Welcome to the Truda Report everyone. The biggest move in the NBA so far this season caused a lot of discussion about which side won the trade, something we haven't seen much of with blockbuster trades in recent years. Teams looking to start a rebuild have usually sent star players to good teams for barely anything in return making the question of who won the trade an easy answer, but the way things are working out for both sides makes this move a little harder to analyze. I'll break down what I think has been good and bad for both team, and then give my verdict in this article. If there are any suggestions for later topics leave them below, and let me know if you disagree with anything I said in this article because I love nothing more than a good sports debate.
Timberwolves Receive: Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Jarryd Bayless, future second round pick
76ers Receive: Jimmy Butler, Justin Patton
For the TWolves, this trade was about remaking their locker room and getting back the most value for Jimmy they could without handing him to a Western Conference contender. On the surface, Minnesota did a good job of this. After the trade Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins should definitely feel more comfortable than when they had a very intimidating bona fide star in their face telling them to play harder and stop padding stats. KAT undoubtedly plays better without Jimmy on the court as he's allowed to take most of the shots and he doesn't feel crowded at the hoop. His play has not disappointed. Andrew Wiggins on the other hand has done exactly what I expected him to do: flop. Wiggins is on a huge 5 year $146.5 million contract and he still hasn't proven himself to be a capable NBA player. Minnesota banked on him coming into form with the exodus of Butler, but the opposite has happened. Wiggins continues to be a defensive liability and he can't find his jump shot. He has all of the athletic potential in the world, but after having gone number one in the draft back in 2014 he is quietly becoming a bust.
Helping offset the disappointment of Wiggins are the additions Minnesota made through the trade. Robert Covington continues to be exceptional of defense, and he can provide scoring in spots. Dario Saric gives the Timberwolves much needed three point shooting, and although he has taken a step back since last season it's still and upgrade from what was there. Bayless and the second round pick were more filler than anything else for Minnesota, who really only made the trade because of a player I have yet to mention.
I'm getting a little off topic with this mention, but this deal wouldn't have been done without the reemergence of Derrick Rose. Rose has been spectacular this season and is a clear All-Star. He's taken on some of the scoring load left by Butler, allowing for this trade to leave the Timberwolves in not that bad of a spot. Rose took on the scoring, Covington took on the defense, and Saric took on some three point shooting. All of that has helped Minnesota continue to win some games with the absence of Butler.
My goodness has Justin Patton been incredible! I'm kidding, of course. The only piece of value that the Sixers got back in this deal is Jimmy G. Buckets. Butler has been nothing less than what Philly could have wanted. Besides being lit up by point guard Kemba Walker for 60 in a Sixers win (Jimmy of course had the game winning block, save, and three pointer to seal the game) Butler has been himself defensively. On offense Jimmy isn't lighting up the stat sheet, although he has had his share of big games. Butler has been efficient though, and he's doing what the Sixers want: play second fiddle to Joel Embiid, and sometimes even Ben Simmons. Where Butler isn't expected to take a step back is crunch time though, and that is what makes this Sixers team so dangerous now. Butler already has two game winners in the about 10 games he's been with the team, and just Sunday he had a dagger to seal another game. Butler is clutch, having hit 5 game winners with less than 10 seconds left since the 2016 season. That's second to only Russell Westbrook who takes basically every important shot for his team, while Butler has been splitting crunch time touches most of his career. Butler is doing for this team what they needed, helping a poor defensive lineup lock up opposing team's main offensive threats, and providing experienced, clutch, play when it matters.
So Who Won?
In the end, this trade can be looked at a million different ways and all that will matter is wins and loses. Philly was the better team entering this season, and what they did was come out an even bigger threat. Minnesota on the other hand, came out of this a worse team, and despite winning four straight after Butler's departure they find themselves in the 10th spot in the West and an unlikely Playoff team. Butler had the TWolves as the number three squad in the NBA last year until his knee injury a little while after the All Star break, and now Minnesota can only dream about being that successful. Meanwhile, the Sixers, after a rough start, find themselves third in the East while still going through some growing pains in figuring out exactly what new lineups work best. Philly can be considered the winner of this trade for the foreseeable future, and Minnesota will have to wonder whether they made a mistake siding with the likes of Wiggins over Jimmy Butler.
Welcome to the Truda Report everybody. Tonight is the start of the NBA Finals, featuring the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors for the fourth straight year. It is quite obviously a lopsided matchup, but I'll break down what I think will eventually happen and what'll guide both teams to victory. Make sure to share this article as it helps TTR grow, and make sure to comment any questions or topics you'd like to hear about.
Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers:
I think that the biggest thing to understand when looking at this series is that nothing is a given. Injuries happen, sloppy play happens, and miracles happen. A family member of mine reminded me of a Finals not too long ago where there was a situation sort of similar to this one, when the Shaq-Kobe Lakers (the heavy, heavy, favorites) were stunned by the Detroit Pistons, who were led by Chauncy Billups. The Lakers housed four future Hall of Famers, and yet couldn't win the series. What I see in this series is four Warriors Hall of Famers, and one LeBron James. LeBron, being LeBron, can pull this off if the Warriors aren't careful.
Along those same lines, I think that the ball is in Golden State's court right now; they can either get together as a team and say "We are going to sweep this pathetic Cavs roster," or they can lose interest, take their position for granted, and find themselves tied 2-2 in a week and a half. I see the Warriors entering this series with the former mindset, but we've seen this team lose interest this year, costing them games. I think the media's doubting of the Warrior's dynasty after a close call in Houston will inspire a killer mindset in the Warriors though, so I'll let you know right now, I have them winning in five games. I think it has to be pointed out though, that teams in their position have made terrible mistakes in the past.
Now that my digression is out of the way, I'll talk about what I see as being the keys to victory for both teams. On the Warriors end of things, I think it's simple: play defense. LeBron is going to be LeBron, but it's his supporting cast that will decide games. If the Warriors can close out on the Cavs three point shooters and not allow James any help, then there is no way Cleveland comes away with this series. Kyle Korver can be deadly and change the course of games, so making sure he and the other shooters (like my man J.R. Swish) don't heat up is important.
The Warriors also have to avoid doing something I talked about in a previous post, which is playing hero ball. Kevin Durant had a ton of isolation plays against the Rockets, breaking the fluid ball movement and three point shooting tendencies we always see out of the Warriors. That can't happen in this series, and the more the Warriors play their game, the more likely they are to win. Someone will be hot every night so keeping the ball moving will ensure that everyone gets a few wide open looks, and the hot hand gets more quality looks. I'm okay with Durant getting the iso call when it's time for a dagger, but otherwise I think more ball movement gives the Warriors a win.
