After a three game losing streak have the Suns come back to earth or is this a blip on the radar?
Winston: Unfortunately, I think this is it for the Suns. I want them to make it, but I see the Grizzlies catching them. Similar to Westbrook’s return for the Thunder, I see Bledsoe taking a few games to get readjusted. At this juncture in the season, the Suns can ill-afford preventable losses. The chariot will be turning back into a pumpkin soon.
Evan: The Suns are what they always have been, a fringe playoff team. They have been hot at times and looked better than that but that is where they are at this stage in their young development. With Eric Bledsoe reportedly coming back in a week I think they are able to hold off the teams behind them for the final playoff spot, but there is no way they are making it to the second round.
Andy: I believe it’s just a blip on the Radar. Goran Dragic‘s ankle injury left the team depleted on Wednesday and they lost a nail biter to Houston before that. Once Eric Bledsoe returns in the next couple weeks, they will have two all star caliber guards running their high octane offense. My only concern is will it be enough to hold off the red-hot Memphis Grizzlies for the 8th seed? I think Phoenix finds a way to sneak in.
In his piece Wednesday Bill Simmons mentions possible destinations for Kevin Love, where do you think he will end up?
Winston: Did not read the piece and “end up” is a little vague, but I think he finagles his way on to the Lakers. Any time you see him in his off hours, he is in LA. He views the area as home and wants to build his brand outside of basketball. Depending on where the Lakers pick in the draft and the status of Kobe Bryant, this location can be very attractive for Love.
Evan: Boston! Excuse me a second while I take a giant gulp of green Kool Aid. Seriously, though I think he ends up in LA, mostly because he’s tired of always being cold in Minnesota. Unfortunately for Lakers fans I don’t think this is until 2016 since any asset LA trades will leave them without a good enough team to entice Love (I’m assuming Kobe struggles to stay healthy in his last two years unless he flies to Germany to have his blood doping done every off day).
Andy: There are only three possibilities: New York, Boston and LA. As a California kid who desires more of a spotlight, LA would seem to be the perfect landing spot for him. However, if Boston can acquire him with their assets before he hits the open market, they may be able to retain his services long term. He wants to win and I think of those three major markets, while Boston is the smallest, it probably has the best short term/medium term outlooks. New York could be attractive, but could he and Melo play together? I think the Knicks would be better served going after Aldridge in 2015.
The Rockets and Clippers met last night, do either have a real chance of coming out of the West?
Winston: Depends what we mean by “real” here. Can they win a round or two? Yes. Can either of these teams win the West? No. As long as San Antonio and OKC are kicking around somewhere, that will not be the case. The only way I can see this happening is if injuries come to play. I don’t see either of these teams beating those two, let alone a team like Memphis.
Evan: The Rockets. Houston can score with any team in the league on offense, where the Clippers can struggle if you force their wings to score. If James Harden can bring consistent effort and focus on d the Rockets have a chance of playing their best basketball to end the season and competing for a title.
Of all the player bought out, who will have the biggest impact the rest of the season?
Winston: Danny Granger. Don’t forget that this was one of the top players in the Eastern Conference a few years back. He’s a gritty defender, talented offensive player and is the perfect fit on the run and gun Clips squad. He also made this face when he was on the Sixers for like a day: https://pbs.twimg.com/
Evan: Every year fans of over the cap playoff teams pin their teams hopes on players bought out. Pretty much every year those fans are disappointed when a guy cut by an awful team somehow can’t help their playoff push. For a player to really have a big impact, they need minutes which is unlikely for a bought out player. None the less, Jimmer Fredette is my choice (assuming he signs in Chicago), With coach Thibbs turning John Lucas into a serviceable pro I think Jimmer turns his career around and lights the nets on fire in the CHI.
Andy: Caron Butler. He is tough as nails and can stretch the floor still. He will make a big impact on a playoff team like the Spurs or Thunder.