Tag Archives: Kyrie Irving

Triple Zeros: Kwame Got Time Today

Triple Zeros

Kwame Got Time Today

In this episode of Triple Zeros, Josh gives a quick recap of the drama between Kwame Brown, Matt Barnes, Stephen Jackson, and so many others, talks about his most dangerous teams in the NBA playoffs, and Kyrie Irving using all his PTO and still going 50/40/90. Then things switch over to the NFL as Julio Jones has been reportedly made available by the Atlanta Falcons, Jon Gruden heaping praise on Josh Jacobs, and the QB carousel that really wasn’t. All that and so much more!
 
Be sure to follow on Facebook and Twitter (@JoshGBuck, @3ZeroPod, @ClockerSports) today!
 

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Clocker Sports

Triple Zeros. This is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. his is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. his is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. Triple Zeros

Boston Celtics Fans Have to Wonder, “What’s the Point?”

The Boston Celtics have gone through several point guards in the last few years. Blame has shifted from player to team and back depending on the name on the jersey. But the constant in all of it is Danny Ainge, the architect of this latest iteration of the Celtics. He also built the last Celtics team to win a championship.

What’s Been the Point of the Celtics Shuffle at Lead Guard?

Living in the Past

That was 13 years ago, though. Many of Ainge’s moves since then have left the roster stale and lacking several key elements contenders often possess.

Much of the talk has been over their lack of a true interior presence; hence talks of LaMarcus Aldridge when he came available.

But why are they getting a pass (no pun intended) on screwing up their point guard position time and time again?

Their trade for Kyrie Irving was met with mixed reactions but, at least inside the building, they thought it would put them over the top.

Ainge says he “has no regrets” over the trade but the locker room issues it brought can’t have been worth it. Especially after Irving walked in free agency just two years later.

But Ainge wasn’t content so he traded for Kemba Walker. The former UConn star had been toiling away down in Charlotte but had shown to be a big shot taker (and maker).

It seemed to many like the perfect pivot from Irving.

So Close, Yet So Far

And, to be honest, Year 1 felt like that might be the case. The Cs won 48 games in a shortened season; one less than the year prior with a full 82-game schedule.

But now they’re .500 and sitting seventh in the East. They lack an identity and are close to out of answers.

The Irving trade was only made after they struck out on Jimmy Butler and Paul George and cost them one of the precious draft picks that Ainge covets.

Walker was really only a target after they missed on Anthony Davis.

Acquiring Walker also cost them Terry Rozier who had been with the team since the IT era. Hornets owner Michael Jordan was criticized for Charlotte not extending a contract to Walker and then trading him for Rozier, who had some rough games in the postseason.

Ainge was called a “thief” by at least one Cavs player after the pieces they got back flopped.

One Team’s Trash

Fast forward and Rozier is averaging more points, more efficient from the floor and deep, and is still giving great effort on the boards. All while being just 1.3 assists behind Walker who has dealt with injuries all year. Oh, his team is better too.

We don’t have to talk about what Irving is doing with the loaded Brooklyn Nets. But we will note the difference in opinions of Irving in a different situation.

The mercurial guard was looked at as a team killer who had ruined his best shot at another ring and a team with what was supposed to be a great locker room culture.

This really all started with that trade for Irving. Giving up on Isaiah Thomas after he played through his sister’s death and a devastating hip injury for whom Bomani Jones called “taller Isaiah Thomas” seems like a good way to ensure sports karma comes for you.

Boston is one of the storied franchises in the NBA. That causes those in charge to make some drastic moves oftentimes in an effort to maintain that aura.

Ainge appears to have been a victim of that but also of “buying his own hype” and holding onto his draft capital for too long. Holding out for Butler, Davis, and George meant passing on other, more attainable, assets.

Celtics Missing the Point (Guard)

Saying you’re going all in for a player is great until you miss and you have to smooth it over with the guys you were going to jettison.

Ainge also hasn’t draft particularly well with the picks he held onto. It hasn’t been bad. Moreso hit-or-miss. And there’s been nothing in the way of a game-changer.

Granted, they haven’t held a pick higher than 14th overall since back-to-back third-overall selections brought Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Not flipping those picks meant he had to hit home runs and what he got was a couple of doubles and a single.

A flawed roster, a coach on the public opinion hot seat, and not many options to go in either direction. The Celtics have some very important building blocks for a title contender.

