Welcome NBA fans to another edition of the NBA Roundtable. We had an exciting week this past week from a firing of a first place coach to the Golden State Warriors steam rolling the San Antonio Spurs to Blake Griffin thinking he is Floyd”Money” Mayweather. We are going to talk about all that and so much more here on the NBA Roundtable.
Here are the questions for the week:
In your Opinion did David Blatt deserve to be fired?
Todd: i don’t know if he deserve to be fired. I think there was more to it than the fans could see. Yes, they had the best record in the Eastern Conference but in my opinion LeBron James had a lot to do with the coaching change. I Mean the Cavaliers went to the NBA finals last year and then were like 4 games up on the second place team this tear and they all of a sudden decide to fire David Blatt. Something just doesn’t sound right about that.
Chad: You usually wouldn’t fire a coach who goes to the NBA and is in 1st place in the conference unless multiple players went to upper management and said something about the coaches’ style
João: My personal opinion is that he should never have been hired. At least not as the head coach for a team that is contending for a championship, because it was clear from the onset that Blatt did not have experience that translated well into north american basketball. The game is Europe is much different, slower, more zone defenses, less physicality, etc.
But the really strange thing to this was the timing – why was he fired now, with the team sitting at the top of the East? I can understand that the Cavaliers’ management believes that a change should be made in time for Lue to model the team for the playoffs, but the timing was simply strange. So, at this point, I cannot really say that Blatt deserved to be fired; the Warriors are embarrassing a lot of teams these days.
The other point of discussion is regarding whether LeBron had something to do with Blatt being fired. That is going to be an ongoing discussion and obviously an unwanted distraction for the team.
Steve: It is really hard to say that Blatt deserved to be fired a season after he took his team to the NBA Finals, and sported the East’s best record so far this season. However, I think that it needed to happen. I probably would have waited until the end of the season to fire him, but I don’t think that the Cavs management wanted to take any chances of the Cavaliers winning the NBA title. I would think there is no way that the Cavs could legitimately fire Blatt if he led Cleveland to the NBA Championship this year. I am surprised at the timing of it all, but not surprised at all that he was let go.
Golden State beat San Antonio By 30 in the first meeting of the year, did they just punch their ticket to a second straight NBA Championship?
Todd: It’s just one game. San Antonio is allowed to have a bad game here and there. They have three more games against each other, we will see how them three games play out. Then we will have a good idea of who will be the NBA Champions this year.
Chad: The Spurs didn’t play Duncan and a lot can happen between now and the playoffs but their recent stretch tells me they are ready to go win another NBA title.
João: Too early to say. Do not take me wrong – the Warriors are looking like world beaters right now and they obviously thrashed what might be considered, arguably, as the second best team in the league. I will hold on to the fact that the Spurs were playing without Tim Duncan and that LaMarcus Aldridge had one of the worst games of the season. I still think the Spurs, at their best, can pound the ball inside and do regular damage to the Warriors. I also think that coach Popovich will make the necessary adjustments for the next game.
But it is obvious that Round 1 goes to the Warriors, and in impressive fashion. Still too early to say that they will be the guaranteed champions, though.
Steve: It is way too early to say that you can just punch their ticket to another NBA title. I think they made a statement that they are in fact the best in the west right now, and I think that overall the Warriors are probably easily the favorites to win a second straight title. However, a couple things to look at. The Spurs were not at full strength, they were on the road, and the Spurs just got routed by Cleveland on the road Saturday night, while it took a last second three for the Warriors to beat the Sixers. I don’t count out Oklahoma City, nor do I count out Cleveland to stake a claim a the title this year.
What are your thoughts on the altercations with Blake Griffin and the equipment manager in Toronto?Do you think he should receive further punishment?
Todd: Surprising to me. He is suppose to be one of the leaders of the team. Lead by example. Absolutely he should. If you fine Matt Barnes for making comments about violence, Blake Griffin should get some kind of punishment. I wouldn’t be surprised if he got a multiple game suspension which if that’s the case, depending on how many games he could miss the rest of the season.
