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Coming up, a special two-part podcast, Getting Ready for the NBA Playoffs. We're also brought to you by the Ringer podcast Network. Put up a new rewatchables on Monday. We did Magnolia as part of Rock Bottom Month. Top three weirdest movie I think we've ever done. Maybe even top one. But Rock Bottom Month, almost over, and then we'll start doing some bangers. But could not resist doing Rock Bottom Month. Coming up on this pod, we're going two parts because I missed Tuesday. Lots to discuss. We're going to have Rob Mahoney on to talk about all the round one matchups, everything we saw this week in the National Basketball Association. And Logan Murdoch, we're going to pour some out for the Golden State Warriors because it really feels like this might be it. So that is part one of the podcast. Part two, we're going to talk to Chris Ryan and Sean Fentasey about the Sixers' Knicks series, as well as Kevin Wilds doing some LeBron stuff, some Belichick versus Kraft, some half ideas. So lots going on tonight. Can't wait.


First, our friends from Pearl Jam.


All right, we're taping this. It is 2:30 Pacific Time on Thursday. There's no basketball tonight, and that will be the last time we say that for a long, long time. Rob Mahoney is here from the Ringer NBA show. Rob, the biggest things that already happened this week, the Celtics have somehow found a way to avoid two of Philly, Milwaukee, and the Knicks.


Yeah, congratulations.


Oklahoma City, who was like, Man, we're just going to get screwed here with this. Whatever. We just might as well go for the one seed because no matter how it plays out, we're going to be playing somebody tough. They avoid the Lakers, they avoid a Golden State, and they've just avoided Zion Williamson, and they've avoided Malik Monk on the Kings. And all of a sudden, the 1-8 in the West looks advertising. And then the other thing that happened, Denver now has to go from run, run, run, three. Lakers, Phoenix or Minnesota, then Dallas, or a OKC, or the Clippers. And suddenly, their road is looking brutal. And that's Spurs, stupid Spurs Friday night loss they had, now becomes the Black Swan event it felt like. What's the biggest thing out of those three? Celtics, OKC, Denver. What was the most meaningful thing out of those three things to you?


Probably a okay seat, to be honest with you. I think there was a chance that the Lakers were at least going to give them the fight of their lives. They were going to have to overcome the stylistic differences, the size, all the challenges that a LeBron team with that size imposes on you. And that would have been fun to see them try. But I'm sure they're at least a little bit relieved to not even have to do that.


Yeah, I felt the same way. I thought they were going to lose the Lakers.


I don't know that I would go that far. I think I really trust in how consistent they've been and how heady they've been, even for a young team. I think they could have won that series. But you don't want to put yourself in that risky position to begin with. If you can afford to do it, and especially as the number one seed, that's not the challenge you want out of the gate. But both eight seeds in both conferences at this point are looking like they're going pretty dinged up, really limping into the bracket.


I almost regret feeling that way because I had so much at stake with that OKC team. I was saying 50 wins before the season. I was the most all in of anyone. But I do think there's a huge difference in regular season and playoffs. It goes without saying. But especially young team that was really healthy during this season, which I think was a big reason they were able to get the one seed. Then that jump from regular season of playoffs where now teams can just... You're playing somebody that's just playing you for two straight weeks. They're like, Oh, okay, see, likes to do this. They like to do this. They don't even have a backup center. Maybe we should try this instead. Over the course of two weeks, okay, he worries me a little bit, but that's why it's so important that that first round might be pretty easy for them. New Orleans with Zion, the way he looked, holy shit, in that play-in game. What a debut. What a debut and what a moment. I mean, that was one of the best moments of the season. But if it was that version of Zion, I would have been really scared for them.


Okay, see, but they're not even going to get that. Do you look at the last six weeks with Denver with any concern or apprehension with just some of the way they weren't closing games?


They did let go of the rope at times and with lineups that you wouldn't expect, right? When they're playing all their guys and they would still lose to the spurs, inexplicably in a big moment. I think that a lot of us are looking at that as one of the weirdest games of the season and one of the outcomes we're all trying to parse and understand. I think what we need to come to terms with is the fact that Denver is the definitive Western Conference favorite, but they are beatable, they are vulnerable, and especially, they're a little bit lighter and a little bit more shallow than last year. If they have one injury to anybody in their core five, and it could be as simple as KCP turns an ankle and he's out for a week, that could be their season. They don't have the room for error that a guy like Bruce Brown gave them last time around. And as much as I love Payton Watson and Christian Brown. They're not quite as reliable in that veteran way just yet. And I would love to see them prove it, but we got to see it first.


All right. I want to shoot through the matchups really quick. I know you did this in Ringer NBA. Okay, so he's going to play either Sacramento or New Orleans. We're not going to talk about that. Denver minus 420 on Fandula as we tape this, playing the Lakers who are plus 310. Denver was 3-0 in this series against the Lakers. They also swept them in the playouts last year and feel very comfortable against them. And yet I do think the Lakers, this is probably the best version of them that they've probably played out of those since those seven games. Any chance? How would you talk yourself into a Lakers getting frisky in this? What has to happen for you?


Well, I think it would start with the fact that they've just been better this year overall than they were last year, even with the ups and downs, even with everything that they've had to sort out, even with some of the coaching and rotation issues that still are unresolved. But a guy like D'Angelo Russell is a great example. If he's the player he's been over this part of the regular season versus the borderline unplayable lead guard he was in last year's playoffs at times, that's a monumental difference. Now, whether you believe that to be true in playoff basketball, I think that speaks to your point about the regular season being a different beast. Once you can target him consistently in a matchup where everything is controlled, it looks a little bit different for guys like Dilo.


I will say, though, there's a fuck it attitude with him. Oh, no doubt. That I think once he got thrown in a Trade Rumors again, starting in December, and nobody stuck up with him, and everybody was like, Hey, this is the deal you sign. You probably are getting traded. It unleashed him. And this version of Dilo, I think, has been by far... He's never a player I've enjoyed watching ever, but I respect and admire him. It just seemed like he had a Forge Sales sign around his neck, and he was on eBay, and just was being offered all over the place. I don't know. I thought it weirdly made him better.


Oh, definitely.


Would you agree that this was your favorite version of him, or is that just me?


There's no doubt. I've had a lot of skepticism about a lot of different versions of D'Angelo Russell over the years, including the All-Star minted versions. But this one, you're right. There's an abandon he's playing with. There's a let it fly attitude as far as what shots he's willing to take and the fact that he's just hitting them at a much higher rate. That's really healthy for the Lakers often. Offense. You don't want LeBron to have to micromanage every single thing at this point. You don't want to have to run so much go-to offense through AD. You want it to be able to find him. And to have that ecosystem, you need someone like Dilo taking shots that are on the edge of responsible. And he's been so good at hitting them. That's a big huge reason why their offense has been so formidable over the course of this year.


Big picture, though. Do you see anything in Denver Lakers that makes you feel comfortable that the Lakers would be able to stop the Murray-Oakage pick and roll down the stretch in the final five minutes of a game? No.


Absolutely. I think that's the fundamental premise of the series and the matchup has not changed. And it's not just the two-man game with those guys. It's the way Aaron Gordon intersects with them. It's the way Michael Porter intersects with them. Garding all of that stuff at once is really, really hard. And I just don't have any reason to believe that this version of the Lakers is capable of that, even though they've been pretty solid. But it's just a very tall order.


I'm going to give you the ESPN FS one-est take I'm going to get during this entire podcast. Let's do it. It's not the series for LeBron James, the LeBron James that we know. I think this is why they lost last year because Denver is really good at defending him. Gordon is, I would say, is he the perfect guy you'd want to put on LeBron at this stage of his career? He's in the top three, right?


Yeah, especially because he has the strength to withstand the bully efforts that LeBron will throw at you sometimes. So between the length, the athleticism, the discipline to stay down, he really is a prototype defender for LeBron.


To me, how he stands out in this series is the outside shooting, which he's been really good at this year in the past. But if you remember in that play-out series last year, Reeves was a problem for Denver in some of those games, right? And attacking Jamal Murray and just making him work on defense. And I wonder if LeBron He's going to go back and watch those four. He was really bad in all those fourth quarters, and people were like, He's too many minutes. He's tired. Planteur for shit. And it's like, also, he's being guarded by Aaron Gordon, and maybe there were some better options. I want to see if there's a world in this series where he's like, You know what? I'm going to let the other guys eat. Maybe I'll step in and do some stuff. But this will not be the typical, LeBron's got to carry us thing. Then the Davis versus Jokuj. I think there's interesting matchups for in the series, and I'll be interested to see how they tilt it. But to me, his passing and his three-point shooting are the keys. All right, Minnesota Phoenix. This line has moved.


