Show Recap: January 21, 2019 (Martin Luther King Day)

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Opening Tip
Does NFL need a 2-minute report for refs?

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Paul, feel bad rooting for Pats vs hometown Rams?

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Today’s Panel:

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First Half

Monologue: Tanking ain’t easy!

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MLK Day in the NBA means fans get some great basketball games featuring some of the most talented players in the league

And also the Bulls and Cavaliers playing each other…

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These are two teams that are at the very bottom of the NBA standings. The Bulls came in on a 10 game losing streak. As for the Cavs, they are putting up the worst defensive numbers the NBA has seen in 45 years
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Many we’re hoping that the Bulls and Cavs would make the playoffs this season. But guess what? Not gonna happen! So what are the Bulls and Cavs going to get at the end of all of this?
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If your team is truly terrible, you will be rewarded come June with a high draft pick
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The Sonics/Thunder drafted Kevin Durant and we’re playing in the NBA Finals 5 years later

The Cavs drafted LeBron James and we’re playing in the NBA Finals 4 years later

There are similar projections already resting on the very strong shoulders of this guy…

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Which ever NBA team drafts Duke freshmen, Zion Williamson, will be ticketed for an instant turnaround. The truth is, the LeBrons and KDs and perhaps Zion’s are the exceptions, not the rule. Most drafts do not feature a generational player
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Most teams who draft high do not end up in the Finals 4 years later. Many, many of the teams that has drafted high aren’t even making the playoffs 4 years later
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As much as you’ve heard about “The Process” and how well that worked out for Philadelphia, keep in mind that Sam Hinkie’s plan wasn’t just tank and draft high, it was tank historically, trade every asset that isn’t nailed down for as many picks as possible since drafting is such an inexact science you need a ridiculous number of at-bats just to get a shot at a competitive team at the end of all of it

FYI, even that doesn’t work for everyone!

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For example, the Suns have drafted in the top 5 for four of the past six years. A journey that Phoenix fans have named “The Timeline.” They are headed right back to the lottery this year yet again
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Rebuilding in the NBA is hard. It requires an incredibly complex combination of good scouting, savvy drafting, responsible ownership, strong coaching
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Just losing a lot and hoping to get a prize at the end of it, like a toy in a cereal box isn’t going to do it. For the sake of the Bulls and Cavs (and Suns) and fans everywhere, there needs to be some hard looks at what else, besides tanking, can help these franchises so that on the next MLK Day, no one is having the same conversation again

Who needs Zion more: Bulls or Cavs?

“Without Kevin Love, the Duke Blue Devils can beat the Cavs” – Pierce

“Duke’s top 3 players are already better than the 3 players right now on the Cavs. They have three players that can start on Cleveland” – Pierce

“The Cavs need everything. They need something so badly to make us want to go out to Cleveland again anytime in the next 10 years” – Lowe

Is tanking an effective method of rebuilding?

“You have to get lucky in a lot of these cases. Tanking doesn’t prove that it works. Philly missed out on a lot of those picks” – Pierce

“Every path of team building that you choose, is unlikely to get you to the Finals. To get to the Finals, you usually need a generational player” – Lowe

Where is PG-13 in MVP conversation?
31 points in 31 minutes vs the Knicks on MLK Day

“He’s definitely in there. Around the 5 range. Giannis, Harden, Steph and after that, it’s up in the air. He may be in that 4 spot and that has a lot to do with what Russ has been willing to sacrifice and it’s for the better of the team” – Pierce

“He’s in the conversation. That’s how good he’s been” – Lowe

He also added this:

“Giannis is an underrated defender. He is a better two-way player than PG” – Lowe

Westbrook-Embiid feud heats up over weekend | Want Westbrook and Embiid to squash beef?

Embiid and Westbrook after the game:

“This is just passion. This creates narrative. These two guys really play with that type of passion and it’s fun to watch because we don’t see it anymore” – Pierce

“It’s kind of cool when you have an Eastern Conference-Western Conference kind of rivalry. I want this to keep going” – Lowe


Replay
January 21, 1998 – Antoine Walker (Celtics) with the nasty one-handed dunk on KG (Timberwolves)!!!

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“Homie on homie crime” – Pierce


Make or Miss League Kawhi

Miss Logo
Cool Heads; Did Luka get his money’s worth for his first ejection?

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Make Logo
Takeovers; Where would the Timberwolves be without Derrick Rose?
Had 29 2nd half points, including the go-ahead bucket with 0.06 left, then played suffocating defense in a win over the Suns

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Balance; Is Buddy Hield the most improved player?
Hit the buzzer beater against the Pistons!

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“He should be in the All-Star conversation” – Lowe

“Luka is ahead of him” – Pierce

Make Logo
Denials; Should Marvin Williams have gone with the floater?

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Let’s…

Run it Back

Best blocked dunks of all-time:

3) 2012: Blake on D-Will
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2) 2013: LeBron on Splitter (Finals)2rpea3.gif

1) 1994: LaPhonso Ellis on Brian Davis2rpedm.gif

Moving on…

Grade for Boogie return to the court?

