Welcome to the Rundown! Today we talk about the top stories from around the NBA, make our picks for player of the night, and make our picks for tonight’s action!
Okafor wants out of Philly:
Nick Billion: Earlier this week it was announced that the 76ers would not pick up Jahlil Okafor’s option for next season. This isn’t so much of a surprise as rumors have been going around that Philly has been trying to deal him. Philly has made it quite obvious that their big man going forward is Joel Embiid, so the question rises, do trade him or let him walk? My guess is he’ll get moved by the deadline.
Craig Brallier: The 76ers really only drafted/kept Okafor as a scapegoat in case Embiid wasn’t everything he was hyped up to be, after missing his first two seasons. Having him and Nerlens Noel at the time was kind of the back up plan if things didn’t work out with Embiid and Dario Saric, but obviously things are working out there. Philly has said they’re not interested in reaching a buyout with Okafor so, the only real option is to trade him. There should be plenty of suiters in the form of rebuilding franchises like Chicago, Sacramento and possibly Atlanta. He didn’t prove it in his rookie season, but Okafor does have some potential. He has excellent footwork and can be a really good back to the basket guy in this league. But it would not shock me if Okafor is traded within the next month. He’s just sitting there taking up a roster spot, barely getting minutes, so why not replace him with someone else?
Still no Bledsoe trade:
NB: After a slow start to the season, it looks like Eric Bledsoe wants to get out of Phoenix. If this statement is true, should he get traded? Bledsoe has been the leader of this team for the last few seasons as the Suns chose him over Dragic and IT. I couuld see the Suns wanting to keep him for leadership on this young team, but if they can’t get on the same page, then Bledsoe may be on the move.
CB: Eric Bledsoe will most definitely be traded, unless he shows the organization that he cares, and wants to be apart of it moving forward, which I highly doubt will happen. You can get some really good pieces from a contender like Cleveland for Bledsoe, so why not do it if he wants out? There are also rumors out there about the Knicks being in talks as well, but if I’m in Phoenix, New York doesn’t have very many attractive pieces to send a franchise player away. Either way, myself and I assume the entire Phoenix Suns fan base are ready to build around Devin Booker. It should only be a matter of time before Bledsoe is out of the picture.
Pelicans show their weakness:
NB: If you look at the Pelicans’ game last night and look at the box score and see that AD and Cousins both had good outings, plus holding KAT to just 2 points you’d think that would put you in the driver’s seat for a win, right? Well that wasn’t the case last night as the Timberwolves escaped with the win. This team has two of the best big men in the league, but still struggles to close out games. I believe the answer to this problem is getting some better role players. Just like with any other team, you need players that can support your All-Stars or center pieces. If I’m the Pelicans, I’d be looking to make moves before the deadline, or in the draft. Your bigs need support!
CB: Nick is exactly right. The role players are bad. If you hold a team’s best player to 2 points, that usually seals a win. Unfortunately for the Pelicans there are so many holes in their lineup that I don’t think they’ll be able to address it until next summer. So for now, they’re just going to have to keep trying to win games this way, and hope they can get Rajon Rondo back soon and see if he can make a difference.
Cavs lose fourth straight:
NB: LeBron James seems to be the only consistent thing for this Cavs team as their early season struggles continued last night after losing to the Pacers. With players like Wade, Crowder, Smith, Korver, Love, Rose and Thompson, you wonder how this team is struggling. Age and health have a big part to do with it. This Cavs team isn’t getting any younger and it’s becoming more and more obvious. With IT still out I think it’s also very clear that this team misses Kyrie Irving, whether they acknowledge it or not. The Cavs will likely bounce back, but right now they are awful to watch . Something you do not hear often from a LeBron James led team.
CB: In 2014, the Cavs had early season struggles, and eventually traded Dion Waiters to OKC, and got Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith from the Knicks. That, and acquiring Mozgov changed the course of that season and made them a shoe in for the Finals. I can picture doing something similar this season, likely for Eric Bledsoe to try and get back on their feet. I don’t see things getting a ton better right away, as Tristan Thompson out for likely a month. They’ll never admit it, but the only thing holding this team back is the fact that they don’t have Kyrie Irving. Also, their defense is terrible. It was terrible last year, and it’s terrible this year. They don’t have what it takes to compensate for bad defense every night, this season.
Player of the Night:
NB: Joel Embiid- 21 PTS, 12 REB, 6 AST, 3 STL, 3 BLK in win VS. Atlanta
CB: T.J. Warren- 40 PTS, 10 REB, 2 BLK, 16-22 from the field in win VS. Washington
NB: Warriors-Spurs: Warriors
Lakers-Trail Blazers: Trail Blazers
CB: Warriors-Spurs: Warriors
That’ll do it for today’s Rundown! Come back tomorrow when we take a look at the top stores from around the league.