Phoenix is down minus 140 on Fandool, even though they're the six seed. It's for legitimate reasons. They're 3-0 against Minnesota. It's an awful matchup. When you played Durán at the center against them, it really seems to discombobulate Minnesota in all these ways. Towns comes back at the tail end of the season. It's a little clumsy. We've gone from, I think, Minnesota can make the finals to, Minnesota now not even favored in round one. Justified or overreactioned?


I think maybe slight overreaction. I do think it's a very difficult match for Minnesota. But we've seen them claw their way through tough stretches all season, battle their way back through, obviously, Karl Anthony Towns' injuries, but also they just haven't had any consistent losing. They're a team that has a lot of resilience, has a lot of commitment to their scheme, has a lot of commitment to their style in a way that I think bodes well for the playoffs. Now, they'll have to adjust some. Rudy Gobert is going to have to do some different things. And in particular, I think in that final regular season matchup, the way they were able to use Rudy on offense to put the Suns big in foul trouble, I thought was really important. The trick with Phoenix is, you think of them as a small ball team, and you're right, when they play Durant at the five, that's a small look. But when Durant's at the four, they have all the advantages of playing small, but they're not actually that small. Durant is a huge player to put at the four, and they do have good size on the perimeter, even still.


And they're still playing NERC at the five. They're a good size team, which means they can put up some resistance, whether that's against Gobert, against Towns when he goes inside, against Edwards on these drives. But Ant's going to have to be a lot better. And that's one thing he just has not been good enough against the Suns, basically, in any of the games he's played against them so far this year.


I actually thought it was weird to watch him. I don't want to say he was scared, but he was a little tentative in that Sunday game. It was almost like he lost his confidence a little bit, I thought, offensively, because I had seen him in person a week earlier, and he was going downhill and just seemed like really complete command. It felt like he lost a little bit.


He's got that young player mental hurdle of when teams trap him really aggressively, he knows that he probably should pass it. And so often he'll overpass it or he'll give it up too early. It's just a weird line to walk as a young star of knowing when you just need to make shit happen, even if it is the wrong basketball play because it's your team's best chance of winning. And so that's the thing that over games one and two may not come naturally to him. But by game six, he may have a great feel in terms of navigating the pressure that Phoenix is going to throw at him.


I'd like to award to Minnesota the COVIDed Bill Simmons Trophy for 2024, the team I changed my mind on the most over the course of the season.


Oh, wow.


They were number one for me. Yeah. A week ago, I was like, they might make the finals. This is the best chance we have other than Dallas to beat Denver. And after that Sunday game last week, I was like, I'm out. I'm betting Phoenix and then when. They've roller coaster ride to be left and right. On paper, with Daniels and Edwards, and especially when Edwards plays defense, which I think when he's invested, he's really, really, really good. And you would think, well, those are two really nice guys to have to throw at Durant and Booker.


Kyle Anderson, too. They have good defensive players. What you want.


It's weird to me that they had this much trouble. To me, this is the Towns Referendum series. If Towns can't be not only a difference, but a problem for Phoenix, then we're headed toward 15 years from now, the Twitter. We won't even have Twitter in 15 years, but Carl Anthony Towns was a problem, unless they're like a 62-point game. And yet we'll know, well, the They're paying him 50 million a year, and they're guarding him with Devon Booker with three minutes left in the game, and he's barreling into the guy and getting up.


The hologram highlights will be very convincing in 15 years.


The hologram highlights. I still don't believe in Phoenix yet. I think they're a trick or treat team. I bet on Phoenix in this series when it was even. Now minus 140 seems nuts because it's like, Minnesota wins game one. Phoenix basically has to steal one of the first two, but especially game one, because is. You don't steal game one. Now, you got to win four your next six. And game seven is in Minnesota. Minnesota is good crowd. Weird series. It feels like one of these teams won't be the same, which we're going to do in the next segment after that one.


That series is also poised to be really sloppy in the final minutes of these games, but then with many players on the floor who are capable of doing almost anything in any given moment. So it'll be three minutes of solid turnovers and then the most sensational Edwards play you've ever Right.


Clipper's Dallas, I don't even know if it's worth talking about. Anyone who bets on this series probably needs to re examine things. I need to see Kawhi before I need to know what my opinion is. We have no idea. Dallas, everybody's on them. The line has shifted. Dallas is now minus 118. I think by the time this series starts, they're going to be minus 135. They were underdogss when the lines came out. Crazy. I haven't met one person who's like, I love the Clippers.




Not one. It's so trendy.


It's so trendy to pick the Mavs right now. And again, for good reason. It makes sense why everyone would be leaning that way. It's just wild to think that that's where this Clipper season has ended up, given how good they've looked now, months removed from that, but even still.


Yeah. We're going to talk about that next segment. In the East, Boston versus either Miami or Chicago. If they can't beat either of those teams, then I'm probably going to stop balling basketball. Knicks Philly, which we're going to talk about with Sean and Chris in part two of this podcast. Got a little Sixers Knicks action with them. I just don't know what I'm getting from Embiid for two weeks. I'm all in on the Knicks in this series, and I just think it's a great matchup for them. Where do you stand? Do you lean either way? Are you afraid of Embiid? Actually, if you're a Knicks fan, just like, blowing them out of the water, what do you see?


I lean slightly nicks. I do think it's going to be tough. But the idea of the version of Joel we saw, which was a version that could not really get above the free throw line on defense, the idea that that's going to be the guy to contain Jalen Brunson with all the pivoting, with all the floaters, with everything that he can throw at you, that's a lot to ask for a guy on one knee. I just don't see that working out for Philadelphia. That's not to say they won't win games. I think it's still going to be a long series, but there's a lot in that that's tilting New York's favor.


I was I'm really surprised the Knicks weren't favored a little more heavily. And the line moved. When it opened, they were underdogs. Now it's even. I think by the time we get to the series, they'll be maybe minus 120. But the Knicks are 33 and 15 in their last 48. The Knicks are good. They're 33 and 15 with missing dudes and not really having Ogie at all. I'm just in on that team. Milwaukee, Indiana is another one where the line completely shifted. Indiana is now favored. Indiana, as we tape this, they're minus 122.




It was weird watching people slowly realize that Yannis might not make it for half this series, whereas I was talking about on a podcast a week ago, just research calf injuries. The catheter had, it's three weeks, it's Maybe four weeks. You cannot rush back from it because you don't want a Katie 2019 final situation. So now by the time we got to today, people are like, Oh, shit. Yannis, he might not play. It's like, Yeah, he hurt his calf. I know he's superhuman, but also a great match up for Indiana. This is probably the team they wanted to play. Are you feeling upset here? I guess it's not an upset anymore because Indiana is favorite. But what are you feeling?


I do think the Pacers are going to win. I think the nightmare scenario that could quickly become reality is the Pacers win maybe the first two games of the series with Yannis out. And then you have to make the calculation of, is it even worth the risk of trying to rush him back, given soft tissue injuries and the reality of those? And then you have to make really hard business calculus on whether you actually think you have a chance to come back in the series when the Pacers have had their number all season. I think the style of play is very difficult for Book Lopez and for Chris Middleton. If they can't slow Indiana down, it's going to be really hard for Milwaukee's veterans to keep up just with the dynamic of how this thing would play out. So I don't like anything about the terms of engagement here for the Bucks at all. This is not the matchup they wanted. It's obviously not the team you want to try to match baskets with when Damian Lillard shooting has been up and down all season long. There's just not a lot to about Milwaukee's chances there.


Did you see the Orlando game?


I saw bits of it. It looked ugly.


The second quarter was a bomb of Bucks fan. I'm just alarmed. Because it wasn't just that they couldn't score anymore. They couldn't get good shots. The Orlando just strangleholded them. They even strangled them. I guess I could use that word. I used to be a writer. They put them in a stranglehold. There we go. There we go. It took three tries. And honestly, Dame looked like Kemba in the bubble in 2020. That's how rough it was. He just couldn't get a shot off. It's a huge problem. Also, the Bucks are 20 and 21 in their last 41 games.