On the Cavaliers end of things I think one thing and one thing only decides this series: three point shooting. LeBron James is a playmaker, and his ability to dish out the ball when driving to the basket to open shooters is incredible. If the supporting cast can knock down those shots it takes some of the scoring load off of James, allowing him to spend more energy on the defensive end. That would be huge for the Cavs since they'll need all of the help they can get trying to stop the four All Stars of Golden State.
Since I feel bad about being so concise with the key for the Cavs victory, I'll mention something that I think will help Cleveland immensely this series. His name is Caughta Cheater...wait sorry Tristan Thompson. Thompson, despite his complicated off court love life, is a beast on the basketball court, and I think one of the best offensive rebounders in the game. He's also a bruiser and a big body, which Golden State has trouble defending against. When Houston said they were built specifically to beat Golden State, a big part of that system was Clint Capela. Having a dominant center against the Warriors, who have a serious hole at center, is a big plus, and I think Thompson could have a big series. Part of the reason he's on such an expensive contract is because of his great play in the Finals against the Warriors a couple years ago, so I think getting him the ball on offense and his defensive presence could be huge.
Just to reiterate what I said earlier, I see the Warriors taking home the Championship in five games. I think that both teams are capable of winning the Finals, and what I said about the Cavs could very easily happen, but I'm not willing to pick against possibly the best scoring lineup ever created. I think that the keys I brought up for the Warriors are much more attainable for them than those I brought up for Cleveland, just because of what I've seen so far this year, making me much more inclined to take Golden State in a lopsided victory. Hopefully I'll have time to break down a lot of the games as this series progresses, but if not at least you can keep an eye out on how what I've brought up impacts the series.
Welcome to the Truda Report everybody. Both the Eastern and Western Conference Finals have made their way through four games in the respective series, so now is the time to look back at what's worked and what hasn't for each of the four teams. With the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics tied up at two apiece, and the Golden State Warriors and Rockets also in a 2-2 deadlock, the Conference Finals have now become a best of three series. I'll be looking at what can be done by all four teams to emerge victorious, and also give my updated predictions for who will be moving on to the Finals. Make sure to share this article as it helps TTR grow, and leave a comment if there is anything you want me to discuss in the next article.
Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers:
This series is much easier to break down than Rockets Warriors, because this series isn't a combination of analytics and great basketball balancing each other on the two most talented rosters in the NBA; this is one incredibly coached team having to deal with one more-than-incredible player. That player, LeBron James, has caused a lot of talk the past two weeks. This series, after the first two games in Boston, was called "over" and "finished" and "done" by varying people on national television. Boston, with a two to nothing lead, was already being called victorious, and people were predicting which team LeBron would go to next. Now, though, it's tied up at two apiece and the talk has shifted to whether Boston has a shot to pull this series out. I, during this media overreaction, sat calmly and laughed, because apparently people who dedicate their lives to analyzing sports don't understand how sports work. NBA series are designed to give the better team the advantage of starting the series with the lead, but then giving the worse team a chance to tie things up, although the pressure will be on: that's the whole basis behind the 2,2,1,1,1 home court system. Boston was supposed to come out with a two game lead, because THEY had home court advantage, not the Cavs. So now that the Cavs won their two home games, I can confidently say that everyone needs to chill out, because you know what's supposed to happen next--Boston is now supposed to reclaim the lead. This series isn't over by any stretch of the imagination, and since my prediction was Cavs in seven, I'm not going to freak out whichever way this next game goes. Boston, by design, should win since they're at home, but if not, they, being the "better team" (based on seeding), should be able to win in Cleveland and force a Game 7. So I guess my message, before I break down some specifics from the first four games, is that everyone needs to chill out; by design these series are built to last seven games, and although certain games hold series implications, we've seen comebacks on multiple occasions throughout NBA history.
Okay, so onto why this series is sitting at two games apiece. Like I said earlier, LeBron James is a one man wrecking crew who can singlehandedly ruin a teams chances of winning any given game. Right now, we are witnessing that happen. LeBron in the last two games understood that it was time for Cleveland to respond, and he turned things on. In Game 4 LeBron had 44 points and shot 61% from the field. In case you didn't know, that's ridiculous. LeBron had a more pedestrian first two games, and the Celtics provided the pressure defensively. These last two games though the Cavs have shot out to huge leads at the beginning of games. The Celtics, being a well coached team, have fought back, but some of the deficits they are seeing are too much to surmount. The Celtics need to be better defensively in transition at the start of games to stop the huge scoring burst in the first couple of minutes, and they need to just shake some of their nerves. The Celtics roster is incredibly young, and some of their most important players are just out of college. This is a big stage to have to perform on, and you can see the small discomfort at the beginning of games.
For the Cavs, in order to keep winning, which I think they'll be able to do, their role players need to keep showing up. LeBron is great at driving to the basket and kicking the ball out to shooters for open threes, and if the Cavs can keep sinking them (they made 50% in Game 3 and 36% in Game 4) then things will be a wrap. The Celtics are great defensively, but LeBron takes a lot of attention to guard, so if everyone else makes Boston pay for their lack of attention on the role players, than the Cavs will be set. Big performances from LeBron and solid backing from another two or three players is enough against this young Celtics team. Cleveland should be confident heading in to these final three games.
I've already mentioned it, but I'll say it again. I previously picked the Cavs to make the Finals, and then to beat the Celtics, and I'm still sticking by that. I can't go against LeBron James right now, and especially since it's a three game series, I don't see James losing. He just needs two more huge games, and he'll be back in the Finals. I'm sticking with my pick of Cavs in seven, and no matter what happens in Game 5, I'll keep that pick. Hold me to it.
Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors:
I really hate it when people blatantly lie, knowing well that everything they're saying is false. You can see it on their face a lot of the time too--it's in their facial expression that they know what they're saying is blatantly not true. I keep seeing that facial expression in Mike D'Antoni's post game press conferences. After a Rockets loss, D'Antoni sits their and says how the Rockets will continue playing their style of basketball since he knows it can beat the Warriors. Game 2, which was an impressive defeat of Golden State, was followed by D'Antoni telling everyone how nothing changed. I'm dead serious when I say this: I laughed out loud. The Rockets went from playing all iso basketball, James Harden hero ball, and shooting late in the shot clock to ball movement, early shots, and spreading the ball around. They played like the Warriors basically. It was easy to see while watching the game, and then D'Antoni followed it up by pretending like it was "his" system that beat Golden State, when really they just emulated what had previously beaten them. Game 4 was the same situation. After a disgusting 41 point blowout victory for Golden State in Game 3, the Rockets came out and once again reverted to Warriors style basketball. The ball was spread around (James Harden was basically the entire offense in the first half, but when it came down to crunch time everybody was getting their touches, and it was Chris Paul who hit the big shots), and the Rockets had their best defensive game of the season. The defensive intensity at the end of the game was nothing I've ever seen out of the Rockets (it's something I see out of the Warriors all the time), and their willingness to spread the ball around the perimeter and dish the ball off of drives to the basket was not a page out of their own book. Of course, Houston went on to win an incredible game by three points, tying the series at 2-2. I lost a lot of respect for Mike D'Antoni because of his unwillingness to admit his change in coaching style once he saw they couldn't win the way that they usually play.
