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Coming up, reactions to NBA opening night and Doc Rivers next. We're also brought to you by the Ringer Podcast network. Put up a new rewatchables on Monday night.


We did.


In The Line of Fire with Clint Eastwood and John Malkovich. Came out 30 years ago. It is a classic, classic DC thriller. Me and Chris Ryan, we broke it down. Got a horror movie coming next week. Yeah, it's time. Halloween's coming. My favorite holiday of the year. Is Halloween a holiday? I guess it's not, because we have to work. Well, it's my favorite special day of the year. I love Halloween. So get ready for a horror movie next week on the rewatchables. Prestige TV is going to be coming back next month, too. We have a bunch of big shows that are on their way back, but if you watch Follow the House of Usher, Van Lathan and Joanna Robinson, they broke that one down on the Prestige TV feed this week, basketball. So it's starting. By the time you hear this, we'll have had two games but The Ringer basketball plan. So you can check out the mismatch with Kevin O'Connor and Chris Vernon. The ringer. NBA show that's Sunday and Wednesdays. Group chat with Varier and Waz and Mahoney. And then we have real ones with Logan and Raja. That's Monday and Thursday. Howard Beck's going to be on the Monday episode.


We might mess around on Fridays on The Ringer NBA show, so stay tuned for that. We have The Ringer gambling show as well, where we'll be covering way more NBA stuff. We have Austin Rivers has his own feed now for us off guard and Rosillo, as you know, Tay Frazier, no stranger to NBA content, on the one Shining podcast feed and on through the Ringer. So that's all of our NBA stuff. Check out I thought we had an awesome preseason of pieces. I love the NBA rankings. We did the top 100. So I hope you have bookmarked coming up on this podcast. I am going to be reacting at the top to the two NBA games we had tonight. Both Western Conference clashes. Great to have basketball back. And then our guy, Doc Rivers, he is going to be popping on this podcast a lot during this season. We're going to talk about that in 1 second. This is a really fun podcast. Can't wait. First, our friends from Pearl Jam taping this. It is 10:00 Pacific time. I just watched five straight hours of basketball. It was wonderful. I had such a great time.


It was so nice to have basketball back. I did the Phillies game on at the same time. It was just great. I had even in the other TV, I put Godfather Two was on. Pluto had that one going as well. It's a wonderful night on the wall of TVs. I'm going to play a little game of I knew I didn't know with the two games we saw tonight. We'll start with Sons Warriors, because that was the second one. I knew that Devin Booker was an MVP candidate. In fact, if you remember, I was telling people, this is the bet, this is the long shot bet. He was 22 to one before the season. You figured they don't have a point guard this year. He's going to have the ball more. He was already a 27 points a game guy. He'll take the leap, maybe if they're a contender, the whole thing. Well, tonight he was 32, eight and six. He was the best guy in the floor, played 37 minutes, six turnovers, whatever. Created a bunch of great shots for them down the stretch. And just if you only watched one basketball game all year and just watched that game, you'd be like, oh, he's clearly the best guy in this game.


Obviously he's not. But tonight he was. I wasn't surprised because if you think about know, usually it's the usual suspects. Yokich and Yanis, I think, would be they had the best odds. They were the most likely then a lot of people like Tatum. But I always thought the Booker odds were out of whack, especially if Phoenix was really good. Now, Phoenix is one and O, we're super happy about what we saw from them tonight, and I'll talk about a bunch of stuff. But the big thing with them is the durability. How many games are they going to get from Nurkage? How many games are they going to get from 35 year old KD Bradley? Bill didn't play tonight. He didn't make it to game one. So on the one hand, it looks great right now, but on the other hand, if guys keep dropping and disappearing, who knows? I just know that Booker's MVP OD should be better. So they go to 14 and one on FanDuel, and we'll probably be in single figures by next week. I didn't know that I'd be looking up historical comps for him because Van Lathan texted me and said, who's the historical comp for Devin Booker?


And then I got completely sidetracked and I was on basketball reference and I'm looking around. I came up with this TMC Warriors era. Mitch Richmond, younger Mitch Richmond really had some hops, really crafty, like 18 footer, some threes athletic, and I think some late 2000s Kobe, that kind of Kobe 3.0 version where he's a little more grounded. It was a little more of a surgical assassin. I would say those are the two comps for him. And just like a whiff of Jojo White. That'll be the other one I would throw in. Yeah, I'm going for the old people on that reference. Anyway, thanks Van, for sidetracking me from 50 minutes tonight. I knew the warriors would miss Draymond Green, that they would miss his playmaking, they would miss his defense, not rocket science. I thought he was either the best or the second best defensive player. Last year, I didn't know that. I'd like the Chris Paul experience a little less than I expected. Now we're going to give this time. These guys are still trying to figure out how to play with each other. It was a lot of dribling from him, from a warriors team that loves to have constant movement and just the ball kind of flipping around and everything kind of playing off Curry.


It reminded me a little bit of that first Durant season with Curry when there were times when Curry just kind of seemed to disappear. He also got in foul trouble. But it did make me wonder because you have him and Curry out there together, you're pretty small. You're not awesome defensively. Then you have Clay. He doesn't rebound either. And go figure. They get out rebounded 60 to 49 today. But it just made me wonder, when everyone's back three, four or five months from now, who's finishing games for them? Because I don't feel like you can have Chris Paul and Clay Thompson out there with Curry and with Wiggins, and now I have room for only Draymond or Looney. Then there's the Kaminga piece. Does he keep coming on? I just don't feel like he's going to be finishing games for them. And how is he going to handle that? I know he's 38 years old, but it did get my brain racing because you'll hear when we talked to Doc Rivers in a second, I got progressively higher on this warriors team as the preseason went along. And then I watched tonight and they just seemed small and a tiny bit old, especially Clay.


Speaking of Clay, I knew the biggest concern with the warriors season would be the rebounding. I didn't know they would get their asses kicked by Nurkich and Akogi and Drew Eubanks. The Phoenix centers had 22 rebounds tonight, which was depressing. I also knew Chris Paul was 38 years old. I didn't know it would look like he didn't totally have his legs in game one. He was over six from three and missed some big threes. And I just wonder, like Kaminga Moody look like they're in a much better place. Everyone's saying the right things about both of those guys, and they need both of them to step up. If this team like Barkley said, they weren't a contender after the game, I feel like they're a contender. I'm taking them seriously because of Curry, but maybe they're below Denver and the Lakers and a healthy Phoenix. We'll see if Phoenix can stay healthy. But I do wonder, is CP Three on this team in February? Would they package him with Kaminga and CP Three? You think of all these other teams that have just said, fuck it, and they don't care about their first round picks.


Phoenix didn't care about their first round picks with Durant. You look at Milwaukee, they basically mortgage the entire decade just to have a Yanis and Dame team. They have no picks left. Minnesota mortgaged everything for Gobert, and Golden State has gotten really cute and tried to do that double errors thing. Curry's 35. We don't know how many more years we have with him at the Curry level we're accustomed to. And will they look at this with the Chris Paul expiring? One or two of the young guys? Can they get a bigger impact guy? And what do their five guys look like at the end? It's draymond, it's curry, it's wiggins. I guess it's Clay. And then is CP Three the fifth guy? Is it Looney? It's a hard one. This is going to be a hard team to coach this year. I knew Durant was 35 years old and had been in the NBA since 2007. I didn't know he looked like he was 35 years old today. It was seven for 22, was short on some shots. This is a continuation of a couple weird playoff games and sons games he had after the trade.


He just had a lot of wear and tear on him, and it's something I'm watching. Like he might have 55 points in the next game. I wouldn't be surprised. But I think what happens as you get older and you get older and we're going to see this with Clay, too. And who knows, we might even see it with Curry. Mid thirty s. You can still hit that great game once a week and maybe even one and a half times a week, but not three times a week. Like Booker, what we saw tonight, that's just Booker. That's what he's going to do. 75, 80% of the season. Darian a little older, like some of those shots were going sideways and short, and I'm just watching that one because he's still one of the 1520 best players in the league, probably 20. And when he has it going, he's in the top ten to twelve. But how often can he get it going and how often are they going to need him? Maybe they're not going to need him as much as we thought with how good Booker looked. So I also didn't know I might be eating crow in this nerkage trade, which I hated.


