Each week for the length of the 2020-21 NBA season, we are able to take a deeper dive into three of the league’s biggest storylines in an try to desire whether the trends are primarily based mostly extra essentially or fiction fascinating forward.

[Last week: LeBron James‘ MVP case, a LaMelo Ball mea culpa and the death of tanking]

The NBA is constructed on a double no longer unique

Golden Screech Warriors forward Draymond Inexperienced took command with what he felt became a double no longer unique in the NBA when it comes to the treatment of avid gamers and groups buying for trades. He equated James Harden quitting on the Houston Rockets to the Cleveland Cavaliers quitting on Andre Drummond, noting the myth hooked as much as each and each.

“To hunt out Andre Drummond, sooner than the sport, take a seat on the sidelines, then walk to the support, and to near out in boulevard clothes on yarn of a team is going to alternate him, it be bulls,” Inexperienced advised newshounds. “Resulting from when James Harden asks for a alternate and truly dogged it … no one is going to fight support that James became dogging it his final days in Houston — but he became castrated for desirous to walk to a clear team. And all americans destroyed that man.

“And yet a team can near and hiss, ‘Oh, we are desirous to alternate a guy.’ And then that guy is to walk take a seat. And if he doesn’t set educated, then he is a most cancers. And he is no longer wonderful in any individual’s locker room, and he is the difficulty.”

It is miles no longer a large analogy. Harden wasn’t essentially “castrated” for requesting a alternate. He became “castrated” for his habits on and off the court after the alternate inquire, which became solely unprofessional. Are we to imagine that what the Cavaliers have performed — working in coordination with Drummond and his agent — is as unprofessional?

Inexperienced’s larger level is a unbiased one. The NBA empowers its franchises extra than its avid gamers. The avid gamers are the precise product consumed by followers, so ought to no longer they have equal hiss in the topic? Teams will seemingly be nothing with out their avid gamers, but avid gamers could well well very correctly be anything with out their groups. It sounds unbiased till you bear in solutions how enterprise works.

James Harden didn't just request a trade from the Rockets. He quit on Houston. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

James Harden did no longer accurate inquire a alternate from the Rockets. He quit on Houston. (Steph Chambers/Getty Photography)

To illustrate Jaden Harmes works for Frito-Lay. He is so wonderful at making Cheetos, he signs a four-year, $171 million deal to fabricate Cheetos. A couple years in, Cheetos are now no longer doing it for Jaden. He needs to fabricate some Doritos.

He asks his boss, “Hi there, cease you suspect you must well well lumber my contract from Cheetos to Doritos?”

“Effectively,” his boss says, “we truly love you with Cheetos. How about we discover you some support making Cheetos?”

A displeased Jaden stops making Cheetos. He occasions in Las Vegas, shows up days late to work and calls out his co-workers for no longer being wonderful at making Cheetos. Of us who treasure Cheetos wonder why he is sabotaging Cheetos.

However the boss over at Doritos knows how wonderful Jaden is at making Cheetos. She light needs Jaden making Doritos. She presents to build Cheetos some money. She presents Cheetos the larger purchase on the next large maker of snack meals by 2027. She presents some of her ideal younger Doritos makers, even flips one for any individual larger at Tostitos.

They conform to the swap. Doritos discover larger. Cheetos discover worse. Does every person who works for Cheetos must love Jaden? Carry out the of us that treasure Cheetos must love him? Is Jaden’s habits a optimistic reflection on Frito-Lay?

Now, shall we hiss D’Andre Rummond and Allen Jarrett additionally work for Frito-Lay. They’re at this time making Fritos.

D’Andre is owed $28.8 million to fabricate Fritos this year. He’s wonderful, but he will not be always truly making Fritos any larger, and his deal is up on the cease of the year. Ruffles felt the identical approach about D’Andre. They virtually gave him to Fritos for nothing.

Allen is making Fritos for $3.9 million this year. He does the identical job as D’Andre. Allen performed correctly for Doritos, and Fritos purchased him for purchase when Doritos made room for Jaden. Fritos likes Allen larger. Fritos thinks he’ll fabricate them larger. Fritos is willing to give Allen a hefty elevate on the cease of his most up-to-date contract, when D’Andre’s wage comes off the books, and Fritos thinks they’re going to seemingly be larger served giving Allen the reps D’Andre became getting now.

