Hardwood Hypothesis week 24

The Beam is Lit! First Kings postseason in 16 seasons 



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

ERICK AGUILAR, Evergreen reporter

Hello, hello. Welcome back all, this here is week 24 of the Hardwood Hypothesis, thanks for clicking in, here we go. 

Playoff updates 

Since the last issue, there have been two teams to clinch a postseason date, those being the Cavaliers and the Kings. I have been praising both teams all season and they have honestly exceeded my expectations for this season. 

I knew the Cavs had a lot of dark horse potential, but they are the four seed in the East. Do we even consider that “dark horse” status? I envisioned them to surge out of the play-in tournament, but this is way more impressive for them. Donovan Mitchell has stepped up as the offensive spearhead this team needed and they are playing phenomenal defense on the other side of the court. For much of this season, the Cavaliers have led the league in the fewest points allowed per game. 

As for the Kings, I honestly did not expect much out of this team this season. I knew De’Aaron Fox was a name to watch, but I did not expect the rest of the team to amount to much. This team is a lethal pound-for-pound scoring machine under the spectacular coaching of Mike Brown and despite what everyone thought the Domantas Sabonis trade was actually a great move. This team has given Sac-town hope for the first time in a while. 

The Bucks and Grizzlies had already secured a postseason slot but also clinched their division in the span of my last issue. 

The surge in the West

We have certainly seen some ground made up by two particular teams in the West, teams that we do not necessarily look at as bad, but who always seem to fall short. Of course, these two are the Clippers and Suns. 

The Suns in particular we know are capable of championship-level play despite showing some struggle earlier this season. The Clippers have always had a sound roster and coaching staff, yet tend to have dumpster-fire seasons. 

Currently, the Suns and Clippers are fourth and fifth respectively in their Conference. Both will definitely make the playoffs and both pose more of a threat in the postseason once their veteran players buckle down and focus. 

I recall hearing a lot of buzz at the start of the season saying that the Clippers could very well make it to the finals, I dismissed it then and I am dismissing it now, the furthest I can see them going is the Conference finals on a good day. 

As for the Suns, I can see their depth costing them early and seeing them go out in the Semi-Finals, but I would not be too shocked if they make the finals. 

Mediocrity in the ATL 

Hawks, c’mon man. Wait, I am sorry, that is some misplaced criticism. Let me rephrase that, Hawks front office, c’mon man. Look I get it, this is the first season with a new head coach, Quin Snyder, but I would have liked to see some bigger moves prior to the trade deadline to bring in some help for Trae Young. Alright, I am done being immature about this, I see what this team is doing. 

They have accepted this season for what it is and are waiting for the offseason to really change it up. Trae is under contract for another four seasons after this one, so expect this team to really push for more success next season. 

Honestly, I really did expect this team to be doing better. As we all know, Young can get a bucket whenever he wants. Dejounte Murray, De’Andre Hunter and Bogdan Bogdanovic are all great scorers. Then you talk about the frontcourt presence of John Collins, Clint Capela and Saddiq Bey. This is not a bad team, I mean this team is third in scoring per game, they simply lack more unified defensive play. 

But check out this crazy stat, this team is 38-38, second in the Southeast division and eighth in the Eastern Conference. They had a winning record until they managed to go 13-13, their losing streak continued then they managed to even it out at 25-25. Ten games later the team is 30-30. This team just cannot get a break, they are the literal definition of .500, constant middle of the pack. Thus my remark of mediocre.

Player of the Week 

Talen Horton-Tucker receives the honor of being this edition’s player of the week. THT had dynamite (see what I did there?) performance on Wednesday scoring a career-high 41 points. He also contributed four boards and five assists to help his Jazz squad pull out the win in San Antonio. The former Laker is one of those young players that is worth keeping an eye on as he possesses an exceptional ability to score from anywhere on the floor. I’m telling you, when he gets warmed up there is simply no stopping him. 

I always have fun voicing my opinion on the NBA and as always I cannot wait to hit the keyboard for more content next week.