Said repeatedly, not a huge fan of Nurkage. Looked pretty good tonight. Just banging around, setting screens, rolling on high screens. Got Annihilated on a couple of switches. Chris Paul dusted him a couple of times, but it looked better than I thought, especially him and Eubanks together. Now this is a perfect matchup for them because the warriors aren't exactly a team with dominant big men. Will he play more than 45 games? I'd say it's probably 40, 60 that he would, but certainly better than I expected tonight. Grayson Allen was terrible this year. Little didn't do very much, and I still think ayton I still think they should have kept him and figured out what they had. But it was an encouraging first game. I know I'm going to get a text from Eddie Johnson tomorrow. I can feel it. I know it's going to be really sarcastic text, so try not to overreact too much to this game. The big takeaway for me is just this could be like a Booker moving into the top four, top five type of territory this season. I'm just keeping my eye on that. All right. Other game, Nuggets Lakers.


I knew Nicole Leokage was the best player in the league. He put up, what, 20, 912 13 today when they pulled away in the fourth quarter. He was involved in every single play. Nobody has figured out yet how to stop him when he's just playing in 20ft from the basket, top of the key. And he's either doing handoffs or high posts, like trying to find Cutters, or he's just saying, you know what, you guys go away. I'm just going to do the Twirling rotating, running hook thing or I'm going to pull back and shoot. The Lakers saw it. They got swept last year by this team. You would have thought they would have had some strategies in place. No, they did not. He is still the best player in the league. And people were like, no, but Giannis is going to take the title back. If Yokich is going to play like this, I don't know what level Yanis would have to go to to grab the I mean, he'd obviously have to win the title, but what would he have to do? Like 30, 215 and twelve? Yokich feels like he's going to have a triple double every night.


I also knew now I'm not allowed to bet on awards because I have a vote on the awards. If I was allowed to bet on the awards, I would have put a Booker MVP bet. I am allowed to bet on the individual stuff, like the scoring title, assist title, stuff like that. I bet on when I was in Boston, I bet on Yokich to win the assist title at plus 500. And the theory was James Harden, he won it last year. God only knows what's going to happen with him this year. Trey Young playing off the ball more. He's around ten a game. Maybe that dips, like by an assist halliburton, I don't know. Can he get to ten? LaMello, maybe crappy team. And I just thought Yokich really probably could average ten assists a game this year. And you watch tonight, he just seems like he just has his whole team so well figured out that I actually think he should be the favorite to win that. Personally, I didn't know that the Lakers might be going with this 29 minutes a game thing this season with LeBron because Darvin Ham said after the game it was like, was that an accident?


He played 29 minutes? Like, no, not really. So it's almost like he's 39 years old and he's been in the league 21 years and they're trying to be careful with him. Oh, wait, he is 39 years old. He looked pretty good tonight. He's just turned into Carl Malone. Doc and I talk about it later. He's just turned into a more creative, intelligent basketball savvy. Carl Malone's body just with a different brain put into it. But if you're worried, if you're a Laker fan and I don't think you should be worried because the Nuggets are the best team in the league, and I think the Lakers I have the four of the Lakers the Nuggets, the Bucks Celtics, then the Heat right there. The suns. If they're healthy in April, May, June and then maybe the warriors that would be the group I would have. Lakers are still there. They're fine. But LeBron played 29 minutes today, and DeAngelo Russell played 36. And that is a huge red flag to me because I wasn't sure D'Angelo russell was going to even be on this team in February. We'll see. I think it's smart you want LeBron healthy in April, May, and June.


29 minutes a game is fine. This team's deep. I thought Reeves, they should have been running more stuff for him tonight. And I look forward I don't know what's going on with his haircut exactly, but other than that, the Team USA experience was great for him. I would like to see him more involved. If they're going to do LeBron and stagger the minutes and try to figure out how to leverage Reeves. They're playing a lot of guys tonight. They're just throwing shit against the wall, it seemed like. But I knew the Lakers would regret talking shit about Denver this summer. Nobody really seemed to remember the reasons for know, because I think they felt like Mike Malone got a little chirpy. But the reason he got chirpy was because they swept the Lakers, and right after the game, LeBron hijacked it by doing this whole I might retire thing. And I think it pissed the Nuggets off because they were just like, we just beat these guys. We swept them. We earned their respect. People should be talking about us. This is what I think Mike Malone felt like. And then, nope, nobody on the planet thought he was going to retire.


So he threw that out there, and it was almost like he threw it out there to steal attention from them. And I think it made them mad, and then it somehow made the Lakers mad that the Nuggets were chirping. It's interesting that when the warriors lost to the Cavaliers in 2016, and they blew the three one lead, remember LeBron had that Halloween party with all the calves, and it had the jokes about there was three one tombstones and all these things like making fun of the warriors for blowing the weed. So I don't know. You can't have that one both ways. But Ad said on Media Day, which was like, I don't know, three weeks ago, that it was very motivating to them again, I don't know what was motivating because it really seems like the Lakers have talked five times more than Nuggets, really since the series where they got swept. And by they, I mean the Lakers. They got swept. Why are they talking at all? Ad was saying it was motivating for them and of course he stunk and he did not score in the second half and it motivated him for about an hour.


And by the end of the game, the Nuggets fans were chanting, who's your daddy? At them, the old Yankees Pedro Chant and wasn't a great look for the Lakers, I got to be honest. You talk that much shit, you got to back it up. And I think they forgot that they were talking to shit. To a team with the best guy in the league, that team is going to be awesome. I think their over under was 52 and you just think, like the concern was, oh, what are we getting from their bench? They look fine. And Yokich is amazing and he's still the most fun guy to watch in the league, at least for me, but really fun. Night of basketball. Good night for the league, putting up four teams, but we have all these other entertaining teams, too. I just feel like from a talent standpoint, the league is in the best shape it's been and I had a really good time tonight watching basketball. Sorry, Phillies fans. I have Philly fans in my life who are blaming me. That because I talked on Sunday's pod about how Philly was becoming the new Boston.


They think I intentionally jinxed Philly to blow those next two games, which they did. I did not do that. Unfortunately. I don't have powers like that. And if I did have powers like that, I would be wagering on them and I would have said, I'm going to do this tonight. I'm going to bet on the Diamondbacks. I had money in the Phillies and honestly, Diamondbacks Rangers, I don't know if that's too exciting for a guy like me who lives in Los Angeles and roots for the Red Sox. I don't know if I'm going to get too pumped about Diamondbacks Rangers. My apologies. But, yeah, great TV night. Nothing better than October. And when we come back, we're going to be talking to our new guy, Doc Rivers. Oh, yeah. That's next. Jumping in the NBA action with FanDuel, America's number one sportsbook. Right now. New customers can bet $5 and get $200 in bonus bets guaranteed. Plus, all customers get three months NBA League pass courtesy of FanDuel when they place a $5 bet on the NBA. That way you can watch all the action as you bet on everything from point spreads to player props.


I'm going to be tweeting out a same game parlay on Wednesday involving the MAV Spurs game, so be ready for that. I can promise you a rookie on the spurs will be involved. I can promise you it's a guarantee. Probably some blocks. Who knows? Who knows what I'm capable of. Best of all, you'll get paid your winnings instantly, so don't miss your chance to get $200 in bonus bets plus three months of NBA League pass. Visit BS and tip off the NBA season. Right. FanDuel official partner of the NBA. You must be 21 plus in President select states first online real money wager only $10. 1st deposit required. Bonus issued as non withdrawable bonus bets that expire seven days after receipt. All customer offer $5 NBA wager required. Limit one pass per customer across both offers. Restrictions apply. Void where prohibited. See full terms for both Sportsbook, NBA League pass, local blackout restrictions apply. All right, Doc Rivers is here. We have a little bit of an announcement. You're going to be doing some podcasts with us. You're like a real talking head media person now. You're back. We got you back.


I'm back.


It took me a while.


It took me, what, 24 good years to come back?


Solidly at least. So I'm back doing it.


I'm really looking forward to it.


So this is the first summer since when that you didn't coach. 2004.


Oh, gosh, yeah, probably. I think you're right.


That's a long time, Bill, because you.


Went Boston, then you went right to the Clippers and then you went right to Philly, right?


Yeah, I went from Orlando to Boston.


To the Clippers to Philly.


I've done 20 whatever, straight training camps. The only one that's done that is me and Pop. 21, 22, 23 biggest 23 or 24 straight training camps.


What did you miss about not being in the mix this year? Or did you not miss anything?


It's funny.


I'm sure I miss something.


I love coaching. I'm good at it.


I enjoyed it. Having said know, you don't know you need a break sometimes, Bill, until you have a break. And I did things this summer.