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After the game, Boogie said “It was one of the best days of my life”

“A++. I didn’t expect much out of him. He was dominating in his time out there. This is scary for the rest of the league. This is a weapon that they’ve never had” – Pierce

“A. The coaches we’re even happier with his effort on defense more than they were with the threes and the offense. That’s what they’ll watch most carefully. He adds a dimension that they’ve never had, And also, they’re bored. This makes them not bored” – Lowe


RecommendsMLK Day holds significant meaning for Grizzlies by Marc J. Spears (The Undefeated)


Second Half

 

Worried about Lakers digging too deep a hole due to injuries?
Lonzo Ball suffered a Grade 3 ankle sprain (Expected to miss 4-6 weeks) against the Rockets on Saturday

“They need to scrap around .500 because the margin of error in the Western Conference is razor-razor thin. They’re just low on guys and a lot of it is going to be: How fast does LeBron come back? Without LeBron for much longer, they’re in real trouble” – Lowe

“I would rest LeBron as long as possible. It’s not about this year for the Lakers” – Pierce

“This is a 4-year plan for them. He’s getting older and you got to preserve as much LeBron as you can. He’s going to have to do everything to get them into the playoffs [when he comes back]” – Pierce

Kuzma on Lonzo injury: “I get more shots”

“In Lonzo’s case, he gives up the ball” – Pierce

“That was an elite veteran transition from honest answer to media speak” – Lowe

Marcus Smart fined $35k for actions Saturday vs Hawks | Marcus Smart giving Celtics the edge they need?

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“That’s who he is. He’s paying for it. The Celtics need that type of grit. He not only talks it, he walks it” – Pierce

“Players really respect him, other than the flopping. They respect how hard he plays, how tough he is” – Lowe

Pierce’s sit down with 2nd year forward, Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics!

Highlights from the interview:

“The most impressive thing would be just the technology. There’s a bunch of different things you can do in the app to make the shoe your kind of your own” – Tatum on the Nike Adapt BBs (laceless sneakers where you plug them in and charge them)

“By far the most talented team I’ve ever played on” – Tatum on Kyrie and Hayward’s return to the court this season

“We’re not where we want to be right now. We really want to get to the playoffs” – Tatum
Celtics are currently 29-18 (5th place in the East standings) as of Monday


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James Harden: 48 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists vs Lakers Saturday | Should more teams guard Rockets with hands behind back?

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Earlier this season, LeBron did the same thing:

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“Teams are like, ‘What do we do?'” – Pierce

“This guy has created problems for the league something we haven’t seen” – Pierce

“The stepback three is the thing they took to another level. There’s just nothing you can do about that” – Lowe

“James said to me: ‘I kind of like it that all these weird things people are throwing at me because it challenges me and I try to figure it out by the end of the game'” – Nichols

Credit: ESPN Stats & Information/Elias Sports Bureau

Does Kenneth Faried move the needle for Rockets?

“He fits the way Mike D’Antoni wants to play and they need bodies to ease the load and he can do that. He can screen-and-roll” – Lowe

“It doesn’t move the needle one bit. They need James Harden to keep playing like this” – Pierce


Replay
January 21, 2007 – White Chocolate with the sick circus shot vs the Mavericks!

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crunchtime

Mavs vs Bucks
Who is the more exciting international player: Luka or Giannis?

“Giannis. The way his game has evolved over the years, he’s exciting. He’s the best player in the Eastern Conference” – Pierce

“Giannis. He dunks like 8 times a game” – Lowe

More eye-popping?

Bobby Portis’ death stare:

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Zach LaVine’s alley-oop:

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Fans love Felton
Knicks fans chant for Raymond Felton, Thunder bench joins in!
Felton once played for the Knicks, which led to the chanting of his name

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Mavs mending fences?
Dennis Smith Jr. to rejoin Mavericks Tuesday (Per Tim MacMahon/Adrian Wojnarowski)

Expectations for Dennis Smith Jr. on-court amid trade rumors?

“This is like an unprecedented amount of attention for a player of Dennis Smith’s caliber. This is a straight up saga” – Lowe

“I got something to prove. I’m gonna go out here and play so hard, I’m gonna ball out, that it’s going to make it so hard for you to try to trade me” – Pierce on what Smith Jr’s mindset should be

“If I were the Mavs, I would not be that eager to cut bait on the Doncic-Dennis Smith thing” – Lowe

“I would build on it. You can’t give up on something like this so early” – Pierce on the Luka-Smith duo

Pelicans & AD not on same page about injury?
Expected to miss 1-2 weeks (Finger)

However, according to the Athletic (Shams Charania), Davis’ agent Rich Paul says they’ll “re-evaluate the injury in 3-to-4 days and decide whether he needs to see a hand specialist”

“The ominous thing there is the hand specialist” – Lowe

“This is normal. Guys want team opinions, and then they go out and get expert opinions. This is something that’s been going on for a while in the league. The same case with Kawhi last year. At the end of the day, the franchise, in some cases, tries to rush you back too quick” – Pierce


Buzzer Logo
Kerr: “We’ve been in LA for four days. Hope everyone drank lots of water”

“A lot to do in LA. A lot of people setting thirst traps. It’s just a good vibe” – Pierce

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Welcome to The Jump's fanpage, a daily program focused on the NBA. The fast-paced, 1 hour show originates from Los Angeles and features appearances by current and former players and a rotating cast of ESPN analysts, reporters and insiders providing commentary. Tune in weekdays from 3-4pm ET on ESPN with Rachel Nichols and company where they analyze each day's games and discuss the latest news from around the association.

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