They've been bad for the season more that they've been good. And we all need to acknowledge that as they go into this playoff series.


And then Indy with Siakam, which we haven't really seen in any of those other ones. Last one, Cleveland, Orlando, which That line's bumped up a little bit. Cleveland's two to one favorite now. I just don't think people watch Orlando. To me, Cleveland being a two to one favorite, I know they have home court. I don't really think of banners. This series feels even to me. I think Orlando is good. I don't know if they're going to win, but plus 165 right now looks tasty. We'll talk about some of the subplots with Cleveland in the next segment. But why can't Orlando win this series?


I just wish they had a little more going offensively. They just have so many rough stretches of eight and nine minutes where they go on extended lulls. If they had any way to stem that, I think they would have a great chance in a series like this. I think they already have a pretty good chance. Their defense gives them that. In particular, the way their defenders line up. It's what Jonathan Isaac could take away. If you play him at the five when Evan Mowbley is at the five, that's a completely neutralizing matchup. If you play Jalen Sugs in ways that's going to disrupt Donovan Mitchell when Mitchell looked really sluggish through the back part of the season, not explosive. I agree.


Really at all. He has not looked the same.


He has not looked the same since he came back from... I think it was a knee injury he was coming back from. He had a couple of big scoring games at the very, very end of the season, and that was it. And so I like the idea that the magic could really disrupt what Cleveland does. I just think we're going to get some 92, 86 finishes in this series that are going to tilt Cleveland's favor just a little bit.


I'm so glad you said that because I looked at the game one line on Fando, and I was like, what's it? Like 192, 195, and it was 208. I'm like, I don't know a lot of scenarios where these two teams are going to combine for 209 points. To me, this is going to be a rock fight, and especially when we get to the second half and it's just Palo going one on three on one end, and then Mitchell just being swallowed up by Sugs. I did look at some of the box scores, though. Garland had a couple of big games against them, so maybe this could be the Here comes Garland But I just don't like what I've seen from Cleveland at all. I think the karma of them blowing that last Charlotte game, I didn't like that that much. If I'm Orlando, I'm putting that on the whiteboard. I do believe in Palo. I love the defense, and we talked about this on Sunday, but beefing up the Isaac minutes is a real monkey wrench for this. If he's going to play 30 minutes a game, that becomes the best defensive team in either conference for the minutes when all those dudes are out there.


All right, we're going to take a break, and then we're going to play a little game. This NBA playoff, Spandles giving all customers two chances to bring home a big win with a no sweat, same game parlay every weekend of the playoff. Just place an SGP in any playoff matchup. You get bonus bets back if you don't win. You can bet on rebounds, assists, three-pointers, whatever you want, you can also bet on my big series boost that I have coming for you. We're going to tweet it out on Saturday with the exact odds, but we're going to boost for the series, the Nuggets and the Knicks to win. Right now, it's in the plus 130 range, something like We're going to try to get it to way higher than that, maybe even two to one. The other great thing we have, I have a 30% profit boost token for you. It's branded. It's the Bill Simmons branded 30% profit boost token. By the way, we're going to be handing out a bunch of them. If you win the bet, you win 30% more than what you bet. By the way, FanDuel now live in our nation's capital, Washington, DC.


Visit fanDuel. Com/bs. Shoot your shot at America's number one sportsbook, FanDuel, the official sports spending partner in the NBA. It must be 21 plus, 18 plus in DC. President selects states, Gamble problem, call 1-800 Gambler or visit rg-help. Com. Opt-in required, minimum three-leg parlor required. Refund issued as non-retrable bonus bet, which is by our seven days after seat. Max refund, $5, unless otherwise specified restrictions apply seat terms at sportsbook. Fando. Com. Here we go, Rob Mahony. It's a game we're calling What Happens If. We're going in the future after any Any of the rounds. Round one, round two, round three, round four.


How far in the future do you want to go?


I want to go... We'll stop late June is the end of the future. There's no flying cars yet or anything. No.


We're just going- No kuaai with a foot long beard on his deathbed someday. I need to figure out. No.


He's not Kauai in the castaway, Allen. Nothing like that. Okay. Well, Kauai is our first one. What if Kauai can't pull off being healthy in round one? And we do this again. And the Clippers lose again. And Kawhi plays. It's a six-game series, and Kawhi plays three and a half. And there's mystery around it the whole time. And yet they just extended him. And there's a new arena coming. And the Clippers who had That stretch for two months were like, There's three teams that can win the title, the Celtics, the Sixers, and the Clippers, and the Nuggets, or four teams. What happens?


Well, for one, I think we can't put enough punctuation on the first part of which is the Clippers lose this series definitively, very quickly. If he's not a part of it. He's their only chance to even be competitive against the two-way play that the Mavericks have been putting out lately. So if Kawhi is not healthy, the Clippers lose. If How does it feel to see a Clipper's lose in that fashion, and Kawhi, again, has this persistent issue where he can't stay healthy consistently, where he can't really be the centerpiece of a team in that way, I think the conversation around him starts to shift. And it wouldn't be an indictment of who he can be in big games It's who can he be as a franchise centerpiece? Who can he be as a part of the Clipper's future? And how do we even conceptualize a player like him if he wants to hang around in that situation? If he is the centerpiece of a team that persistently underachives or doesn't go where it's supposed to go, what does that mean about him?


Yeah. Well, and then what do you do if you're Paul George? You've already made a shitload of money.


You live in LA where you're from. Notably not extended, Paul George. Not extended, Paul George. Conspicuously not extended.


You have teams that have crazy cap space, including the Orlando Magic, who are really good, the Philadelphia 76ers who have Tyrese Baxi and Joel Embiid. Or you could stay in the Clippers to get one more paycheck, and you're playing with James Harden and broken down Kawhi and a bunch of expensive role players, then it comes down to what's important to you. Clippers could probably pay a little more. But this is just crazy to me that we're now in the mid-2020s, and we're still doing this with Kauai and the Clippers. This is how the decade started. This is how the decade is going. And nobody at the Clippers seems to even know if he's 100 %.


And that's where we're starting from, too. The one thing we didn't unravel there is, let's say he even stays healthy for the first series. I don't think anyone is thinking of the Clippers as a team that could last multiple rounds in the playoffs. And that was the whole premise of this group to begin with, is this is one of the surest contenders given their talent that you're going to find in the field. And they're not anywhere close to that anymore.


Yeah, there's I don't know this world where OKC could look out. The Clippers could somehow beat Dallas in this one.


Oh, yeah.


And then Kawhi is on borrowed time at that point with what his health has been. And now OKC might be able to get the Clippers with a compromised Kauai. Yeah.


And then does Kawhi drop out of the Olympics at that point? Right. Or does he go to Paris anyway and just hang out? I don't know. Jalen Brunson goes instead. Jalen Brunson and Joel Embiid hit it off. They have an injured list in the Olympics? They might need one.


All right, we're taping this on a Thursday, so this is still relevant. What happens if New Orleans loses the playing game?


I mean, don't they have an excuse at this point?


What about the part where Brandon Ingram just got benched in the fourth quarter of a must-win game against the Lakers and then the team played better without him? To me, I think he's one of the most realistic trade pieces this summer for variety of reasons that include. It really feels like it became Zion's team over the last two months. Trey Murphy, how many advanced stats can be incredibly favorable to him at this point? I don't know. Is he the advanced stats MVP?


He's among them. Trey Murphy, beloved, really good player. But you said something there that it felt like Zion's team over the last few months. I think that's definitively true. Watch the Pelicans play over the back part of the regular season. It shifted, notably. But it wasn't Zion's team in the last three minutes for the same reason it's not been Zion's team for the majority to stay there. That's what makes the Ingram question so hard and what makes him, especially, a less than ideal running mate for Zion, just on the grounds that he also gets hurt a lot. And part of the reason he played badly is he's also coming back from an injury. And so whatever you may think about the fit of those guys or what team you could build around them or what their future could be, just by the fact that they both cannot stay healthy, I think is a huge problem that probably It needs to be resolved sooner than later.


