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HAWKS TRAGIC NUMBER: 38! (Herrrrrrre’s Mikki!)

 

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TANKTHREATS:

Cleveland Cavaliers (2.5 games behind) – All respect due to Kevin Love for acknowledging his mental health and wellness issues. But “Royce White with Frequent Flyer Miles” is not the way to go out, especially for a guy who is thissssssssss close to locking down a while-he’s-alive Hall of Fame induction. Love’s on-floor production isn’t all that different than when he was first summoned to The Land, and his shooting is way better than it was last season. But Larry Nance and Kevin Porter are out for a couple weeks with lower-leg issues, John Beilein seems like he’s prepping players to beat Northwestern, and Collin Sexton is dribbling the ball beyond recognition. Those should be the reasons for the recent surge up the Tank Standings, not some ring-bearing, contract-committed veteran bummering the team down.

https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/28440805/cavaliers-kevin-love-regrets-recent-childish-outbursts-games

 

Detroit Pistons (5.0 games behind) – It’s a poorly constructed roster full of veterans, sure, but it was that last year, too, and Dwane Casey still willed them to 41-41. The big difference: 2019 renaissance All-Star Blake Griffin is shooting 35.2 percent from the floor, and his creaky knee is failing him. He may have surgery and shut it down for the season. Further, Reggie Jackson has never really had a timetable to come back after departing in Game #2. Keef Morris has a bad foot. Even Luke Kennard’s got bum knees. Andre Drummond and Langston Galloway are the lone valuable players, and that’s just as trade commodities. Casey has had to resort to prematurely un-stashing Sekou Doumbouya from the G-League to salvage things. Last guy here, turn out the light! I’m referring to the team, not the lovely Motor City.

https://www.mlive.com/pistons/2020/01/pistons-sekou-doumbouya-capitalizing-on-opportunity.html

 

Sacramento Kings (6.0 games behind) – Is Vlade Divac aware he’s under no obligation whatsoever to help the Lakers? Sactown’s situation is a dumpster fire of his own making, begun by dumping coach Dave Joerger after a near-.500 record in an upbeat and obvious rebuilding campaign. But it seems like half this roster has already either asked for an out or groveled openly about their roles under – wouldn’t you know it – ex-Laker player, ex-Laker coach Luke Walton. Players either don’t wanna be here, can’t stand it here, or won’t play so long as Coach Luke’s here. 29th in pace this season, 5th last year under Joerger. Now the Lake Show is calling the shots on a rumored Bogdan-for-Kuzma deal-or-no-deal? There’s a reason they keep calling you, Vlade. Matter of fact… didn’t you bring those guys Kobe, too?

https://aroyalpain.com/2019/12/24/sacramento-kings-blame-vlade/

 

Phoenix Suns (6.5 games behind) – He is literally called The Tank. Frank Kaminsky’s sixth in minutes and the Suns’ leading big in floor time, because what else were you gonna do once Deandre Ayton got suspended? He’s out for at least a month now due to a stress fracture in a knee. Ayton’s figuring out the 4-spot, Ricky Rubio’s working through a hip issue, and Dario Saric is not-so-quietly falling out of Monty Williams’ lineups altogether after starting all season. Coincidental with the Suns’ 3-10 slide, aside from atrocious defense, Wet Like I’m Book has been keeping his powder dry. Devin Booker’s 16.2 3FG% in that stretch has the star shooting guard sinking less than two threes per game on the season. The Suns still need Booker to put up 30 regardless, because what else are you gonna do? Save us, Kelly Oubre!

https://arizonasports.com/story/2214352/devin-booker-suns-records-most-30-point-games-in-a-row/

 

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TANKBUSTERS!