Someone I am gaining respect for, though, is James Harden. He has, time and time again, come up small in the Playoffs, but in Game 4 he came up huge in the first half, helping the Rockets avoid being blown out. Another person I'm gaining respect for is Chris Paul. He also just had one of the biggest moments of his career, as he closed out the Warriors who were surging backing into the game late in the fourth quarter. Paul hit a lot of huge shots, and played like the big time player he is. I'm not fans of either of these players, but they deserve respect for their respective performances in the Rockets wins this series.
On the Warriors end of things, they just need to keep doing what they do best. Steph Curry has looked great these last two games, and the Warriors need to keep running the offense through him. If they can execute their fluid ball movement more often, then I think things are a wrap for Houston. The issue has been when Curry and/or Thompson is off the floor, and the Warriors try to isolate Kevin Durant too much. KD has been spectacular, playing incredibly pretty much every night of the Playoffs, and his isolation game has been incredible this series. The issue, though, is that eventually he's going to have to miss a couple of shots, and those are the possessions that the Rockets take advantage of and grow their lead. When Durant is taking every shot, everyone else is getting out of sync offensively and the shot quality decreases. If the Warriors can avoid falling into this cycle again, than the team should perform more consistently offensively.
As for my pick right now, I'm sticking with my selection of the Warriors. I think that they can win another one in Houston, but last night's Game 4 loss was a huge blow. They had the win in their grasp but lost it, meaning that they have to win two out of four games in Houston this Playoffs. I don't care who you are, but winning anywhere outside of your home court twice in the course of one series is difficult, and the Warriors are going to have to do that. I still believe in their ability to come up big though, and if Steph, Klay, Dray, and Durant can continue their excellence and play with fluidity, than they should be able to take home the win in seven games.
Welcome to the Truda Report everybody. After a very quick round of Conference Semifinals series, all of which ended in at most five games, it's time for the NBA Conference Finals. In the East, the Boston Celtics continue to surprise the league with their incredible play despite not having their two best players, and the Cavaliers continue rolling behind LeBron James's incredible play. In the West, the inevitable match up of the NBA's two best teams, the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets, will be possibly more watched than the actual Finals. Both should be very interesting series, and at least one should come down to seven games. Today I want to give my predictions and my preview for both series, and hopefully inform some of you who are on the fence about who to pick yourselves.
Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers:
This series has serious implications for the future of the NBA. Boston, without their two best players, has been so good that they're one of the top four teams in the NBA right now. With the return of Kyrie and Hayward, this team could be possibly the best in the NBA. If LeBron manhandles this young roster, though, we could see some acquisitions for more established players in the NBA. On the Cavs side of things, if this roster can't beat a cripples Celtics team, then LeBron James will 99% not be returning. The Celtics with Kyrie and Hayward would kill this Cleveland team, so there will be zero reason for LeBron to return if they can't beat Boston right now.
Back to the present, this series should be incredibly fun to watch. I think it's going to go seven games, and I think it should be close every night. The biggest concern for the Cavs has been players besides LeBron stepping up and scoring the basketball, but in their sweep of the Raptors, on multiple occasions other players were helping take on that scoring load. If they keep that up in this series, LeBron will have a lot less pressure on his shoulders, allowing him to be more present defensively. On the Celtics end of things, they should be a little worried about what happened to the Raptors. I thought that the Toronto Cleveland series was going to be close because of Toronto's depth counteracting LeBron, but their depth didn't do anything to help. I think partially DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry's underwhelming play had more to do with the Raptors struggles than the depth, but what does that say for the Celtics? The Celtics don't have star players at all, and if depth isn't effective against Cleveland than Boston is rendered ineffective. Boston does have one thing going for them that the Raptors didn't though, which is why I'm calling this a seven game series. That thing is Brad Stevens.
Brad Stevens (incoming: hot take) is the best coach in the NBA right now. I don't care what people say, but Stevens is doing more right now with what he has than what Gregg Popovich did with the Spurs, who I think have a better roster right now than the Celtics. Pop still had star players like LaMarcus Aldridge, while Stevens is working with a ton of people on rookie contracts. Stevens ability to draw up plays and prepare his team in the final moments of games has been incredible these Playoffs, as we've seen on multiple occasions. Stevens should keep Boston in this series, especially with his great game planning going up against LeBron. There is no way to stop LeBron James, but the way Stevens creates matchups to hinder star players is incredible; his placement of Al Horford on Ben Simmons defensively made it hard for Simmons to finish inside (cause Simmons can't shoot for his life) and it left the more athletic players to guard the other shooters on the court surrounding the passing proficient Simmons. Philly was minus 63 when Ben Simmons was on the floor in that series. Yeah. If he can do anything to slow down LeBron or the surrounding members of the Cavs, then Boston can win this series.
I'm personally picking the Cavs to win, since they were my pick to go to the Finals out of the East from the beginning. I don't like Boston being treated like the underdog though, because people need to remember how poor the Cavs looked just a week or two ago against the Pacers. That version of the Cavs could show up at any moment. I just can't pick against LeBron, though, so I'm taking Cleveland in a thrilling series.
Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors:
Welcome to the NBA Finals everyone...wait what?...the two best teams aren't playing in the Finals?...why are they playing in the Western Conference Finals?...that must mean the East is garbage...oh the East is garbage...okay thanks. So yeah, the real matchup of the leagues two best teams in now, not later. The Warriors, who everyone hates now for some reason, and the Rockets, who I think are way more hatable, are facing off in what should be an intense series. Houston and Golden State play very different styles of basketball which to me is funny since the Rockets claim to have been built specifically to beat Golden State. Golden State is one of the top assisting teams in the NBA, as well as one of the top defensive teams in the league. Houston is near the bottom in both categories. Houston shoots more threes than anybody else, and they play more isolation basketball than the rest of the NBA. The Warriors are obviously known for their three point shooting, but don't shoot as many as Houston, and they also are towards the bottom of the NBA in iso basketball.