And they have a million pips. So this is, Hey, Mikael Bridges. Hey, Nets, are you sure you don't want to trade Mikael Bridges? What if we offer you Ingram and a couple of pips and move the ear away? It could also go the other way. They could win the play-in game without Zion. Be like, Look at Brandon Ingram. What a redemption. On Wednesday, he's benched. On Friday, he's the hero. Next one. We're bringing in Dame time. Bringing in my Dame time bobblehead that I bought for the playoffs on eBay. They had Dame time the other night, and I had to get a bobblehead. It's got a little watch on the bottom of it, and Dame's looking at his watch in the bobblehead and nodding at it. What happens if it's not Dame time in round one? What if the clock just never starts moving? And Dame time, I think both you and I feel like this might be where we're headed with round one with Milwaukee. But what happens then? Is the market still the same? Do you run it back? Do you say, weird year, multiple coaches, Yannis got hurt? Or do you say this didn't work?


I think you get another big Yannis speech about the meaning of failure and success in life.


Does he have another one? The first one was so well-crafted.


It was quite well-crafted, but he's got a little time to workshop it just in case. Just have it prepared in the pocket, ready to go. But I think we are going to hear a lot of the explanation. Yannis heard, as you said, multiple coaches. Doc, as he's told us many times, took over midseason, a very difficult thing to do.


Hardest thing ever to do in the history of sports.


How could anyone possibly overcome it? Damian Lillard, to be fair, has been going through a lot, personally and professionally this season. Chris Middleton missed almost 30 games. All those things are completely real and completely valid. And I have to say, too, from the time Damian Lillard joined the Bucks, the most likely outcome was they were not going to have enough this season. They just lost a lot of their playoff rotation from the year before. They didn't have much of a supporting cast. And the guys that they did have, especially broke and Chris Middleton, are older to the point that they're injury risks. So it looked like the team that was going to take not only time to get used to each other, and we've seen that, but time to just get another offseason, to get another exception guy, to check another free agent market, and get a little bit more help on the edges of their roster, to be honest with you, because the core four guys are good and they're good together, but they don't have enough right now. And that's really clear when Yannis is out.


See, I wonder if their window was '21 when they won the finals, and then '22 when they threw away the one seed because they didn't want to play Brooklyn, which was done when it was happening. I was on the record at the time. I always want home court. That's why I love what the Knicks did. I just always want home court. You're going to have to play whoever anyway. To assume you're just going to be able to duck teams is crazy. They throw it away. Game seven is in Boston. Grant Williams hits 133s. Pate Kershard hits some threes. Milwaukee loses. But Milwaukee was really good that year, and I think they would have beaten Golden State. But maybe that was their window, that little stretch with the team they had. I thought Middleton looked pretty old in that Orlando game. I know his stats have been okay, but to me, it seems like he shifted to a slightly different point of his career. Their wings are just super slow, and the Dame defense piece, and there's just a lot of ways to attack them. I don't see it with them. Yeah.


Just thinking about All those guys trying to keep up with the screening of the Pacers in transition, and that's step one. Can you even get through that to make that a competitive series and to fight your way through it? And even if you can do that, how are you going to get through multiple series with this roster? And with Giannis, he plays through injury. He comes back relatively quickly, historically speaking. But how could something like a calf injury not be at the back of your mind when you move the way Giannis moves and you run the floor the way he does and your game is predicated on attacking headlong and getting vertical and exploding to the basket on both sides of the ball? So I just don't see how that makes sense in terms of a long play off run. It doesn't really add up to me.


Rick Carlyau against Doc, 2005. It was the Artes Mele year and somehow beat the Celtics in seven in one game seven in Boston. But it's not historically been an awesome matchup.




What happens if Cleveland flops in round one. I think this one's the easiest one to answer of all the what happens.


Well, I think people start losing their jobs or their spots on the team, for one.


I think- Yeah, I think there's a coaching change.


J. B. Baker staff, that conversation to be had. To whatever extent Donovan Mitchell has a future as a Cavalier right now, I would think it would change pretty quickly, and he would be out sooner than later. And honestly, you probably see a Jared Allen change, too, or some clarity as far as their frontcourt. I think it would be the thing where you turn the page from this version of the Cavs competing for playoff spots, trying to fight for homecourt positioning in the playoffs to the Darius Garland, Evan Mobley Cavaliers, featuring what else you can scrape together.


With some shooters and whatever. Yeah, I agree.


I just think if they lose, and especially if they lose in an embarrassing fashion, and that's what it would be, not because Orlando is bad, but because the way Orlando would beat them would be very reminiscent of how the Cavs lost to the Knicks a year ago. If that happens, there's no delusion where you can talk yourself into the idea that everything's okay. The NBA runs on that plausible deniability and people convincing their bosses that they should come back for one more year to try again. But there's no talking anyone into at that point.


I, for one, I'm very excited to watch the Cavaliers next year with Garland, Mowbley, Tyler Hero, Hyme Haukes, Max Struz, and head coach Mike Budenzolzer. Sounds great.


Wow. Yeah. That sounds like a contender. That sounds like a contender. That's six man of the year. I can't wait.


Yeah, Nicole Jowich, sixth man of the year. I can't wait. Nicole Jowich, it looks awesome. Oh, this is a good one. What happens if Luca beats the Joker in in round two. He just big boys the series, and he's the best porter in the series, and he knocks Denver out, the defending champs.


It would have to be the conference finals, right?


Yeah, round three. Sorry.


This is a little reductive, and maybe this is my ESPNE FS1-y take of the day. But if Luka goes on that run, I think he has a very credible argument to be the best player in the world at that point. There's a baton passing that would happen in situation given just looking at the rosters, looking at the matchup. That is a series the Nuggets should win. And if they do not, it will be because Luka took it to them and dismantled them and really attacked their team in a way that no one else has been able to do. And so that path, to me, would signal that Luka is, if not the best player in the world, then at least tied for the best player in the world.


As the official custodian of the best player alive Championship belt, if Luka beats Denver in round three, he's holding the belt up at the end. It might not be fair, but- That's what it is. That's just how it goes, man. That's how you win the Championship of whatever. You win the series. I still think Jokey Which is the best part of the world. But if Luca outplaced him in a series and takes it, then that's it. That's the reality we live in.


How do you secure the belt? Do you have it in a briefcase handcuffed to your wrist at all times? You're just ready to move it to the next person when necessary?


The Stanley Cup has a guy that just travels with it. It's the same thing for us. We just have a guy who he's with it, he goes, he brings it around to different parts of the country.


What a job.


This is a good one. What happens if the Knicks beat the Celtics in round three? I was trying to think of the highest end, holy shit, moment for two fan bases that could happen in the playoffs, and I think this is it. The Knicks, the downtrodden, terrible, Just laughing stock of the 21st century Knicks getting their shit together, beating Boston, which they did in 1973 and they did in 1990. I think those were the only two times that ever happened. And the Knicks beat the Celtics and go to the finals. That's our highest and holy shit moment that could happen, I think, in these playoffs, right? Or am I wrong?


That would be huge. I mean, really, the Celtics losing at any point before the finals would be a pretty big holy shit moment. I just don't think anyone in the East is really equipped to put up that much of a fight against them at this stage. But I think you have to walk us through this one. Like your nightmare dream scape, if the Celtics lose to the Knicks, what does that look like to you? What does it even happen for that to turn out that way?


So it's funny. There's no Celtics-Nicks rivalry at all because the Celtics used to just always kill the Knicks, right? Except for a very small window after Russell retired. But Russell, I remember when I spent time with him in 2012 when we asked, What was the Knicks rivalry like? He was like, It wasn't a rivalry. We beat them every year. They never beat us ever. There was no rivalry. It's like, All right, that's fair. So it was that five-year stretch, and that's really it. The '84 East Finals, Bird versus Bernard, that was big. But they were just never good at the same time. If the Knicks beat the Celtics, I would take so much shit from all the New York people in my life. My mind goes there because I'm selfish.


Yes. You have to block some numbers, I would think.


But I think the craziest thing about it would be that the Knicks did it without doing the all-in crazy trade with all their assets.




That would be the nutty part. I mean, forget about how weird it would be to make the finals without Randall, but to do it without doing your all-in Anthony Davis to the Lakers type of trade and still have the picks and the assets. To me, it's like if the Knicks make round three, even if they lose to the Celtics, but they set up this whole foundation, but they still have the assets they have going forward, they've established themselves as... It's cool to play for the Knicks again. This whole era of KD and Kyrie going to New York and not playing for the Knicks, that era is over. So even that's a win, but them beating the Celtics would be unbelievable. I mean, that would be one of the greatest series in the history of the Knicks franchise.


