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.
High School Senior from Connecticut obsessed with sports stats, facts, and management.