When thinking about who to pick, this difference in style of play made things easy for me. The Warriors without intentionally doing so, are built to beat the Rockets. The reason the Warriors were so successful and historic was that they brought in a new wave of basketball, which was high percentage three point attempts and makes. This along with their selfless system destroyed teams built on iso basketball since they could outscore them for days, and the Warriors defense was also huge for them. Against the Rockets, at team with two Hall of Fame guards, things will not be so easy, but the general ideas surrounding what made the Warriors work was that they were the opposite of iso heavy teams.
This is not to say that this series won't be close though. This series is going seven games, and I think there won't be a game decided by more than ten points, but there are issues with what the Rockets are right now. James Harden has been given a huge pass from the media this Postseason, as he has been producing considerably less then what he did during the regular season. His field goal percent has only been 40%, and his three point sits at 34%. He's still averaging 28.5 ppg, but he's struggling shooting the ball, and against a really good defensive team like the Warriors, thinks could get shaky. One thing I love for the Rockets right now, though, is Clint Capela. The Warriors most effective lineup is "The Hamptons Five" which consists of Curry, Thompson, Durant, Iguodala, and Green. This lineup should struggle defensively against someone as good as Capela though, especially since Capela is a great post player. If Capela forces the Warriors to use a center a lot, and "The Hamptons Five" says off the floor, Houston will have a better chance against Golden State.
Overall though, I just like the Warriors more in the series. The style of play, the inconsistency with Harden, and the overall pedigree of Golden State point to them winning this series. When I first made my Playoff picks I reserved the right to make my pick until now since I said everything depended upon Steph Curry's health, and to me he looks great. He's playing at what seems to be 100%, and the effect that has on everyone else is amazing. Warriors, in an incredibly close seven game series, move on to the Finals for a fourth straight year against LeBron James and the Cavs.
Welcome to the Truda Report everybody. Today I want to talk a little bit about some of the bigger stories related to the NBA Conference Semifinals. If you want any specific topics for the next article comment them down below, and also make sure to share this article as it helps TTR grow.
Brad Stevens vs. The Process:
This Celtics vs. Sixers series is going to be really fun. Honestly, it shouldn't be though. If the Celtics were anywhere close to healthy, they would destroy Philadelphia. The teams two best players, both All Stars, are injured. If you want to accept that Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward are injured though, then think about this as well: if anyone but Brad Stevens was the Celtics coach, the Sixers would be destroying the Celtics. Brad Stevens has coached up possibly the best defense in all of the NBA, and despite having a crippled roster, the Celtics continue to win. There is no denying that the team's young role players have stepped up in huge ways, but this is more than just individual performances. Guys like Terry Rozier, Jayson Tatum, and Al Horford all deserve their due respect, but without Brad Stevens at the helm this team would not still be in the Playoffs. The Milwaukee Bucks were not an easy out, and watching the Celtics handle their business in Game 7 of that series says a lot about Stevens as a coach. Getting a young, inexperienced team to play like polished veterans is not easy, but he's making it work. Also, when you watch the Celtics play, at least three or four times a game I can't help but say, "That was an incredible play call" (or design). Stevens has done an excellent job with this team, and he has the looks of an early-stages all time great coach.
Quickly, I think I should address the Sixers. I said in my Playoff predictions that I had the Sixers beating the Celtics in this round, but I'd like to specify here that I think this series is going seven games. I also think that each team is going to have to win a game on the road this series, because although Boston is great on their home floor, the Sixers are by far the more talented team. Having just said that, I think now would be a good time to tell everyone to stop being suckers and hop off of the Sixers bandwagon. All that I've been hearing since Kyrie Irving went down injured was how the Sixers have been spectacular, and how the Sixers are the next great Eastern Conference dynasty, and how they don't need LeBron James to be great. Just so you know, I laugh hysterically every time I hear an analyst say something like that. Brad Stevens is the best coach in the East, and a top two coach in the league, and the Celtics roster is the third best in the league when fully healthy. We are seeing right now how good they are without their best players, so once you those two back into the equation, not only will they be a great starting five, but they'll be deep. So, if the Sixers are going to struggle with THIS Celtics team, there is no way they are what everyone is hyping them up to be. I'm still taking Philly to win in seven, but after Game 1, I'm not very confident in that pick. Game 2 will be telling.
LeBron Got Help?
The Cleveland Cavaliers stole Game 1 last night in Toronto, and despite LeBron James's triple double, he didn't take over in the way he usually does. He didn't really need to. For the first time all Playoffs, it looked like the Cleveland Cavaliers were playing, not LeBron James and four bums. When this team helps out LeBron, Toronto is going to struggle. The Raptors strength is their depth while the Cavs strength is that they have arguably the best player ever, so when the two teams hold those molds it's a pretty even match up. If the Cavs role players are going to keep stepping up though, then Cleveland can easily win this series. They already stole a game in Toronto, so now it's the Raptors with the pressure on their shoulders. I had the Cavs winning this series in seven games in my initial picks, but I was starting to question that after the way Cleveland looked in the first round. If the Cavs can replicate what they did last night though, then I stick with my pick, and I like the Cavs season continuing on.
Steph Curry's Return:
I saw a lot of panicking about the Warriors-Pelicans series, with people saying that New Orleans was going to take this seven games. People overreact a lot, because they only look at what is directly in front of them. They saw a Warriors team that isn't their best self (because of an injured Steph Curry) playing a New Orleans team that looked like the best they've been all year. I saw Curry being out for one game, and then coming back to help the Warriors end the series in five games. Right now, I'm hearing a lot of that from everybody else as well. After Curry's incredible return last night (28 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, +26 plus minus, all in 27 minutes) now suddenly people are realizing what the Warriors are again. This team in practically unstoppable when everyone can play, and although the Rockets are going to pose a challenge, the Pelicans aren't the Rockets. Curry doesn't have to play 40 minutes against new Orleans to have an impact, because clearly what he did last night was enough. Everyone needs to chill out with their impulsive reactions, and go with what history has shown us. What history tells me is that the Warriors are more than fine, and Steph Curry is going to take this team far into the Playoffs.
Welcome to the Truda Report everybody. Today I want to talk about a couple huge games in the NBA First Round in the upcoming days, as well as the conclusion to the Pelicans-Trail Blazers series. If there's any topics that you would like me to touch on next time comment below and I'll make sure to discuss it. Also, make sure to share this article as it helps TTR grow.
Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks:
Tonight's match up between these two teams could very well decide the series. It's all tied up at two games a piece, so if the Bucks were to win in Boston tonight, they would be winners of three straight and take the ball back home with a chance to close out the series. On Boston's end of things, a win tonight gives them the leeway the rest of the series, because even if the Bucks were to tie things back up after Game 6, Game 7 would be in TD Garden. This game clearly has major implications for both teams, and that's why the news of Marcus Smart's return is huge. Smart is an incredible defender, and in my opinion his offensive game is underrated. An already thin Celtics team will really appreciate having Smart's services back, and I think that the biggest benefactor from this will be Terry Rozier. He has been more than anyone could have asked for while filling in as the Celtics point guard in the absence of Kyrie Irving. Now that Smart can alleviate some of those minutes, Rozier will be fresher on the offensive end. For Milwaukee, Smart's return just means a more difficult game offensively, but if I'm being honest, in this series specifically I wouldn't be too concerned if I'm a Bucks fan. Milwaukee's best players in this series are all forwards (Giannis, Middleton), and I think their other scariest player is Jabari Parker. Marcus Smart is 6'4, 220 pounds; Giannis Antetokounmpo is 6'11, 225 pounds; Middleton and Parker are both 6'8. Marcus Smart is not singlehandedly stopping any of those three. If I'm picking tonight's game though, I still have to take the Celtics. This has been a very close series all the way through, and I think that Smart's return helps Boston enough on both ends of the floor to lead to another win. Also, home court advantage helps a lot. Boston wins a very important game.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat:
I'm going to cry if tonight is Dwayne Wades final game in the NBA. Down 3-1, the Heat's season is on the line tonight, and all I want if for Wade to end his career on Miami's home floor--not in Philly. I have a hunch that Father Prime also wants the same thing, so I'd expect him to play a solid amount of minutes tonight, and to take a lot of shots. I hope that this turns into a vintage D-Wade night, and that he can then lose happily back in Miami to fulfill my prediction of a six game series win for the Sixers. Also, I kind of hope that Wade, out of character, pulls a page out of Kobe's book and goes off for no apparent reason, taking and making shots with two people all over him while Kelly Olynyk is chillin' wide open in the corner for three...and also a couple of sweet blocks since that's a Wade signature...and maybe a couple of lobs to Hassan Whiteside for old times sake...and maybe Wade can drink a potion and be 25 again so I can watch him play for another decade. I don't know, I don't think I'm asking for too much.
P.S. this isn't really a key game, it's just that Dwayne Wade's career could be over in the next couple of days which is what makes this series still interesting to follow. Philly is going to win in six at most.
Toronto Raptors vs. Washington Wizards:
This series is really interesting because I called sweep, and yet I sit here writing this while it's tied up 2-2. I've known all along the potential of this Wizards team, but I hadn't seen them put things together enough this year to trust it in the Playoffs. Well, now their putting things together, and it's the Playoffs. John Wall has been out of this world, and honestly this series could go either way right now. I actually think that Drake could be the biggest X-Factor here. I love the man, but he could be pulling a Spike Lee move here (if you don't know what I'm talking about, you have to watch Winning Time: Miller vs. The Knicks. It is my favorite 30 for 30 of all time and a classic). If Drake keeps trash talking John Wall, Wall might just continue elevating his game until he wills the Wizards to win this series. Part of why this Game 5 is so critical though, is that neither team has won a game off of their home court yet. The Wizards are going to have to show up on the road to win this series, and tonight will be a huge test of their ability to do that. If Washington wins, it'll be the same situation as the Bucks--they'll have control of the series. If not, Toronto will be in the drivers seat the rest of the way, and I think the Raptors are too good to collapse up 3-2 with game seven at home. If Washington wants to win the series, I think they have to win. With all of that said, I picked the Raptors to win this series, so I'm taking them to come out on top. The Wizards have looked incredible the last two games though, so if they leave Canadian Customs with a smile on their face, I wouldn't be too surprised.
Pelicans Sweep Trail Blazers:
I feel so stupid. I watched the first game of this series, and immediately knew that New Orleans was going to sweep Portland. I, of course, boldly stated that the "Trail Blazers are winning in five, but really I want to say sweep." I was very wrong. And I feel stupid. I forgot about one person, who I love dearly, and praised greatly last Playoffs: Rajon Rondo. Playoff Rondo is possibly the greatest point guard in all of history--him and Hoodie Melo would rule the world. In all seriousness though, Playoff Rondo changes everything. I don't know what changes, but this man has been able to flip a switch and turn into a dominant force. In four games he has 45 points (11.25 ppg), 53 assists (13.25 apg), and 30 rebounds (7.5 rpg). The man is ridiculous as a distributor, and the amount of offense he creates is incredible. His affect on an above average team can turn them into what we just saw in this First Round.
Another person who deserves a huge amount of credit is Jrue Holiday. This man absolutely locked up Damian Lillard, and basically ended any discussion of Lillard being a top three (some were arguing the best) point guard in the NBA. After seeing him embarrass himself and his city this series, I'd take Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook (I wouldn't deal with Westbrooks stat padding though, I'd trade him as soon as he started those shenanigans), Chris Paul, James Harden, and maybe John Wall over Lillard. Just like how James Harden's reputation took a shot for his performance in last year's Playoffs, Damian Lillard's image will falter a little bit until he can prove to everyone that he's better than how he played. For now though, everyone needs to appreciate Jrue Holiday showing up on both ends of the court, including his three games scoring over 20 this series, which includes a 41 point gashing of the Trail Blazers to close out the series.
All of this leads to a larger question though, of how Demarcus Cousins fits back onto this team when he returns from injury next year. Anthony Davis has been playing at an MVP level and is arguably next in line for the crown of best player in the world. I've seen a lot of opinions on this topic in the last two days, but I'll withhold my opinion until we all see how the Pelicans fair in Round Two. Until then, I'll hold onto my initial reaction and gather as much information on the situation as I can. Trust me though, this situation holds a lot of weight in the NBA, because if moving "Boogie" is the best move for New Orleans, Cousin's impact elsewhere could create another title contender.
Welcome to the Truda Report everybody. The NBA Playoffs are upon us, and it's time for my first round picks. Today I'll be picking who I think takes home all of the first round series, and as the first round progresses I'll be making picks for the winners of some of the key games. Today I'll also let you know who I expect to see in each of the Conference Finals, as well as the NBA Finals. On top of that, I'll be letting you know who I see winning it all this year. If there are any questions or topic requests leave them below in the comments and I'll respond either directly or with an in depth article as soon as I see them. Also, make sure to share this article as it helps TTR grow.
