SocraticGadfly: Kawhi's big balls and initial NBA West thoughts

July 07, 2019

Kawhi's big balls and initial NBA West thoughts

As I said on Twitter late Friday night, just after the breaking double blockbuster of Kawhi Leonard signing with the Clippers AND getting them to trade for Paul George as well, I think I've underestimated him for a full year or better.

I think he by himself — no Uncle Dennis — pushed for the PG13 trade, and he may have been the lead in pushing for his trade out of San Antonio, and even let Uncle Dennis be the fall guy.

He's got Sam Cassell sized balls.

That said, I think the Raptors were right to pass on what the Thunder wanted in return, above all Pascal Siakam AND Fred Van Vleet PLUS four No. 1s. Both showed enough in the playoffs to be a piece to hold on to.

And, even if the Clippers, with their new roster, expect to never in the next five-six years draft higher than, say, No. 24, trading five first rounders plus Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari is a steep price to pay.

That's even more true when they only have him for two seasons guaranteed. Taking a page from KD and Bron, his contract has just two guaranteed years plus a player option; it expires the same time as PG's.

As for the Thunder? Russell Westbrook will be hard to trade. Steven Adams will be even harder. They're now officially stuck somewhere in NBA mediocrity.

My early take on the NBA Western Conference?

If the Nuggets get expected improvement from Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, and if Michael Porter Jr.'s knee is nothing big and he brings anything serious to the table, they're No. 1. If not, the Clippers. That is, if PG's shoulder injury is nothing serious. Because we've seen what happens when a team is stacked in starters and thin on the bench when injuries strike.

Rockets are a solid but fairly distant No. 3.

Jazz, with the Bojan Bogdanovic signing, No. 4. And don't sleep on them.

Blazers No. 5.

Lakers No. 6. LeBron will be No. 3 in career combined playoff-regular season minutes, in all likelihood, by the end of the year. I've covered this before. He and AD are older on average than the Clippers twins. And, adding Boogie Cousins may well make that team as slow as molasses on ball movement, etc. And, the experiment of him and AD together with the Pellies didn't always work so well anyway.

Warriors, if Klay Thompson had a recovery to get him back playing by the All-Star Game? No. 7.

Thunder, right now, I guess, No. 8.

Sorry, Spurs, even if you're healthier, I think that there's been too much movement higher up.

Sorry, Mavs; year No. 2 of Luka, even with Unicorn Porzingis, won't break you through.

Sorry, Kings.

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