“D’Andre,” his boss says, “we ponder you are wonderful at making snack meals, but Allen is the future at Fritos. We are going to rent him when your contracts are up. We light ponder you must well well support Frito-Lay, and we’re buying for a jam for you. Within the intervening time, it be silly for you to work below Allen. You have to well well even discover damage on the job, and then you definately would no longer be in a situation to support someone — Lay’s, Rold Gold, Cracker Jacks, wherever. So, we’re truly going to pay you to no longer work. If we can no longer salvage a jam for you, no longer only will we pay what we owe you, Doritos will additionally pay you to support them.”

“Oh, man,” D’Andre says. “It is maintain of embarrassing to lose my job to Allen, since I became a star for Ruffles and build up numbers for Fritos, but I wasn’t all that satisfied working for either. I light love Frito-Lay. I could well well doubtlessly support Doritos.”

Then, Deen Graymond over at Rold Gold asks, “Don’t seem like Jaden and Fritos the identical? Each prefer what’s ideal for them. So, why does Fritos discover a lumber for quitting on D’Andre when every person became killing Jaden for quitting on Cheetos? Why does Frito-Lay function this approach? Have to no longer Jaden be in a situation to fabricate the identical enterprise possibility as Fritos?”

In an supreme world, optimistic. Every person is satisfied. We cease no longer dwell in an supreme world.

Frito-Lay is in the enterprise of doing what’s ideal for Frito-Lay. The enterprise prospers when Cheetos, Doritos and Fritos all fabricate of us that love Cheetos, Doritos and Fritos satisfied. If each and each can enact that while additionally accommodating each and each worker’s prefer, your entire larger, as prolonged as every person stays educated. However what occurs when your entire ideal of us at Frito-Lay are desirous to work for Doritos? That could well well correctly be large for Doritos and their followers. It is miles no longer so wonderful for Cheetos or Fritos or Frito-Lay as a entire. Jaden and Fritos ought to no longer equals, even if each and each are working for Frito-Lay.

Handiest when James Harden or Jaden Harmes can influence $171 million taking half in basketball or making snack meals on his possess will he render the NBA or Frito-Lay powerless. Even then, Rockets and Cheetos followers assign no longer ought to put collectively them.

So, yeah, the NBA is constructed on a double no longer unique. It is miles a enterprise.

Decision: Truth

Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum can't do it alone on the Celtics.  (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum can no longer cease it alone on the Celtics. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Photography)

It is scare time for the Celtics

The Celtics improved to a league-ideal 7-3 file by 10 video games on Jan. 9, the identical day Marcus Magnificent suffered a calf injure and Jayson Tatum became diagnosed with COVID-19. With out Magnificent and with Tatum light feeling side effects from coronavirus, Boston has gone 7-11 since, dropping to .500 and fifth suppose in the Eastern Convention standings.

Common sense ought to expose us the Celtics could be horny when they are at fat strength. However what is horny, and what is fat strength?

Tatum’s scoring effectivity has fallen considerably since returning. Likewise, Boston’s defense became 8.1 factors per 100 possessions larger with Tatum on the ground sooner than his diagnosis. It has been 3.4 factors per 100 possessions worse with him on court since his return. He is no longer carrying lineups on his possess the approach he did final season, when his units outscored opponents by 7.6 factors per 100 possessions with Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker on the bench.

Magnificent’s absence only compounds this command. No longer only is he a First Crew All-Defensive expertise who can flee the offense, he is the single non-large capable of consistently contributing in the support of Boston’s three best likely-paid avid gamers. Jeff Teague has been terrible. Unhurried first-spherical purchase Payton Pritchard has been a revelation, but it says a lot about these Celtics that he is their most real position-taking half in guard or soar unbiased now. Celtics coach Brad Stevens has no thought what he is getting from Semi Ojeleye, Grant Williams, Javonte Inexperienced and rookie Aaron Nesmith on any given night.

You realize who will seemingly be excellent for this team? Gordon Hayward. The Celtics committed the mid-stage exception created by Hayward’s free-agency departure to Tristan Thompson. In belief, he is a huge physique who can cease battle in the post with Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid, only Embiid has outscored Thompson 80-6 of their two meetings. In put collectively, the Celtics committed $9 million to a center minute to no larger than Daniel Theis or Robert Williams III.