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Houston Rockets:
This series is one that I did not see coming. Until Jimmy Butler went down for seventeen games with a knee injury, the Wolves were the third seed in the Western Conference, and they could have easily advanced two rounds in the Playoffs. Now, though, they are facing the best team in basketball. The Houston Rockets are almost unbeatable when fully healthy, and barring any injuries, I don't see this series going any farther than five games. The Timberwolves don't match up exceptionally well with Houston, since Andrew Wiggins will have to guard either James Harden, Chris Paul, or Eric Gordon. Jimmy Butler, one of the games best defenders, will try to take one of those three out of the game (most likely Harden), but then Wiggins lack of defensive effort could be exploited by the other two. In general, the Timberwolves are not a good defensive team, and that is not good since they'll be facing the games best offense. I give Minnesota one game since Karl Anthony Towns is an unguardable freak, and Jimmy Butler is a top ten player in the league. Other than that, though, if everyone stays healthy this series is definitely not going seven games, six games is a stretch, and I think five is most likely. Houston moves on.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Utah Jazz:
This should be a really good series. The Jazz were expected by many to go nowhere this year after losing Gordon Hayward to the Celtics in free agency, but the emergence of Donovan Mitchell and great defensive play of Rudy Gobert have gotten the team this far. The Thunder are a disappointment so far, as they've been inconsistent and complicit in the stat padding of Russell Westbrook. Carmelo Anthony and Paul George have been overrated this year, and OKC's big three have not worked very well together. It's Playoff time now, and this big three has much more experience than the Utah Jazz. They also have home court advantage. I think that this series goes seven games, ultimately ending in a Thunder advancement. My personal distaste for OKC can't out way their experience advantage over the Jazz, and now that Westbrook has his triple double season locked in, there's less reason for him to blow games for the team with selfish play down the stretch. Thunder in seven, in a very, very, very close series.
Portland Trail Blazers vs. New Orleans Pelicans:
I love Anthony Davis, and what he has done in the absence of Boogie Cousins is really impressive. That isn't going to change how I see this series though, and honestly I'm having trouble not predicting sweep. The Trail Blazers are entering this series not far removed from a thirteen game winning streak, and the combo of C.J. McCollum and the most underrated player in the NBA (a.k.a. Damien Lillard, a.k.a. Dame D.O.L.L.A., a.k.a. the most clutch player behind only Kyrie Irving in the game right now) is a bad mismatch for the Pelicans. I'll call this a five game series since Anthony Davis can take over on any given night, but really Portland shouldn't be losing more than one game in this series. I like Portland and I think if they weren't stuck in the Western Conference, they would be in the NBA Finals.
Golden State Warriors vs. San Antonio Spurs:
Just to start this off, I'm predicting this series with the assumption that Steph Curry and Kawhi Leonard will both be out with injuries for the entire series. With that being said, the Warriors should make short work of the Spurs. This is the least amount of firepower Greg Popovich has had to work with in a very long time, and against a super team comprised of Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, Pop doesn't have much of a chance. I think that this series goes five games, six games maximum and that's only if one of the Warriors big three is bothered by an injury. The Warriors should easily move on from this round and then have Curry ready for their second series.
Toronto Raptors vs. Washington Wizards:
Grab your brooms everybody because we have a sweep. The Raptors will make short work of this Wizards team, who have basically been without a 100% healthy John Wall all season. Bradley Beal can only do so much against the duo of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, and the Wizards really don't have much help after that. Toronto's one seed this season should give them a great advantage as this should be easy work for them, and then give them a nice period of rest before what will be a difficult next series against most likely the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Indiana Pacers:
This series has me really excited. Victor Oladipo is always fun to watch, but he isn't the only reason I'm excited about this one. LeBron James always plays close games against Indiana, and although Paul George has always been part of the reason why those games have been close, there has always been someone else that's provided entertainment in this mini rivalry. That's right, Lance Stephenson is back with the Pacers, and his antics always reach their highest level when he's playing LeBron James. I cannot wait to see how the Cavs react to what will be a chippy series, and if their bench and other role players will hold their own. The Cavs really are not talented enough to have huge expectations this year, but this series in particular will help underline this teams Playoff capabilities. If the Cavs play well, expectations for a run to the Finals will rise, while if the role players struggle, Cleveland could be a popular pick to lose in the next round. I have Cleveland winning this series in six games because I think some of the Playoff inexperience on the Cavs could cost them a game, and also I just really want to see as much LeBron vs. Lance as I can.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat:
The Miami Heat are being way overlooked in this series. The main talking point of the last week or so has been how the Sixers are poised to make a run to the Eastern Conference Finals, and possibly the NBA Finals, but I'm saying everyone needs to slow down. The Sixers may be on a sixteen game winning streak currently, but they've really only beaten two or three teams that aren't actively tanking. Their win streak is a smoke screen for how good this team actually is. The Miami Heat are not nearly as talented as the Sixers, but head coach Eric Spoelstra is really good at exploiting mismatches. While Joel Embiid is out with an orbital fracture expect Miami to use Hassan Whiteside to his full extent, and even when Joel comes back Miami will try and take advantage of Philly's middle of the pack defense. Also, having a guy like Dwayne Wade on your team for clutch moments never hurts. Overall I expect Philadelphia to take this series, but I don't see them dominating the way that everyone else does. There could definitely be some blowouts, but I like this series going six games. If the Sixers do destroy Miami though, then I'll reevaluate them as the rest of the Playoffs move along.
Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks:
This series is going to be really interesting since it'll be a healthy squad lead by the Greek Freak taking on the crippled, but surviving, Celtics. Brad Stevens is working wonders in Boston right now, as his team is still winning games despite having lost another huge player on their roster, Kyrie Irving. The Celtics are not going to be easy to beat, but Milwaukee's struggles of late do not inspire confidence. I think that the Bucks need to play better as a team and not wholly rely on Giannis to carry the team throughout the Playoffs. Personally, I don't see the Bucks not having to rely on Giannis a great deal though, and since the Celtics are an incredible defensive team, I see Boston taking this series in seven. It'll be close, but Brad Stevens should find ways to contain Antetokounmpo, giving Boston the series.
