NBA Play-In Tourney and Playoffs roundtable took place on ZOOM, and ESPN’s own Jalen Rose and Kendrick Perkins answered numerous questions and gave their opinions on a variety of NBA-related topics.
1. The first topic happened to be concerning the upstart Knicks and the hiring of Tom Thibodeau. They both agreed that it was a great hire.
Jalen Rose – “It was a safe and smart hire.”
Kendrick Perkins – “Defense has never been an issue for Thibs, but he really changed his approach to offensive basketball, while coaching freely and having fun with a young and gritty group.
2. The Miami vs Milwaukee series is gonna spew some real venom, as the two teams don’t care much for one another.
Most believe Milwaukee is better suited to take the Heat down this time. Holiday and PJ Tucker bring grit and toughness to “Cream City” that the Bucks have lacked the last two seasons when they posted the best regular season record yet haven’t sniffed the NBA Finals.
What do you guys expect to happen?
Jalen – “Holiday is better than Bledsoe in every facet of the game.” Also this Bucks team is better than the two that got humbled the last two seasons.”
Perk – “It’s hard for me to pick against those goons in Miami that enter the floor wearing those ski masks. But the loss of Jae Crowder to help defend Giannis and spread the floor on the other end is critical to me. The Bucks adding a goon like PJ Tucker is an underrated move. This is why they added him for the postseason.”
3. Both were in agreement the Bucks win this series in six games max.
The Nets seem to be embracing the role of “Super Villians,” and I don’t believe they have any choice with how they came together. This is what happens when you form these monstrous teams.
Jalen – “They earned the right to be disliked by joining forces. Harden has to sacrifice the most because he hasn’t won anything yet. What I wanna see is can they win a title with Kyrie leading the team in shot attempts.”
“And oh yeah they’re still the second most popular team in NYC. Me and Jacoby from Jalen and Jacoby went to a spot near where he lives the other night to have some libations, and when I asked them to play that night’s Nets game, they balked and said were only playing the Knicks replay, it’s NYK only here.”
“So we had to go five or six blocks down the street to another spot to enjoy the game.”
Perk – “When you form a super team this comes with the territory. It’s happened in Miami and Golden State. The way Harden left Houston and how KD and Kyrie makes them villains to many.”
4. Many believe analytics has ruined the game, I’m on the fence with analytics as I like some of the things it does, but I also like teams who just play and coaches who just coach.
Perk – “Most of the guys who do the analytics never played the game on any level. The plus/minus line is the most overrated in the NBA.”
Jalen – “I’ll take it even further Perk, many folks who cover the game have never even been to an NBA arena. That’s not good for a job where you need to be hands-on many instances.”
I asked them about the addition of Rajon Rondo to the Clippers at the trade deadline and if they thought giving up the instant offense of Lou Williams in exchange would hurt them come playoff time.
My belief is it could but it won’t because Rondo will make everyone better and comfortable in their roles.
Also, he allows both Kawhi and PG to play off the ball at the same time and doesn’t allow the offense to become stagnant. Having Tyronn Lue, a title-winning coach is a huge plus.
Jalen – “It’s huge because it allows the stars to play free and hunt shots. But Rondo will also challenge them both as well, and he’s earned the respect to do so. My biggest question is this? Is Patrick Beverley a championship-caliber starting lead guard.”
Perk – “Rondo is what they needed but they’re so deep, that they’re gonna have to figure out a rotation that fits and still allows them to gel. The Mavericks with Luka and his goons won’t run and hide in the first-round matchup and theirs some real history there from the “NBA Bubble.”