Welcome to the NBA Roundtable! I am sorry for the delay, my fault 100%. This week in the Panel we have Zach joining the J brothers in a little 3-man weave.
1. How is Joe Dumars still employed?
DJ: Not for long. I think he’ll fired at the end of the season if they continue to struggle and possibly miss the playoffs in an incredibly weak Leastern Conference. Dumars had an excellent run the first half of his 13 year tenure but the last 5 years have just been awful. Five coaches in the last five years? That’s just atrocious and he should be held accountable. I realize he’s a former player that was a crucial part of their backcourt but it’s time to cut him loose.
EJ: I’m not sure why he is still employed, but it’s likely that he will be unemployed once this season is over. His contract is up in June, and I’d be stunned if he’s re-signed. The past few seasons in Detroit have been an epic fail. From the signings of Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, to the destined to fail front court of Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe, and Josh Smith. Actually, Drummond looks like a future superstar and Monroe has a nice skill set so the blame goes with Josh Smith. Smith isn’t a small forward. He doesn’t have an outside game worth speaking about. He’s an athletic power forward that is being played out of position due to him signing a 4 year $56 million contract. If the Pistons can somehow deal Smith it will be a miracle. If Joe has one last good act as an executive for the Pistons it will be to pull off that deal.
Zach: I think Joe Dumars is what’s best for Detroit. Being part of the Piston tradition and being one of the original “Bad Boys” of the squad, I don’t think you’d want anyone different being in his spot. Including Bill Laimbeer. With that said, this team has had Murphy’s Law come into place on more than one occasion. Hiring Maurice Cheeks was just vanilla. Detroit needed some inspiration worse than anything. They needed a high-energy coach that would set these individuals straight and lead them down the team path. I would’ve called up either of the Van Gundy brothers, if it were me. Detroit spent a lot to build a new franchise, and I think they’re on the right track. They’ve got a lot of the missing puzzle pieces, they just need to get them all to come together. They need a captain. A veteran coach who can spark the life back into this team. The rest, as they say, will fall into place.
2. How many points does Durant have to average to be a threat to LeBron’s MVP?
DJ: I don’t think it’s a ppg issue. He stepped up with Russell Westbrook out and is now making players around him better. Durant is averaging 5.5 assists per game and that means a lot on a team that was really missing RW while he was recuperating from his injury. Everybody knows Durant is an assassin on offense, but his ability to transform himself into a LeBron-type playmaker is what makes this team more dangerous. While also putting up 30-plus ppg.
EJ: All the Slim Reaper has to do is keep playing how he’s playing. I don’t want to put a point total on it. Kevin Durant and the Thunder are performing at a high level, and with some of the LeBron MVP fatigue that’s out there, I think it’s a shoo-in that he wins the Most Valuable Player award this season.
Zach: WELL, in my opinion, it’s no contest who this belongs to. It’s more become a popularity contest for the coasting Heat players, Lebron included. I mean seriously. How are you going to take a player who is knowingly coasting this season over THE hardest worker in the NBA? Kevin Durant IS your MVP, even if he missed (god forbid) the rest of the year. End of story.
3. Scale of 1-10, how strong is this Dunk Contest Field?
EJ: I’m going to give the field an 8. Defending champion Terrence Ross has some serious hops, and I like the star power that John Wall, Paul George and Damian Lillard brings to the field. Well, George was in the event before but he wasn’t the All-Star force that he is now. The reason why I’ll give the field an 8 is because it’s still missing the elite star. I know it won’t happen but it would have been nice to see a Blake Griffin, or a Dwight Howard, or even LeBron James take on the Slam Dunk contest.
Zach: It is certainly a lot stronger than before. Thank goodness they had the sense to get stars in there, as opposed to the rookies/sophomores. That’s why you now have the rising stars game; to promote the youth of the league. Now that you’ve got some bonafide contributors in there, the dunk contest should be MUCH better this year.
4. What is your favorite event of All-Star weekend (other than the game?)
EJ: Honestly? I like the Celebrity Game on Friday night. Yes, the game is full of horrible basketball, but it makes me laugh. Especially when Kevin Hart is involved. The hijinks alone makes a couple hours of bad basketball worth watching.
Zach: Always has been the three point contest. I feel it is a bit more intense and a little less sloppy than the rest of the events. Don’t get me wrong, I love the slam dunk contest, but the three point contest seems to be the most competitive among the events.
5. Thoughts on Damon Lillard going to be in Every Event on the weekend?
EJ: I give him props for attempting this but if I were the Portland Trailblazers, I would sit him down and explain to him why this is a bad idea. The All-Star break should be a period of rest, but Lillard is going to be putting serious stress on his legs by participating in all of the events. Hopefully, he can have his minutes limited in the Rising Stars Challenge, and in the All-Star game. Lillard might be trying to enhance his national profile but it can’t come at the expense of the team.
Zach: Damon Lilliard is a hard worker, and it clearly shows here. Initiative isn’t always a bad thing. I guess we’ll see if this becomes a trend or a “one and done” sort of deal. Good luck Damon!