Then, there could be Walker, the max-salaried four-time All-Superstar level guard who has been a shell of himself since his knee started bothering him a pair months into his Boston tenure. His health, along with Magnificent’s injure, Hayward’s exit and Boston’s failure to draft and invent quality depth, has left Stevens with few alternate strategies past praying Tatum and Brown can lift this burden. In his quest to free up any semblance of a rotation, the Celtics coach has even resorted to taking half in Theis at power forward alongside Thompson, something he never would cease final season for wonderful reason.

Stunning for the Celtics has been making the Eastern Convention finals, which they did final season with out Hayward or Walker at fat strength. Maybe they can focus on themselves into that as a ceiling again if Tatum and Brown play at an All-NBA stage, Magnificent returns and Walker presents them anything, however the emergence of an wonderful-team in Brooklyn makes it extra subtle to realistically persuade someone that Boston at its ideal is anything but 2nd-spherical fodder this year.

The Celtics cease have a large alternate exception, but with out a bona fide star on the alternate market — and with out the sources to maintain him — they’ll be left attempting to improve on the margins. It could well well well unbiased be charge the danger of losing the exception to again it into free agency for the change of a extra impactful acquisition on the signal-and-alternate market.

And none of it could well maybe well well unbiased topic if Walker never regains his All-Superstar maintain. His health has significantly reduced Boston’s ceiling and can unbiased proceed to for the existence of his contract. Walker’s deal doesn’t expire till 2023, when Brown could be coming into the closing year of his deal and Tatum could be a year away from the closing year of his four-year max extension.

The Celtics ought to be larger. The Celtics could be larger, but when has that ever stopped Bostonians from panicking?

Decision: Truth

NBA Top Shot is frosty

While you happen to could well well unbiased haven’t heard of NBA Top Shot by now, you must well well unbiased haven’t been discovering out about the league this week. A minimal of three tales on the subject dropped in a two-day length — by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Bleacher Memoir’s Sean Highkin and The Motion Community’s Darren Rovell — bringing my consideration to this $2 billion firm featuring 50,000 customers.

As ideal as someone can demonstrate, NBA Top Shot is a digital version of the buying and selling card alternate in which seconds-prolonged highlight clips are traded rather than tangible cards. That’s it. A Zion Williamson block equipped for $100,000. A LeBron James dunk equipped for $47,500. A Ja Morant dunk equipped for $35,000. A freaking Kyle Lowry jump shot equipped for $2,175.

All of these highlights are readily readily accessible on YouTube for gratis. Right here is regularly insane.

As Windhorst infamous, Dallas Mavericks owner Be aware Cuban wrote on his blog, “Some of us could well well bitch that I will discover the identical video on the on-line any place anytime and discover it. Effectively guess what, I will discover the identical describe on any ragged, bodily card on the on-line and print it out, and that doesn’t alternate the price of the card.”

Jack Settleman, the 24-year-used who purchased James’ dunk for $47,500, echoed the identical sentiment to Highkin: “With bodily cards, it be accurate a describe. Your LeBron rookie card that’s charge hundreds of bucks, it be accurate a random describe of him in a Cavs jersey. These moments come up with the flexibility to truly discover and have extra which potential that in the support of it.”

What are we even talking about right here? It is miles no longer that I assemble no longer realize their argument. It is that it’s completely ridiculous.

If I were to demonstrate my mates a true Michael Jordan rookie card, they’d ponder it be frosty. If I showed them a published-out version of a Michael Jordan rookie card, they’d ponder it be extraordinarily no longer frosty. If I were to demonstrate them two versions of the identical Michael Jordan highlight — one on YouTube and the opposite on NBA Top Shot — they’d ponder they were equally frosty. If I advised them to pay me $1 million to hunt out one in all them, that could well well on no yarn be frosty.

You were not on the sport when Williamson purchased his first block. You were not even looking at it dwell on TV. Maybe you noticed it on “SportsCenter” the next morning. Are you paying $100,000 for a highlight you skilled third- or fourth-hand? Bid me one other ingredient: Would you rather have a signed Kobe Bryant jersey or video of Bryant signing a jersey for every other particular person? These feel closer to the equivalent of NBA Top Shot than any comparability I’ve heard to buying and selling cards.

I even have an thought, too. I became on the sport Ray Allen handed Reggie Miller to interrupt the profession file for 3-pointers. It doubtlessly rate less than $40 to discover in the constructing. I could expose you and your mates about it for $1 million. Is that frosty?

Decision: Fiction

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