But, due to their in-between handling of the roster and draft picks, it’s a roster in neutral without many paths forward.

And at the top of it all is Ainge. Once the envy of NBA front offices for his stockpiling of draft picks after robbing the Nets. Now he looks like a man either without a plan.

Or one with multiple plans and he can’t decide which he likes best.

Triple Zeros: From DangeRuss to Danger, Russ

From DangeRuss to Danger, Russ

In Triple Zeros – ‘From DangeRuss to Danger, Russ’, Josh sorts through Russell Wilson’s  Super Wild Card Weekend including Russell Wilson struggling and Doug Pederson getting the boot in the NFL. In the NBA,  Kyrie Irving went M.I.A. and John Collins‘ qualms with Trae Young. All that and more!
 
 

Clocker Sports. This is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. his is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. his is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. DangeRuss

Clocker Sports. This is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. his is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. his is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light.

Triple Zeros: WTF, WFT?

Triple Zeros: WTF, WFT?

NFL

Undefeated No Longer
Gase Firing Folks

NBA

Melo ‘7’ Again
Bron Talks Kyrie
+More!
 
 

Triple Zeros. This is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. his is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. his is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. DangeRuss

Triple Zeros. This is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. his is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. his is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. DangeRuss

In the Bubble, Not All Sweeps Are Created Equal

Sunday saw two teams eliminated from the postseason as Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics put Joel Embiid and what was left of the Philadelphia 76ers out of their misery. Later on, the Toronto Raptors looked very much like an apex predator in their drubbing of the “other guys” Brooklyn Nets.

It was the same fate for both teams; an unceremoniously early exit from what has otherwise been an exciting playoffs in the bubble. But make no mistake about it, it doesn’t mean the same thing for both teams.

Nets, 76ers Face Different Futures After Suffering Same Fate

Brooklyn’s Breakout Blocked

Ironically, it is the Nets, who allowed at least 34 points in every quarter, that have a brighter future.

They can at least hang their hat on the fact that next year Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will be on the floor and possibly challenging for an Eastern Conference Finals berth. Sure, they don’t have a head coach at the moment and the two aforementioned stars reportedly want to trade for a third star, but neither task is too tall.

Finding the right compliment on the floor is probably the tougher task. Not only for actual basketball reasons, but also the financial situation around the NBA after COVID…well, you know.

It may come as a surprise after seeing some of the playoff performances from the likes of Caris Levert (15.3 PTS/10.7 AST/6.0 REB) and Joe Harris (16.5 PTS/10.0 REB), that they feel the need to look outside for help. Don’t forget, they also have Spencer Dinwiddie who opted out of the restart.

If it made sense, Kenny Atkinson would likely still be the head coach.

Brooklyn is in a great position to make noise next year and beyond. This does make a couple of assumptions though.

For one, that Durant and Irving will work on the floor. But to be honest, that concern is probably minimal. While Irving can be a ball stopper, Durant’s insane efficiency should offset it. Even this is assuming Durant comes back as the same guy he was before his Achilles injury and that Irving can stay healthy.

Chemistry and health make this one of the most volatile situations in the NBA. The risk seems well worth the reward, though.

Considering the Nets lost each game by an average of more than 20 points (a number salvaged by only losing by five points in Game 2), adding Durant (29.1/7.7/4.0 in the playoffs) and Irving (23.5 PPG and 5.0 APG) should allay any fears the fanbase might have after this postseason.

Philly’s Process to be 86ed?

The Philadelphia 76er embarked on one of the most blatant tanking plans ever back in 2013. Seven years and three playoff appearances later, it may all be coming to an end. Getting swept by the Celtics is but a small part of the story. After all, when one of the two prized pieces from that years-long process, Ben Simmons, went out with knee injury, so did Philly’s title hopes.

This may have just accelerated the inevitable. Questions have lingered all year about the clunky offense, money wasted on Tobias Harris and Al Horford, and the fate of head coach Brett Brown.

Let’s start with Harris (15.8/9.5/4.0) and Horford (7.0/7.3/2.3), the prized free-agent duds. Harris’ numbers seem ok, but in addition to being paid like a 20 PPG guy, he shot 38.3% from the floor and 13.3% from deep. Horford was miscast and perhaps has lost a step.

They were overpaid (bet they miss Jimmy Butler) and misused by Brown.

