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Suns sweep the MVP, KD’s historic game 5 & head coaching carousel begins

One team has already punched their ticket to the final four, meanwhile every other series is still up for grabs.

The head coaching carousel has begun and there are some intriguing options to fill those vacancies.

The 2021 Tokyo Olympics are around the corner, and even closer is this year’s NBA Draft Lottery.

Much is going on in the Association, but as always, let’s start with the action on the court.

Suns in four

As of yesterday, the Phoenix Suns were the most sure thing left in the playoffs.

Their balanced lineup and high morale was evident in the four-game sweep versus the Denver Nuggets.

While the Nuggets weren’t at 100 percent, Phoenix still did just what a great team should do in that situation. Guard Chris Paul has lent this team an immeasurable amount of confidence and maturity.

The status of their leader is in question, though, after entering health and safety protocols for an undisclosed reason.

Paul should be fine in all likelihood; best case scenario he is ready for game one of the western conference finals.

Leonard out indefinitely, possible ACL injury

Just when things appeared to be lining up for the Los Angeles Clippers, they’ll now be without their star player for an indefinite period of time.

After a resounding home stand to even the series two apiece, it was announced two-time NBA champion Kawhi Leonard will be out nursing a knee injury.

He downplayed the severity after game four, saying he just tweaked it. But, all signs indicate it’s at least a moderate sprain for him to miss time.

An ACL injury this far into the run would be devastating. But either way, the attention now shifts to all-star Paul George.

The third-team All-NBA selection has to fill the shoes of his first-team comrade.

Not since his days in Indiana has he been the clear-cut leader of a playoff team. Now, PG has to take the reins and lead this team to the next round at least.

The Utah Jazz are also without all-star guard Mike Conley who’s missed the entire series. Guard Donovan Mitchell appeared less than 100 percent but don’t expect him to take a game off.

First one to two wins advances and the series resumes tonight. We’ll be watching.

Durant’s masterful game 5

What we saw forward Kevin Durant do last night, statistically, has never been done.

Forty-nine points. Triple-double. Game-winning shots. Switching on defense. Durant did everything.

Head coach Steve Nash never took him out of the game.

We’ve seen him tap into his killer instincts before and become the slim reaper, most notably in the NBA Finals.

If that’s the KD that the Bucks have to deal with, then I’m sorry but the buck stops here.

Milwaukee has proven to be too inconsistent offensively to hold a lead or overcome a deficit.

They’ll need a little bit of luck and a lot of threes if they plan on stretching this series to seven games.

Hawks staying alive

To the surprise of many, the Atlanta Hawks have evened the series with the Philadelphia 76ers.

The season has taken its toll on the players and the ailments are piling up. Guard Trae Young is nursing a shoulder injury but still dished a career-best 18 assists.

Forward Danny Green is out with a calf injury and big man Joel Embiid is playing on a knee that needed attention in the 2nd quarter of game four.

Embiid then returned for the 2nd half where he shot zero-for-12 from the floor.

It may be that simple. If Embiid can’t give it his all, the Hawks might have enough grit and scoring power to be the better team.

A few days of rest were crucial for Embiid before game five, but the MVP runner-up desperately needs some help.

Annual coaching carousel is underway

With only seven teams still having something to play for, the other 23 are starting their offseasons.

First on the docket for some of them is to address their head coaching position.

The Portland Trail Blazers parted ways with Terry Stotts after a nine-year tenure.

The New Orleans Pelicans are letting go of Stan Van Gundy after one sub-500 season, giving young star Zion Williamson his third coach in as many years.

The Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers have parted ways with their playcallers as well.

In Boston, former head coach Brad Stevens assumed the role of President of Basketball Operations. So add them to the list of teams hiring.

The Boston one is intriguing because they have only had four coaches since 2001. A prominent name is likely to fill that vacancy.

Suitable names to consider include Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach Chauncey Billups, Brooklyn Nets assistant coach Mike D’Antoni, WNBA legend and San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammond, or even Hall-of-Famer and Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd.

The pool of potential candidates seems as wide as ever but there’s another name to be mindful of as it may be just the right time.

Kentucky’s John Calipari.

Rumor has it he’s “open” to an NBA return, but he’s also denied those claims on Twitter stating, “it’s that time of year again.”

Either way, Coach Cal would be a welcome addition to the NBA and why not now?

Collegiate cornerstones Lon Kruger, Roy Williams and Coach K have already or will be transitioning from the sport in the next year or so. An opportunity to coach all-star Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics must be intriguing.

Whether coach Cal converts or not, there are some big hirings to be made across the league.

LaMelo Ball wins Rookie of the Year, 2021 draft class getting ready

Lastly, congratulations are in order for Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball on winning the rookie of year award.

Ball was the third overall pick by governor Michael Jordan and the Hornets, proving to be Jordan’s most successful pick thus far.

After having to earn his playing time, Charlotte fans realized they have someone special in-house.

Ball finished with averages of 15.7 points and about six rebounds and assists each, also becoming the youngest player to post a triple-double.

He was top three among rookies in average points, rebounds, assists, steals and free throws per game.

He led all rookies with a PER of 17.61. Before going down with a wrist injury, Charlotte was on pace to be a top-five playoff seed as well.

While on the topic of rookies, the incoming batch is preparing for takeoff.

This year’s combine list was just announced and teams will know the order of the lottery teams on Tuesday, June 22nd.

The best odds belong to the Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, and Detroit Pistons. The Oklahoma City Thunder and Cleveland Cavaliers have the next best odds at winning the lottery.

Oklahoma State standout Cade Cunningham is the belle of the ball, but the top-five overall stacks up with the best in recent memory.

Here at Talk That Talk, our eyes are already on the NBA’s Summer League in August where these players will make their debuts.

Keep it locked for more.


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