I remember.


I was in Ireland. Okay. Golfing.


And I think you even email. I get like ten Texas, 15 Texas because James Harden made the comment about Darryl Morrie.


And I read them all and then.


I go and grab my severing iron and I'm standing over there and I'm thinking, this is not all bad. This is pretty good over here. So that's the stuff you don't miss. You obviously miss the camaraderie and you miss your coaching staff and you miss things like that.


And you miss some of the players.


But you don't miss some of the other stuff.


This has been a really refreshing summer.


I've had more talks with coaches than.


Talks that I would never have with.


A lot of coaches.


A lot of so why wouldn't you have them? Because there's like a competitive thing or you're afraid to share info. What is it?


A little bit of all those some of it is coaches wouldn't reach out to you because you're in the same division, same conference. Some of the coaches that you have.


Friendships would, but even them are asking way more stuff.


And it's been fun. It's been fun. As much as I give, you learn too, because I ask a lot of questions back. I'm just not a giver. I was like, Come on, give me some stuff, too. There's an old adage, and I don't know what Coach said, it 100 years.


Ago, but when you're sitting there with.


Your own individual team, Bill, and you think, man, we got attitudes, we got.


This, we got that.


Never underestimate the crap on other teams, right? It's so true, though, and hearing guys talk, there's a lot of good stuff.


Out there, but then the little few bad, even good teams, I'm talking elite.


Teams, when they're sharing you're like, oh.


I didn't know that. I thought that was just us.


You know what it's like? It's like how everybody has a dysfunctional family, but they think they're the only one with the dysfunctional family and that everybody else's family is normal. And then you get under the hood with somebody else's family, like, oh, your family's weird too. Oh, it's not just me.


Yeah, and you're like, this is good.


Like, for instance, when you're talking about helping other teams, you were pretty instrumental with getting Sam Cassell to Boston, a team that broke your heart in May. I mean, that wasn't that long ago you had a three two lead in that series. Sorry to bring that up. You came within four minutes, it seems like you're getting the next round, and then two months later, you're helping them hire Sam Cassell, your friend.


Yeah, well, first of all, it was Boston.


That was easy.


Brad and I have a terrific relationship. I have a relationship with all the know, so that one wasn't hard. Sam had a chance to go to, I think, two or three teams.


Bill and I really pushed that one.


I just thought it was a great fit.


I thought for Joe, it was a.


Really good fit as well, because Joe's a young coach.


I was a young coach, and I.


Really leaned on my veteran coaches when I first started. I want to say I had two.


Head coaches on my staff when I.


Took my job in Orlando, and I thought it was invaluable.


But it's also interesting that you have.


To do your own thing. I spent some time talking to Joe as well, which I thought was really know, one of the things, just sharing.


With him, saying you have to trust your own instinct.


Even though you may have more knowledgeable.


People at times around you, it's still your team.


And there's times that you're going to have to listen and trust, and then there's times you have to go with.


Your own feel and instinct.


And I think Joe does that. I think if you want to be.


A good coach, you better do know.


I remember my first year coaching, we.


Were supposed to be mean, really bad.


I think someone predicted us to be.


The worst team in basketball history.


And we started out Owen, three, I think two, and I don't remember exactly, but we had like a four or five day break. And I came to practice, said, you know what?


I'm going to redo our entire offense. And the two head coaches that were on the staff said, you don't do that. And I said, what do you mean?


He said, you can't do that. We had the entire training camp. And I said, yeah, but we've also traded like seven of the guys that.


We had at camp and this doesn't fit.


And they just said, you can't.


I said, well, I'm going to do it.


And Bill, I swear it turned our season around. I mean, we were one game away.


From the playoffs, and if we don't.


Do that, we would have continued to lose because we were running an offense.


That just didn't fit what we had.


And so those are the type of things that Joe and all young coaches.


Have to figure out on their own.


So sometimes almost being young and dumb as a coach is a good thing because you're looking at things without the experience that makes sense to take chances. You could see it on the other sideline. I don't want to say it was a dysfunctional Celtics team, but it was a pretty weird season where they lose their head coach right before the year. They lose Will Hardy to Utah. They lose Damon Stoudemire halfway through the season, missoula gets thrown into all of this and he's got to figure stuff out on the fly. He's got relationships with some of the players, know the young assistant. Now he's the head coach. Now he's got to figure out how to deal with different personalities. And it didn't seem right. And I got to say, the summer they had, where they trade Marcus, they trade Grant Williams. Brogdon's gone. Rob Williams is gone, but especially Grant Williams. And smart. It really seemed like they were doubling down on Joe, being like, all right, well, we were dysfunctional last year. We're removing all the excuses from you. We're giving you Sam Cassell. We're bringing in all these different coaches, charles Lee. We're bringing in Jeff Van Gundy as a consultant.


There are no excuses now. This is your team. Hear the car keys. So now we're going to know, right?


Yeah. And listen, when you think about what he went through last year, he did.


A hell of a job. I mean, think about this. In the middle of the summer, he.


Was thinking, maybe I can be the summer league coach next know.


And then all of a sudden he's.


The head coach of the team. To be thrown into that and then.


To have Damon leave your staff, to have all the other unrest, I thought.


He did a remarkable job under it.


Wasn'T like he was taking a team that had a chance to win a title.


So the pressure and all that was on and you know what people underestimate and I'm predicting this, I don't know.


This, but dealing with the media every day for someone who had never done it is hard. And you usually fail that test in.


Your first couple of years.


Well, especially if you weren't a player, right? Like at least you were a player so you had a taste of it from at least that side.


Yeah, you've had a taste of it and as a player, you've kind of had your day so it doesn't affect you as much if you know what and then, you know, even had I.


Was in know it was some media, but Boston my gosh.


So I guess I don't know if people thought he did a good job media wise or not. I hear not for the most part.


I guarantee wasn't great.


Better this year.


Yeah, it wasn't great, but I think I don't know. Obviously part of my job is to be critical or to praise somebody either way and try to be fair. And I thought he was in an unfair situation, but I also think there were a lot of mistakes and it's like what's the line of commenting on what I see, which seems to be a pretty dysfunctional team on the one hand, but on the other hand, they came really close to making the finals.


So how bad was it? Wasn't it wasn't that bad. But they did have issues. I mean, Marcus Smart at times wasn't happy and all that kind of stuff and Grant had his ups and downs. They lost a lot though. They gained a lot and they lost a lot. It'll be really interesting to watch them this year. I have the game tomorrow night, which I'm looking forward to, but getting holiday. Oh my gosh. You couldn't have picked, in my opinion, a more perfect person for the team.


Because he's such a know I do.


Think they're going to miss some of Smart's leadership as crazy as that.


A, he's a solid veteran.


Like he's one of those plug and.


Play guys that you can put in.


But he's not a guy that's going to be getting up and yelling and telling guys what to do. And Smart really was the only guy from what you hear to do that. Maybe sometimes too much.


But it does.


Help to have a voice in your locker room. It really does. And so I do think they'll miss.


That a little bit.


Sifting through the breadcrumbs of why they did that. It did seem like his voice was actually almost too big. And they even said that they really wanted Tatum and Brown to kind of be the leaders of the team. And Smart was looking at those guys as his little brother from day one and sometimes you can't break out of that. Even as somebody ascends and their role gets bigger, you still look at them as like the little brother. And I do think they were conscious.


Of that, no doubt.


The only thing I would say to that is either you are a leader or you're not. And I believe that. Now, Tatum and Brown are so young, and Tatum is a guy.


To me, he is clearly taking the steps.


He's top five, top seven, top ten, whatever list you want to put in, he's in it. He's established himself as a consistent, great player overall.




Brown will be the guy that has.


To take the next step. Now, as far as leadership, that's different. And you think about it, they have.


Porzingis now, who I think is a.


Fantastic sign for them, stretches the floor.


Gives them more room. If I'm a defender, I'm like, no, don't do this. Now we got the five standing out.


At the three point line.


Hollay, another great three point shooter.


But Tatum and Brown are used to all the shots. They really are.


And now you have a prasingis who's going to take more shots.




You have Holiday, that's going to take some shots. And for the Celtics, it's going to.


Come down to to me is if you guys can sacrifice enough to win.


Because everyone's not going to be able to take the same amount of shots that they took in years previous.


You went through that in the seven eight team.




Pierce and Ray Allen both had to give up shots. That was it. Hey, you're going to shoot four or five less times a game, and that's what we're going to be this year.




