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Ha! Good question! Apologies for high-jacking the article…

Who are the top five teams in the NBA right now?

Sorry mate…Just over the attacks on Simmons and the shooting. As for Joe, yep, he’d be great on this Philly team…would actually love to see him and Ben together!

Who are the top five teams in the NBA right now?

Oh please…Simmons is a 24yr old two-time All-Star, who led the league in steals while earning 1st Team All-Defensive and 3rd Team All-NBA last year. He’s an elite defender and one of the best open floor players in the game.

He’s also unselfish, which in this day and age, seems to go against him. People value individual performance over team success, so we focus on his lack of shooting instead of every other aspect of the game where Simmons is fantastic and helps his team significantly.

Honestly, he’d be better served doing what Giannis does and shoot 1-5 from 3 each night, just to appease people who cant look beyond the fact that he’d rather find a higher % shot for his team, than take a 3pt shot he’s unlikely to make.

Simmons is in the top 20 players for minutes played, 2pt FG %, defensive rebounds, total rebounds, assists, steals, triple doubles, win share and plus/minus….But yeah, Ingles is better and they should trade him before his value drops too low…

Who are the top five teams in the NBA right now?

I can’t see how the Rockets won anything here…

This team is in free fall since being a serious championship contender, and have now lost their franchise superstar without replacing him with a top tier star or young prospect. They got back plenty of picks/swaps, but its hard to see the Nets being a terrible team anytime soon, so its likely most of these picks end up outside the top 10 (one pick is a Bucks pick, so that definitely wont be a high pick). I mean, what value does a pick swap have if your pick is higher than the team you can swap with?

Also, no team is trading picks for Oladipo. Why trade picks for him, when he’s an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year? If you want to sign Oladipo to a big contract why not just keep your picks and sign him to a big contract at the end of the year? I’m assuming Houston only traded for him so they can clear their cap at the years end and do a full rebuild. If not, why make that trade at all? LaVert is a similar player on a much more team-friendly contract.

Houston are clearly beginning a tanking/rebuilding phase and it will likely take them a long time to get near the point they were just a year ago or so…definitely not winners in my view…

The winners and losers of the James Harden trade

I’m biased…but Lyon and Matai are the best for me.

Is centre rugby league's most under-appreciated position?

I think wherever Harden goes, his role and the way he plays will have to change, so I dont see ‘fit’ as being as much of an issue as you do on some teams…although I think Butler might not love taking a backseat to Harden.

But I think any of these teams make the Harden trade in a heartbeat. LaVert, Allen and whoever else is a horrible trade for the Rockets…The Nets would be stealing Harden for those guys.

For Miami, I’m not sold on Herro as a future superstar. He had one promising playoff series as a bench/role guy, so assuming he makes this leap to superstardom is a stretch. He might do it, but at the moment, that’s a big risk to take for Houston. But if I’m Miami, I trade for Harden immediately and pair him with Jimmy and Bam…That team wins the East.

The only team of the four I’d have reservations about is the Sixers. There’s a not insignificant chance Simmons and Embiid can be great together…especially now they have the coach and GM to help. Simmons is fantastic and while I’d make this trade if I’m the Rockets, if I’m the Sixers…I’m not so sure (although maybe I’m too high on Simmons)

Ranking James Harden's preferred trade destinations

Cant see Atlanta living up to their hype.

Yes, they have talent. But Young, Rondo, Gallo, Reddish, Bogdan, Collins etc are all terrible defenders. Last year they were one of the very worst defensive teams in the league, and they added no one who will really improve this. Capela helps, but he cant make up for the defensive issues this team has.

I’d also push back on “Atlanta have had great cap management”. Atlanta are over the cap for a playoff team in the East which should be in the 6-8 range. Is that good cap management? They owe Gallo and Capela $37mil combined over the coming years…ouch. They also face future team options on Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, DeAndre’ Hunter, and Cam Reddish. Obviously they’ll max Trae, but what do you do with the others?

I honestly dont get the hype on Atlanta. Yes, they’re better but they came into the offseason with a huge amount of cap space and spent it all on players who are good, but not great. Hard not to feel like they spent too much too soon.

NBA Southeast Division preview: Can the Atlanta Hawks shake things up?

As per SMH:

“Translated via Google, they range from offensive comments about Bolivians and Paraguayans to extremely racist comments about black people.
One tweet translates to: “SOUTH AFRICA baby! I’m finally leaving this country full of blacks ouch.”
Another racist tweet reads: “Today is a good day to get in the car and drive over blacks.”

He was about 18yrs old or so when he tweeted this…

Matera stood down over social media posts

“all opinions can be voiced by anyone”…so racism is an opinion?

Matera stood down over social media posts

Have to say, I disagree with lots of these comments.

Firstly, racism isn’t ‘political’…this is not a case of politics and sport mixing. Racism in all forms is completely unacceptable, and there’s no margin for misunderstanding here, as his comments are clearly racist and even violently racist, in nature.