It would have to be. And while we're printing Matching Knicks propaganda here. I mean, even just getting to the conference finals, there's a path there that makes a lot of sense. You're matching up with an injured Joel Embiid right out of the gate, either an injured Giannis, as we said, or a young Pacers team that's going to be pretty beatable if you're the Knicks, I would think. And before you know it, like Dante DiVincenzo is going wild in the Eastern Conference Finals. It can happen very quickly given how good the Knicks are. So the fact that they can get there is very impressive. And as you said, if they win, if they do make it to the finals, that's a banner season. Even if they lose to the Knicks in the conference finals, it makes a great case to the big fish stars you're talking about. If you're Joel Embiid, if you're anyone else, the idea of putting a team like New York over the pump who couldn't quite get past Boston is going to be very attractive. So long as they can get through those first two rounds relatively unscathed, then that's always a bit of a variable with the Tom Thibodeau team.


And Ogie Ananobi is already dinged up as it is. They just got to get through these things relatively healthy. But if they can, they're in a position to really Really either do something remarkable now or do something even more remarkable later.


They were built with the model in mind was the '04 Pistons'. And Brunson is a better scorer than anyone the '04 Pistons had, but same mentality. It's not even close. A tough team that made smart decisions at the end of games and was flexible on defense. They don't have the size the Pistons had, but I think the type of players that they went and found, very similar that team. Just certain type of warriors who just showed up, tough, played really well together, which is, I think, another thing they have. Absolutely. It's different, but it's not completely different.


Is it blasphemous? I think Jalen Brunson right now is better than Chauncey Billups ever was as far as that- That's the question.


That like, 04 model? Chauncey was a 20 points a game guy. I mean, it was different. If you put that Pistons team in the way basketball is played now, I think some stats would go up. Sure. That was really the drags of society. Or NBA society.


Well, maybe society, too. Maybe it was a dark time.


There was some '67, '64 playoff games. Two more. What happens if Phoenix or Minnesota, pick one, lose round one? In other words, what loss would have more dramatic changes if you had between those two? Phoenix loses in round one. What happens? Minnesota loses in round one. What happens? We talked about not positive towns is back. If just loses round one. Maybe that's when they play the card. But what happens to Phoenix if now they're favored and then all of a sudden, Minnesota beats them? What do they do? How do you talk yourself in the next season?


What can you do? You literally can't trade Bradley Beal. You're not going to trade Devin Booker. And unless Kevin Durant wants out, you're not trading him. And I would hope he wouldn't so quickly, even after something like that.


Sadly, you didn't mention the coach yet, which is usually after you've listed all the players that are still in the same spot, they're like, The coach. And then all of a sudden, the coach is like, Wait, I'm fired?


Yeah. But an inconsistent execution team with bad fourth quarter performance, that's a lot pointing to Frank Fogel. That's the way these things go. That gives you all the cover you need, all the reason you need. Is there reason enough to think that this team would be dramatically different next year? I don't think so. What they need is they still do need, despite all the protests, some supplementary ball handling, some playmaking. I think that stuff is meaningful for them even now. They need more bench guys they can actually count on versus the roulette wheel that they spin from night to night. Grace and Allen has been great, extending him. I think that's a nice move for them. They had to do that. But they still need more guys that they can actually trust. And so the number of changes they could actually make would be a coaching change and then some supporting cast changes. But the stars would not change in the way that they might for Minnesota, because I agree with you, Kat, if Minnesota loses, it's because they won't have enough offense. And if they don't have enough offense, you're looking at your $50 million power forward who's supposed to supply it in addition to Anthony Edwards, obviously.


But you're going to look at him a certain way and wonder, is this really the best use of our cap resources when we have so much invested between Gobert and Kat and Nas Reid? Something has to give at some point.


Yeah, and they've been there before with Cat, too. So if the series goes badly, it won't be the first time. They've looked side-eye at a cat. All right, bonus question. What happens if James Harden absolutely sucks against Dallas?


What happens is he sucks and then still gets a gigantic contract. Oh, my God.


The Clipper fans of my life didn't want to hear that. I'm sorry. So you think he's getting paid either way?


I think he's getting paid either way. I think there is a mutual understanding as far as how that stuff will go. And that's where it gets dark. If they lose and James Harden is bad, maybe Paul George leaves, and then you're left holding the bag with this team, and you're opening up your new building with a starting lineup of Harden, and Terrence Mann, and Norm Powell, and Amir Koffie, because Kawhi is sitting out at the beginning of the season to nurse back from the injury that ended his previous season, and it beats the Zubots.




Big time yikes.


Here's our new arena.


Yep. Buy your season tickets today.


Yes. Part of me wonders if they just never made the hard-end trade. What does this team look like right now? What seed would they have been in?


Yeah. I think they would be worse by seeding, at least.


Yeah, they'd probably like... I mean, they did win 52 games. They did or 51. They hit a couple of highs. Yeah, because there's... One of the reasons Dallas versus Phoenix is... I mean, Dallas versus the Clippers is so fun. It's also all these late 2000s, early 2000s 10s draft pick guys. There's a generation of those dudes, like Kyrie, George, Kawhi, Harden, Westbrook. They're all in this cluster. None of them are as good as They were seven years ago, eight years ago, but they're all still pretty relevant. All of them could steal the series, which is another crazy thing. I include Westbrook in that because if Kawhi gets hurt, I think we're going to see a lot of Russell Westbrook in this series. He's had a good season. I do think he's the guy that could shift the energy of a series like this. But Harden is the one where if Kawhi ends up not playing that much and it's like, Hey, James, what do you got? It could be a fucking disaster or he could have a couple of the games like he had last year in the Celtic series, where he looks like he's the best player on Earth for two hours.


Yeah, I think it's going to edge, maybe not a fucking disaster. It's going to be ugly. Yeah, but in that direction. He does feel like he's a bit at that stage. It's similar to what we were talking about with Chris Middleton earlier, where when everyone's healthy, a third option Chris Middleton looks pretty good. But you lose Giannis and you want him to do more, and it's just not there. The capacity to create in pressure against primary defensive assignments is just not happening for him. That's what I see with Hardet. He just doesn't get to the basket consistently enough. The foul drawing is obviously winnowed off for him as a result. He has a very either step-back or great pass-oriented game. And he's smart enough and savvy enough to make that work most of the time. But it works primarily when he's a third or fourth option on the floor. That's when he's most comfortable at this point. He's told us he wants to be a facilitator, and we probably should take him at his work because that's what he's best at right now.


Well, and especially you're playing the same team for straight weeks. They start getting used to stuff. I'll be interested to see how the playoff games are called. There were some tiny signs that they were loosening up the reins a little bit on some of the foul stuff, but we'll see. Yeah, it's like what happened with Clay Thompson when you're talking about Harding, it made me think of that? It's that different point of your career. We're going to talk about Clay with Logan in a second. We were going to pour one out for the Warriors. I know you talked about it on the Ringer NBA show, but Rob Mahoney. I I'm like a nine out of 10 for these playoffs.


There's so much to love.


So many story lines, so many good players. I'm just delighted.


Even the worst series are going to be either super watchable or they're going to be rock fight endearing. I think there's going to be a lot to watch. There's going to be a lot to dig into. This opening weekend of the playoffs is my favorite sporting event of the year. So I'm looking forward to being in the muck with it.


Yeah, the worst series is probably going to be Celtic Chicago or Celtic versus no Jimmy Butler Miami. Yeah. Then if you go second worst series, I like all the series. Orlando Cleveland is probably going to get the most NBA TV time. Sorry, Cerruti. But I can't wait to watch that series, and I can't wait to see some of the moves Orlando makes. We'll see what they got. Rob Mahoney, great to see you.


Thanks, Bill.


We're taping this on Thursday afternoon Pacific Time. We had to pour one out for the Warriors. This might be it. Maybe it's not. Maybe some changes will happen this summer. Maybe they'll fight it off. But Logan Murdoch was there from The Ringer. He wrote a good piece about it. The atmosphere after they blow a play-in game, and we'll get into all the reasons why they blew the play-in game. But what was it like in there? What couldn't you in the column that you wanted to put in the column that you wanted to put in? And what was the general vibe? Was it sadness? Was it appreciation? Where were we?


