Here we go with another edition of the NBA Roundtable. We are getting close to the playoffs, and things are starting to Heat up. This week we discuss Paul George and the Indiana Pacers, the Naismith Hall of Fame inductees and more.
Here are the questions
Paul George is back with the Pacers, and appears to be back to form, scoring 13 points in 15 minutes in his return. Does this give the Pacers the 8th spot in the East?
Steve: I think they will get the 8th spot, maybe even the 7th spot in the East. Not only is it because the Pacers are getting a superstar back on their lineup, they also have the easiest path as far as games over the next week. They are currently one game behind Boston for the 8th spot, and have to play Boston, so they may control their own fate for the post season.
Bill: No. Nothing is guaranteed even with George’s return. I mentioned in the last RT that I felt the Pacers needed to win against both BKN and BOS but they won neither game as I recall it. While having George back is a huge step back in the right direction, it’s probably too little too late. Perhaps if he’d returned two weeks ago, he could have really helped to strengthen their chances. I suppose it’s still a possibility, but I think it’s a bit unlikely looking to their remaining games. IND has a tough three game stretch to end the season: OKC, WAS, and MEM; BOS still has CLE twice on a back to back as well as TOR; BKN has POR, ATL, WAS, and CHI. All said and told, it’s going to be a scrapper for the 7/8 spots until the bitter end.
Chad: Right now there are several teams in contention for the 8th playoff spot in the east including the Pacers; however I still feel like that Paul George must get his game legs under him a bit to really be of assistance to get the Pacers into the final playoff spot
Joakim Noah stated recently that “the Bulls can beat the Cavaliers in the playoffs” Do you agree, and should Noah be making this bold statement?
Steve: I agree with Noah in this perspective. Can the Bulls defeat the Cavs in the post season? Sure, anything is possible and if the Bulls are 100 percent when they play them then anything is possible. However, that is not going to be the case. Rose is a wild-card here, and you never know what he is going to contribute and IF he will be able to contribute. Noah saying this is only going to add more motivation for the Cavs to beat the Bulls. I don’t agree that the Bulls WILL beat them, but they do have a shot.
Bill: Yes. I think that the Bulls have as good a shot (if not better) to put the Cavs down. I can understand and appreciate Noah’s bravado in his statement, but I think it would be better to let their game do the talking instead of fanning the flames on a likely playoff clash. The Cavs don’t need any additional fuel, that much is certain. The Cavs seem to be turning it on as of late and Rose has been injured and is making another comeback. CHI will likely need the stars to align to beat CLE, but stranger things have happened. I suppose we’ll have to see where both teams end up. If the Bulls and Cavs do get together, expect an exciting and hard fought series.
Chad: In a situation like this you definitely have to be confident so I have no problem with what he said and yesterday it took the Cavs hitting 15 3’s to beat the Bulls by 5 at home and with the return of Rose coming and assuming he could stay healthy I do believe the Bulls could beat the Cavs in a best of 7 series
The Lakers lost their record setting 56th game of the season on Sunday. What do they need to do to rebound for next season to compete?
Steve: Very simple. GET JIM BUSS OUT OF POWER!!! This man cares about making money, and does not have the desire to win. Jeannie Buss needs to fire her brother from the helm and reassign him to something that does not give him control of the team. Kobe may have one more good year in him, add a few top free agents, and the Lakers can compete, because they are the Lakers.
Bill: What do they really need? They need Kobe Bryant to retire so that his contract comes off the books and the team can finally get on with the long overdue process of rebuilding. The Lakers could really use that Bryant money to lure some quality free agents to the team so as to help turn around one of the most storied franchises in any professional sports league. They also need Julius Randle to come back strong, lighter, and ready to go to work. They also need to decide on what to do with Jeremy Lin: His inconsistency hurts them plenty, but there’s really no one else better at the position on the team. Can they make a run at Deron Williams? BKN still wants to get rid of him, but could the Lakers work a deal for him that’s not too punishing on their end? At least Lin’s nonsense deal comes off the books after this season and, as such, I don’t see him coming back even if on a lesser deal. There’s better options out there. Moving on, should they re-sign Carlos Boozer or look elsewhere? He’s still serviceable but has seen his numbers drop off significantly since leaving UTA. Could he be a good mentor for Randle? Do they give the reins to Ed Davis and see what he can do as the full time PF? As an armchair GM, there are just so many holes to plug that it’s difficult to even choose a place to start.
Chad: The Lakers are in trouble for a rebuild because of the fact they are in the Western Conference they will have another lottery pick to pair up with a returning Julius Randle; but with Kobe still there and his salary and the overall cap situation the Lakers are still quite a ways away from returning to playoff contention especially in the west.
ESPN’s Kevin Pelton wrote a column saying that Raising the draft age limit would hurt the NBA’s talent pool. Do you think the NBA should lower the age limit, raise the age limit, or leave it alone?
Steve: There should not even be an age limit except for being 18 years old. If you have an adult that has enough talent to compete in the NBA, then why not allow him to play? You let guys like LeBron play out of High School, Garnett play after High School, and while one is headed for the Hall of Fame, the other is in the same breath as Michael Jordan for the best of all time. So it makes absolutely no difference how old someone is, as long as they have the talent to compete at the highest level.
Bill: I don’t think it would hurt as much as Pelton lets on, but I think it’s fine as it currently is and see no real reason to mess with it. There are bigger problems to examine. The age for the draft should be further down the priority scale.
Chad: I would actually not mind seeing an increase of year to the limit to get into the NBA would help the overall talent as with the one and done players they could have 2 years with a Coach K, Izzo or Calipari that could some extra talent out of the player and help them with the so-called sophomore slump and help them a little with conditioning for an NBA season.
Dikembe Mutombo and WNBA star Lisa Leslie led the ballots for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame this year. Kentucky coach John Calipari was also amongst inductees. Do you have any problem with this, and was anyone snubbed?
Steve: I am perfectly fine with the inductees this year. Without a doubt, Mutombo and Leslie most certainly deserve to be there, as far as Coach Cal? You cannot argue with the success that he has had in the college ranks, as he has led 3 teams to the Final Four (UMASS, Memphis, and Kentucky) and has a National Championship to his credit. The only thing with Cal is that he has two of those Final Fours rescinded due to violations, so one would have to think what he is doing to recruit. I still put him in there, but he would be the only question mark.
Bill: Deke and Leslie are solid picks and there should be no complaints on their inclusion. As for Calipari… I’m just not a fan. Trouble and questions have followed him at each stop. Despite his impressive collegiate win percentages and list of collegiate consensus All Americans, I just can’t give him the nod at this point.
Chad: Looking at the class I am ok with most of it; I wonder a little about the inclusion of Spencer Haywood and the exclusion of coaches such as Dick Motta and Bill Fitch who were coaches who never really had “Big Threes” but always had to build up their teams
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