Hardwood Hypothesis week 20 

How good are the Celtics? 



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

ERICK AGUILAR, Evergreen reporter

Hello, hello, how is it going? I hope you are well. 

Cut the BS we are both here for one reason. Let’s do it. 

Hardwood Hypothesis week 20. 

Weekend Recap 

I never typically recap games in particular, but last weekend gave us some games with some intriguing teams, great performances and playoff-strength debuts. Three games in particular really caught my eye.

Grizzlies vs. Nuggets 

We all know that despite being number one in the West, the Nuggets are not as good as they seem, and the Grizzlies reaffirmed that on Saturday. The Nuggets do lead the league in field goal percentage, they are great in the locker room and have a great leader in Nikola Jokić.

But when it comes down to it, some teams are rolling and Memphis is one of those teams. Not only are the Grizzlies more offensively dynamic, but they are also deeper than the Nuggets. 

What am I saying here? Yes, I think the Grizzlies are better than the Nuggets, and they proved that over the weekend. I know this is just one game, but this is foreshadowing the future for this Grizzlies team. 

Bucks vs Suns

If you do not recall, this is my NBA finals matchup prediction as of last week, and I cannot say that this has changed. However, I will say that this game made me realize one thing in particular. Jrue Holiday is a dog. 

With Giannis and Khris Middleton out, Holiday was the one to step up and run the offense. I mean, he played phenomenally. 

I have always loved Holiday and thought he has always been insanely underrated, and this is a great demonstrating of that. I guess this also just shows how deep the Bucks really are. 

Lakers vs Mavericks 

So basically, Luka and Kyrie had a solid tandem performance, along with the assistance of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Christian Wood. Remember when I said Dallas’ bench would have to step up if they actually wanted to have a chance in the playoffs? Yeah, so this team might have been more prepared than we thought, this Lakers game could be a testament to that fact.

All that to say, this team still lost to the Lakers 111-108. Granted, the Lakers have actually been looking better recently, obviously trying to make a run for the play-in tournament, but that is all down the drain as LeBron is now out for at least two weeks with an ankle injury. 

Wembanyama sweepstakes 

That is Victor “Wemby” Wembanyama by the way. The 7-foot-2 French teenager is projected to be the first pick in the upcoming 2023 NBA draft. 

The big man has a remarkable shooting range and stellar ball-handling ability for his size and he has definitely grabbed the eye of NBA general managers. There are three teams who are in contention for him, which means these teams are the worse teams in the league, but that is beside the point. 

The Spurs, Rockets and Pistons all have the same odds for the first pick. I will tell you right now, there is the most talent on the Pistons than the Spurs and lastly the Rockets. 

The Spurs, by the way, are currently on a 16-game losing streak … rough. 

We see this every year, the projected best player of the draft being the talk of the league. It is so easy to overhype incoming talent and we will never really know how good this kid really is until he steps foot in an NBA arena. Though either way the sports journalism world is going to talk about him.

I would like to see Wemby go to the Pistons because this would give him better teammates at this point in his career. That would put less pressure on Wemby and allow him to grow at pace with his teammates. 

I am calling it now, the Pistons will have the same level of depth talent as the 2019 Nets with Cade Cunningham, Bojan Bogdanovich, Jaden Ivey, Sadiq Bey, James Wiseman, Alec Burks, Marvin Bagley III, Isaiah Stewart, Killian Hayes and Hamiou Diallo. 

I mean these guys are DEEP, just young. It will take some time, and minor rearrangements are inevitable, but this team will be good once they mature. 

Am I overlooking the Celtics?

It has been my opinion all season long that the 76ers and Bucks are better than the Celtics. Part of sports journalism is insight and I need to be honest with myself about this, a team has to be the top seed in their conference for a good reason.

Before I start getting hate, Jayson Tatum is an unbelievable player, one of the most versatile forwards in the league, and that is with stiff competition. But, I am beginning to realize how deep this team really is. 

Jaylen Brown is a great number-two leader for the team. Malcolm Brogdon, Mike Muscala, Sam Hauser and Derrick White have really stepped up this season. Marcus Smart is a defensive anchor against any guard. And, there is no lack of big-man play from Al Horford, Grant Williams and Robert Williams III. Blake Griffin will give you a dynamic game here and there and he is a great locker-room presence. And we all know Peyton Pritchard can step up and shoot the lights out of a game if need be. 

This team is fourth in points and first in point differential, so they play great from both sides of the ball. 

This team is SOLID, do not get me wrong, I just feel that once playoffs hit and the other teams get into gear, the Celtics are not as good as the 76ers and the Bucks. The Celtics have a higher floor than both teams, but a shorter ceiling. Hell, the Cavaliers on a hot streak could take this team on. 

Player of the Week 

I love browsing for highlight games from not-as-known players, and this week’s selection is perfect, as their Saturday performance featured a career-high game in points and rebounds. 

Mark Williams played great for his Hornets’ 108-103 triumph over the Heat with 18 points, a remarkable 20 rebounds, a steal and a block. 

Williams was always on the down-low receiving end slamming the ball into the rim. And his high rebounding performance is the reason for his team’s victory. 

At this point, I am patiently waiting for the playoffs to start like a child waiting for his post-dinner ice cream. We have under three weeks to go and I cannot be more excited. Thank you for your continued support of the series.