Bradley Beal, the Utah Jazz, and J.J. Redick’s nose dive
Another week in the NBA, another month worth of talking points.
Let’s dive right in.
Bradley “By any means” Beal
When gifted scorer Bradley Beal scores 40+ points in a game, the Washington Wizards are 6-18, according to Hoops Hype.
This point of the column could end right here, right now and that is all readers would need to know about this.
The ‘empty stats’ argument is a lazy, hypocritical theme fans of big market teams use to justify the defense of their favorite players when looking at stars like Devin Booker, Zach LaVine and Beal in comparison.
Despite the losses piling up, Beal absolutely deserves an all-star nod.
The arguments about his teams’ losing are hysterical because if you think the Wizards are bad with Beal, which they very much are.
Imagine the team without him.
Many got ahead of themselves following the prominent point guards of the 2010’s swap of Russell Westbrook and John Wall before the year began by going ahead and crowning the Wizards as six to eighth seed material.
The author of this piece may or may not be guilty of doing so.
It was always going to be a struggle, with Washington entering the season with 11 of its 15 rostered players having three or less years of experience as a pro.
The team’s defense is bad; they give up 120.1 points a game.
Westbrook hasn’t recovered from either COVID or the quad injury he suffered last season, maybe both.
The team has been COVID-stricken really badly resulting in five games being postponed.
Young and promising center Thomas Bryant tore his ACL.
Rhythm is non-existent for everyone besides Beal and that could be thrown on head coach Scott Brooks and COVID.
Basically, as much as Beal loves Washington and being loyal, it may be best for both sides to accept the reality and move on.
Especially if Beal values winning, but who are we to judge?
The Utah Jazz
Utah is absolutely crushing its opponents, while maintaining being one of the top three-point shooting teams in the league.
Prior to having their 12-game win streak snapped at the hands of a career performance by Denver’s superstar center Nikola Jokic, Utah was handedly beating teams and did so without young and bouncy phenom Donovan Mitchell.
The impressive start is in part to the supporting cast finally showing life.
What fans believed they’d see from players like Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson and Bojan Bogdanovic are starting to show.
Mitchell and center Rudy Gobert can get theirs any night they want. It was always going to come down to those who surround them as to how far the team goes.
Yet, it appears this supporting cast is legit.
Conley has looked his best since the Grit n’ Grind era in Memphis.
Backup center Derrick Favors is better at basketball than Tony Bradley was for the team. Utah was cooked when Gobert sat last year.
Can Utah top either of the Los Angeles super powers in a seven-game series? Only time will tell.
The Old Man without the Three
New Orleans Pelicans sharpshooter and 14-year veteran J.J. Redick took one too many steps off the infamous cliff this year.
He is shooting a dreadful 29.3 percent from distance and has been part of the overall downward movement for the entirety of New Orleans’ shooting woes.
The team has regressed from 37 percent in the 2019-20 season from deep to a little over 34 percent this season.
The Pels were already a bad free throw shooting team as well, but that percentage dropped from 72 percent to 70.7 percent.
It hasn’t been pretty for the Pelicans as they continue to learn on all levels just exactly how the main pieces of their young core in forwards Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson, fit with each other.
The team is also figuring out if youngsters like Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Kira Lewis Jr., Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart fit into that core as well.
Redick was supposed to bring electric darts from downtown and has failed to do so far this year, which is a shame because he is one of the best pure shooters the league has ever seen.
His name, along with fellow guards like Ball and Eric Bledsoe, have all come up in trade talks, according to Shams Charania.
For Redick, Brooklyn, Boston and Philadelphia have all been teams that have popped up amidst trade discussions.