But the greatest crime committed has been not getting the most out of the Simmons-Embiid combo to the point where breaking them up seems more likely than keeping them together any longer.

It isn’t just one of the stars either. Both Simmons and Embiid have been subject to trade rumors, largely due to there not being a consensus as to who is the more valuable piece.

Personally, the thought is that Embiid is probably the better talent but Simmons is the part needed to make it work. That is to say, no one is as dominant as Embiid when he’s right, justifying the comparisons to Shaq. But, in a guard league, Simmons is probably the more important piece when building a team.

That isn’t to say one can’t work without the other. Most solid point guards could utilize Embiid and pick and pop big would be successful next to Simmons.

On the contrary, it might point to how much they need each other, and Philly’s need to figure things out around them. There was too much effort put in to break these two up after they have had even a modicum of success. The better plan is for the 76ers to fee themselves of Harris and Horford.

But those contracts are albatrosses. Neither will return value and may even have to go at a severe discount. Does that improve Philly’s outlook moving forward? Probably not. That shifted the focus to where it’s been, Brown, who has now been fired.

They Say It’s the Same But It’s Not the Same

Yes, these teams faced the same fate but their futures are going in vastly different directions. Both will have someone new at head coach. But whereas the Nets will be adding two bonafide star players to a group that showed a little fight this postseason, the 76ers are trying to avoid de-processing. That’s tough.

All eyes on you, Indiana Pacers…

Victor Oladipo is the Finesser of the Year

Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo is the Finesser of the Year. A man of many talents, he just added another to the list. Not only is he former All-NBA,  a two-time All-Star, All-Defense, and steals champ, but he also sings (well!). That’s not why we’re here though. Oladipo just added to his ever-growing resume.

Finesser of the Year Goes to Victor Oladipo

A Little Background

Oladipo ruptured his quad back in 2018 after 36 games. He was averaging 18.8/5.6/5.2 at the time and was third in clutch points. The Pacers were 21-15 and a darkhorse candidate to reach the Eastern Conference Finals. They finished 48-34, good enough for fifth in the East, and got swept in the first round by the Kyrie Irving Boston Celtics.

The loss of Oladipo was felt instantly. Indiana hadn’t lost more than two games in a row before he went down. They lost the next four following the game he got injured versus the Toronto Raptors. He had missed time earlier with knee soreness and the Pacers went 7-4.

Oladipo wouldn’t return to the floor until January of this year; over a year removed from his surgery. Playing a career-low 25.9 minutes per game, he’s averaging 13.8/3.2/3 and slashing .391/.304/.780 for a Pacers team that is 13 games over .500 and once again finds itself sitting fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Current Situation

The NBA’s planned restart date is drawing nearer and the conversations around the mechanics of it all are ramping up. Even though the guidelines have been set, many questions remain. Much of the conversation has been about players opting-out of the restart altogether.

Kyrie Irving got a lot of heat but ultimately said he wouldn’t hold it up if the players agreed. But soon, players like Trevor Ariza (family) and Davis Bertans (securing the bag) quickly decided against playing. Avery Bradley and Willie Cauley-Stein would follow. The former was significant given his team, the Los Angeles Lakers, are among the title favorites.

Wilson Chandler, Thabo Sefolosha; other names that dropped out but, for the most part, no one of significance was set to miss the action. Irving was never going to play and even Bradley is a role player; albeit a potentially important one. Then we got news on Friday of Oladipo’s decision.

Victor Oladipo, Finesser of the Year

Up until now, players opting-out of playing were doing so while also not traveling with the team and would forego the remaining portion of their salary for this year. Oladipo announced that he will rehab in Orlando while also being with his team. This will allow him to still get paid.

At 28, coming off a serious leg injury, and facing free agency in 2021 it makes perfect sense for Oladipo to sit out. It’s certainly a blow to the Pacers title hopes to lose a player who averaged 16.8/4.3/4.5 in 27 MPG from February 12th on. Indiana went 6-1 in the games Oladipo played over that span and 2-2 in the four contests he rested.

It’s a huge blow for the Pacers, but an understandable move for Oladipo. The added bonus of not missing out on any cash is (very expensive) icing on the cake. It will be interesting to see if any other players follow suit or if the league finds some method of stopping it.

For now, at least, Victor Oladipo is the Clocker Sports Finesser of the Year.