Hardwood Hypothesis week 21

Lakers … Headless chicken or not?



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

ERICK AGUILAR, Evergreen reporter

Bing bam boom, Hardwood Hypothesis week 21, let’s get to it. 

Warriors Watch 

With playoffs just around the corner, the Warriors have surged up into the fifth spot in the West. 

So, we know that Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole can ball out. Andrew Wiggins is a great asset on this team and the help of Donte DiVincenzo, Jonathan Kuminga and Draymond Green does not go unnoticed. 

But, the only thing that keeps this team relevant is the well-feared menace that is playoff Curry. The Lakers and Warriors are the only teams’ whose regular season performance does not reflect how they would do in the playoffs. 

Assuming this team makes the playoffs, I can see their run going either way. 

If they are eliminated early, the explanation would be that even Mike needed Scottie. AKA Curry did not have adequate help around him. If they make a deep run the explanation would be that Stephen Curry is Stephen Curry. We know what he can do under the pressure of the playoffs. And may I remind you that the Warriors are the current league champs. 

For the sake of Curry’s legacy, I would love to see him win yet another ring. He is already the best shooter to ever play the game, he deserves a fifth championship. 

Are the Knicks better than we thought? 

As of Tuesday the Knicks are on a nine-game win streak sitting three wins over the Nets in the East’s fifth-place spot. The team’s current roster is the best they have had in a while, but we have seen an admirable playoff push in the last few weeks. 

This team does not have a significant cornerstone, best player and leader and that is what they really need. Regardless, this team is constantly proving that this Knicks rebuild is further along than we thought. First, you have their three-headed monster in RJ Barrett, Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle. 

Next you have Josh Hart, Quentin Grimes, Cam Reddish and Mitchell Robinson to make up the backbone of this team’s success thus far and no mention having a veteran like Derrick Rose in the locker room brings a huge positive impact. 

This team has me intrigued because they keep raising the ceiling on the expectations people have of them. I would love to see this team go deep in the playoffs and really show what they are capable of. 

Are the Lakers toast?

Short answer, yeah. Definitely. LeBron is out due to injury and there is no chance the team is successful without him. 

So far the team is three and two without him, and I could very well see them making the play in, but they will NEED LeBron back if they hope to have any chance at making a deep run. 

LeBron will be reevaluated in less than three weeks, but the key word there is “reevaluated,” there is no guarantee that he will be 100% good to go. 

Can we just recognize that this Lakers roster is actually not too horrible? It sounds weird to say, but maybe Rob Pelinka is not a complete failure of a general manager afterall. 

We know Anthony Davis is great, D’Angelo Russell is no longer the immature kid that was once on the roster, Malik Beasley plays solid ball, Lonnie Walker IV has really stepped up this season, Dennis Schröder proved to not be worth the money he wanted but is now a reliable guard off the bench and Thomas Bryant has stepped up to be another big man the team needs. 

They also have Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, Jarred Vanderbilt and Troy Brown Jr. to round up the rear. 

Credit where it is due, this roster is not that bad after all, but I cannot say in good consciousness that they can win big without their leader. 

Player of the week 

Speaking of the Knicks, Immanuel Quickley is this issue’s player of the week. Quickley’s Sunday performance earned him this spot as he dropped 38 points with eight rebounds, seven assists, two blocks and four steals. His efforts helped assure a double overtime victory against the Celtics. 

I knew he could shoot, but damn … this kid can shoot.

Quickley is a reliable part of this new Knicks team and I am excited to see how his career unfolds. 

Teams are tying up loose ends, trying to assure their playoff berth and this is simply the calm before the storm. I am anxious for the playoffs to start and I CAN NOT WAIT to cover it.