NBA Lord's NBA Blog

NBA Lord's NBA Blog

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Saturday Slam: The Philadelphia 76ers are starting to look terrifying

For the last few years, the Philadelphia 76ers have been one of the worst teams in all of professional sports and the laughing stock of the NBA. Their methodical tanking approach has taken on a life of its own with the whole "Trust the Process" motto, etc. It's become almost a joke.

This season however, the 76ers are not a joke. They are 8-7 and have one of the best young duos in the NBA in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Simmons is averaging 18.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 8.0 assists per game while Embiid is averaging 22.8 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.9 blocks.

Earlier this week against the Los Angeles Lakers, Embiid had one of the most ridiculous stat lines you'll ever see: 46 points, 15 rebounds, 7 blocks, and 7 assists. It felt like the coming out party for Embiid and the entire 76ers team. It was like they were putting the rest of the league on notice that they aren't going anywhere.

The major question mark with this 76ers team is whether or not they can stay healthy. Simmons missed his first season in the league due to a foot injury while Embiid missed his first two seasons and only played in 31 games last season. This is the first season where Embiid is actually on pace to play for the duration of the season, which if you think about it is pretty crazy. As for their rookie point guard Markelle Fultz, he's out indefinitely with a shoulder injury and is on track to miss a good chunk of his rookie campaign as well.

The bottom line with this 76ers team is that if they stay healthy and are able to keep their core pieces together, they're terrifying. There's no better way to describe it. Joel Embiid looks like the second coming of Hakeem Olajuwon while Ben Simmons has the makings of another LeBron James. If Markelle Fultz is able to live up to his potential and avoid the injury bug, we could be looking at a legitimate "big three" in Philadelphia for the next decade. For all the talk and jokes about trusting the process, "the process" is not only working, it's putting together a scary good basketball team.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Tomahawk Tuesday: How long can the San Antonio Spurs survive without Kawhi Leonard?

The San Antonio Spurs are 8-5 and currently 3rd place in the Western Conference. While this appears to be business as usual, the Spurs have had to make due without their superstar Kawhi Leonard, who is yet to play in a game this season due to a quadriceps injury. Even worse, he's expected to be out for a few more weeks, putting his return sometime in December at the earliest.

It's no secret that the Spurs are masters of making due with a shorthanded lineup. It is said that Gregg Popovich can grab any five guys off the street and get them to play team basketball. While this principle is certainly true, it would still be foolish to suggest that the Spurs can maintain long-term success without Leonard.

What makes Leonard such a valuable piece to this team is that he literally does everything. He defends both out on the perimeter and in the paint, he can score both inside and out, and he's absolutely lethal in transition due to his combination of size, speed, quickness, and athleticism. There are some who feel Leonard is the best player in the NBA and when you watch him do his thing on the court, it's hard to argue against that position. He is a jack-of-all-trades wing that continues to get better every season.

                                          (Getty Images) 

Fortunately for the Spurs, they have a really talented big man in LaMarcus Aldridge, who is averaging 21.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Aldridge is able to carry more of the scoring load in Leonard's absence and act as a legitimate number one option. In addition to Aldridge, the Spurs have a talented veteran wing in Rudy Gay, who has been averaging 13.0 points and 5.4 rebounds on 47.7% shooting from the field, 41.4% shooting from 3-point range, and 83.8% shooting from the foul line.

In addition to those guys, the Spurs have some quality role players in Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, Patty Mills, and Pau Gasol. The Spurs are once again showing that they are a true team. When one guy goes down, even if it's their superstar, they know how to keep the ship afloat.

As for how long the Spurs can survive without Kawhi Leonard, I think the answer is that they can survive just fine so long as he does eventually come back. They can't win a title without him. That's pretty obvious. However, they can play above .500 basketball and keep themselves in the mix to get a top three or four seed in the Western Conference until he returns.

If you are the Spurs, the main thing you need to do is stay patient and make sure Leonard doesn't come back until he is 100% or very close to it. While it may seem tempting to rush him back a bit sooner, if you have been around the block as many times as the Spurs, you have the luxury to give Leonard all the time he needs. It looks like they are taking this approach and I expect it to pay off for them come April and May.

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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Saturday Slam: Will Eric Bledsoe find new life with the Milwaukee Bucks?

                                          (Photo credit:

The big news of the week was the Phoenix Suns trading Eric Bledsoe to the Milwaukee Bucks for Greg Monroe, a protected 2018 1st round draft pick, and a 2018 protected 2nd round draft pick. Bledsoe made it clear on social media that he wanted out of Phoenix and the Suns granted his request.

Bledsoe is in his 8th season in the NBA and is now with his third team, spending his first three years with the Los Angeles Clippers and his next four years with the Phoenix Suns before being traded to the Bucks.

As the 18th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Bledsoe has blossomed into one of the better point guards in the NBA, having back-to-back 20+ points per game seasons in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. His biggest issue over the last couple of seasons has been staying healthy, suffering a torn meniscus in the 2015-16 season, allowing him to only play in 31 games. Last season, he was able to play in 66 games, but once again had his season shortened due to knee soreness.

Now that he is in Milwaukee, Bledsoe is hoping for a fresh start with a team that has a chance to do some damage in the playoffs. Bledsoe never made the playoffs with the Suns and with the current direction they are going in, it wasn't clear if he would be able to get back to the playoffs if he stayed in Phoenix for the long hall.

As far as whether or not Bledsoe will find new life in Milwaukee, he certainly has the chance to do so if he is able to stay healthy and if the Bucks in turn are able to get back to full strength with a healthy Jabari Parker. With Giannis Antetokounmpo at the helm, the Bucks have the pieces to do some serious damage in the Eastern Conference. It's just a matter of building on the foundation that they have and making sure no major injuries happen.

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