Secondly, it shouldn’t matter if it was 9yrs ago. You can fairly argue about the extent of the punishment, but once these comments came out, there had to be consequences. I don’t know when people feel is an appropriate timeframe for racism, but he was an adult when he said these things, not a child.

But he’s owned up, apologised and obviously is embarrassed, all of which is a step in the right direction.

Matera stood down over social media posts

I don’t think its unfair to ‘perceive’ Smith as a slower scorer (or to borrow Chris’ phrase “the super fast scoring smasher type”)

Yes, Smith’s SR is strong (although interestingly he still ranks 5th in SR in the current Aus ODI batting line up, with Finch only a tiny bit behind him), but he’s never been the big hitter that other batsmen have…especially vs Gilly and Maxwell.

I mean, in an era with a less aggressive batting approaches used, Gilly’s SR is incredible. The guy hit almost 1200 fours of less than 10,000 balls faced. Ponting hit a similar number, but off more than 16,000 deliveries. And Maxwell is similarly freakish…In half the number of balls faced, Maxwell has hit the almost exactly the same number of fours and sixes combined, as Smith.

The Liebke Ratings: Australia vs India, second ODI

Yeah, that sounds good…except there’s that small part of this article where you talk about ‘importance to team’ and give Cronk a 2-1 edge because of a handful of Origin games…but, luckily we’re not talking Origin here, we’re talking ENTIRE career. Got it.

Sorry universe, but Cooper Cronk is superior to Johnathan Thurston

Well, JT made the “ultimate Queensland 17” ahead of Cronk a week ago, so its a sudden change of heart?!?!

My ultimate Queensland 17 from their most dominant Origin era

Sorry universe, but Cooper Cronk is superior to Johnathan Thurston

Not sure if you’re familiar with a guy named Bill Simmons (not related to Rob…Ha!), but he’s an American sports writer and podcaster who focusses a lot on the NBA.

Anyway, he has this thing called the “10% theory” which he describes as: “Even the best NBA players have holes; in a best-case scenario, they’re tapping into about 90 percent of their total potential, with the holes representing the other 10 percent”.

He goes on to note how some great players have “holes” which are dramatically more noticeable than other great players and as a result, the general public focus on the 10% and not the 90%. A lot of polarising sportspeople, tend to fall into this bracket and Simmons (Rob that is) is a classic example. Does 90% of the stuff you need him to do well, but the 10% he does wrong is often really obvious, and so that becomes the narrative.

Rob Simmons is not lazy

“Considering “what ifs” is necessary if we want to intelligently evaluate a player’s career”…is it?

Scenarios which came close to happening are fun to think about, like what if the Lakers let Kobe go to the Bulls in 2007, but what if you switched Lebron and MJ, is a stretch.

The absurdity of NBA GOAT debates Part 3: What if?

“Wall is a proven leader and star”…come on…not since 2016. In fact, we don’t know if Wall is even able to play at an NBA level anymore!

Trading Westbrook to the Wiz or the Knicks would simply be a moev by Houston to clear his contract…nothing more. Essentially they’d be giving up CP3 and the picks they included, for a year of Westbrook and nothing more. Surely they cant do that…

Three trade destinations for Russell Westbrook

I’m not so sure we’ll see as many stars sit out as we think…

Guys like Lebron and Kawhi were always going to miss games, but for most other stars, it will be business as usual. Besides, if they sit out, I don’t think they get paid, unless they have an ‘injury’ of some kind…

Lets not forget, for the 26 teams who didn’t make the conference finals, they haven’t played since the start of Sept or well before that, so its really only guys like Lebron and maybe AD who arent getting the rest and might need more time off…

First half of one of the most competitive NBA seasons will be hard to watch

What’s interesting to me is Arrow’s response once he realised Teddy was out.

Its like players are hard-wired to roughing up the opposition, or tapping them on the head, or patting them on the back when drop the ball or make a mistake, that even if someone is unconscious, they cant stop themselves from doing it…and then they realise what they’re doing and immediately regret it!

On a separate point, if someone drops the ball because they’re knocked out, shouldn’t the team retain possession? Why is it a knock on? The opposition shouldnt be rewarded with possession, if a player is out cold, should they?

Six talking points from State of Origin Game 3

I think you’ve missed the point of point number 1…Its not about what Arrow did. Its about (as the headline says) ‘protecting players better’.

I think the main storyline of this series has been player welfare. Cordner being allowed back on, Munster being hit in the air without a penalty to Qld, and now Teddy being knocked cold and ‘roughed up’ after…Its unacceptable in a professional game in 2020.

The NRL needs to act (urgently) and get with the times on this issue. And that action includes stopping the pointless ‘niggle’ we see in every game, every week. It’s one of the worst aspects of the game – both in terms of how it looks to fans, and what it says about players.

Six talking points from State of Origin Game 3

Are the Rockets really a “poorly run, dying franchise” though?