Chad: Shocking news out of Toronto with the altercation between Griffin and the equipment guy. With the recent punishments being handed out I would be surprised if Griffin didn’t get some kind of punishment definitely involving a fine and also a game suspension which based on the injury recovery time we may not see Blake until the playoffs.
João: Blake Griffin is an elite forward playing for a contending team. The episode that took place in Toronto is totally unacceptable by any standards. And it is not like Griffin is a teenager or something like that. Very sad to see what unfolded there.
Now the dilemma for the Clippers is that they need Griffin, who is arguably their best player. If they are going to try to push for the championship they need him. On the other hand what happened cannot be taken lightly. I think that perhaps, if possible, they should punish Griffin financially.
Not surprisingly there are currently multiple trade rumors swirling around with Blake Griffin as the headline.
Steve: It shouldnt have happened, but these things as you have seen in the NBA do happen. I think a hefty fine and a one game suspension would be fine for Griffin. I mean he has been hurt this season, so a day or two off may actually do him some good, besides he is out for over a month as it is, so what would a suspension do? When would a suspension happen? After he returns? The NBA needs to send some sort of message that this behavior will not be tolerated by anyone, it doesnt matter who you are and what the circumstances are.
Blake Griffin is now supposed to miss 4-6 more weeks with a broken hand. The clippers are currently 12-3 without him on the court. How much longer can they survive without him?
Todd: They will make the playoffs of course. I think if Griffin ends up Missing the rest of the season due to his injury and his conduct, they will drop down to at least the 5th seed maybe 6th seed.
Chad: The wear and tear of not having Griffin will hurt the Clippers; I believe they have build a deep roster and enough of a cushion to make the playoffs probably won’t have home-court advantage in the first round
João: Whenever something like this happens the immediate theory is that “Team X is actually better without player Y”. I do not buy into that at all regarding the Clippers and Griffin, who I consider to be the team’s best player (sorry Chris Paul). They are currently sitting at #4 in the West. I think they can hold off the Grizzlies for 4 to 6 weeks, but they do need Griffin to come back fully healthy.
If the Clippers lose home advantage in the first round heads will roll because of this episode.
Steve: The Clippers are deep enough to still compete without Blake Griffin, they did it last year without Chris Paul for most of the year. As long as he is back in time for the playoffs, the Clippers can compete in the West. I don’t see any way they beat the Spurs or Warriors in a seven game series with or without Blake.
Do you agree with the Los Angeles Lakers putting a Statue of Shaquille O’Neal up next to some of the Laker greats like Jerry West, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and Magic Johnson?
Todd: Absolutely! He won 3 titles with the Lakers in 8 seasons. All 3 of them he was the finals MVP. He was the NBA MVP in 1999-00. He was also the All-Star MVP in the same year.
Chad: No question he came into LA and they won 3 straight championships and was dominant in his seasons in LA absolutely agree with a statue. Plus it’s a statue the Lakers could have as many as they wanted.
João: I am comfortable with this decision. The team decided to honor Shaq and fact of the matter is that he is one of the franchise’s all-time best players, lead the team to multiple championships, etc. The accolades, both individual and at a team level, speak for themselves. Shaq was, at the height of his game, the most unstoppable force in the NBA during those years.
Does he actually deserve a statue? If the franchise thinks that he does, then why should someone criticize that? I have a feeling Kobe will have a statue there too in some years. And I am also OK with that.
Steve:I think they should wait a few more years and have a dual statue of Shaq and Kobe with boxing gloves about to face off against each other outside of the Staples Center. For real though, I am fine with that. He was the face of that franchise for many years, and accomplished great things with the Lakers, winning several championships, and MVP’s. You kind of have to ask yourself though, was he as good as guys like West, Magic, Kareem? How many statues can you put up in front of one building?