Now, Holiday, you can consider, would be Garnet in a lot of ways because he's going to do like when I say plug and play.


He is the most important plug and.


Play guy in the league, maybe because he can do it anywhere with any.


Team, with any system, does his job.


Supports his teammates, so that will work porzingis, but it's still different and people don't get it. When you take three or four shots from anybody, it can bother them, it can be different. So it'll be interesting how it works out. I think it's going to work great.


You could see it in preseason.


Well, he's playing with more pace, so maybe he thinks the pace will end up. Everybody will get the same amount of shots anyway. Also, we gave Jalen Brown $300 million to feel good about having three less shots a game.


Yeah, it is easier to accept he's.


Going to wipe his tears with $20 bills. He'll be all right. Hey, if you were playing the Celtics, like, let's say you came back with the Philly team, same team, basically the team they have now. Let's even pretend Harden is playing. We'll get to him later. And you're looking at, how do I attack this Celtics team and they're shooting all over the place and it's like, hey, man, if Porzingis is in the corner, you can't come off him too far because he's seven foot four and he's going to just shoot open threes over you. What are you trying to basically say? All right, we'll give them this because I don't want to give them this. And if Tatum has the ball in the low post, we got to double him because once he figures out he can score in the low post, he's going to kill us. Don't let poor like what are you trying to take away basically?


Well, also, again, I think this is one of the most underappreciated parts of Purzingis. You can't switch a small guy on him like you really can't. We tried it once in Washington in one of our Washington games and it was a disaster. He just turned and shoots. He's so long that he just turns and shoot on you. So that affects you as well. But the bottom line is the two things I think you have to pressure them up the floor. You have to make them use clock as much as you can. You have to get to the foul line against them because that slows them down. And then you have to run them off the three. You have to make them constantly make the extra pass because last year I think what were they, 39 and one.


Or something when they shot above 40 from the three.


But when they shot under 40 they were like 26 and 24.


So clearly the three point line is what they do.


Well, I've even heard Joe already this summer talking about they have to get more shot attempts. That's why they're playing at more of a pace. They have to create more turnovers. I think getting Holiday will help that. They're pressuring. I don't know if you've watched of course you've watched them. Why would I even say that? Oh, yeah, I like what they're doing. They did it in one of the preseason games where they pressured a know running jumps. I think that's great. I think that team should do that more overall the league. So those are a couple things you have to do and you have to attack like we always thought, we got to attack one of their know and really put him under attack. Tatum abram because if you can get one of those guys off the floor, one of those guys in early foul trouble, the whole game changes for them.


The holiday white combo is the one I'm the most excited just from a regular season standpoint just to watch, because I just don't think other guys like playing those two of the four best defensive guards in the league. And then they have them together. And you think these guys come to town whether it's Dame or Curry or Darius Garland, pick a guard. And at least he's going to be like, oh, shit, I got these guys tonight. Not going to be a lot of easy minutes for me in this one. Can we talk first year coach thing? Because because Griffin on the Bucks is a first year coach. This is something Steve Kerr told me a while ago. He was just like the first year coach. And you alluded to it earlier. We talked about with, like, that first year, you're just like, underwater. And any piece of advice that works, it's know, getting a saltine. When you're in the desert, you're just so happy and you're just so worried you're going to screw it up. And all the different things with the media and trying to massage the players and the chemistry, and there's a million things going on.


So here's Milwaukee now with a new coach, Adrian Griffin, who loses Terry Stottz, who resigned last week.


Really weird story that was.


Yeah. Like, I don't know if I've heard of a story like that of have.


I don't know if I've ever heard of no, because I don't know what that was about.


I've heard.


Yeah, that was really weird. And that does not help.


It also just doesn't help as far as player confidence.


They see that going on and they're.


Like, what's going on?


Is the guy leaving because he doesn't like what the head coach is. Just I didn't like the look.


And also that was Dame's guy. Damon coached him or been coached by him for a few years there and liked him. So if you're going to pick apart Milwaukee, the new coach piece is one piece, right? And the big spotlight of Giannis and Dame. And we're on a window here, and we got to do this. And then the defense would be the other thing. Which one, as you look at it, are you more concerned about?


For them, I would say defense because of the position that they lost on know, Drew guarded everybody. One, two, threes. And now it's funny. I was looking at Maxi, who I obviously love, and he had some good games against Milwaukee, and he had some struggles against Milwaukee, and the struggles were because of one, you know, and now that guy's gone. And so with his speed, I was.


Like, he's going to have a field day.


Like, he's going to be able to attack them. So for me, it's not the new coach because Griff has been in the.


League for so long, and even though he hasn't been a head coach, he's.


Been around enough, if you know what.


I mean, that he'll be fine.


To me, it'll be more can they have the same buy in defensively? Because as good as Lopez is and as good as Giannis is, but not as consistent of a great defender as he used to be, because he's doing more stuff. The key will be Dame and how they're going to try to attack him, because they are everyone will. And that'll be the key for me.


Can we talk about this? Because I kept bringing this up this summer and then people everyone thinks you have an agenda with everything you say. When you have a podcast like, oh, you're just saying that because he's not going to the Celtics. I'm like, I watch basketball like teams hunt dame and we just haven't seen it in the playoffs for four years because he hasn't been in the playoffs and now he's in his mid thirty s. And I feel like basketball we talked about it after the finals when we were talking about the Denver Miami. Basketball has turned into this advanced chess of whatever your weakness is, I'm just coming after that weakness for seven games and if you don't fix this weakness, I'm going to pick the scab. Pick the scab, pick the scab. And I just don't think he's a good defensive player. And as good as Giannis is, you can't protect it past a certain point.


Yeah, and that's the way it's always been in a lot of ways, just more so of it now because you.


Do have more individual players now.


But it's funny, we used to say, what are you in the regular season? You play eight or nine.


In the playoffs you play eight, you.


Rely on seven, you trust six. And what happens is that because what teams do, they look at your team and it doesn't happen in regular season. You can get away with it. Every once in a while someone will come up with a game plan for one game that affects you, but in the playoffs they're going to find whatever you're weak at, it's just going to happen. And either you have one or two options, you can take that weakness off the floor or you have to try to play around that weakness and give it enough support to win. And that's just the way it's going to be on every playoff series. You try to find whatever with us, with the Celtics, we try to attack the basket a lot and then create stuff. They're going to do that even more because Rob Williams is gone, though. Porzingis is an underrated shotbuck with Milwaukee, the one area you never attacked was Holiday. You can make a case the reason Miami beat Milwaukee is because they actually attacked their yeah, yeah. If you attack the strength and you can take that down, then you're in great shape. That's what Miami basically yeah, that's going.


To be an issue, but they'll work.


On it all year. Here's the one thing, the Milwaukee staff knows exactly what we're talking about and.


They know it right now.


And so even with me last year.


With Were, we knew what people were.


Going to do before the season started.




And so we really worked on some.


We knew Maxie and James defensively were.


The two areas people would attack right away, and so we worked on ways of getting around that all season so we'd be better prepared for it.


Yeah, I remember three years ago in the bubble, kemba Walker became the hunted one in the playoffs and it literally cost them the finals. They couldn't figure out any situation where if a team had multiple just they kept flipping picks and flipping stuff until Kemba was on the wrong guy and then that's who they went to.


It makes coaching miserable. It really does because you are in your mind thinking, man, I may have to take him a walk off the floor. I can't take him a walk off the floor. You know what I mean? That's where the courage and coaching comes.


Into play is doing those circumstances.


Well, you had I mean, even in eight, like the small lineup was the one that was kind of quietly the most effective, but it was a lineup where people had to come off the floor that were used to playing big bits.


Well, Bill, people don't realize you remember.


The game we came back and won against the Lakers?


That was with Rondo and Perk off the right. We had Eddie house and James Posey. Right. And so then we lose game five.


Which we could have closed special, no comments.


But I had pressure on me not.


To start Rondo for game mean from inside the building.


Pressure, right.


Like they're the lineups.


Look at our plus minus with these.


So obviously we didn't do that. And Rondo had the game of his life, which is why you stick with your guys as long as you can because you know what they can do. But it's a tough call and you can be right and you can be wrong, and that's just part of it.


I'm really interested the defense and then the swing guys they have, which I think are below average if you're just going to compare other swing guys to the other 2009 teams. But then they have Yanis. They just signed him two year extension. Yeah, he sent out some sonar signals and then they make the Dame trade and now he's back for at least two more years, which you and I are aligned on this one. I like when guys stay in the same city. It's more fun for a podcast if we think guys are going to get traded. But I like that Curry is going to retire as a warrior and I like that Yokage will be in Denver and it's great for the league.