San Antonio Spurs (8.0 games behind) – Shhhh, don’t look now, but LaMarcus Aldridge is finally shooting threes. And that’s only the second-biggest development for a San Antonio team that’s on the cusp of making it 23 straight playoff seasons. Gregg Popovich seems no longer at war with his young guards, specifically Dejounte Murray and Lonnie White. The détente with Dejounte paid dividends last night as he and everyone in black and silver buried the Bucks in an avalanche of threes in a 22-point win. If they can continue surviving the league’s toughest January schedule without collapsing, watch out! The next feat: having DeMar DeRozan feel good enough about himself that he doesn’t even think about forgoing free agency, faxing in his $28 million option and clogging the Spurs’ summertime cap space.

https://www.poundingtherock.com/2020/1/7/21054790/the-spurs-have-turned-their-offense-on-its-head

 

New Orleans Pelicans (4.0 games behind) – Zion Williamson isn’t coming through that door! Or, maybe he is. Either way, the Pelicans have quit worrying about when they’ll have to accommodate Zion in his rookie debut, and it might be salvaging Alvin Gentry’s job. A 13-game losing skid has turned into a 6-3 run. Having Derrick Favors back has stabilized the front line. That has allowed the Pels’ guard-heavy offense to thrive. Brandon Ingram was Player of the Week, and Lonzo Ball is hitting threes while enjoying his best stretch as a pro. Jrue Holiday and Josh Hart have steadied their roles, with J.J. Redick batting cleanup. A club re-built by David Griffin to be a good team centered around Zion is presenting themselves as capable of being a good team without him. Look ahead, Pels, not over your shoulders!

(LonzoWire is somehow still a thing)

https://lonzowire.usatoday.com/2020/01/06/lonzo-ball-brandon-ingram-new-orleans-pelicans-la-lakers-playoffs/

 

New York Knicks (2.5 games behind) – OMG, did MSG do something right? I’m not entirely sure David Fizdale wouldn’t have had New York winning at a .500 clip over the past 12 games. But it seems like opponents are distracted trying to figure out how Mike Miller fell off so hard since his shoe fell off in The Finals (he’s an assistant for Penny at UMemphis). How good has This Coach Miller been? A Morris Twin has played his way into wanting to stay with a bad team. Marcus is eating, and the Knicks only need to eat his expiring salary. Not running this team from the jump means not being burdened with working the young headaches on the roster, like Dennis Smith, Jr. and Kevin Knox, into heavy rotation. If indeed Miller Time extends into next season, maturing this club into serious contention is a 2020-21 problem.

https://nypost.com/2020/01/06/the-knicks-marcus-morris-trade-predicament-is-extra-painful/

 

~lw3

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Niiiice! Love the breakdown gotta come back at lunch and read it carefully. 👍🏾 

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5 hours ago, lethalweapon3 said:

The détente with Dejounte

Wow.. 👏 👏 pretty awesome your a walking 🚶‍♀️ wordsmith! 😃 

 

Knicks are the only ones I’m weary of because I see them automatically tanking like the Suns 😆 kinda used to the routine for them it seems. 
 

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HAWKS TRAGIC NUMBER: 33! (There’s our future Skyhawks assistant coach!)

 

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TANKTHREATS:

Golden State Warriors (0.5 games behind) – Travis Schlenk just can’t seem to shake his old club. Amid G-State’s current eight-game slide, Steve Kerr gets ejected and hits the showers early. D’Angelo Russell, missing six of those eight losses, is just getting his, while Draymond Green (37.8 FG%, no more than 4 field FGs in any game since Xmas) is just going through the motions. “The aura in that locker room right now wasn’t the greatest,” noted ray of sunshine Omari Spellman to NBC Sports Bay Area, after their latest loss. Much was made in recent days of the new starter’s renaissance, offering more salacious detail of his rookie stint in The A. “…the southern metropolis took his spirit and a chunk of his cash. Lonely, he paid for experiences to keep friends around.” Wait… is this the plot for Deliverance 2?

https://www.nbcsports.com/bayarea/warriors/warriors-big-man-omari-spellman-has-newfound-belief-playing-free

 

