Editor’s note: Kyle Mangelson is a sophomore at St. Helena High School and a diehard basketball fan. His love for the NBA sparked an idea to create an Instagram account, @the.hoops.wire, which features original content and has gained more than 23,000 followers. “The Hoops Wire” will feature his commentary on the Warriors and the NBA, as a whole, as the season takes shape in the new year.
NBA Fans woke up to ‘Breaking News’ alerts on Monday expressing that New Orleans Pelicans’ superstar Anthony Davis does not plan on signing a contract extension next season and has requested a trade.
This came as a huge surprise in the moment, but if we step back and look at the big picture, it was bound to happen. New Orleans has not done a good job acquiring all-star pieces to play around Davis. In my eyes, there is nothing worse than wasting a star player’s prime on a non-contending team. It becomes ten times worse when the front office is putting in little to no effort to attract other star payers.
Let’s take a look at some possible destinations for Davis. The most favorable team Davis might end up with is the Los Angeles Lakers. The Pelicans’ front office announced that in order to have serious trade discussions, the Lakers must begin their offers with Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac and a first-round pick. This offer alone works well for both sides. Davis would pair up with LeBron James in LA, making them a serious threat to Golden State. New Orleans would get three young studs in Lonzo, Kuzma, and Zubac. They would become key pieces to the Pelicans’ rebuilding process. The first-round pick won’t have a ton of value if the Lakers make a deep playoff run, although we have seen many stars taken in the late first round in NBA History, like Dennis Rodman and Tony Parker.
Surprisingly, the Warriors have great pieces to offer the Pelicans for Davis. A package including Draymond Green, Jordan Bell and Kevon Looney could be a good starting point. While these would subtract from the Warriors already weak bench, Draymond’s scrappy, defensive playstyle and Bell’s potential could look extremely attractive to what could be a rebuilding Pelicans team.
Davis will likely be traded within the next week or so as the trade deadline is Feb, 7. Any trades after that will not be allowed by the NBA until the summer.
Speaking of the Warriors, DeMarcus Cousins finally made his long-awaited return. He logged 15 points, six rebounds, three assistsm a block and a steal in only 14 minutes against the Clippers two weeks ago. Expect the Warriors to slowly increase his minutes game-by-game to get his legs under him.
I don’t expect Boogie to get back to his normal minute count for around a month to a month and a half. Cousins has shown that he can bring many aspects to the game we haven’t seen on the Warriors’ roster in years. Numerous offensive rebounds resulting in second-chance points, efficient pick-and-rolls and a consistent 3-point shooting center are all luxuries the Warriors have lacked recently.
I hope to see a continuation of this as the season rolls on, and Boogie gets better and better. This team is likely the best team assembled in NBA History, and I am more than excited to see what this squad can do as the NBA season continues.
Paul George, also known as PG, has been playing like a top-five MVP candidate as of late, leading to an array of controversy within NBA media as to who the leader of the Oklahoma City Thunder really is.
Russell Westbrook has always been thought of as the leader of the Thunder, and has averaged a triple-double for two straight seasons. I personally have never been a huge fan of Russ’s play style and the way he approaches the game. His glaring inefficiency and low IQ makes it hard for me to watch him play. His stat padding has become more and more obvious through the years, as you’ll often see him passing up wide open shots just to dish it to a teammate who usually doesn’t have an open shot.
It has been made clear the Westbrook prioritizes stats over winning. However, this season it seems that Russ has taken a small step down on the offensive end to let PG take over at the end of games. Westbrook’s usage rate is the lowest it’s been since the 2009-10 season, backing up my point.
I praise Russ for allowing Paul George to take the lead on offense, as it is clearly working to near perfection. As of Tuesday, OKC stands as the 3rd seed in the Western Conference, and has gone 7-3 in their last 10 games.
George is averaging career highs in points, rebounds, and steals. Many thought PG would never be the same after his gruesome leg injury during a Team USA game back in the summer of 2014. I’m glad to see the Thunder performing at this elite level, although it will be tough for them to make a deep playoff run, as it will be for everyone in the west, really.
It seems that almost anyone they match up against in the Western Conference playoff race could result in a seven-game series. I fully expect the Thunder’s dominance to continue into the playoffs, and hopefully, we can watch them battle a team like the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.