Yeah, it's great for all leagues. That's why in football you don't see it's rare that Aaron Rogers leaves the packers and Joe Montana leaves the 49 ers, but they both do them when they're like 50. So it's not as dramatic, but it just brings loyalty. And growing up, I had guys on the wall by my bed and you could put a staple in it. They're going to stay there now. You better use velcro. I mean, you're taking them down and moving them on. Things have changed and it may be better, I don't know. But I do love when the stars say, you know what? I'm going to stay here and make this team great. I've always liked that.


Yeah, me too. All right, let's take a break and I'm going to play a little game with you called Four Words or less. Four words or less. First one repeating as a champ, give us the landmines for Denver. What are they looking at? They climbed the mountain. Yokich didn't care. We don't even know. We're taping this before the game tonight. Who even knows if a look at his ring, he's just ready to play. The next 82 repeating as a champ. What are the three biggest landmines, in your opinion?


Well, I think their bench has taken a hit, so that would be one.


Secondly will be complacency. Third is they are the target.


So you think they're the target? Because I feel like nobody's talking about them and we've already moved to the Lakers and the warriors and Damon Yanis and the Celtics. And there was this graphic that ESPN did or TNT did about Tuesday night, the NBA starts and it was four guys, but Jokic wasn't one of the four guys, even though he's one of the guys playing. So I feel like there's a little disrespect thing already happening.


Yeah, but see, this is what I've always known. They are the target as far as.


Every player and coach in the NBA, right.


Trust me on that.


Like, LeBron knows about Phoenix.


He knows about it. LeBron, there's one team he knows he.


Has to be golden State Steve Kerr.


We were talking to him last week and the first thing he brought up was the Denver Nuggets. So the league knows, the media and all of us, we want to see Phoenix and the Lakers and the Clippers and Golden State. But there's a team in Denver that every team in NBA knows. That's who we have to be first. And so to me, they are a target.


I am picking them over the Celtics to win the finals this year. And I thought long and hard about the case for the Lakers and a Celtics Lakers finals, which we have not had since 2010 and has been a staple of the league really since I think 1960 was the first one. And we just had that HBO winning time show. I was like, man, that'd be amazing if it was Celtics Lakers. LeBron trying to win his fifth. And I just kept thinking about the playoffs last year and I was like, I'm not picking against Yokich. That dude's not even 30 yet. And Murray is going to be better than he was last year. And even if the supporting cast, I'm with you at Bruce Brown, that's going to hurt. We'll see if Christian Brown can fill in some of it, but you can also, January, February, you can also grab one or two dudes. And you know this, who's not going to want to play with Yokich other than Bones Highland, I would say 375 people would want to play with them. So they'll be able to steal somebody chasing a ring, right?




And they don't need but one. You don't need that many extra guys. But right now I'm concerned by it a little bit, especially on the long haul. But complacency, I'm telling you, is hard. Like, these guys have been on parades, all know they've each got to take the trophy back to their hometown right down the road in the know. And now they come mean. Michael Jordan told me he I asked him after our first championship, like, what do I have to look forward to? He said, the championship overhaul. I said, what do you mean?


He's like, now these guys have all they want more.


Each guy's going to want more. You got to get them back into their roles as quickly as possible.




And so playing with Jokic, though, I.


Do believe is easier because he's the.


Starter, wants to give up the ball.


So I do think that helps him a little bit. You know the west, though, Bill, I don't know, man. I still think Denver I agree with you. I think Denver is the best team.


Phoenix is loaded.


Yeah, they really are loaded. The Eric Gordon Bradley bill part of that, that's huge for know the.


Say. Come on.


I'm telling you, don't do it.


Don't put that out. You know how it's going to play out.


Well, I don't know, but you're right. But they're so deep, Bill. They're so deep. You look at them. The one thing I do agree with a lot of people is the west has retaking over the conferences. Unfortunately, I keep following the bad conferences. Like I go to the east, and the east is a better conference for a couple years. And now I think that switch in the west is powerful.


I have Denver one, I really like the Lakers, and I think they're going to be better than people think. I don't like them personally, but I just like the team. Golden State is the crazy one to me. And as we get closer we did a big over under his pod last week. I picked them over. I wish I'd gone harder on it because they won 44 last year. And it was a season that started with the leader of their team punching their six man in the face, right. And that's just how it started and how it went through. They had injuries all kind it was like the year from hell, right. Wiggins, they had a wiseman trade. They trade for Peyton. He gets hurt. Like what went right for them last year? And they won 44. So how are they not going to win 50 plus? Curry I don't know. I think he really cares about this shit. He doesn't have a lot of these left. He's 35. You know him. You're in the extended FAM. I think we kind of sleep on him thinking about the big picture stuff. I just think he's going to have a huge year, so I'm in on them.


You feel the same?


I do. I don't think people appreciate how hard Curry works. I think the key, though, Bill, is Clay Thompson has to be a little better. I think this is the know, he's had a year and a half now from surgery and all that stuff. I think this is the year that he takes his step back, not to where he was. I don't know if he can ever get there. But then you have wiggins to me, and I think now I'm in the minority. I think Chris Ball will be a huge help because I'm with you.


I agree with you.




They are so different when Draymond green is off the like, you can guard them because the passing is different. Now they have another elite passer. So to me, they're going to play Draymond Green in stretches and then Chris Paul in stretches. One of those two will always be on the floor. So they'll always have a great playmaker on the floor. And I think that's going to make a big difference for them.




I thought it was a smart trade. It's funny, like, hearing people and you coached him for years. People are like, I don't know how it's going to fit in. It's like, I think we're good with Chris Paul assessing a basketball situation and figuring out how to fit in. I think he's going to be okay. It's like a great actor.


His defense in every place he's been, he literally has had to be the leader.




This place not true. Right. So he gets that. He's no dummy. So it'll work out.


It'll work out fine.


And they needed to do something. All right, more forwards or less? This is two words, riley 101. You texted this to me. Can you explain to the audience what Riley 101 is? Because they did not get Dame Lillard. People are like, oh, man, is that team even going to they might be a playing team. Oh, they're out. Meanwhile, they came within a missed Butler, three of making three of the last four Finals. They still have Butler and Bam. They still have their infrastructure. They still have I think he's the best coach in the league. He's no worse than top three. And they have this whole chip on their shoulder, culture heroes pissed off. I already know what the fuck is going to happen with this team, but can you explain Riley 101 to me?


Yeah. It's us against the world. He preaches it like Phil literally every day. And by not getting Dave may have played in their favor in some ways. Like, now it's really look even. Jimmy, the first day of camp when no one thinks we're going to be any good.


They're hearing it every day.


Riley has Eric and Eric is doing it. They are going to be such a tight group. And chemistry wins, man. It just does. And people, you can add all this talent. There's things that have not changed in sports, definitely in basketball, if you don't.


Have great chemistry, that doesn't mean you get along. That's different.


I'm meaning chemistry as far as on the floor, chemistry. And you play together and you give up yourself to the team, you're not winning. And the Miami Heat, they do that better than everybody else and they do it every year. I've had as a like, I've had years where I did it, I had it. I always think that first Clipper year we had it until that one six minute period. It was like a minute and a half stretch against Oklahoma, game four, that broke it for us and we never got it back. You could see it, but when you get it, you can go anywhere with a group of guys. And I've done it a lot, and there's times that I haven't been able to do it, those times that I haven't. I don't care how good we are, you are not going to win.




So what do you think they're doing that everybody else isn't doing? Is it just the type of guys they're targeting or just knowing that those guys can fit in the culture? You think it's that simple?


It's two groups. It's one type of guys that are targeting, though. They're willing to take more risk than.


Let'S say, San Antonio, like San Antonio targets, and they're not taking any risk. They've had a couple though, but overall they're just not going to do it. But then it's their culture that they can know. When we were in Boston, once we.


Won, we felt, ah, we could absorb.


A couple of guys. Stefan.




Come on in. But every time you do it, it takes you further and further away from.


What you are and it puts more.


Stress on the guys like the Garnettes.


Of the world who are trying to get overall, it affects.


So I would say it's culture.


It's amazing.


I've been what, in the league 30.


40 years, Bill, and I think that.


One of the most underrated things in basketball in the NBA is a solid culture. If you don't have it, you're probably not going to win. And you'll be amazed how many front office guys just don't understand that they don't get it. They think, let me just go get.


