Hooked On Hoops

Note: This article was posted after the Los Angeles Lakers vs Utah Jazz game on November 21, 2023. 

This In-Season Tournament is a wonderful idea to bring attention back to the NBA during the fall and winter months. However, the format needs to be more thought out and personally I think all games should be played at one of the teams home court. More thoughts on that coming in December though; today I will be covering all of my favorite teams and the stories to watch over surrounding them the next few weeks.

Los Angeles Lakers

There are two stories to watch here. First, that of LeBron James following his calf injury. Many think he will breakdown before the Lakers are about to make some trades which could make whatever trades they make pointless if he is out injured. I happen to agree with this view. While James did only play 24 minutes in tonight’s game he has been averaging 33-34 minutes per game this season which at his age is too much. The calf injury a couple weeks ago which I believe he is playing through being the main reason many think he will breakdown.

The other big story to watch will be who the Lakers trade for. Some believe they will make a deal with the Bulls to bring Alex Caruso home. While that would be great for LeBron and allow him to slow it down and avoid a breakdown as the season progresses it would need to happen before Christmas in order to lead to a deep playoff run by the Lakers.

Next Three Games:
Home vs Dallas Mavericks (Wednesday)
At Cleveland Cavaliers (Saturday)
At Philadelphia 76ers (Monday)

Chicago Bulls

The big story surrounding the Bulls the last ten days has been Zach LaVine blowing off a PR staffer and calling it “miscommunication”. At the end of the day part of his job as a member of the Bulls core is to talk with reporters. It does not matter how upset he is after a loss with how the he and the team have played that is part of his job. This was not the first time LaVine did such a thing and I am sure it will not be the last having watched him closely since 2017.

The big story to watch in Chicago is will the Bulls be buyers or sellers on the trade market. A couple weeks ago there was a rumor that had them waiving the white flag sometime before Christmas and sending Caruso, LaVine, and DeMar DeRozan all to the Lakers. Here’s the thing folks: I do not see all three of those guys being sent to the same team. However, I could absolutely see all three being traded in a mega three or four team deal that allows the Bulls to at least play competitively the rest of the season following a trade. Bulls management needs to move on from this core because short of a miracle Lanzo Ball is never going to play again.

Next Three Games:
At Oklahoma City Thunder (Wednesday)
At Toronto Raptors (Saturday)
At New Jersey Nets (Sunday)

Golden State Warriors

So far since Draymond Green was suspended last Thursday the Warriors have wen 1-2. These next two games will show a lot about this team’s ability to win when they aren’t whole. Green will return in Sacramento on Tuesday and short of an injury to one of the other members of their core they are expected to win that game. The story to watch on the Bay is: Once he returns will he figure it out or cost them another title run?

Next Three Games:
At Phoenix Suns (Wednesday)
Home vs San Antonio Spurs (Friday)
At Sacramento Kings (Tuesday)

With that…. it is time to get ready for the triple header on Wednesday.

If you cannot play with them, root for them.

 

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