Hardwood Hypothesis Week 16: NBA All-Stars announced

Pelicans plumet, All Stars announced



Erick’s Hardwood Hypothesis digs in to the best NBA storylines every week.

ERICK AGUILAR, Evergreen reporter

Pelicans placement plunge 

The Pelicans dropped from third to eighth in the east in two weeks, all due to Zion Williamson’s injury. This team is still good, but their leading scorer and biggest inside threat is out. Until he is back, the best the team can hope to do is not slide out of playoff contention. 

As put in last week’s edition,The Pelicans will not be able to operate if Zion Williamson can not get into the paint.” 

Williamson has been out since Jan. 2 with a right hamstring injury. He is expected to return around mid-February. 

To make matters worse, Brandon Ingram, the team’s third-best scorer, is day-to-day.

After a remarkably hot start to the season, it seems the Pelicans’ success has ground to a halt. This further highlights my point that they are too reliant on their starting three, especially Zion.

All-Star Starters selected:

It is that time of the year yet again: the NBA All-Star game is set for Feb. 19 and the starting five for both the East and West teams have been announced. 

The beauty behind the NBA is that players actually care about being an All-Star. Being an All-Star contributes to one’s own legacy and gives a great sense of recognition.

*Cue Sirius by The Alan Parsons Project*


I am kidding, as much as I would love to do an NBA-style starting five intro, I’ll save it for a better occasion (The NBA Finals).

Starters from the East:

Giannis Antetokounmpo – Captain 

Kevin Durant 

Kyrie Irving 

Donovan Mitchell 

Jayson Tatum 

Starters from the West: 

LeBron James – Captain 

Stephen Curry 

Luka Dončić

Nikola Jokić

Zion Williamson 

Hold on, so you are telling me, Joel Embiid and Ja Morant aren’t starters? 

I understand the dilemma due to positions. There are typically two big men and three guards in a lineup, but this is still unfortunate as Embiid and Morant deserve it. Debates can and will be held for a few weeks but at the end of the day, all these players are incredible, the starting five is just a matter of opinion.

Personally, this is my starting five out of the East: Giannis at center, Embiid at the four, Durant at forward, Tatum at shooting guard and Mitchell at the point.

Now for the West: Jokić and James down low, Morant at three and Curry and Dončić at the two-and-one spots. 

2023 Trade Deadline 

The trade deadline is officially at 3 p.m. EST, Feb. 9 and there are sure to be some teams looking to make some moves prior to then. 

The first team that comes to mind is the Mavericks, a team that seemed to be on the up for a few years now, they now face the realization that Luka is their only hope for the future. 

This team needs weapons and they need them badly. Luka can only carry the team so far. I would love to see them pick up a big man and get some more consistent rebounding and defense in the paint. 

The Lakers are in need of some roster changes as well, but I really do not see this as a problem they can solve before the deadline. The overhaul needed is a bit more dramatic and I expect them to simply wait until the offseason. 

Then there is the handful of “mid-pack” teams who could use a piece or two to get them into real deep playoff conversations. The Cavaliers, Kings, Knicks and Clippers come to mind, but we shall see what happens. 

Player of the Week

It is always so fun to see a player gets hot from the field and sees his teammates feed him the rock, especially a player who typically does not score more than 10 a game. Cedi Osman, the fifth-year Cavalier, had such a night yesterday, scoring 29 with two assists, two rebounds, two steals and a block. 

Although Osman came out with only two assists he did a great job spreading the ball around, keeping his teammates involved and knocking down the three whenever he saw fit. It was an outstanding performance for Osman. 

That will be it for this week. Thanks for reading and I look forward to next week’s issue as the NBA continues to near the playoffs.