Hardwood Hypothesis week 17 

Mavericks bring Kyrie Irving to Dallas 



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

ERICK AGUILAR, Evergreen reporter

The NBA is really ramping up now, we have so much new ground to cover and I am all for it. Ladies and gents, get comfortable, here is week 17 of your favorite NBA media Hardwood Hypothesis. 

 All-Star – Reserves 

With the starting five already released, the league announced the reserve players for this year’s 2023 All-Star game. 

From the West 

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Thunder

Damian Lillard Trail Blazers

Paul George Clippers

Lauri Markkanen Jazz

Ja Morant Grizzlies

Jaren Jackson Jr. Grizzlies

Domantas Sabonis Kings

Right out of the gate, the biggest sub of this All-Star roster is De’Aaron Fox from the Kings. He has had an impeccable level of play and team success. I feel as though he has had a more impressive year than Paul George thus far. 

A case could also be made for substituting Anthony Davis for Sabonis, however, I understand that injuries kept Davis sidelined for some time. 

From the East 

Jaylen Brown Celtics

Joel Embiid – 76ers

Demar DeRozan Bulls

Julius Randle Knicks

Jrue Holiday Bucks

Tyrese Haliburton Pacers

Bam Adebayo Heat

I have fewer problems with the selection of the East reserves. James Harden does raise some eyebrows for me, but I do not see myself substituting him for anyone already on the roster. 

Clippers On the Rise 

The Clippers have slowly but surely made progress in climbing up the Western Conference rankings as they are now fourth. 

This team has talent, there is no secret about that. The problem seems to be the constant underwhelming team success. 

Kawhi Leonard is Kawhi, Paul George is having an All-Star caliber year. Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris Sr. and Ivica Zubac continue their consistent support. The addition of John Wall to this year’s roster has proven to be a wise decision and Norman Powell is stepping up more than ever. 

Fourth is the highest the team has been all season. I feel as though they deserve to be in the fifth-place spot because I do not see this team being better than the Suns, the current fifth-place team. Realistically though, the fourth through ninth spots have been very momentum based throughout the whole season. Teams are simply playing up or down regardless of their roster status. 

Kyrie Irving to the Mavericks 

This is no doubt the biggest move of this trade deadline would be the shipping of Kyrie to the Mavs. 

Just as mentioned in last week’s edition, I am thrilled the team is finally getting Luka some help. 

In exchange for the eight-time All-Star, the Mavericks gave up Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie, a future 2029 first-round pick and two second-round picks. 

This move chops down the already lacking Mavericks supporting cast, as the only remaining players who average more than 10 points a game are Christian Wood and Tim Hardaway Jr. With that being said, I like this move for the Mavericks. Irving is more than capable of taking over a game and his maneuverability tends to elevate his teammates’ play. I am optimistic that this acquisition will improve the Mavericks’ team success. 

This team still needs more talent to consider making a deep run, but I anticipate them to acquire more players in the offseason. 

I speak for all NBA fans when I say that I genuinely hope to see this duo play well together.

Player of the week 

This week’s player of the week award belongs to Cam Thomas with the Brooklyn Nets.

Time will tell if Thomas can help carry some of the load lost in the Irving trade, but as of Saturday, hopes are high. 

The 21-year-old out of LSU had a career-high 44-point game against the Wizards where his team won by a nail-biting two points. He also grabbed six boards and had five assists. 

Thomas helped his team chop down a near 20-point Wizards lead showing off his remarkable ball handling, athletic driving ability, and deadeye shooting from beyond the arc.

I am not sure if he had a big night, or if his teammates are trying to get him the rock more, but either way a phenomenal showing for the young guard. 

Personally, I think the second-year player is one of the future stars of the league. He shows so much raw potential and we know he has the ability to lead a team as he was LSUs leading scorer prior to declaring for the draft. 

I am aware that this was just one game, but if that showing is indicative of his potential … the future is bright.