NBA Retweet Mailbag



The idea behind this article is to give a chance for the Twitter followers of @RTNBA an opportunity to have their questions answered. Many columns, podcasts, and television shows will commonly feature a chance for fans to email or tweet into the show with their questions about that said subject.

Those who tweet an NBA related question using the hashtag #RTNBAMailbag will have the opportunity of being featured in articles similar to this one. The more creative the question the greater your opportunity of being selected is.

Please keep in mind that all questions asked are answered with an opinion angled from the author.

Okay, I see we’re still asking this question. I mean, uhm, I assumed we were done having this conversation. It’s obviously Stephen Curry, and nobody on planet Earth is even close to touching this guy in an educated basketball conversation right now. It’s over — in my best Kenny Smith voice — let’s go home, let’s go home ladies and gentlemen, let’s go home!!!

I was really, really curious how long it would take somebody to ask me about about the Clippers and their playoff chances. Answer? 7 minutes. 7 whole, looooong minutes.

You see, the question about the Clippers is what do they do when Blake Griffin comes back?

You could make the argument that Blake Griffin is the best player on the team and you’d probably be right. However, with Griffin dressed this season they’re a mediocre 17-13. On the flip side, Chris Paul has been in the MVP conversation and would have a really nice argument for a top 3 finish — literally — any other season. Without Blake Griffin this year the Clippers record is a surprising 23-8.

The argument for Blake Griffin is that there is an absolute 100% chance they aren’t making it to the Western Conference Finals without him. He’s definitely coming back, but I’m not sure how effective he’ll be compared to when he left. We’re talking about a man missing half of the season with a surgically repaired shooting hand. You can’t just throw him into a playoff series and hope for the best after missing half of the season.

That being said, Blake Griffin was maybe the third or fourth best player — LeBron, Curry, Harden — in the playoffs last season. If he’s fully healthy and ready to go, you absolutely have a chance to make the Western Conference Finals (depending on final seeding).

The argument against Griffin is that when he returns you’re taking the ball out of the hands of Chris Paul — who by the way, officially found the secret to wind his clock back. Paul has carried this team while Griffin has been missing because of his ability to dominate a basketball game as a maestro on one end while giving opposing point guards the treatment of an annoying mosquito. Without Blake Griffin, JJ Redick has looked All-Star worthy, DeAndre Jordan is actually doing things on offense, and some bench guys are receiving very important playing time that is growing trust throughout Doc’s mind.

Hot take — (With or without Blake Griffin) If I had to choose right now I’d say the Clippers don’t have a shot in hell at making the Western Conference Finals because as a four seed they’d have to beat Golden State in round two.

Even hotter take — Clippers blow it up this offseason since they’re already in year FIVE of this Chris Paul/Blake Griffin experiment.

I saw a really funny tweet this week (can’t remember who it was from, sorry) and it essentially said that they weren’t sure which was funnier, the Golden State Warriors potentially not getting to 73 wins because they lost to the Lakers, or the *Lakers losing their draft pick* because they beat the Warriors who are on pace for the most wins in the history of the NBA.

*For those who don’t know, the Los Angeles Lakers lose their pick to the Philadelphia 76ers if they aren’t first or second in the NBA Draft Lottery.*

So, it’s pretty simple for Los Angeles. If you win the lottery, you draft Ben Simmons. If you own the second pick in the draft you select Brandon Ingram. After that, it literally doesn’t matter for Los Angeles. Those are your only two selections. In that order.

The youngest player in the NBA is a sharpshooting gym rat that believes he has something to prove after being picked 13th overall — as most NBA players do if they slipped further than they believed they should have.

Devin Booker is arguably the steal of the 2015 NBA Draft. After being selected 13th overall, Booker has looked really impressive so far in his young NBA career. Fans really began to take notice of how special he was during the All-Star break at the Rising Stars game where he poured out 23 points.

Coming into the season Booker was looked at as a question mark — below average athleticism, slow, streaky, not a finisher — but has really turned out to look like a future star. Booker has already proven that he’s capable of hoisting threes with the best of them, despite the chip on his shooting hand’s shoulder.

