The single-elimination phase of the NBA In-Season ends this week. Human nature prompts us to throw away new things, and IST has inspired a whole host of reasons to hate it. There’s a lot not to like. the Scoring differentials play a role in who advances, custom arenas that play like ice rinks, where the 30-team field is whittled down to eight teams not including the last two NBA champions, and the sudden-death round begins about a month after the tournament. Day 1 begins for the Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics, Sacramento Kings, and New Orleans Pelicans, and here each team is insufferable in its own way.
Pacers run a fraternity
Offensively, Indiana is a fraternity party. Buddy Hield executes trick shots from the chandelier, Myles Turner blocks shots through his window, and Tyrese Halliburton supplies the social lubricant. The problem is that when everyone goes home, the Pacers’ home is destroyed and they’ve done enough damage that it’s barely livable. They live life on the edge. They hit the turbo with possession, but they defended as if they had too many. They can get away with it because they are young and fun and the city needs something to encourage. The Pacers are playing like the 2023 counterpart to Doug Moe’s Silent D-enver Nuggets. The Nuggets’ legendary offenses were the last to carry over from the ABA, but they rarely played meaningful postseason basketball.
Haliburton is an elite playmaker, but can you trust a solar attack leader who looks like he’s constipated when he tries to jump? Buddy Hield is a 30-year-old NBA postseason virgin who plays a younger role than he did last year, but he’s getting too old for these tricks after missing the postseason longer than any active player. The last time Hield played in a single-elimination game, he was one of Oklahoma’s top players After being crushed by 44 points against Villanova. He is the veteran of this band. By comparison, the Boston Celtics look like Logan Roy.
Celtics Management Consulting Company
If the Pacers are the young ragtags running the Calvinball offense, Boston is a soulless lineup led by a Pete Buttigieg clone. Like any McKinsey graduate, Brad Stevens has replaced most of his local supporting stars with a ragtag group of competent project managers. The Celtics team consists primarily of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, and a consulting firm. Horford is a grandfather now while Brown is the highest-paid player in the NBA, but he’s a player who penetrates the ball as if he had a heavyweight ball-handling glove on his left hand.
Jrue Holiday is the fix-it teams import to raise their quarterly expectations on both ends of the floor. But like any advisor, he is not bound anywhere for long. The same goes for Kristaps Porzingis. Since leaving New York he has become a hired gun.
Danny Ainge went the route of replacing Isaiah Thomas with Kyrie Irving, ruining their continuity, but at least Irving was a brilliant artist with the rock in his hands. Porzingis and Holiday are great team chemistry on the floor, but they’re also brought in if the general manager is secretly an AI. She fits exactly what Boston needs, but will never inspire the same amount of passion as KG, Bird, and Ray Allen. Even their best player secretly wishes he was a Laker.
Porzingis suffered a calf strain on Nov. 24, has not played since and is out for the Celtics’ opener. Losing an important game due to injury is Boston’s biggest fear. This season is his best chance to restore his reputation after years of playing off-Broadway in Dallas and Washington, but if he rides the waves during the postseason, the Celtics can’t expect to bring home Boston’s 18th title this summer. Until 2020, Boston had more Larry O’Briens than almost every franchise, so can you imagine how insufferable the Bostonians would be if their post-Brady title drought was interrupted this season? Fortunately, Joe Mazzola Preparation and failed implementation in times of crisis It is worse than Doug and Jim’s “last job” in the city.
Murphy’s Law applies to the New Orleans Pelicans
If smooth sailing is what the New Orleans Pelicans are all about, then it’s only a matter of time until the ship turns around. Leakage always happens when the Pelicans are hitting their stride. Remember when DeMarcus Cousins tore his Achilles tendon just as he, Anthony Davis, and Jrue Holiday were starting to fine-tune their relationship?
Zion Williamson’s precarious health and fitness have become a running joke and a popular narrative. But he’s not the only pelican with torn bones and ligaments. CJ McCollum’s fragility should be equally troubling. Since the 72-game 2020-21 season, he has missed 147 games. McCollum is as much to blame for the Pelicans as Williamson, so save some barbs for Jaleel White for a quick shot.
Brandon Ingram is thriving, but he’s turning into Michael Beasley for Kevin Dorantes. This is disappointing. His silky smooth game inspired Durant comps and he seemed to take a leap, only to constantly take two steps back after one step forward. Ingram He stood out as a sore thumb for Team USA At the FIBA World Cup this summer, he carried that into the regular season, seemingly leaving his jump in the Philippines.
Third division beam team
The Rays were a shock to the league system last season. The Beam lit up the skies in Sacramento, De’Aaron Fox won the inaugural Player of the Year award, set the all-time record for offensive efficiency, ended the league’s longest drought, and Domantas Sabonis emerged as the No. 2 player in the playoff hunt, but they lost the element of surprise. Now come the real expectations. The Kings would not have advanced without Golden State seeking to reach a +13 point margin. Every time you look at royalty, just remember what this could be like. Keegan Murray’s development is stuck in amber while Shaydon Sharpe looks like a game-changer for Portland.
This is the organization that succeeded Luka Doncic from Marvin Bagley, and Vivac Ranadive is coaching his daughter to manage the basketball team soon. They also clinched the Oklahoma City Thunder’s place in the quarterfinals. Fox and Sabonis feel like overachievers who have already hit their heads on the ceiling compared to early Sam Presti Thunder Squad.
Sabonis is the other side of the Julius Randle coin in many ways. It is surrounded by its chains. He’s foul-able, thoughtful, a non-factor defensively, and appears once a night to attempt one obligatory three-pointer. Randle is erratic offensively and emotionally, is slow on defense and lacks extra equipment. As nice as that is, just remember how high the Kings could go if they used Tyrese Haliburton correctly.
(Part 2 will be published tomorrow, December 5.)
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