It was very subdued. I haven't seen this type of locker room, probably Probably since 2016, when they lost in that way. I think the biggest thing, the first inkling that I got of the vibe was when Draymond Green came to the podium. And usually he's somebody that exudes excitement. And somebody like I think about last year when they lost to the Lakers and how while he knew that it was a pretty bad loss and it wasn't a great season, there was a little of optimism there. There wasn't that much optimism from Draymond going into this offseason. We had a lot more questions. I'm sure we're going to get into it with the Clay Thompson uncertainty with this roster in general. And I think just an overall sense of we're not as good as we think we are. I think that there was an air of, oh, we can maybe turn it around at some point. Me and you talked around the trade deadline where it was like, can the Warriors do something? Can they make a run? I think the Warriors had that in mind as well. And I think losing to the Kings in this type of fashion.


And that type of game, especially, I think watching the game, it felt like the Warriors were going to have a punch. I think even if you look at the second quarter when Draymond gets that still on Sabonis, you thought like, oh, they're going to impose their will in the second half. And that just didn't happen. So to lose to the Kings in that way, and the Kings weren't playing well going into that game, I think there was a level of, wow, we aren't who we think we are. And there's not this air of inevitable the ability that we always think we have going into a postseason series. I've been watching a lot of Tiger Woods lately. And back in the day, I was watching the HBO doc on Tiger Woods, at least recently, and they were talking about the Tiger effect. And the Warriors had that similar effect, where you're going into the third quarter and you're thinking that... You're going in the third quarter against the Warriors and similar to when a player goes in the back stress in the back night against Tiger when they think, oh, man, it's not country time. We're scared.


And the Warriors just didn't have that in this third quarter. And it felt like they laid down in a lot of ways. And it was really unusual to see. And then to see how subdued they were going into it. I talked to Steph at the end of the game, and he didn't even know how to deal with this time because he's never been out of the playoff just early in a calendar year. I think the last time he was out of the playoff was the pandemic. But if you go stretch even further back to that, he hasn't been out of the playoffs in April since 2012, and just not even knowing how to go about life in April without playing basketball. So these are uncharded waters for the Warriors, excuse me. And I don't know where they go from here, and I don't even think they even know how to go from here in this time, because they've been together for so long. Now they're thinking about, is Clay Thompson going to be back? That was unfathomable years ago, right? And now they're thinking about a new world maybe without him. And how are they going to even reach the mountaintop with the Western conference's greatest it's ever been with these young teams up and coming?


You got Jokić. It's weird times in the Bay Area right now.


Yeah. So recent NBA history, this only happened five times, right? Where you had the '04 Lakers, which was the end of Shaq and Kobe. But you could feel like something... They made all the way to the finals, but you could feel something was going to shift, and then Shaq got traded. So that ended abruptly. You go back to the MJ Bulls, that ends abruptly in '98. All of a sudden, they know it's the last dance. But It just ends and there's no slow progression out. Magic when he got HIV, all of a sudden that '91 Laker, and then they're done. The Celtics, the big three, when they got old, they lost this first-round series to the Knicks. It was it. It reminded a little of this Warriors thing where they lost to the Knicks at home in game five. It was a best of five. It was like, Oh, my God, not only is this really over, but holy shit, we just lost in round one. What happened? They were able to bring in some young dudes, and they were able to bring in Brian Shaw and D. Brown, and Reggie Lewis was ascending. They were able to fight it off, which your best case scenario for the Warriors would be if Podzempski, Jackson Davis, they can get more out of Kominga, maybe Maybe these young guys can pop up and then figure out where you can turn Chris Paul into.


I have another team to that. I think I saw this team in person. I think it was the 18th Spurt was another one, I think. Oh, that's a good one. I think that's more comparable to this team, where you're seeing it in real-time, this team descend, but you know all the guys. I remember being at Mono last game. I think that is more comparable to what we're about to see going forward.


Yeah, I like that. I went on I was on a Terminy and Eddie's show yesterday on Sirius, the NBA's channel. I pop on there, everyone, so I was in the car. I was like, I got to call in because I didn't do a podcast Tuesday night. And they asked me who I was more afraid of for the Celtics than the 188. They asked me, Are you more afraid of Miami or are you more afraid of Philly? And I was like, Honestly, I'm not afraid of either team because the Celtics are one of the five best regular season teams of all time. Philly, I don't know if Embiid is even going to play. And Miami, I'm going to bring this back to the Warriors, I just think Miami is at a different point of their whole arc. I think they peaked from '20 to '23. The lead got better, and they stayed the same. I think that's one of the things I think about when I look at the Warriors. It's like, I don't know if they necessarily got worse. They were a 46-win team that dealt with a whole bunch of shit, too. They were really a 50-win team that probably was minus five from where they were leading.


I think they went 53 if Jermon doesn't get to spend it.


I think they went How many stupid games did they lose? How many games did they give away down the stretch? I know I watched five of them. We were like, How the fuck did they lose that game? The point is, in 2022, what that team did Compared to this team where the league is just way better. You've seen some younger stars, Bossum and the Superstars, and the depth we have where the Lakers are like a seven-seed and Philly is a seven-seed. The league's deep. There's no margin for error anymore. I just don't know how you upgrade this from what it is now. There's really no move unless it's Wiggins' contract with Kominga attached, with all your pics, and you're trying to get Carl Anthony Towns because Minnesota just lost them round one. But even then, what does that do?


I don't think that it wins them the title. I don't think that that gets... Because I don't see Carl Anthony Towns going toe to toe with Jokets in a major way in that way. We talked about this offline, lane because they can't get Giannis. They don't have the assets to be able to get Giannis. And that's the only player that I think that that Lake of will tear down the whole roster, no matter who the core is behind a round Steph, to get a guy. I think that's the only guy out there right now.


It's such a key point because, and this goes back to the Moody pick, the Weisman pick, and the Kominga pick, where they basically went one and a half for three, I would say. Not getting anything from the Weisman spot, which is fair. It was the COVID year, I get it. It was like a Black Swan year. But they just don't have enough to trade for Yana. So if this Bucks thing goes sideways, if Dame time... I just showed him a Dame time bobblehead. If Dame time doesn't come through with Yana's hurt, Milwaukee just loses him round one. And Dame's like, I had a terrible time here. Please, can I get out of here? And Yannis is like, Well, I want to. And all of a sudden, it's a sweepstakes. The Warriors don't have the assets. And I don't think we would have said that Even two years ago. Wiggins is now a negative asset with his contract. Kamiga is heading into an extension. Their picks, who knows? I just don't think they have enough to really get somebody big.


And I think also another thing, too, man, was the return that they got for the full trade with Chris Paul fell flat in their face, too, right now, too. What are they going to do with Chris Paul at this point? He is who he is. He has the non-guaranteed salary. I don't think he's going to fetch much in the open market. Maybe if you get He can help if you have a third team or something, but they don't really have these assets. And then with the other guys, you mentioned Andrew Wiggins and Kominga, they're in a weird place with them as well, because if they want to upgrade, and I think that if they want to upgrade, they're going to probably have to move on from both of them. I honestly think that. And I do think I would not be surprised if one or both of them are traded this offseason.


Yeah, but from what you saw, you've been in the Bay the last two Would you want Wiggins under any circumstances for 26, 28, and 30 for the next three years? I wouldn't go near that.


Absolutely not. And I've told you this, even last summer, the time to really make one of the major moves was last summer. And I think that they waited and they buy to their time, and the front office didn't do anything. And this is where it leads you to a team. You know how fast the NBA moves in this era? You have to make moves consistently to help your team win. And that's something that the Warriors, for all of the success they've had, they've sometimes been a little too patient with guys and a little too patient with things and trying to see if they will work out. When other The games are flipping, there's an arms race all around the league, and the Warriors haven't done that. And I think that they're going to suffer for that because we saw the roster. You've seen them when you went to the games in LA. I've seen them. I don't think that there's any player out there, aside from Giannis Adetokunbo, that can make this into a contender. I just don't. Name the player. I don't see it right.


Yeah. And then you get a little false confidence from 2022, right?


When you go back and you look at that- To go back to 2022 real quick before we get to that, there was a sense during that year that this was probably the last chance we have at a title. And that's why they went so hard, right? They went on the 18-2 start. Then they coasted the rest of the way. But the difference between these past two seasons and that season, all those weird games, they won in '22. They beat the Utah Jazz when the Utah Jazz were good. They were able to compete with other teams. They beat Denver. Then they got the right side of the bracket and played Denver without Jamal Murray and then played a young Memphis team who just wasn't ready for that stage yet, beat them, and then played Dallas, who might have been one of the- Dallas was a poor...