Charlotte Hornets (6.0 games behind) – Hang in there, Marvin Williams, it won’t be long before you find yourself on a playoff contender. Thankfully for the Hawks, it’s looking less likely that contender will be the 9-seeded Bugs, floating like most of the Lottery East away from the Brooklyn shore (5.0 games behind the Nets). Williams has settled into a full-time bench role, but a broken beak and the need for James Borrego to proceed with yung’uns PJ Washington (3-11 team slide began with his mid-December finger injury) and Miles Bridges have sapped away at his utility in the Queen City. On a roster bloated with contracts for Nicolas Batum, Bismack Biyombo, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin’s is the easiest expiring deal to move before the deadline. Don’t duck your obligation, Mitch Kupchak. Time’s a’wastin!

https://www.cbssports.com/fantasy/basketball/news/hornets-marvin-williams-out-of-rotation-sunday/

 

Portland Trail Blazers (8.0 games behind) – Double-checked the bball-ref stats and, yep, Kent’s still Bazemoring! His 36.2 2FG% still trails the entire NBA pack (minimum 900 minutes played), with Charlotte’s Devonte Graham and Our Man Cam ahead of him. Yes, this includes that OT phase against the Hawks. According to Forbes (FORBES!), Baze has missed more than half his bunnies within 3 feet of the rim. At least pretend to be shocked, y’all. More turnovers than assists, and way more cheap fouls than steals, at this juncture isn’t helping Terry Stotts’ cause, either. Things could be worse, I suppose, as the Blazers (2-8 stretch, Baze shooting 29.7% overall, 0.7 APG) could still be stuck with this season’s Evan Turner. But imagine if we somehow kept Kent around for a Baze Phase to mentor Reddish… yikes!

https://www.forbes.com/sites/miketokito/2020/01/12/trail-blazers-kent-bazemore-has-had-a-titanic-offensive-struggle/#40bd02c63650

https://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/tiny.fcgi?id=Oxf3d

https://www.blazersedge.com/2020/1/13/21063673/trail-blazers-kent-bazemore-struggles-evan-turner-hawks

 

 

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TANKBUSTERS!

Memphis Grizzlies (10.0 games behind) – Sometimes I wish Trae Young could just soar through traffic and yam one on people’s noggins. But that’s an unfair comparison with Ja Morant. Pulling away in the Rookie of the Year race, Morant’s benefitting mostly from a Bud disciple in Taylor Jenkins who seems to be getting his bearings (12-6 after a 6-16 start), and a legit young backup in Tyus Jones. Less prone to fouling out, Jaren Jackson’s scoring more consistently (53.8 3FG% in last six games, incl. 5 straight wins), as Morant’s drives and Jonas Valanciunas’ bullyball leaves him room to roam the perimeter. With depth, Jenkins can afford to give a big named Bruno and a slow-reacting forward light duties. Memphis came up just short of winning Zion in the Lottery. But on Beale Street these days, nobody’s singing the blues.

https://www.si.com/nba/grizzlies/news/taylor-jenkins-is-a-rookie-too

 

~lw3

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TANKWATCH GAME OF THE NIGHT: Wizards at Bulls (8 PM Eastern)

https://www.blogabull.com/2020/1/15/21067888/bulls-vs-wizards-game-preview-lineups-injury-report

Quote

The Bulls and Wizards are sadly more even than anticipated based on available talent. Stylistically, they are polar opposites. The Wiz have a top-10 offense that’s falling by the wayside lately (like the Bulls and their defensive ‘system’), and sport the very worst defense in basketball. The classic matchup of moveable object versus resistible force.

~lw3

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HAWKS TRAGIC NUMBER: 31! (We love drafting college champs!)

 

TANKWATCH LEAGUE PASS GAMES OF THE NIGHT: Kings at Pistons (7 PM Eastern) and Timberwolves at Bulls (8 PM Eastern). Dewayne Dedmon, Derrick Rose, Robert Covington, Thaddeus Young... Who will buy? Also, the debut tonight that everyone has been waiting for... KING BAZE! (and Tolly, too.)

 

~lw3

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JT with the high socks 🧦 love it 😍 I may cruise over to Sac and catch Baze play a home game at Golden ☝🏾 maybe if I’m lucky ☺️ he’ll throw me a gaze. I miss that dude’s vibe. Hope he does well there I can see the Kings fans liking him.

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