Talent and we'll do it.


It usually doesn't work, it just doesn't.


And you had your best chance with the Clippers, but you also had this insane ownership situation that then blew up in like year three of that. But even before it blew up, you had the Grim Reaper sitting courtside every game and waltzed it into the locker room. And it was just weird. It was a weird variable to introduce to an NBA season.


It was so strange and weird. I will say that Steve Overall wants you. He allows you to try to build your own culture. He's very involved, so he's very involved. Sterling it's funny, I think I talked to him ten times, but just his.




Dancing at courtside with his girlfriend when his wife is out of town, some of the stuff that happened there.


I remember it was Vivica's birthday, right?


And he's dancing with her, and he.


Spins her, like, during the time out.


And I told my coaches to look.


Over there.


During the time out in a regular season, they look and I said, I want you guys to know this. If he's going to treat his wife that way, we have no chance, and we start laughing. I meant it. It was true.




People don't even know, like, one 10th of all those stories. Like him just coming in the locker room with random people. You knew when you took the job, you had an idea, but there's no way you really knew everything.


I will honestly say, and I don't know if I've said a couple of times to people, there's no way I'd leave Boston if I had known that. I mean, come left at the time, I left the most solid organization.




And I went to the complete worst organization thinking, I can turn this around. I really did. I convinced myself of that, and I would say within about two weeks, I.


Knew I was, oh, boy, right?


This is way worse than you can.


Ever imagine from the outside.


I knew because I had had the season tickets since, like, four for them. And I knew a lot of people that worked for the team, and they would tell the stories, and I would always like, that can't be true. They're like, no, this happened on Tuesday. And it was like, oh, my God, you can't write this, but this happened three weeks ago. I'm like, oh, my God. And, yeah, that was a guy, and they couldn't do anything about it. That was the craziest thing. It was like having somebody buy a house next to you and just be insane, and you can't get rid of.


The guy, ruining the whole you know, I'm sure that's what David Stern and Adam thought. We got this one guy and he's ruining our entire neighborhood, and we can't do anything about it. He literally had to self explode himself, implode himself for them to get him out of the league.


Well, unfortunately, he picked the postseason when you guys had a chance to win the title for that to happen next, four words or less. LeBron James, year 21. This is his 21st year. And you were in the league coaching, I think, for all of the other years, except for maybe one. Did you think anybody could ever even average 20 points a game in their 21st year in the league. That wasn't, like, seven foot seven.


No. What he has done is extraordinary.




I never miss words.


Michael Jordan is the greatest NBA basketball player to ever lace it up. In my opinion, LeBron James will have the greatest NBA career, and it's not even close. I mean, his career is not over, which is nuts. Like, Jabar.


Yeah. You can play 20 years. You're 7ft tall. You had a shot that no one else has ever been able to do.


And even in Jabar's last year, you.


Still couldn't do anything about it.


LeBron is still, like, top five top ten athlete in the league. Yeah, it's crazy.


Think about LeBron and Carl Malone, and I think this is right. LeBron weighs two pounds more than Carl Malone. Just visually, think of the speed that LeBron plays with, running with, the weight of I mean, it's just, you know, his best part of his game is his brain.


Well, yeah, Carl Malone didn't have, like, one 10th of that. Yeah. This is why I kept circling whether I wanted to pick the Lakers, because I was so impressed by them in the playoffs, how physical they were. I know they got swept, but they were just such a bitch to play because he's so powerful. This strength game that he had that he just didn't have when you guys were battling him in the late 2000s, now he does.


He wouldn't do it. He wouldn't even post up.




I remember game one in our Cleveland series. The first play of the game was a post up play, and he scored, and I turned the tips like, uh oh.


Right. Did he figure it out?


And he never did it again. Like, literally never did it. Know, the Lakers are their size. Their size is a factor. And when they play size and speed and I always tell this to teams, teams with size that can run. It's like a snowball rolling downhill.


You can't stop it.


So I watched them in that exhibition game.


I did the game.


If they played the pace they played.


That night all year, they're a problem. They're a major problem.


Am I too high on Reeves? Because I think he's like, not only is he the third best guy in that team, but I think that's a guy who could be the third best guy in a title team, potentially. But I think am I too high on him, or is it too early.


Or are you I don't think you're too high. I actually said he's going to be.


An All Star one year.


Maybe not this year, but one year. He has the other stuff that makes great players. He has all the intangibles, and he's got a swag and fearless attitude that he has coming in the league. And that is something most swags in our league are fake. They are half of the guys this guy is real. His swag is real. And he's a problem, man. He's a good player. He's a pesky defender. He's not a great defender, but he gives a shit.


He tries. Yeah.


And he loves physical play, which is unusual for a guard.


Yeah, I'm a big fan. Are you still a Bears fan or did you renounce them?


No, I'm a Bears fan.


So did you see this guy they played last week? Tyson bajant?




So it was a little Austin Reeves ish, where is this Div Two kid? Everyone's like, oh, this guy's going to suck. And then he kind of carried himself and he ran for a first down, and he's pointing to the crowd. It's like, who the fuck is this guy? Is this rookie from Div Two? But some guys just have it. And I felt that way with Reeves the whole time. It was like, who is this guy? Why are you so confident?


I don't get it. My brother called me and said, we have the new Purdy. We have the new said. I told him to settle down.


No, we know.


The bears are tough, though.




I hate to say this, but I really hope they can get the first two picks of the draft.


They have an opportunity to do that.


That can change their franchise.


It would really be they just it's weird. The NFL, they don't think that way. The way they do. It like the NBA, it's like, oh, man, we could get Benyama. Have you seen the highlights? And it's like, all right, let's rest, everybody. All right, you're sitting tonight. And NFL, I guess it's probably too hard to do that. It's too violent. It's too physical. All right, we'll take one more break, then I'm going to throw some more forwards or less at you. This next segment is brought to you by Google Pixel, the only phone engineered by Google and the official fan phone of the NBA and WNBA. With All Star features, Pixel Eight Pro has all the fun tools fans can actually rally around. Like Audio Magic Eraser lets you cut out the background noise so that you can capture the sound of every swish and dish loud and clear. I wish we had Audio Magic Eraser for some of my podcasts when I predicted that Giannis was going to leave the bucks. Let's see, what underrated upgrade did we have in the NBA this season? I know Drew Holiday going to the Celtics. To me, when we're talking phone upgrades, basketball upgrades, I think about Drew Holiday and Derek White guarding every guard on the every good guard in the league.


That's an upgrade for fans who want an experience that's truly built different. You got to get the new Pixel eight or pixel eight pro. I'm a pro guy. If the pro is next to the phone, I'm in. Learn more about the official fan phone of the NBA. Pixelmba Audiomagic Eraser requires Google photos. App may not work on all audio elements. Three words the hardened saga. You saw this one coming probably June, July, and it's played out. I think we could have predicted all the beats. I don't even like asking about this because I feel like I saw you in ESPN a couple of weeks ago and you took like seven straight Philly questions and I just think there's 30 teams in the league. You have so much. I don't want to spend too much time on Philly, but at the same time it felt like this was always destined to be a horrible situation. Do you see any road where it isn't?


No. Unless they move which which I think they almost have to. I always look at silver linings.


You have to as a coach.


The silver lining is Maxi could have a hell of a year. This know, because if James is not.


Going to be there, that means Maxi.


Will be there and this will be.


The first time he's able to actually.


Be the second guy. So that's the silver lining.


Well, and then also you got athletic wings and maybe you can change your identity a little bit without.


Yeah, I mean, you look at the games with and without. We were different in some of those. We are clearly better with James, maybe no mistake about that, especially first half of the year.


But man, it's a tough one.


It really is. And the tough part for the Sixers.


Is there's no takers.


That's the part that people are missing.


Like if there were a lot of teams out there and bidding, then you.


Can probably get exactly what you want. But right now, and I don't know this, but it seems like the only team that has a little interest are the Clippers. And so that really puts the organization in a really tough way. It really does. And so they're going to either have to do that or sign him and they're never going to sign him to what he wants.


You can't sign him at this point. I don't see how you do that. Well, and then he can do the.


Thing a year ago.




You know what I mean? And yet he thought he was going to get that and so it makes it tough.


So what would you tell the people of Philadelphia about this, our Philadelphia listeners? What would you say? What do they have to look forward to this season?


