What to look out for after the All-Star break…

With the All-Star break just passing and a blockbuster trade happening immediately after the game, the stretch run of the season just got more interesting. Therefore, I am here to give you a few things to look forward to. Because it’s about to get good.

  • What does Boogie being traded to the Pelicans mean?

With The Pelicans receiving DeMarcus Cosuins and sharpshooter Omri Casspi and the Kings getting Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, Buddy Hield, a protected first rounder, and a second rounder in this year’s draft the playoffs seems like an attainable goal for the New Orleans Pelicans. They’re currently sitting at 23–34 but only 2.5 games from catching The Denver Nuggets who are currently the 8th seed. Catching what will either be the Thunder or Grizzlies in the 7th spot seems far fetched at the moment as New Orleans is 9.5 games back from OKC. So, unless they go on a monstrous tear you should expect them to play Golden State in the first round in what should be an extremely fun series (IF The Pelicans even make the playoffs).

  • This year’s MVP race is as competitive as we’ve seen in recent years.

With Russell Westbrook, James Harden, LeBron James, and hell I’ll say it since no one else will, Isaiah Thomas are the main candidates in my eyes in the MVP race. Russ is putting up amazing numbers but so is Harden and he’s actually leading his team to more wins. I get that Russ is averaging a triple double and leading the league in scoring but has that translated to wins? I’d say not really considering they are 7th in the West and there is more to basketball than triple doubles quite frankly. The triple double isn’t what it once was as an accomplishment. The way the game is today it isn’t as rare as it used to be. Only 5 years ago 12 guys combined to get 17 triple doubles in the entire NBA season. This year alone 18 players have combined to total a whopping 69 triple doubles and we’re only at the all star break.

Another thing is that history isn’t on Westbrook’s side. In the last 15 years, every MVP has had his team in the top 4 standings of his conference and Westbook’s Thunder is currently 7th as we hit on earlier. Voters are going to sway towards The Beard who’s Rockets are third in the West.

The wild card in all of this is Isaiah Thomas because he is leading this Celtic team to the 2 seed currently. He’s second in the league in scoring at 29.9 points per game and first in 4th quarter scoring at 10.7 per game. If Cleveland falls out of that first seed due to Kevin Love’s injury and Boston overtakes that 1 spot being only 3 games back, the case for Isaiah Thomas as MVP can be serious.

  • There’s a chance we don’t get Cavs/Warriors III.

I want to see part three of this Cavs/Warriors film as much as the next person but both teams have obstacles. With Cleveland not looking as strong and Kevin Love being hurt for at least 6 weeks things aren’t looking too hot. Mix that in with Boston looking good, Washington being the hottest team in basketball (17–3 in their last 20 games), and Toronto being Clevaland’s biggest foe last year getting what they needed in PF Serge Ibaka it won’t be easy for the defending champs.

As far as the Golden State Warriors, they look great but the issue remains on interior play. Cleveland showed us all how to beat them as well as Memphis, Houston, and San Antonio. You have to be physical with Steph and win the battle on the boards. As we’ve seen this year when Stephen Curry is aggressive the Warriors are close to unstoppable. But when you’re physical with him he struggles (look at The Finals last year and Christmas day against Cleveland). When you have good players with size at the power forward and center positions that can score and rebound at a high level, the Warriors have troubles. Just take a look at the game against San Antonio in Oracle in the beginning of the season. The Spurs are capable of knocking off The Warriors because they have two good bigs in Pau and Aldridge. And who just became a team with two elite bigs who can score and are high volume rebounders? That’s right, the Pelicans are team that can give Golden State hell. Draymond is a hell of a defender but cannot stop Anthony Davis at 6'11 which is what he’ll have to do for 40 minutes over potentially 7 games if New Orleans gets the 8th seed. In three games versus the Warriors this season he’s averaging 35.3 points and 12.7 rebounds on 60% shooting. Combine that with DeMarcus Cousins averaging roughly 28 and 11 on the season and if the Pelicans can get decent play from their role players our highly anticipated finals rematch may be in trouble. If I had to bet my life on it, I’d say that we get The Cavs playing The Dubs in the finals for the third straight year. But if we don’t, you can’t say you weren’t warned.