No, Porzingas was hurt in that Yeah, one of the weaker Western Conference finals teams that we've had in recent memory.


And then they played the Celtics at the perfect time in their rise because they wouldn't beat this year's version of the Celtics. And they beat that young version of the Celtics team. And you got a sense of relief because they knew what was coming down the pike in these last two years. And that '22 season, they stole one, and they knew that they stole one at that time.


Yeah. Yeah. Murray is the big injury. Memphis not quite ready. Dallas, no Porzengus. Listen to this Dallas lineup that they played in the Western Finals. Luca, who's '22. Jalen Brunson, who wasn't Jalen Brunson yet, but was For what that team was great. Spencer Dinwiddie, Finnie Smith, Reggie Bullock, Cleba, Bertons was the seventh man, Trey Burke, and Frank Mitalika, however you say his name, with Dwight Powell. The league's just way better now. There's no way you're getting in the Western Finals with that roster. It's impossible. So a lot of things went right for them. You're from the Bay. Is there a little like they left Oakland, a little bit of bad juju that came with that. You got to start thinking about that, right?


I don't think that.


Karma Bill is looking at the bad juju from that.


No, I don't think so. I'm going to just use your wide platform to say that that bad juju is going to the Oakland A's. Okay, good. It's going up to Sacramento. That's where that is. It's going to sink them forever. It's going to sink them. I think it's by and large, especially because growing up, the Warriors always supported themselves as the Bay Area's team, not necessarily Oakland's team. I think that's working to their advantage as they go to San Francisco. I don't think there's any... And plus, they keep their facility in Oakland. With the women's basketball team, they're going to use that facility a lot. They still have a footprint in Oakland. It's not that big of a deal as opposed to other teams. So I'll give them a big get a pass.


Karma Bill didn't love it. You know what else he didn't love from that '22 title? It convinced them, Hey, Andrew Wiggens. This came true.


Andrew Wiggens was the second best player on the team. Was he the second best player in the lead for a week somehow? I don't know how the hell that happened. No.


I don't know how the hell that happened. Logan, he was the second best player in that series, including all the Celtics. That was the problem. But then that sucks you into, Oh, yeah, Wiggins, we got to step in on this. Then the other thing was it sucked them into the pool extension, which they just did not have to do. They could have poked that a little bit, let it go, let it go during the season. Let's make sure. Let's make sure this mix fits. And instead, they did it too early.


That was the big Joe Laker play, though. That was a Joe Laker play. Oh, I know. And you never underestimate... For listening to the audience, you never underestimate Joe Laker's impulses, right? And that might end up happening with the Kominga extension this summer, right? Because there is a disconnect with from the coaching staff on to the front office, because I really do feel like over this year, you saw the whole package of what Kominga is, right? A really, really talented guy, but sometimes has that edge that might go too far to where he'll say something publicly that'll just erode trust with the front office. But he still has Joe Lakem's love, and that might take him only so far. But it's going to be interesting to see how they negotiate with him this summer, because you saw the King's game. He's a really interesting prospect. But is he the number two player on a championship team, which is what they need him to be? Absolutely not.


Or is he the best player on a 30 and 52 team, which might be his second best player?


I don't even know if he's that, Bill. I mean, even watching him play, I don't even know if he's the best player. He might be the best player on a 21 team at this point in his career, or 21 team at this point in his career. At least that's what some people in that organization We'll see what wins out. But I think the comments he made midseason really made an impression on that coaching staff. And that's why on the face value, it seems like, oh, yeah, they'll just sign Kaminga and trade away Wiggins. Well, in Wiggins, they see a guy that they can trust in big moments, which is what has pissed Kaminga off, both publicly and privately. But they do that because they know that if Wiggins doesn't get what he wants, he's not going to lash out in the media in the way that Kaminga did. And with Kaminga, they see a high ceiling, but sometimes might not do the little things, might not box out when he needs to, or might not go to the cup or be as aggressive as they need him to be. So you have that angle from the coaching staff.


Also, you have the Kaminga angle, who, and rightfully so, he feels pissed because he plays really well when Wiggins is out of the lineup, helps them get them into the playoffs at 23, and then he gets his minutes last. So there's a lot of egos and a lot of different things that are going at play. And this is just the Kaminga angle of it. I know we're going to talk about the play angle of it, but I would not be surprised if these negotiation Jason's are a little contentious, because there's a lot of different things.


They have to sit Kominga down and be like, Look, man, Draymon is responsible for all the drama here. You can also bring drama. We already have I made a blame pie. Draymon is at least 60% for this season for me because just fundamentally, this was a team that should not have been in the play-in game. They had too much talent, and they had one of the best 6-7 players in the league who was having a really good year, I think, until he started to get… You could just see him wearing down in the last month because they have no other creators. Draymond put them in such a hole in the first half of the season with all the different stuff and the suspension, that that's the difference between 46 wins and 50 wins right there.


The worst part about it, though, Bill, is that this is one of the best Draymond seasons in recent memory, right? Even on the floor in terms of stats, he shot the ball really well, played really good defense, really connected all the lineup. So when he went out of the lineup, they were really lost. We talked about that in our last podcast, where the offense was lost. Curry, if you look at his numbers, were pretty abysmal during that stretch when Draymond was out. Like I said, if Draymond is whole and doesn't cause bodily harm to the opponent, I think that there's an argument that they could be a four or 5 seat. They could be where Dallas is right now.


And the tension that he brings week to week, I think, where it's just hard, man. This is your job, and you just want to worry about your job and your skills and being ready for every game. And meanwhile, Melrose Place is going over on the side here week after week. And then it's like, Oh, no, he gets it. He's fine. It's like, oh, my podcast is back. And it's just the ongoing drama on on top of the fact that you don't feel great about maybe where the team is.


I mean, you saw that in the Orlando game with Curry, right? Where Draymond gets ejected in a game that they have to have and how frustrated he was, right? And it's a bigger frustration because I'm regurgitating a lot of what we said in the last thing, but when all these guys are vouching for you and you still are crossing the line, right? Like Joe Lake of another Impulse decision to resign Draymond to that extension saying, Hey, we need you. We're going to give you this player option. We're going to give you all these things. We need you to mentor the young guys. And then a few months later, he gets suspended indefinitely, right? Those are the things that they continue to have to deal with. And they've made this bed. Draymond is going to be there. He is going to always be the last one standing. If you look at the contracts right now, he is the one that the Warriors have committed to the longest. And that's with Steph Curry on the roster right now. You have this four-year extension with the player option, and then you have two years of Curry. So it's It's an interesting time right now.


I wonder if he's a change of scenery trade, right? Even New Orleans with Brandon Ingram just gets benched in that first playing game, right? And it does seem like that might be a name that's available, right?


Who would you want Draymon? If you had a Fuck You Draymon trades team, who would you want to Draymon to be on?


I think you have to be careful with that, though, because if you send him to a team he doesn't want to be in, the team that he doesn't want to be that's getting him, they're like, Oh, my God. Let's say, Oh, we'll send him to Detroit. He could be a mentor for the young guys. He's from Michigan. And then he's like, No, I didn't really want to go to Detroit, actually. I want to win another title. I didn't want to get traded. And then he just sabotages the situation for a year. I thought New Orleans would be an interesting spot for him because they already have so much offense and so much scoring and a specific type of identity, and I feel like he could fit in different stuff.


Pick a role with him and McCollum into a loud threat to Zion That was really fun. That would be really fun to watch.


To me, everybody's like, Well, Draymon will be back. We'll see about Clay. I would not put Draymon coming back in pain. I think everybody in this roster is available in some form.


I will say this, though. Do not underestimate the... I don't know how to word this the right way, but don't underestimate what Draymon in the relationship Draymon does have behind the scenes with the Warriors. There's a reason why. He's pretty shrewd in that way. There's a reason why he's got in the extensions that There's a reason why he's aligned himself. One thing that Draymon does is align himself with the right people to get what he wants. What did he do with his whole time with the Warriors? He's aligned himself with Steph Curry. Oh, man, me and Steph and Draymon picking role is unstoppable. You see this time and time again that's got him, stayed him with his career. What has he done off the floor? Oh, I'm aligned with LeBron James. I'm getting all these opportunities in that way, right? Don't underestimate that element of Draymond. And that's why I believe he's going to be back, just because he is able to ingratiate himself with the right people. He does piss a lot of people off, but the right people always tend to vouch for him at the right time.