I think, listen, if they do a trade, they're going to be really good. You have Joe and Beat on your team. Matsy is ready, Bill. He is. You know, Sam Cancelle said it all last year to me. Like he's ready now, but we got two, so and I believe that. So I do think if they make.


The right trade and allow Maxi to be Maxi, he's ready. And that makes them a really good team. Yeah.


They're over under in Vegas. I think it was 49 and a half and it's dropped now to like 47 and a half. It's dropped two wins, which is a lot, and their playoff ODS have dropped. And I think people are staring at this going and I don't think they're going to be as good as they were. What were you, 46 and 19 down the stretch last year? I think it was the best record for the last three fourth of the season. I don't think you'll be that good again. But I'm also the east now. I'm like, oh, man, maybe they will be pretty good with or without James. It's just a question of how far is he going to go to sabotage it.


Listen, they're going to get to the second round and then if healthy, they got Joel and B. That's my three years there. You knew you were going to get there. Unfortunately, Joel was never healthy. But if healthy and no other know, if you know what I mean. Like if James is daring in or James is gone, then you have a shot. But if you have the saga going on plus not health, you have no chance.


Have you coached a team that had an ongoing saga like that where you just didn't know what your roster was going to be three months from now? But you're just dealing with the day to day and the questions and constantly and what about James and how are you going to do and it's just the soap opera that never ends. How do you handle it?


Bill, you don't remember Simmons, but he was gone, though.


Like you knew he wasn't coming back. I guess that is fair. But the Harden's kind of he could pop back at any time. Ben Simmons was like that dude's in London. He's not playing.


Harden is tougher because he may say, I have to play because I want.


To get paid, which he will at like, day 28. He's going to do that.


Yeah, he's going to do that. And then so what do you do?


I mean, for Nick, that's tough. You're going to play them, you're not going to bench them.


That's why it has to be figured out before that happens. One way or the other, it has.


To be figured out.


Are you surprised by any of this?


No, not at all. You could see it coming. I mean, I think everybody could see it coming.




But honestly, I will say this. I actually thought that he would be.


Taken care of and right when he wasn't, you knew that's when I said, yeah, this is going to be a know.


Well, that leads me to my next four words or less, ben Simmons comeback season. There's some people who are believing in this. I am not one of a you're going to have to prove it to me over multiple weeks and months before I start buying the stock back. But he is saying all the right things. I fundamentally don't know if he likes playing basketball, and he hasn't proven to us that he has. And you had a situation with him a few years ago where not only did he did his weird holdout, which I still don't totally understand the point of, but it almost seemed like he was good with just not. Being involved with basketball at all where, you've know, Portland's, Leveraging, Dame Lillard during the summer, and they're like, all right, fundamentally, ultimately, we know this guy is not going to hold out because he loves basketball too much. Ben Simmons was the opposite. Do you believe that he might love basketball now?


Well, I'm not going to disagree a word that you said like that, but I will say think if they use him correctly, I don't know if there's a more important player to be used.


Correctly for them to play well than Ben.


If you put him in situations where.


He has to be a score, it's not going to work.


If you put him in situations where he can create scoring, he can get downhill. I said it on something recently. The whole key for Ben is free throws. It's not the jump shot. If Ben has confidence in shooting free throws, then he becomes powerful, ready. You know, people don't realize when you're scared to shoot a free throw, you're scared to drive, you're scared to do anything because you don't want to get hit. But when you want to get to the free throw line and now you're attacking all the time, and a downhill Ben Simmons is a problem. The question is, can he get back to that level?


The other question is the playoffs version of him. Can you win in the playoffs if he's scared to shoot? And if he's scared to get fouled, can you even play him at that point? And I'm just always going to believe.


No, no, and you're right, especially. But if he's scared to shoot is one thing. Scared to get fouled is just gigantic. Think about this. You can't even put him in a pick and roll. You can't put him in anything. But if he can get his free throws right, then that changes the narrative on him, in my opinion. I think that's the only thing he needs to improve.


And then the second question is, can he be healthy?


You don't think physically is the same?


I don't.


I didn't see it last year.


Now, I did.


Look, the first time they played the sixers, I think he had, like, nine shots.


I know that sounds crazy, but that's an important if.


Have you seen any of the Zion footage? Because everyone's talking about he looks pretty good to me. He looks big. It just looks like he's carrying too much weight. And I don't know if he's filling out because he's starting to get older and he's headed toward his mid 20s, but I don't know. I mean, you're older than I am. And you've been in the league longer than just about anybody. But I don't like when guys who are in the air carry weight. It just makes me nervous, and I just feel like he's going to get hurt.


He looks like Zion. He looks athletic. He looks quicker, if that's possible. People forget, right? That was our game.


He got injured last year, and at.


That time, I think they had the.


Best record in the west.


And I do think people do forget that a little. They were playing great early in the year, and then they had all this know, Bill, I worry about him for the exact same know, John Stockton made that comment his first year, rookie year. I think he tried to dunk, and.


He came down on someone's foot, and.


He decided, I'm going to play horizontal for the rest of my career. I'm not going to try to jump. Here's a guy that is flying through the air carrying 300 plus pounds. Yeah, I worry about him. I just worry about his body and if it can hold up, and if he has a discipline to stay and continue to work on his body. Usually when guys have a weight problem, stuff like that, it's rarely solved if you look at the history of our game. And so if he can solve that, then they'll be great. But that's the question.


It's weird that right now we're in this time where there's a bunch of talented players who are all unable to stay out of their own way for whatever reason, right? It could be weight, it could, uh whatever this happened with Ben Simmons the last couple of years, it could be James Harden. It could be what's going on with but, like, when you came into the league, this was such a big part of the league. This was such a big part of the league that I grew up with, and a lot of it was cocaine related because cocaine was such a dangerous drug at the time. But you just watch these guys throw away their careers for drugs, or they'd get 1ft injury, and it would last three years, and they'd hurt their knee, and they were basically done. Or like, Andrew Tony hurts his foot, he's gone. And then the 90s happened, and all the money came in, and that just pushed people in these weird directions that we had never seen before. They're 22. They think they're hot shit, and they're not. And now we're in this other era in the don't even know how to define it, but we have all these talented dudes, and some of them I don't know.


Have we seen the best design already? I don't even know. We might have.


I don't know that I hope not. I do think I think AAU had something to do with a lot of these young injuries. I really do. We didn't have AAU growing up when I played. We had the park. We just played at the park. But I always looked through, like, Austin's eyes, and I watched him play five games in a know, and they play all and this seems like there's more stress related injuries. So I do think that and I wish, like NBA or somebody could just grab AAU and start teaching like they teach in Europe, teach guys to pass and shoot and move without the ball. I think we do need to be taught that more in this country, and it's not being taught. And I think that needs to change. Also think these guys all have their own identity now. It's a factor.


Instagram and twitter and having your own mean.


Listen, I played my whole career without.


A darn cell phone for the most part. We talked to each other. Now you see guys on the bus texting each other and laughing. That's weird. You don't even hear them sometimes.


It's just different. And guys are really all these new brands. I have my own brand.


I got to protect my know.


That stuff's important. Sometimes I wonder, does that hurt competitiveness?


John Thompson Senior before he passed, we were watching a game together, and he said, you know what?


You remember when you played everyone played one on ones before the game. That's how we warmed up me, Dominique, Kevin Willis. But we would all line up and play one on ones, and we played hard. He said, you play these guys now. No one wants to really play in a one on one. I'm not playing that hard. If I lose, I wasn't really trying.


Because it may hurt their know, but the winners know that's the one thing like the same guys.


So in some ways, the league has changed. In some ways it hasn't changed at all.


It's that same group of alpha guys that are still dominating the league. And Michael. And I hate using him. Michael wanted to win. That was it. And Larry bird wanted to win. Larry bird hated people because they beat know pat Riley. We couldn't pick up anyone off the know. We started a team fight against charlote one night because Rolando Bellackman was picking.


Up Larry Johnson and he remembered halfway.


That it's a $500 fine.


So he let him go. And both benches clear.


Like you actually didn't like your opponent.


Well, then there was Isaiah. And the pistons, who took all that stuff to the nth level, just went nuts.


I mean, listen, you listen to Isaiah talk now. I'm like, let it go. He still hasn't let it can't.


I don't know when the last time I've heard isaiah Thomas say a good thing about Michael Jordan.


It's hilarious.


Yeah, they're like old professional wrestlers who were retired wrestlers. Still talking about steel cage matches. I'm glad you mentioned Dominique, because I was thinking, I don't think anybody would have been helped more by the instagram TikTok era than like, a 22 year old dominique, the greatest in game dunker of all time.


