The NBA Playoffs have been a pretty big disappointment thus far. No hiding it or sugar coating it, it’s been pretty bad. Void of epic back-and-forth series, and filled with plenty of this:
So, as a result, Matt and Mikey took the time to break down a few things that have happened thus far in the NBA Playoffs. The categories are
- Series that Disappointed the Most
- Player that Disappointed
- Biggest Surprise
- What You are Looking Forward to Most in Round 2
Without Further ado:
Series That Disappointed the Most
Matt: Dallas/OKC: The NBA had so much to benefit from the Dallas/OKC series. If Dallas won, or at least took it to 7, then the dominoes would start to fall. Durant rumors would coincide perfectly with the emergence of this season’s overachievers (Boston, Portland). Picture this scenario: Dallas upsets OKC and that same night Portland beats LA and Boston wins a game 7 in Atlanta. There are a few “what ifs” in that scenario but it actually looked plausible for a moment. Overnight, the Cs and Jailblazers become legitimate threats to steal KD in free agency. Instead, Westbrook had to do Westbrook things and absolutely smoke Carlisle and the boys. I thought this series was going to be competitive, it had upset written all over it. A genius coach helps an aging star make one final stand against the new kids on the block. It sounds too good to be true. And it was.
Mikey: Portland/LAC: I know it’s a little weird to say that one of the only series currently knotted at 2-2 has been the biggest disappointment, but this one certainly has IMO. Damian Lillard, whom I have lauded before, has disappointed me in the sense that he hasn’t taken a strangle-hold on the series thus far. I expected a playoff version of Dame and McCollum to be world beaters and announce their presence by demanding we watch them via 30+ point shooting outbursts. That just has not been the case. Couple THAT with a less-than-100% Blake Griffin (who can barely get off the ground and is now injured), Chris Paul announcing he will miss the remainder of the playoffs with a broken hand, and Deandre Jordan’s inadequacy from the line… and you have a horrible series. Oh, and Austin Rivers will be the point guard going forward. Blazers in 6, and good riddance to the Clippers as we know them.
Player that Disappointed:
Mikey: Demar Derozan: I mean, come on man.
|2015-16 Regular Season||45%||34%||85%||4.5||4||0.3||2.2||23.5|
What these stats show me is that Demar Derozan of the Toronto Raptors is not a playoff guy. That’s going to cost him SO much money if this does not turn around QUICK. The biggest issue, other than Paul George being on him every night, is his inability to attack the basket and get to the free throw line. Couple that with a cold streak from outside (see 0% from 3 this postseason) and you have a recipe for disaster. I like Derozan, I don’t like the fact he is playing himself out of money. He needs to pick it up, get Toronto to the next round, and get to the damn basket in the process.
Matt: Steve Kerr. Do former players count here? Why not. Steph Curry is not injury prone however, he has injury history. When he got hurt in game 1 of this series, I wasn’t really concerned. I thought, “Hey, the Dubs will just rest him until the semis, he’ll come back fresh and ready to go.” But then he played. And he got hurt, again. Bad. Steve Kerr and the Warriors management have all the responsibility for this one. Golden State would have beaten this excuse for a playoff team with or without Curry. No one actually gave Houston a chance even when Curry went down in the opener. Therefore, there was no reason to play Curry. The whole “rhythm” theory…simply stupid. I’m not a gambling man but I would be willing to bet that the best shooter in league history would find a way to get his rhythm back after he sat a handful of games. Steve Kerr threw away his title hopes because he wanted to beat the Rockets in 5 instead of 6. Let that sink in.
Matt: Brad Stevens Coaching: The coaching during the game 4 Cs/Hawks series. Not too many coaches would think to put the 6’4” Marcus Smart on 6’8” Paul Millsap. But Brad Stevens did and it won the Celtics game 4. Smart shut down Millsap in the 4th and OT, which essentially stymied the entire Atlanta offense. Stevens also had the gall to put Jerekbo in the starting lineup and it has paid off immensely. The two final plays in regulation of game 4 were representative of the way this series has shifted. Stevens drew up a simple, yet effective Smart/Thomas pick and roll, defying conventional pick and roll personnel protocol. Then Budenholzer drew up a play that saw Korver run off an off the ball P&R. The first option failed and it looked as though Budenholzer forgot to implement a second option. Stevens has made adjustments reminiscent of Pop, Carlisle and Rivers. I knew he was good, but this good? Wow. Game 5 will be one for the ages.
Mikey: Charlotte Hornets: I was praying to the many faced God that the Celtics wound up with Charlotte instead of Atlanta in the first round as a fan of Boston myself. I thought that Charlotte, filled with the best college basketball players Jordan could find, was a cake walk. I was really really really wrong about this team. They have something pretty special down in Charlotte. The energy in the building, the electricity that Kemba Walker plays with, and the surprising emergence of Frank Kaminsky have the buzz really…. buzzing. If they get past Miami, which is looking like a possibility, they have a chance at defeating whomever emerges from the Indiana/Toronto matchup. I like the East for its parity this year.
What am I looking forward to most in Round 2:
Matt: Kevin Durant: KD has a little nastiness in his game. He is one of the few players in the league who doesn’t really care if he is best friends with you. I like that, too. So for this series, I took an online class under Dr. Bill Simmons in Body Language 104. If KD is the competitive MVP we know him to be, then OKC management can take a breath. It means he is dedicated to the club and focused solely on winning a championship for this season. Yet, if he is even remotely friendly/respectful to Kawhi, then it’s time to hit the panic button. The Spurs are my sleeper pick for KD this summer. He has college roots in Texas and if you want to win a title, what better place to go? A competitive KD is one who is dedicated to OKC. At least for another year. Still, watch for how KD responds to The Claw and his defensive prowess. If this series plays in favor of the Spurs (which I think it will), then my eyes will be even more glued to KD. During game 7, when it is clear that the Spurs will take the series, Russ will be devastated. KD on the other hand, may walk off with a demeanor that does not quite match his superstar teammates. If that is the case, then get ready for a wild NBA offseason.
Mikey: Steph Curry: Okay, so I am not a Steph Curry fan. I just don’t like him. I don’t know what it is, if you ask me to explain it I will ask you why you don’t like carrots or whatever weird shit you don’t like personally. I thought Patrick Beverly would do some shady shit and Steph would end up injured, and it half happened that way. Now, the biggest storyline in professional sports for the next 2 weeks that is not about deflated footballs will be the knee of Steph Curry and when he can return to action. I think they can win a difficult series with Portland (or the corpse of LAC) but they need him back for whoever comes out of that unbelievable OKC/Spurs series that should be one for the ages. In 2 weeks time we will see Steph again according to team doctors and all initial reports. But, the most intriguing thing to watch moving forward through these playoffs is whether or not we will actually see the Steph we saw in the regular season again.
by Mikey and MattFOLLOW THE OPEN FIELD