It's funny. Steph frustrates me because he doesn't get involved enough. Lebron frustrates me as a leader because every year near the trade deadline, all of a sudden, half the teammates are in trade rumors for six weeks. And then you never hear say, Hey, man, we're not trading Austin Reeves. I love playing with that guy. He just, I don't know, do an emoji. Steph's the opposite. Steph, his attitude forever, at least everything I've heard behind the scenes, plus what he's done publicly, is just like, Hey, man, I'm just here to play basketball. But I look at what with the situation he was in this year, where by the end of the year, I've never seen that dude that tired. They had nobody who could create a shot on that team other than him. It just wore Then you get in a playing situation where the Kings, I don't think are a very good team, but the thing you don't want to happen when you're playing the Kings is for Keegan Murray to play well, because when Keegan Murray plays well, all of a sudden, they have three guys going. Now you have on the flip side of that, Clay Having the 0 for 10.


It's just the worst possible time. I texted you. I thought that if Orlando doesn't get one of their scoring targets this summer, because I think they're going to do the VanVleet deal. They'll try to get Malik Mank. They'll go short term big money for a score to add to the group they have because they have dudes on rookie contracts. But I could see Clay, could he get a two for 40 or two for 45 from somebody who just has the cap space to burn. It's like, fuck it. He shot 39% for three last year. I think that's a scenario. But to me, the Grayson-Allen contract is more of a reflection of what the market is for him. It's probably like Grayson got four for 70, so Clay is probably three for 50. And you said he turned down two for 48 before the year, right? Yeah. So he's probably, unless it's a team like Orlando that struck out, it's like, Fuck it. I think it's more likely that he leaves than you do, because I could see him leaving for two years and then coming back to finish his career. Other people are like, No way.


He'll take whatever to stay.


So I've been thinking on this, even since we talked yesterday. We all know how the negotiation is going to go. The warriors are going to try to pull at his heart string, talk to him about how much they love them and how this is the best place for them. Also, the staff is going to say, probably pull the card of, well, if you go somewhere else, they're not going to give you the offensive freedom that you will get here, which is if you go to Orlando or whatever team that throws them a bag, they're going to put your ass in the corner and you're going to shoot three. You're not going to be able to get everything that you would want here. And another thing, I mean, I see this all the time just being in the Bay Area. Whenever Klay has an 0 for 10, 0 for whatever these types of games, the fan base, by and large, it's a shrug. It's like, okay, I watch the The fan base's reaction to his last game, what could be his last game of his career in Golden State. And in a game where he didn't make a shot, everyone was more concerned about, Oh, could he leave us?


Could he leave? Oh, my goodness, what's a life without Klay? He's love to do. He's He's not going to have that type of relationship with whatever fan base, the next fan base. He's not going to have that. Say he goes to... I'm just putting the name on there. They don't have the cash space. But say if he goes to Dallas or someplace, where he has those clunkers where he goes over 10 twice a month. Is that fan base going to turn on him? Probably. If you play, I don't know, whatever. But I think if he goes to another team, the point I'm making is he's not going to get the love that he's going to get in the Bay Area through his highs and lows. That's what they're going to pull.


Can I give you a scenario?


What's that?


What if he's at that 2012, Real in Miami point of his career? Rael, I remember, he took less. He went to Miami. He wasn't one of the three best players in the team. He was a luxury item. If he had it on certain nights, that team was unbeatable. There were other nights where he didn't have it. You wanted him out there in crunch time, crunch because he knew where to go and what to do. You mentioned a team like Dallas. Maybe it is a team like Dallas. Maybe it's a team that has three stars. Maybe it's a team like Denver. Maybe it's a place where he could be the Rael in 2012 luxury. I just don't think he's a 17, $18 million player anymore because I don't think he's consistent enough. He's been in the league a long time, and he's had major injuries. I don't see it.


Well, when I made the argument for Dallas, that's one scenario, but he's not going to get The Ray Allen situation doesn't happen with a team like Orlando. They're too young. They're not ready. He would literally just be a money grab at that point.


But it could be maybe a Philly. We have so many contenders now. He'd have his pick. He could be like a Minnesota. I don't know if you'd want to go to some of those cities, but you.


That lake is cold, man. That lake will be frozen. He can't put his boat in Minnesota. It could be frozen, right? But no, I think I do- Sacramento just trying to swoop in steal a famous word.


I could see that one.


I could see Sacramento. I could see that one. I could definitely see that. It's going to be interesting because for most of the season, Clay felt disrespected by the offer that he got last year. And he played like a guy that was trying that was in a contract here that didn't know what his skill level was and was trying to shoot his way back into a deal and prove to the Warriors that he was worth more than that. That's how he played. He didn't play like a... And he He played more within himself down the stretch of the season. But there were so many talks that Steve had to have with him about just finding a role in this team, just figuring out a role, and that you're not the guy you once were, but that's okay. And I feel like that he's not going to have that... It's not going to play out the way he thinks it is if he goes to another team. I don't believe that. And if he does it, it would be for a cash grab. And I don't know if he would Bill is sending a bobblehead. What is that bobblehead right there?


Who's this?


Doc's nodding at you and Doc saying, You know what? I'm holding the Doc bobblehead right now. Everybody gets old. Doc was on this podcast, and he was saying when they had that fight against Minnesota or almost fight, and Doc said, This is a really interesting moment in the season because Golden State, to me, is afraid of Minnesota. Yeah. The fact that they reacted like they did means they feel like Minnesota is on their corner. And you do that when you feel like you're losing your corner. And Doc was right. Doc snipped it out. Yeah.


One last thing on Clay. One of his bets when he came into the league was Andre Aguadala. And one of Andre Aguadala's mottos is take every bit of cash that these people are going to give you because you will never get it again. And I was thinking about that a lot when we texted yesterday, after we texted. And it's going to be curious if he takes the Andre Guedala capitalist advice, or if he gets pulled at the heartstrings advice about staying with the Bayer, because this dude is beloved. I've seen just anecdotal Notably, just from people around, people that I've known for years, Clay Thompson is probably the only guy in the Bay Area that can go in the middle of East Oakland at midnight or any time of night and also go to Tiburon and Sausalito. He's beloved here, and he's not going to get that where he wants to. And this is a guy that loves being loved. And so we'll see if he takes the bag or if he takes the love for it. I still haven't decided what he's going to take, and I don't even know if he knows that.


That was well said. I'll add this. It doesn't really matter because he's already a Hall of Famer and he already won four titles, and he's already a Splash Brother, and he's iconic. Sports careers usually don't end that great. There's a couple of years at the end you don't feel awesome about, but that's how it goes.


And the second thing to add to that point, Joe Laker loves to win. A distant second to that is a good photo op. And in two years, if Steph decides to retire in two years, Joe Laker would much rather him see Steph, Clay, and Dre in that photo op than just Steph, Curry, and Dre in that. So that might be what makes him pony up at the end of the day, because Joe Laker, we've seen this time and time again, talks tough about not paying money, and it ends up making Steve Kerr the highest paid coach of all time, or ends up blowing a bag on Andrew Wiggins and Jordan pool the week before the season when everybody told him not to do it. So we'll see what happens. It's going to be a wild summer.


Well, going back to 2019, they're the runaway favorite to win. Durant goes down, Durant comes back, Durant goes down, Clay goes down, lose the finals. They go 15 and 50. Next year, they lose Two play-in games in a row. The next year, they win the finals. The next year, they lose in round two. And this year, they lose the play-in. It is the weirdest six-year stretch in the history of the week. I would put it against absolutely anything. It makes no sense. People are going to study it 75 years from now and be like, Wait, what happened? Logan Murdoch, he wrote about it for the Ringer. Check it out. Check out Logan on the Real On the Ringer NBA show, which we're going to be doing some YouTube stuff. So keep an eye on that, too. Good to see you, my friend.


Good to see you, man. Talk to you soon.


All right, that's it for part one of the podcast, our big playoff extravaganza. Thanks to Rob Mahony and Logan Murdock. Thanks to Kyle Creighton and Steve Cerruti for producing as well. You can watch some clips and videos from this podcast on youtube. Com/bills. Com/bills. Bill Simmons. I will see you on part two, which is going up pretty shortly after part one goes up. So stay tuned for part two, Chris Ryan, Sean Fennesey, Kevin Wilds in part two. See you there.


On the wayside, I don't have a few years with them.


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