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What’s popping on Air-Ball


Short Term: Golden State Warriors 

Next string of games: at ORL, at CHA, at NYK, at IND, CHA

The Golden State Warriors this season remind me of that NFL team every year with a great defence and sweet runningback who make the playoffs. You know they have a hard ceiling but the elite ability of their defence and runningback is too good for them to not find success in the regular season. Similarly, Stephen Curry is having his best offensive season since he was unanimous and the Warrior’s defence believe it or not is fifth in basketball. A big reason for this is especially as of late the strong play of their role players. Guys like Juan Toscano-Anderson, Kent Bazemore and Mychal Mulder are making a real impact on that end. Then on top of that, Andrew Wiggins is having by far his best season everywhere but in particular on defence and Draymond Green is playing like 95% of his old self. I’m not saying the Warriors are a conference finals contender. What I’m saying is with Curry and this band of surprising and underrated grit around him, they’re primed to make the playoffs as about the six or seven seed which is much better than a lot of people had them coming into the season.

Long Term: Brooklyn Nets

Listen, we can scream about how this team doesn’t have enough defence until we’re blue in the face but what if it doesn’t need to matter? Philly is coming back to earth, Milwaukee looks discombobulated and thin, speaking of thin that should be Boston’s basketball team’s new name and then who are we down to? Miami who needs to worry about making the playoffs? Indiana who can’t get over .500? As constructed right now, Brooklyn is winning the Eastern conference. I don’t know if they have enough to beat the Lakers or whoever wins the West but in terms of the East there is no one who can score with them. James Harden is playing the most beautiful basketball of his career with this spacing, Kyrie Irving looks like it’s 2017 and Kevin Durant is Kevin F’ing Durant. Truly their biggest problem is getting all three on the court together so they can build enough chemistry to get out of the East. This team reminds me of the big three Celtics where all year they looked good but kind of missing something then they came back the next year way better (even though they won it all in 08 and not 09). I think this Brooklyn team like that Celtics team just has too much talent for the rest of their conference contemporaries even if they’re missing a little bit right now. They’ve already added a couple buy out guys in Andre Roberson and Iman Shumpert and I still think they have some moves left either by trade or more buyout. Regardless, this is the best team in the East and we’re kidding ourselves with the idea anyone else is the favourite to win the conference. 


Short Term: Houston Rockets

Next string of games: vs DAL, vs IND, vs CHI, at CLE, at TOR

The Houston Rockets cannot score. Funny what happens when you trade a generational scorer isn’t it? Obviously, this isn’t the Rocket’s fault but the reality is they’re absolutely abysmal right now without Christian Wood. In the post-Harden games Wood played in before going down with an injury, their offensive rating was 108.7. Since then though, it’s 103.1 and their defence has even fallen off to a defensive rating of 118.0 in those games. Rookie head coach Stephen Silas is trying to push the pace with John Wall and others because he knows they can’t score in the half-court which is why they’re fourth in pace. Without Wood and Victor Oladpio as well now too, there’s only so much you can run before someone forces you to play in the half-court. Until Wood comes back I wouldn’t go near this team with my money and even when he does come back I’d give it a few games. This team isn’t exactly loaded with talent and losing streaks like these are known to capsize NBA teams for good when they happen. 

Long Term: Boston Celtics

Now I’m not saying the Boston Celtics aren’t good or they won’t make the playoffs. What I’m selling them on is being anything more than a first-round loser or maybe if they’re lucky second-round participant award recipient as they get slapped by one of Philadelphia, Brooklyn or even Milwaukee. I mean their own GM said it, this team isn’t good enough. Outside of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, they have a whole lot of nothing. Kemba Walker has sucked, Tristan Thompson has been meh, Daniel Theis is Daniel Theis and even Marcus Smart has been hurt. They’re relying on rookies like Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard who have shown flashes but surely aren’t ready for the roles they’re in. Then without Gordon Hayward at forward, Semi Ojeleye and Grant Williams feel way overcast in their current roles. This team is at minimum two rotational additions from being what we thought they’d be and even then it depends on who they add. As presently constructed they’re a mediocre playoff team and I’m here to tell you, if you have a hidden fortune resting on this team winning the East, let alone the title, you’re in major trouble. 


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