“With great power comes great responsibility,” a fictional arachnid man’s uncle once famously said. Personally, I would revise that adage to say, “With great expectations come great responsbility.” Many an NBA team has lived up to said expectations so far this season, and many others have flopped worse than Marcus Smart. Here’s looking at those who fall into the latter category.
*Stats courtesy of NBA.com and ESPN*
Oklahoma City Thunder
Going back to actual team basketball after Russell Westbrook’s “I AM the Senate” season was always going to be difficult, especially with the arrival of glitzy but needy new running mates in Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. But the Thunder have been such mayhem that Allstate won’t even touch them. The ball sticks like velcro, weak-side motion is eschewed in favor of a merry-go-round of isolation play, and fourth-quarter crunchtime is where the entire team goes to die.
Rest assured, there’s reason for optimism — Oklahoma City’s hyper-switching defensive scheme ranks second in the league with a smothering 98.5 points allowed per 100 possessions, and they are still a tremendous offensive rebounding team despite the loss of Enes Kanter. A blowout win over Golden State on national television Wednesday was nice too. But 8-10 is not good for a team that had such high expectations heading into the year, and the luxury of time unfortunately doesn’t exist in the abusive Western Conference.
The Milwaukee Bucks hilariously threw some shade at the Chicago Bulls in a ticket package they are offering on their website.
The Bucks are offering a holiday ticket package that allows fans to build a 5-game package by picking games to attend from a certain group. You can pick two of eight games from the first group; two of eight from a second group; and then one final game from a group of six. It’s in the final group where the jab at the Bulls comes.
For each game, the Bucks show a photo of the star for each team as a way to make the game more enticing. For the Bulls, they picked the mascot.
The Bulls are 2-7 and clearly are rebuilding, so they don’t exactly have a star player. Plus, putting Lauri Markkanen or Robin Lopez along with James Harden, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving really wouldn’t fit. These are just the jokes one must endure when rebuilding.
The talented but frustrated Bledsoe has not played since an October 22 tweet in which he stated “I don’t wanna be here.”
Bledsoe met with the Suns after the tweet and suggested it was directed at a hair salon he frequented, but management did not buy that excuse and announced he would not be with the team moving forward. Bledsoe had also previously requested a trade.
For the young and talented Bucks, the move is rather exciting given that Bledsoe would potentially fortify their chances in a wide open Eastern Conference and add a piece to the puzzle they’re currently missing. At the same time, Bledsoe obviously wears his emotions on his sleeve and can, at times, be a real distraction.
Bledsoe is not expected to join the Bucks until Wednesday night in San Antonio. In the mean time, the two teams are finalizing medical evaluations on each player involved before officially submitting the trade to the league.
ESPN also reports there would be lottery protections on the first-round pick involved in the trade.
Last season, the 27-year-old Bledsoe averaged career highs in points (21.1), assists (6.3) and rebounds (4.8).
Jason Kidd is reportedly looking to bring in an old teammate to give his Milwaukee Bucks some veteran help.
Chris Mannix of the Vertical reported Saturday that the Bucks are one of several teams in talks with veteran forward Richard Jefferson, who was waived by the Atlanta Hawks after his trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Richard Jefferson is in talks with the Bucks on a deal, league source told @TheVertical. Several other teams in the mix. ESPN first reported
Such a move would reunite Jefferson with Kidd, who played together with the New Jersey Nets from 2001 to 2008. It’s clear evidence that rumors of Jefferson’s retirement were, as reported, very much overblown.
At first glance, the patches the Celtics and Cavs will be wearing seem to blend in quite well. After the two teams take the court a few times, you probably won’t even notice the General Electric or Goodyear logos. But the Harley-Davidson patch? Eh, a bit more tacky, for lack of a better term.
As of July, 11 of the 30 NBA teams had agreed to deals to wear advertisements on their jerseys. While the concept has been a turn-off for some fans, it’s really a no-brainer for owners. People are pretty much going to forget these things exist after opening night.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have suddenly hit the brakes with their trade that would send Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics, and one line of thinking is that they could have a better offer from another team. That team could be the Milwaukee Bucks.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe reports that the Bucks are willing to offer Cleveland a package centered around reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon and shooting guard Khris Middleton. While Milwaukee has not yet offered a first-round draft pick, Lowe believes they would be willing to add one if Irving showed interest in signing a long-term deal.
For starters, Irving was reportedly thrilled to be traded to Boston, so he could — and should — make life difficult on the Cavs by refusing to agree to stay with any other team long term. And even if he was willing to commit to the Bucks, is their offer really any better than Boston’s?
The biggest asset the Cavs would be getting from the Celtics is the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick, which has a legitimate chance at being No. 1 overall. They’d also be getting an All-Star point guard in Isaiah Thomas and excellent role player with an even better contract in Jae Crowder. It’s unlikely any other team will beat that deal, otherwise Cleveland wouldn’t have agreed to the trade in the first place.
The Cavs are concerned about Thomas’ injured hip, and one report about the point guard’s recovery could help explain why. However, the Celtics insist they were forthcoming about the injury from the start. If Cleveland wasn’t negotiating in good faith in an attempt to get a better offer from another team, the NBA should step in.
The Boston Celtics apparently beat out at least one other serious Eastern Conference suitor for Kyrie Irving’s services.
John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM reported on Wednesday that the Milwaukee Bucks were “close” to a deal for Kyrie Irving and had offered Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon, and a future first-rounder.
Suns were never really in on Kyrie but here is a nugget – Milwaukee was close – offered Brogdon, Middleton and a 1st round pick.