Eastern Conference Finals Prediction:
The way that the bracket is structured makes one half of this prediction easy--the Philadelphia 76ers will be in the Eastern Conference Finals. They play Miami in the first round, and then either Boston (who is crippled) or the Bucks (who they just smacked by almost 40 points) in the second, so although I don't think Philly is as good as everyone is making them out to be, the weak Eastern Conference will aid their advancement. On the other side of things I have the Cavaliers taking on the Raptors in the second round, and the winner of that series takes on Philly. Toronto against Cleveland is a really hard series to pick since Toronto owns the season series, but it is yet to be seen how Cleveland's young lineup will fair in Playoff basketball. As of right now, I cannot pick against LeBron James, so I have the Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers playing each other in the Eastern Conference Finals. At that point LeBron and his squad would have proven that they are good enough to come out of the East, so I'd take them over Philly. If the Cavs are good enough to beat the Raptors, which I think they are, then I can't see them losing to the Sixers. LeBron would not be held back from his eighth straight Finals appearance if he had already made it that far. If this Sixers vs. Cavs matchup does end up taking place, then expect Cleveland to win.
Western Conference Finals Prediction:
I, along with the majority of basketball fans, can see no other matchup than what was seen as the inevitable at the beginning of the season--Rockets vs. Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. If I'm right and the Warriors have to take on the Portland Trail Blazers in the second round, I expect Curry to be back and handle business. If he isn't back though, or is available to play but isn't himself, than Portland does have a shot at an upset. As of right now I cannot see that happening though, so the question, Warriors or Rockets, remains. There are two scenarios I'll go over in this series, and they result in two different picks. One, Stephen Curry is back and fully healthy from his injury. In that case, I can't pick against the most dominant team this league has seen in the last decade. I would take the Warriors to win in a seven game series. The other possibility is the opposite of this, which is that Steph Curry is not healthy, and not able to play like himself. When Curry isn't himself, the Warriors aren't the team that we all think of. Their three point percentage drops drastically, and as a team they look disconnected. This then leads me to easily pick the Rockets to win the Western Conference Finals. Also, if Curry isn't healthy, I'd take Houston to win in six games, ending the series on the Warriors home court. If I had to predict one of these scenarios, based on recent history I'd think that the second is more likely to occur. Coming back from injury, Curry usually isn't himself, especially in a much more physical climate which is Playoff basketball. Since I think that Curry won't be 100%, I'm taking the Houston Rockets to move on to the NBA Finals.
NBA Finals Prediction:
Houston in five. That's all that really needs to be said. This Rockets team is worlds better than Cleveland, and my prediction that Cleveland even makes the Finals is suspect since it is entirely possible that the Cavs new, young, inexperienced roster looks like garbage in these Playoffs. The smartest Eastern Conference Finals prediction would be the Toronto Raptors playing the 76ers, and then one of those two teams moving on to the Finals. If either of those cases came to futurition though, I'd still take Houston to win in five games. The Western Conference is worlds better than the East, and I think that it'll really show this year in the Finals. Even if it isn't the Rockets, and the Warriors make the Finals, I'd say it's a four or five game series. For the purpose of wrapping up my way to early Finals prediction though, I'm taking the Houston Rockets to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games, becoming the 2018 NBA Champions.
Welcome to the Truda Report everybody. There are always a lot of stories floating around in the NBA, especially this close to the Playoffs. I'm here to tell you which of those stories actually mean something this year, and which you can stop worrying about, since it'll probably have no effect on what happens as the season continues. Make sure to share this article as it helps TTR grow.
Jimmy Butler Tears His Meniscus:
I think that this whole season the Minnesota Timberwolves have been the most underrated team in the NBA. They are currently third in the Western Conference, and as we all know, the West is no joke. The Wolves big three of Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Andrew Wiggins has been great, but, overshadowed by the super teams above them in the standings. Saying this, I need to point out that although KAT and Wiggins have had good seasons, Butler has really been the force driving this team to where it is right now. Butler was ranked by Bleacher Report (based on metrics) as the sixth best player in the NBA so far this year, and even though he's been under the radar like the rest of his team, Butler is worthy of MVP consideration.
Butler's great performing this year is why this injury is so catastrophic. When watching the injury occur it immediately looks like Butler blew out his ACL or MCL, so a meniscus injury in nowhere near as bad. The first reports to come out after his surgery claimed that he could be out for only four to six weeks. Knee injuries are complicated though, and Tom Thibodeau is a really taxing coach to play for, so I wouldn't be surprised if Butler is out for longer. That being said, the Wolves are clearly in a though position. They could drop a lot in the standings in the coming weeks, or even months. This leaves a big opening for other teams in the West to make a push for home court advantages during the Playoffs. The Wolves could really be in trouble if this happens.
The last thing that makes this story important is that, even when Jimmy G. Buckets does return to the floor, his game could be lacking in aggressiveness which is what got Butler to where he is today. Butler is arguably the best two way player in the game, and coming off of a knee injury means his defense could be lacking, as well as his explosiveness when try to get to the rim on offense.
No Need For Two Towers In NOLA:
Ever since Demarcus Cousins, one of the "twin towers" in the New Orleans Pelicans lineup, has gone down for the season with a torn Achilles, Anthony Davis has shown why he is arguably a top five player in the NBA. The man is averaging 28.2 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 2.4 apg, and 2.2 bpg. Ever since Cousins has gone down Davis has stepped up even more, averaging 35.9 ppg, 12.8 rpg, 2.4 bpg, and 2.5 spg. His offensive and defensive game has improved, and the Pelicans have made their way to the fifth spot in the West.
The previous story that I said to watch was important because of it opening up the third spot in the West to other teams, and with the Pelicans sitting only two games behind the Wolves I would be surprised if Davis doesn't lead this team up the rankings. Also, with the Spurs in a little bit of a skid (4-6 in their last 10 games) and no Kawhi Leonard for the rest of the season, the Pelicans have a big chance here to capitalize despite the loss of their second best player.
I quickly want to mention that Rajon Rondo is a great player to think about when you think about the Pelicans right now, because despite Anthony Davis pretty much being a one man wrecking crew, NOLA is averaging the second most assists per game in the NBA right now, and that kind of offensive play is what wins games. Rondo, by the way, is consistently leading the team in assists every night, and he looks like a great under the radar move by the Pelicans front office which usually is criticized.
Cavaliers Once Again The Favorites:
I personally hate the Cleveland Cavaliers front office and their owner Dan Gilbert, because they would be nothing if it weren't for LeBron James having been born in Akron, Ohio. LeBron would have left as soon as he could have and would have never looked back. Instead, he felt obligated to return, and now the Cavs have a championship. My distaste for this front office and owner cannot deny the incredible job they did at the trade deadline this year, though. They traded Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, and their own 2018 first-round pick for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. of the Los Angeles Lakers, and then they moved Dwyane Wade to Miami for a protected second-round pick. The Cavs also took part in a three team trade, where George Hill and Rodney Hood went to the Cavaliers, Derrick Rose and Jae Crowder went to the Jazz, and Joe Johnson, Iman Shumpert, and a 2020 second-round pick went to Sacramento. These moves blew up almost half of the Cavs roster, but so far it has looked like more than the right move.
