In this edition of NBA Pulse, staff reporters Jack Gold and Arnav Bhagat and editors Sophie White and Ellie Lieberman recap news circulating around the league.
By Jack Gold, Sophie White, Ellie Lieberman, & Arnav Bhagat
Shakeup in New Orleans
On Feb. 19, the basketball world was stunned by a trade involving the New Orleans Pelicans and the Sacramento Kings, where the Pelicans acquired superstar big man DeMarcus Cousins in exchange for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, and multiple future draft picks. Almost immediately, heated debates about which team got the better end of the bargain scoured social media sites. Those in favor of the Pelicans argued that a frontcourt with Anthony Davis and Demarcus Cousins, who are averaging 28.2 points and 11.9 rebounds and 27.6 points and 10.8 rebounds respectively will be nearly impossible to guard by any team in the league. Kings fans believe this is a good trade, as they acquire rising star Buddy Hield as well as first round draft picks that allow them to rebuild in the long run. Hopefully this acquisition is mutually beneficial, as both teams need to finish the season strong to be contenders for a postseason berth.
After undergoing an MRI, the Warriors’ medical staff determined that Kevin Durant suffered an MCL sprain, giving an approximate four week timetable for his return. This has drawn mixed reactions from across the league, but the general consensus from the Warriors is simple: relief. It’s a big loss, but Steve Kerr and Draymond Green both agree it could be much worse. Hopefully, the Warriors will have a healthy KD back before the end of the regular season and lock down the top seed in the West. In the absence of Durant, the Warriors have added former Warrior Matt Barnes, known by most Warriors fans for his stint with the rival Clippers and his rocky on-court interactions with the team. This has many fans questioning the decision from a team chemistry standpoint, the chief concern being Draymond Green and Barnes, who don’t share too much love for each other. We’ll see if the Dubs can hold on down the stretch and remain the top team in the league.
Can the Rockets contend?
Yes. Recently, the Rockets have been getting a lot of positive buzz for their hot shooting behind the arc. They have a plethora of three-point weapons including James Harden, Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza, Ryan Anderson and now Lou Williams. They are a team of capable shooters and that recently showed in their 122-103 bashing of the Clippers. The question is do they have more than capable shooting? I’d argue yes. James Harden is one of the most well-rounded players in the league and Clint Capela is coming into his own. He’s filled in admirably for Dwight Howard with 12.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Watch out for the red hot Rockets.
The Celtics are legit
The Celtics are currently in second place in the Eastern Conference and only three games behind the Cavs for the top spot in the East. All-Star Isaiah Thomas is playing on another level right now, averaging nearly 30 ppg and 6 apg, and has proved that he’s Boston’s franchise player and one of the best in the NBA. Earlier this week, the Celtics took down the Cavs in their biggest win of the season. The Cavs’ defense was all over Thomas, but instead of hoisting bad shot after bad shot, he made great passes to his teammates and continued to spread the floor. Long story short: the Celtics are playing playoff basketball in March. Don’t be surprised if the Celtics prove to be a legitimate threat to the Cavs as the playoff race unfolds. Isaiah Thomas, Brad Stevens, and the rest of the Celtics squad are the real deal.