many Raptors got the best player in the trade takes there were. I like quickly. He was my choice for sixth man of the year. I think he's good. I think he'll be better. They're almost exactly two years apart. So Ananobi is only two years older than quickly. And I just think playoff skillset, like what you need to win in the playoff, I think the Knicks got the best player in the trade. And I mean, we can debate it if you want, but that's- That's not even close.


They also quickly is redundant with the skills of the best guy they have in their team. Ananobi is a guy they didn't have any version of. And now, if you play Boston in a playoff series, guess who's going to be guard in Jason Tatum? Before it was Jason Hart. Now it's Jason Hart. Why did I say Jason Hart?


There was a Jason Hart. He played for Syracuse, I think.


Was that my first old guy moment of the podcast? Before it was Josh Hart turning into an old radio guy.


No, but now they have more functionality. Ralph Samson came up at one point.


Yeah, that was pretty good. We got to talk about the '86 Celtics home record, too. When will you officially be focused on the '40 and '1? It sounds like you're there now.


I'm there. I just like it as a piece of trivia. I think a home record is such a... It's a cool thing. It's a cool piece. I remember that last day of the season. I'm pretty sure I remember this correctly. No, you're right. It was. They were '39 and '1, the 2009 Cavs. I think they sat a bunch of guys in that game because it didn't mean anything to them seating-wise. This is my memory of it, and they went 39 and two, and it was a story. Are they going to go for 40 and one or not? And if that were the coach that I think I've been like, We're going for 40 and one. We're tying this record. And just 40 home wins. That's amazing. If they get to 20, I think it's going to be... If they're 20 and 0, I think it'll be a talking 20 and 0 becomes a thing.


So they got Jazz Friday, Timberwolves next week, Rockets on Saturday, Emei's return, Spurs, and then our guy, the Joker, is coming on Friday, January 19. They could be 20 and 0 on ESPN for the Joker coming to town.


But their next six home games or whatever, two of the five best teams in the NBA, Minnesota and Denver, are involved. So this will be a good... If they get through those two games, then we're getting somewhere.


Zack Lo, pleasure. It's always great to see you.


Good to see you, too. I'll see you soon, Bill.


All right, that's it for the podcast. Thanks to Zack Lo. Thanks to Steve Cerruti and Kyle Creighton as well. I will see you on this feed at some point tomorrow with Million Dollar Picks and some NFL stuff. See you then. Must be 21 plus in President's select states, Fandil is offering online sports ranger in Kansas under an agreement with Kansas Star Casino, LLC. Gambling problem? Call 1-800, Gambler, or visit feindle. Com/rg in Colorado, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia. You can call 1-800, Next Step or text, Next Step to 53342 in Arizona. Call 1-88789-777 or visit ccpg. Org/chat-connect. 1-800, 9withit in Indiana. 1-800-522-4700 or visit ksgamblinghelp. Com in Kansas. 1-877-770 Stop in Louisiana. Mdgamblinghelp. Org in Maryland. 1-800-gambler. Net in West Virginia or 1-800-522-4700 in Wyoming. Hope is here. Visit gamblinghelp-line-ma. Org or call 800-327-5050 for 24/7 support in Massachusetts, or call 1-877-8 Hope, NY or text Hope, NY in New.