OTG Full-Court Press: Week 4
Kory Waldron and Marc Cantave debate the hottest topic around the NBA!
Who’s more likely to be moved Anthony Davis or DeMarcus Cousins?
Kory Waldron: Rumors are swirling that not one, but both of these stars could be on the move at some point this year. You have the struggling New Orleans Pelicans who are 4-10 and the Sacramento Kings who are 5-9. Both teams seem to be bound for the bottom of the Western Conference standings. The asking price for these two guys has to be huge, I know last year when teams contacted for Cousins a first round lottery pick had to be involved. I’m sure that has not changed.
Who is more likely to be moved? Probably Cousins. Anthony Davis at this moment still seems to have a good relationship with the Pelicans organization. Last year they were devastated by injuries, this year hasn’t been much better to start. I think his patience level with New Orleans is a lot higher than that of Cousins. For Cousins and the Kings, it’s just time. His value is high, several teams have the assets to trade for him and could use someone of his scoring talent and ability. I’m looking at teams like the Washington Wizards, Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics as teams that could seriously make a push for DeMarcus Cousins.
Marc Cantave: It’s definitely Demarcus Cousins. Cousins, arguably, should have been moved a few seasons ago as he is just not a good fit for the Kings’ organization. Anthony Davis is still the cornerstone of the Pelicans. He is not the problem, but the surrounding parts are. As opposed to the Kings, where Demarcus Cousins and the organization both take blame for how everything has transpired. Demarcus Cousins will most likely be moved of the two and I believe we will see Cousins moved around the NBA trade deadline.
Are the Charlotte Hornets poised to finish in the upper part of the Eastern conference?
Kory Waldron: No.Don’t get me wrong, I like this Hornets roster, I love the play by Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum, who both continue to lead this Hornets team. Walker in particular is off to the best start of his career, averaging 5 points higher than last season at 25.3. His shooting is a big reason for this hot start - Walker is shooting 47.5 percent from the field. Yet, I still don’t see this team being a top 4 seed nor do I see them in the playoff picture. I don’t believe this team has enough talent to sustain this level of play. Along with that most of their wins early this season haven’t been against above .500 teams. The only well above .500 team they’ve beat is the Atlanta Hawks. That’s a red flag to me and it just goes to show why this team won’t be around late April.
Marc Cantave: The upper part of the Eastern Conference is the top four slots. You can designate the first two for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Toronto Raptors. That leaves two spots left and the teams that should be contending for those spots are the Chicago Bulls, Charlotte Hornets, Atlanta Hawks, and the Boston Celtics. The Celtics have been decimated by injuries, but should bounce back as the season progresses. The Bulls are playing well so far, but we will have to see how they fare against tougher competition. The Atlanta Hawks are currently the second seed, but I can see them falling off during the season.
So can the Charlotte Hornets finish top four in the East? Yes and I believe that is exactly what’s going to happen. The Hawks and Celtics are both great teams, but I believe this year they will be in the lower part of the seeding with the Cavs, Raptors, Bulls and Hornets grabbing the first four. Kemba Walker is having a tremendous season and if he keeps it up, the Hornets will go far. They’ve shown they can hang with the big boys as the pushed the Raptors and Cavs to the limit. From Nov. 25 to Dec. 10, they have an easy schedule which will give them a chance to catapult up the rankings. The Hornets are no joke this year and they should be a top four East team.
Is Giannis Antetokounmpo a top 15 player?
Marc Cantave: Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the more underrated players in the NBA. Currently a member of the Milwaukee Bucks, Antetokounmpo is averaging 21.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game, but he's rarely talked about across the league. Well you know at OTG we cover everything, so is Giannis a top 15 player? I will say yes, but around 14-15. Harden, George, Butler, Westbrook, Curry, LeBron, Durant, Leonard, Chris Paul, Davis, Karl Anthony Towns are all players that I would put above him but after those you can debate who would go next. Those are just 11 players and with the numbers he's averaging this season, he could definitely be 13-15th in the NBA. A skilled, agile player who has great length, dunking prowess and the ability to stuff the stat sheet, Antetokounmpo is definitely an elite player. He can defend several positions and is working on his shot constantly. At only 22 years old, Giannis is definitely a top 15 player that can rise even higher by the end of the season.
Kory Waldron: I’m not ready to put him in the top 15, I’m not even ready to really put him top 20. Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving, DeMarcus Cousins, Blake Griffin, Jimmy Butler, DeMar DeRozan are just a few players you didn’t mention in your top 11 and is Giannis Antetokounmpo better than any of them? I can’t give you a yes on that. He’s surely one of those players I look at and see a star who’s getting better and better. He’s only 22, this is just his fourth year in the league. His stats have gone up every year, so we see the progression. And, I believe he’ll end up in that upper tier that time just isn’t now.
Should Bradley Beal be traded?
Marc Cantave: The Washington Wizards are currently 4-9 with the same amount of wins as the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers. That’s a telling stat right there. When Bradley Beal and John Wall came together, many people thought that this was a team that could eventually push LeBron’s team (Miami or Cleveland) to the limit or make an Eastern Conference Finals appearance. But that hasn’t been the case. The Wizards team has been mired in mediocrity and missed the playoffs last season. It’s time for one of these players to go and it’s not John Wall. Wall and Bradley Beal do not get along too well, so one of them has to go. John Wall has been playing well, but Beal hasn’t and has been injury prone. With the chemistry being off with these two and Beal’s slip in production, it’s time for Beal to be on his way out. Beal should be traded before his value diminishes even further.
Kory Waldron: Bradley Beal shouldn’t and will not be traded. The issues you alluded to between him and John Wall have been an issue in the past. Now we’ve seen this type of stuff before you don’t have to be best friends with your teammates to win, but you have to put that aside on the court. Last night watching the Washington Wizards play the Phoenix Suns. I saw Beal and Wall laughing and joking with one another, that’s not a sign of two guys who can’t stand each other. We have to remember these two are young and neither like losing and that can lead to heated exchanges. The one knock against Beal is he hasn’t been able to stay healthy throughout his time in the NBA. With that being said when the boy is healthy, the boy is nasty! Slip in production? Bradley Beal is coming off a 42 point career high and 34 the night before. He hasn’t necessarily been slipping, more so injuries have been in the way. If he can stay healthy, he will be the least of the worry for the Washington Wizards.