Burning questions for the 2021 NBA playoffs
THE casting for the playoffs is over. Steph Curry’s season is over and we won’t be posting three full columns on someone who hasn’t even made the playoffs, even if it’s Wardell Stephen Curry 2nd.
Now let’s talk about the players who made it and the burning questions of this season’s playoffs.
Do we really need to cry for Curry?
Tears fell for Steph Curry in some quarters and the refrain was that he deserved to be in the playoffs – but so did Ja Morant. The sophomore has tied the Most Valuable Player (MVP) twice in their play-ins and he deserves his spot. Its crossover, its rotational movement, its float that sealed the game was the quintessential move of that time. Morant is real and remember the name.
Would the Grizzlies even give the Utah Jazz a good fight?
Many pundits thought the former Warriors champions would give the Jazz a better fight than the young Memphis Grizzlies, but you have to look the match up. The Warriors reportedly have no answer to Rudy Gobert but Valanciunas can make him sweat.
Who built this city?
I might have overplayed the LA Lakers owning LA in this column, but it’s real, and the other Territory War gives similar results. The New York Knicks, under the Julius Randle banner, aging Bulls and rejects like Reggie Bullock, Elfrid Payton and Nerlens Noel sold their playoff tickets in minutes while the Brooklyn Nets with their three Kevin Durant superstars , James Harden and Kyrie Irving are offering discounts. New York is Knicks territory, just like Los Angeles is Lakers territory. End of the conversation.
Will the Knicks attract a free agent?
The best question is whether Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving actually regret their decision. “But it’s the Knicks! The Knicks are going to Knicks.” They’re just two seeds under the Nets, and their stadium and loyal, rabid, world-famous fan base, which has remained a staple during two decades of misery, erupted in their first playoff appearance.
Meanwhile, Nets fans are bored. It’s their team, and their fans are waiting for a title, nothing less. If the Nets trio failed, there was nothing they could do in the offseason unless one of them was traded. Indifferent fans will quickly turn on you. The Knicks are happy to be in the playoffs, and now that they have a proven coach in Tom Thibodeau, hired by a top front office, the Knicks are a legitimate destination for free agents. They have young talent, graying veterans, but they need a leader. Someone like Chris Paul. If only he could withdraw …
Will the Lakers win as an underdog?
The Phoenix Suns are the two least respected seeds in recent memory. With abnormal injuries and a shameless tank, they must take on the defending champions. It’s a tough break, but then again, it’s already an accomplishment. If the Lakers beat the Suns badly, Chris Paul may soon realize that this could be his last chance to win a championship and cement his legacy. What better way to get out than to give the New York Knicks their championship, 50 years after their last? Speaking of Chris Paul:
Who will graduate from the scholarship?
The Fellowship of No Rings could lose a limb in this year’s playoffs. The oldest is Chris Paul at 36, but other stars over 30 include Jimmy Butler, Paul George, James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Damian Lillard. To a lesser extent, there are early season teammates Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose in Detroit, both in the Big Apple now. All these guys are hungry and want their tickets out of this infamous club.
Side Note: Blue Devil Left Behind
Along with Ja Morant, RJ Barrett (Knicks), Rui Hachimura (Wizards) and Cam Reddish (Hawks) are the top 10 rookies of 2019 making their playoff debut. Barrett and Reddish were the mainstays of Duke in what was almost a reincarnation of the Fab Five. Their most illustrious teammate, Zion Williamson, is the one who remains.