The Cavaliers since the trade deadline have played with fluidity and more like a team. There roster was old and focused more on isolation basketball before the trades, while now the three point shot has been falling and the team decided to play defense. Lastly, the viewers of the games can't feel tension through the TV screen, which is what was happening before. LeBron and the rest of the team visibly didn't care, and they spent half of the time glaring at one another without finding any solutions to their problems. It seems that after these trades, the Cleveland front office found the solutions, and the Cavs are once again the best team in the East. They may not finish with the one seed, but I can't see picking anyone else over this team right now. Although the Raptors and Celtics have looked good this year, if the Cavaliers revamped roster keeps their pace we could end up with a fourth straight Cavalier team headed to the NBA Finals.
Welcome to the Truda Report everybody. I've been gone for about a week due to a lot of work at school, but the past couple of days have been insane. I'm going to spend a little time today breaking down the trade of Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons, and the trade of Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins. Make sure to share this article as it helps TTR grow.
To Detroit Pistons: Blake Griffin
To Los Angeles Clippers: Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic, 1st Round Draft Pick
A lot of people overreact when big name players are traded for what looks to be a bag of potato chips, and although I spent three days this summer trashing the Jimmy Butler trade, this is not a situation to freak out about. Jimmy Butler is a top 10 player in the NBA; Blake Griffin was top 15 at his best, which was four years ago. That's why I was not on board with what the Bulls got in return for Butler, because none of what they got, in my eyes, has the potential of being that good. Blake Griffin right now is borderline top 20, and he can't even stay healthy. For a Clippers team that looks to have no future, blowing things up seems like the right idea. When you look at the pieces that the Clippers got in return, they gained Tobias Harris, a talented big man of the same position as Blake Griffin, and he's about 5 years younger. They also got Avery Bradley, who is a valuable trade asset if the Clippers try and move on from DeAndre Jordan before the trade deadline. The Clippers also got a first round draft pick, which is obviously important for a team that looks to be heading for a rebuild.
For the Detroit Pistons, I think that this trade makes some sense. Teams need to take risks in order to become great, and acquiring Griffin is a risk. I already mentioned that Griffin is not as good as he used to be, and he struggles with injuries, but this move gives Detroit one of the best big man duos in the NBA. That could help them dominate, and puts them really only one or two pieces away from being a contender in the Eastern Conference. Also, the acquisition of Griffin makes Detroit more of a free agent destination, and with the possibility of LeBron James leaving the Cavs soon, Detroit could end up being one of the top in the East.
Overall I think that the L.A.C. won this trade because I'm not a huge fan of Blake Griffin right now, because I don't think he is consistent enough to be considered a top caliber star. Like I said earlier though, this move is a risk, and if it pays off this trade will end up looking like a major W for Detroit.
To Washington Redskins: Alex Smith
To Kansas City Chiefs: Kendall Fuller, 2nd Round Pick
This trade completely turns the quarterback market upside down this off season (I can write more on this later on if that' something you guys would like). The Washington Redskins basically said that after years of franchise tagging Kirk Cousins, they still didn't trust him and couldn't justify paying him a big contract. That led them to go get Alex Smith who just had one of the best years of his career. The Redskins were willing to pay Smith though, as they immediately signed him to a four year $94 million extension. Anyways, concerning just the two sides of this trade, I have to give Kansas City some props here. They already knew that they wanted to start Patrick Mahomes this upcoming season, and they were able to get a draft choice and an up and coming cornerback (who I really like) in return for their old QB. They get a thumbs up from me.
The Redskins side of things I'm a little more concerned about. They just traded for an older QB than what they had rights to in Kirk Cousins, and Smiths production was close to Cousins when he had way more weapons around him. The lack of talent on the Washington offense is a cause for concern for me, and I think that's going to cause regression for Smith, and make him not worth his enormous contract. He is still obviously a way better option that most quarterbacks that the NFL has to offer, so I'm not trashing their side of the deal. I'm just saying that they have some cause for concern.
Overall I was very surprised by this deal, and I think its affects on the rest of the QB market and QB draft stock is going to be interesting. I'll try and get an article on that out as soon as I can, since it is a really interesting topic. For now though, I want to leave you with something that'll make you smile: The Browns tried to trade for Alex Smith but couldn't finalize a deal before the Redskins swooped in and completed one with Kansas City instead. I know...Cleveland is a mess.
Welcome to The Truda Report everybody. Today I'll be quickly going through the two biggest games last night (Cavs vs. Celtics and Warriors vs. Rockets) and giving you my takeaways from the first games of the season. I know it's early, but that's part of why I'm doing this. I've seen a lot of talk about what the impact of these two games will have on the rest of the season, and I'm here to tell you what to buy into and what you can ignore. Make sure to share this article as it helps TTR grow.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics:
This game, unlike the one I'm going to talk about next, has huge implications for the rest of the season. Only six minutes into his playing career as a Boston Celtic, Gordon Hayward went down with a gruesome leg injury. He went up for an alley oop, was contacted in mid air, and fell down awkwardly on his leg. His left ankle was dislocated and jutted out at a ninety degree angle. His tibia was also fractured, which almost surely puts an end to Hayward's season. It was both a horrifying and sad moment, and its impact not only emotionally but talent wise for the Celtics can't be put into words. Boston was poised to be an incredible competitor for Cleveland this year, and without Hayward, the Celtics don't stand much of a chance. The Eastern Conference once again looks to be Cleveland's.
Golden State Warriors vs. Houston Rockets:
This game was definitely not as impact as Cleveland and Boston's was. Many are making a huge deal out of the fact that Houston upset the Warriors in a 122-121 thriller, but there is absolutely nothing to take out of this game. To start, the Warriors had a huge lead in the second half, and laziness due to it being the first game of the season is what caused them to let the Rockets back into the game. Secondly, Kevin Durant was 0.001 of a second away from winning the game with a buzzer beater. If slow motion cameras didn't have the highest quality frame rate, the replay overturning Durant's basket wouldn't have seen the ball barely touching KD's hands as the buzzer went off. It may be fun to talk about the Warriors being 0-1, but there is nothing to buy into here. There was one thing that was a little disconcerting though, and it was Draymond Green leaving the game with an injury. He is having a MRI done on his knee, but it isn't expected to be anything serious. Overall, this game isn't one to look into for clues about the way this season is going to play out.
High School Senior from Connecticut obsessed with sports stats, facts, and management.