With every game that he plays I’m beginning to like Booker more and more. He recently showed off his versatility by scoring 34 points and following it up with 27 points and 9 assists in his next game.

I’m not a fan of “re-drafts” — especially with only months of game evidence — because a draft is determined by the specific holes a team needs to fill. Doing a re-draft isn’t fair to players, however, I’ll rank my current rookies to give perspective of how good I think Devin Booker is.

Obviously this list isn’t set and stone and has been recalibrating all season. I believe some of the players have an opportunity to grow into one of the top three players on this list that aren’t currently there.

1. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves

T2. Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks
T2. D’Angelo Russell, Los Angeles Lakers

3. Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers
4. Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
5. Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia 76ers

5. Emmanuel Mudiay, Denver Nuggets
6. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
7. Mario Hezonja, Orlando Magic
8. Justise Winslow, Miami Heat
9. Cameron Payne, Oklahoma City Thunder
10. Trey Lyles, Utah Jazz

Door #1 — Lance Stephenson is far and away the most entertaining isolation player in the NBA for all of the wrong reasons. He might be the rawest scorer in the NBA, however very rarely does anything good come out of a Lance Stephenson isolation. It’s hilarious to watch when Lance goes into Brooklyn Born Ready mode and starts hopping in and out of his crossover. As soon as his chest lowers to the ground he’s like a private team basketball destroying jet that is ready for take off to mayhem.

Just tonight he was in a close game against the Celtics and literally shot three ridiculous shots in a row that were started with playground ball handling moves. The result? It sparked a Celtics run that put the Grizzlies in a deep hole.

Door #2 — Many would say Steph Curry, but I don’t think he’s the best option in the NBA for an isolation. He’s got incredible one-on-one skills and a silly handle obviously, but I still don’t think that he’s the isolation king of the NBA. If you have ONE possession to get a basket or free throws with a true isolation — no pick and rolls, no screens, no help — I would choose Kevin Durant, LeBron James, or James Harden before Steph Curry. In that order.

What do yo mean by put it together? Put what together? Once you give yourself the nickname “Swaggy P” there simply is no coming back.

The most important thing to do when you’re a team in Phoenix’s position is determine as soon as you can if you’re going to tank, make a playoff push, or do the worst thing possible and half-ass the whole season.

After a couple months, Phoenix did a complete nose dive into the tankathon for Ben Simmons, and are currently sitting with the — projected — third pick. However, they have had three wins in the last week and it makes you wonder if they’re going to mess this up.

In my opinion, it is absolutely worth it to lose as many games as you possibly can to give yourself the opportunity to grab either Simmons or Brandon Ingram in the draft. Then next season, you do the same thing for one more chance at a potential superstar. You’d essentially delay the rebuilding process for an extra one-two years in order to have a chance at a phenomenal package of players for 10 plus seasons. The Suns have already messed up what they had going for them a few seasons back, so what’s one, or two more? Besides, there aren’t any big splash free agents that are going to sign in Phoenix.

A silver lining if there was one this season is that it’s allowing the young Suns — Booker, Len, Warren, Knight — to hoard the minutes and grow together while Eric Bledsoe is rehabbing. Each player could be a significant piece in Phoenix’s future and if the draft works out the way they’re hoping, this season will be extremely beneficial.

I mean, it depends how valuable you think being the third worst team in the Eastern Conference is.

Somewhere on the top balcony of a remarkable South Beach Penthouse sits Pat Riley overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, puffing on a cigar with an exaggerated price. He’s gazing off into the distance thinking about the season.

But he’s not gazing off into the distance thinking about this season, he’s thinking about next summer. And by next summer I’m referring to his season.

Pat Riley is a mastermind at manipulating people in a way that gives him what he wants. If Kevin Durant does in fact leave Oklahoma City, it will in fact be for Miami — as long as Pat Riley can get him in a room to talk — “I just want to talk, Kevin. I just want to talk about basketball with you.”



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