Get ready, Spurs fans! There are only a handful of games left in the season and the race to make the play-in is heating up.
So, it’s time to discuss whether or not the good guys should even be trying to make it, and we’ll also submit a hypothetical All-NBA ballot at the end.
Spurs lose as Keldon Johnson's layup rims out— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 31, 2022
The Los Angeles Lakers are now back IN the play-in game pic.twitter.com/GjephhskD8
This was truly heartbreaking, and it just goes to show you that even the best players in the world can make the same mistakes that you and I could. Granted, Keldon was under a lot of pressure and Bane recovered well to get a decent contest, but it was still surprising to see him miss the shot.
Seeing a lot of his fellow Spurs teammates immediately go and pick him up was a nice sight, though. Even though an argument can be made that those types of things should be a bare minimum within a team setting, we all know that there are lots of teams in the league that would hang their teammates out to dry.
WIN TO GET IN.@DaKidGowie gives us a refresher on the NBA Play-In Tournament tipping off on Tuesday April 12, with 8 teams battling it out for the last 2 playoff spots in each conference! pic.twitter.com/PJP4ajPMQ2— NBA (@NBA) March 31, 2022
The most important takeaway here is that the 7th/8th seeds only need to win one game to make the playoffs, while the teams in 9th/10th need to win two.
Before the games on March 31st, the Spurs are a half-game out of 10th, which is why Keldon’s miss was so heartbreaking. Had San Antonio won that game, they’d still hold a spot in the play-in, but I guess that’s the beauty of sports; it really is a game of inches, no matter how cliche that sounds.
The bigger question is, should the Spurs even be trying to make the play-in? It’s obvious that they are, but I personally think that tanking for a potential higher draft pick would be the better way to go.
Even if they do end up as the 10th seed, the odds are stacked against them to even make the playoffs. New Orleans has been a .500 team after their horrendous start, and if the Spurs beat them, they still need to either play a Clippers squad that just got back Paul George, or one of the hottest teams in the league over the past few months in the Timberwolves.
All this is to say, is it really worth trying to give the young guys a game or two of play-in experience over a potential high lottery pick? I don’t think so, but let me know what you think in the comments!
Dejounte Murray, MIP?— StatMuse (@statmuse) March 31, 2022
15.7 ➡️ 21.2 PPG
7.1 ➡️ 8.4 RPG (2nd among guards)
5.4 ➡️ 9.3 APG (4th in league)
1.5 ➡️ 2.0 SPG (1st in league)
All this coming off an ACL tear 4 years ago. pic.twitter.com/cQJWwMK43L
Damn, it’s been four years since DJ tore his ACL?? I don’t even know what that means anymore; we should just separate things between pre-COVID and post-COVID. Or maybe before COVID (BC) and after COVID (AC)?
Anyway, DJ should definitely be in the running for Most Improved Player, but it seems like Ja’s already locked down the award. I personally don’t have an issue with it even though lots of people think that second-year players shouldn’t be eligible since that just seems like an arbitrary cut-off to me.
If second-year players shouldn’t be eligible, then why should third-years? Lots of guys go through sophomore slumps before breaking out the following season (see: Jayson Tatum, Tyler Herro). Yes, I’m aware that more second-years make the jump, but it’s still an arbitrary cut-off so I personally don’t have any issue with Ja winning it.
DJ should still be in contention, though, and I hope that he gets nominated.
Most random tweet
Best Worst award
SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY won 3 Razzie awards last night.— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) March 26, 2022
Worst Screen Combo
Worst Picture (nominated)
NBA player with the most Razzie awards: Dennis Rodman won 3 for DOUBLE TEAM (1997). Shaq was also nominated in 97 for STEEL. pic.twitter.com/lvDZKNy6Gr
Best Skip Bayless impression
Michael Jordan - Emmy Award— BossHogg (@6Hogg6) March 26, 2022
Kobe Bryant - Academy Award
LeBron James - Razzie Award
Ty Lue: “Embiid is #1 in the league in free throws and James Harden is #3. You take away their free throws and neither guy would be top-10 in scoring.”— Joey Linn (@joeylinn_) March 26, 2022
Ty Lue’s one of the best coaches in the league, but this was a dumb comment. No matter how much you hate Harden and Embiid’s free throw, umm, “tendencies,” it’s still a legitimate part of the game.
This is like saying taking away Ja and Zion’s points in the paint would make them less efficient scorers. There’s just no point in making these hypotheticals when such plays are essential to basketball.
Man, this sucks. Boston’s been the hottest team in the league for a few months now and Williams has obviously been a huge part of that, as he’s arguably the centrepiece of their suffocating defense.
I’m no doctor, but there are apparently two different procedures for meniscus tears; one removes the meniscus entirely, while the other replaces it. It seems like Williams has opted for the removal since he’ll be back in just a few weeks, but this also increases the risk of more knee injuries in the future, which doesn’t bode well for someone who has barely played in half the games over his career thus far.
Ultimately, let’s just hope that he has a long and healthy career, regardless of what happens to the Celtics this year.
Best fan moment
Some All-NBA ballot stuff:— Chris Kirschner (@ChrisKirschner) March 30, 2022
DeMar DeRozan eligible at forward and guard
Luka Doncic eligible at forward and guard
Jayson Tatum eligible at forward and guard
LeBron eligible at forward and guard
Jokic/Embiid eligible at forward and center
It seems like there’s going to be more leeway given to All-NBA voting this year, which begs the question: why not just make it positionless?
Demar and Tatum have probably spent 1% of their time at guard so far, so if they’re eligible for those spots, what’s stopping the league from letting voters just choose the five best players regardless of their position?
Whatever, there’s no point in complaining about it anymore, nothing’s going to change. Not this year, at least. So here’s how I would fill out my All-NBA ballot if I had a vote:
The hardest thing to take into consideration is games played. Steph would probably have been voted first-team if it weren’t for his current injury, and other players like Ja, KD, LeBron, and CP3 are all going to miss a quarter to a third of the season.
That’s a significant chunk of time which should be factored into votes since it greatly diminishes their impacts on their respective teams. But all of those players have performed otherworldly when they’ve been healthy, so it would’ve felt wrong to leave them off too.
Let me know if you agree with my picks!
This week, I’m sending you all to another roundtable that some of PtR’s best writers participated in on why the play-in shouldn’t change how the Spurs should handle the offseason.
As always, thanks for reading and see you all next week!