Just coming in, dominique with this.


Just think what he would have made at georgia.


Not saying he didn't make a lot at georgia. He did okay. He would have done even better.




Two more for you. How about OKC? Young and hungry. I have OKC. That's like my big this is going to be the leap for them. Are you in on that?


I'm not, but I love the team and I think they're going to be really good.


They'll make the playoffs, but they're still.


Young in some ways.




You're not going to go to OKC.


Thinking you got to win.




It's going to change a little bit the way teams are mentally playing them.


Chet's good.


He's really good.


So shay is a star. Yeah.


So they have the makings of something, I think giddy.


He has to have a big year for them.


So you're thinking like 45 win range for them.


Yeah, I think they'll be in that.


Area and that's pretty good.


That's a big a. I'm going my I think that's my sacramento kinks for this year. The team that's doing better than people think. I'm like, whoa, these guys, I think.


They'Re the what do you think about sacramento? Will they keep rising? Will they go the other way now?


Feels like the same. Just because the west will be better but their team will be a little better. So somewhere in the mid 40s, but you've seen this where sometimes all hell breaks loose in a conference and a team that's like a 43 win team wins 49 doesn't mean they're a 49 win team. So I want to see with them, but vizankov, I want to see what he does with them and I want to see if keegan murray is better for them. When you played them last year, what did you think of them?


Well, they were hard to play.


We beat them both times.


We beat them one time in sacramento without joel or james and we won that game. But they are a mess to play, especially in the regular season.


Their pace is you just don't play.


That pace against teams that play at.


That pace every day.


So they're very hard to play. Murray is the key.


That kid from if you look at.


The first 20 games to the last.


60 games, it was amazing how quickly he got better.


And so it'll be interesting where he.


Goes now this year. Yeah.


Does he have a jump? All right, I got to ask you about Wemby. Have you seen the clips? Have you seen them in person? What have been your interaction? What's your Wemby experience so far?


I've talked to PA but I've not seen him in he's right now. Bill, if you turn the TV on, you're flipping around and you stop and.


He'S in a game. You're not turning again.




You're watching?


I don't know if you saw that. I watched the Golden State game.


I did. I watched it live. He had a two minute stretch. I didn't even know what happened. I like, blacked out.


Listen, when you start blocking three point.


Shots, clay Thompson clay and Steph may be the quickest shooters in the wiggins.


It's rare. I don't even know what the stats.


You should look it up. How many three point shots are blocked?


Oh, my God. It's got to be less than, like, 100 A, right?




And this guy is doing it every night. He's doing it. So when you're shooting now and you.


See him coming, it's in your brain. The whole league is in their brain already.


He can score. He can really shoot the ball.


And the nights that he's really making threes, he becomes unguardable.


He looks really comfortable, doesn't he? Offensively since the summer to now. I was most surprised by that.


He's in no rush.


He's taking his know.


I remember, like Coach Al Jefferson.


Remember Al, when he first got everything quick?


And I used to say, Al the guy guard you.


I swear to God, he's not going to grow.


He's going to be shorter than you in 5 seconds.


Take your time.


And when Al started doing that, it was over.


He's already doing that.


He's already playing at a great.


Listen, he couldn't have gone to a better place. Yeah, he really could for a lot of reasons. Tony Parker from Know, there's so many.


Good reasons, and it's so good for.


The league that I'm really know. My only fear is health because of his size.


Yeah. And you even see it's just hard for him to get out of the way when guys dive for a loose ball and he's got to move his body. You were in the league when Manute showed up that first year.




And it was like, what's going on? This guy's blocking five blocks a game, and everybody's just throwing moonshots over him. Do you remember that?


Oh, God, bill him. And Mark Eaton too.


But more. Bo.


I remember many times I went around a guard.


He's behind me.




So I got the layup, and you.


Lay it a go. And all of a sudden, out of.


Nowhere, and it bothered your game. Like you didn't like playing against Washington because of Know. And this kid is doing this with the offense. He's a great passer.


People are talking about his, uh, man, they're going to play him at that.


High elbow at times. And what do you do?


People are gonna be cutting around. He can turn around and shoot. Just think about when he has the.


Bow in the elbow.


He can always shoot and turn.


What are you going to do about it?




Wow. It's going to be fun to watch.


He also has the quality you mentioned earlier. He's really competitive, very competitive. Like that warriors game. He was like, I'm playing Steph Curry and. Clay Thompson, and I'm going to put it on a show in this game. I'm really excited. And he did know I was talking.


To Austin last week, and he that you know what everybody's missing by Wendy.


I said, what's that? He's competitive.


He's competitive.


He's got he's got the gene. Like, he wants to beat people. You can see it.


Even the first rookie game, he didn't play well. Did you see his like, you can feel his mindset in that second? Oh, no.


I'm going to show you who am like, I love guys.


Like, did you before we go, did you come close to coaching this summer or no, you were done. Philly was done. The Phoenix stuff, how much of that was true?


It was true.


I mean, we talked a while.


I met with the ownership, but at the end of the day, I just.


Know, as I said, every day I.


Was out, I realized more that I needed a break, and this was good for me.


So I'm actually loving being right here.


Right now, because there was a whole.


Chicago thing going on there with the Phoenix situation that I thought was interesting because you and Eddie Johnson and Isaiah, what age did you guys know each other? How old were you? Like eleven?


Oh, yeah. Maybe even earlier.


I think I played Isaiah.


He played at Resurrection, and I played at St. Alalia, though I was not Catholic.


There was a school called to Go to you had to go to Mass once a month. You did that. You could play on their basketball team. And that's how I got to play. So, yeah, I think I saw Isaiah the first time was fifth grade. We played against each other, and I.


Was like, wow, who is this kid?


Was he, like, a little competitive bastard back then? Like, he was as an adult.


He was the same dude that he is right now.


What was Eddie Johnson's game as a 13 year old? Just great money, 20 footers.


Yeah, great score.


You know what's unusual?


Because he could shoot. Most kids growing out of Chicago, they really couldn't shoot.


We played outside. You drove to the basket, and then we get this guy Eddie Johnson making jump shots.


We were like, oh, this is unusual.


Think about isaiah was an average shooter.


He got better.


I was average at best. I got better. Darryl Walker, you can go down the list. Not a lot of great shooting out of Chicago.


No, I mean, Isaiah was, I think, like top three and three point percentage one year, and it was like 31%. Like, the percentages were so bad. But your generation, nobody cared.


Derek. Rose. We all attacked. We just attacked the basket, and now shoot. You go to a game at Proviso East, and they're shooting 10ft behind the three. Steph Curry has changed the game as much as Magic Johnson changed the game. And that's dramatic.


So you're going to pop on here? I don't know, every three weeks or so during the season, you're going to pop on Austin's podcast a couple of times, maybe do a Rasilo. How many games are you doing for ESPN?


Well, it varies because you're contracted, but you know how they do it. They have to contract it for 21 just for the playoffs.




So I'm going to end up probably doing 30 regular season games.


Not bad.


And popping around different and most of the bigger ones, right. Either the Friday or the Sunday games.


Yeah, the Friday, Sunday. This is one of the only weeks that I'm doing two in a week. I'm doing the Golden State sack game. And what's great Bill is I don't go east again. I go one Thanksgiving, I come back to New York. Other than that, it's La, Phoenix, Sacramento, and I do one San Antonio game.


Nice. How's the golf? How many rounds a week are we up to?


About three a know.


Three a week? Yeah.


When I can get to four, it's glorious.


But three a Larry.


Larry David promised he'd come on with us for one of these podcasts. We'll see if he keeps his word.


He's texted me three times twice since we've been on. He wants something, so I'll find out what the hell it is. All right.


Good to see you. I'm glad you're aboard doing pods with us. I'm psyched to hear you on the games. You do a great job. It's good to have you in our lives as a media guy. I'm glad to have you back.


It's really funny. Bill, I'm going to call you and you show me how to set this whole thing up.


I will. Absolutely. 100%.


All right.


Good to see you, Doc.


Take care. All right.


That's it for the podcast. Thanks to Doc Rivers. Thanks to Kyle Creighton and Steve Saruti as well. Don't forget about the rewatchables in the line of fire that is up. You can listen to it right after you finish this podcast. I'm going to be back on Thursday with football and a little basketball as well. Looking forward to it. See you then.


When we start.


I don't have with him.


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