This team went 44-28 last year in the West. They gambled on going small, and it didnt pay off, but at least they tried. And their roster is still above average…Harden remains one of the best (if not the best) scorers in the NBA. We have no clue what Silas is like as a coach, but he deserves a chance to prove himself before we label this team a “mess”.

In terms of trades, the Harden-Simmons trade doesn’t make a lot of sense to me for either team. But I agree with trading Westbrook. He’s a poor fit with Harden and more trouble than he’s worth. Although, as much as I’d love to see the train wreck that would be Westbrook to the Clips, I cant see this happening. The absolute last thing the Clips need is another guy who needs the ball to be effective…especially one who is on an enormous contract ($47million in 2023!), and when they have two superstars who can choose to leave in a year (so best not to annoy them with a guy like Westbrook).

I actually like a Bill Simmons trade idea he floated recently – Westbrook to the Hornets for Rozier, Zeller and Monk. Maybe Charlotte throw in a pick also. I actually like the Rozier fit with Harden, and Zeller gives them a serviceable big man…And for the Hornets, they have someone who could actually make people want to watch the Hornets, which in itself is a big win! If they draft Wiseman at 3, suddenly that team is interesting. They could also afford Westbrook, as who else are they spending money on?

Houston we have a problem: What is next for the Rockets?

I’m an older and (somewhat) educated fan, and for me, Stockton is great and definitely a top 5 or so PG, but number one is a stretch…

Much of Stockton’s case for greatness comes through his incredible stats more than on court success (without his assist stats would we really be talking about him as the best PG ever?), and part of this has been explained by Utah’s approach to the game throughout Stockton’s career.

The 90s Utah Jazz teams are unbalanced in terms of assist and scoring distribution. Stockton and Malone played almost every game, handled the ball almost every time down the court and took a a tonne of shots. Many of Stockton’s assists were entry passes to Malone who almost never dribbled the ball more than twice, and was able to successfully put the ball in the hoop after being fouled with greater regularity than just about anyone else in NBA history.

And for all the stats mentioned re. Magic, I didn’t see much mention of Magic’s 5 titles (and 3 Finals MVPs), and 3 MVPs. I’d say those a pretty important stats, especially given Utah’s poor playoff performances at times.

Bottom line, Magic was a significantly more dominant player than Stockton and someone who didnt have to rely on a system and high-scoring teammate for success. There’s a reason he’s consistently mentioned as an all time top 5 player in NBA history. But Stockton is not too far behind. He’s definitely under-rated by some. The challenge for Stockton historically, is that we’re in the midst of a PG talent boom…hard to say, but when all’s done, he could end up behind Steph and even Luka, but its early days!

Why John Stockton is the greatest NBA point guard of all-time

He doesn’t make the team, but shout out to Daniel Gartner…one of my personal favourite players. Massively underrated.

Manly's greatest NRL team

Yeah, I’d have Noel over Kite on the bench…

Manly's greatest NRL team

Me and my mates regularly played touch footy in a park near Manly where I grew up. Rex would walk his dogs in this park, and every time we saw him, he’d run over, stop our game, and start coaching us in various aspects of footy.

He once spent about 10mins training my friend on how to catch a high ball correctly…at the time, he felt like an annoying old man ruining our game…now, I wish I’d appreciated it more!

Manly's greatest NRL team

The Mavs are a really interesting team and while there is a sense they need to build around Luka, I’m not sure they’re at the point where they need to over-commit to a third star.

For one thing, I’m not even sure KP is a second star…The trade was a good one for Dallas, but do the Mavs really want to be paying a guy who can never make it through a season uninjured, and plays poor defense game-to-game, over 120mil over the coming years?

But assuming KP is the second guy, the suggestions of Oladipo and Middleton are problematic also. Oladipo hasn’t been at an All-Star level since 17-18 season. Do we actually know if he’s still capable of reaching that level again? Its a big gamble considering Oladipo is off contract next year and will be looking for a decent sized contract. Either the Mavs will have to pay him, or risk trading for a guy they only get for a year. Middleton, who I doubt is even available (the Bucks wouldn’t trade him easily, if at all), is a nice fit alongside Luka, but his contract is massive…He’s owed 40mil in the 23/24 season, so he’d better be the right guy at that money, as he doesn’t leave the Mavs with much room to move cap-wise.

For me, the Mavs shouldn’t panic. Keep their team and see if they can get a good year out of KP and possibly look to trade him, or see if he really is a No.2 guy on a great team. But the main aim is to position yourself for 2022, when a lot more talent is available on the free agency market, and guys will be looking to play with Luka.

As for Giannis to GS…I cant see how this happens. The cap will come down this year as league revenue drops, so affording Giannis is close to impossible. Add to this, it would be bad news for the league (we dont need another loaded team coasting through the regular season) and for Giannis, who would see a lot less of the ball than he does now, be blasted for taking the easy road to a championship and lose his position as being the go-to guy on a team (GS is Steph’s team and always will be).

Who can be the Mavericks third star to help them win a title? Hint, it’s not Giannis