Welcome back to The Weekly 4-Point Play, our new weekly column highlighting four of the biggest and most exciting stories in the association. In case you missed it, Volume 3 is here.
We are inching closer to that December 15th date where the majority of the league will be available to trade. Which is interesting because we might have had a trade request in the Windy City. We will be looking at how the Clippers might try to turn around a bad start to the James Harden era, head to the trade machine, and look at another potential superstar. And don’t let me forget about the Block Party of the Week. Let’s dive into it. Take us away Steph Curry!
Role Player Spotlight: Westbrook requests to come off the bench
The Clippers have been really struggling since acquiring James Harden. Their stars aren’t fitting together. Former MVP, All-NBA Guard, and Future Hall of Famer Russell Westbrook is at a different point of his career. He is still at his best with the ball in his hands but the Clippers have James Harden, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard who are all better than Westbrook with the ball. The four of them haven’t clicked on offense because of that.
They aren’t optimizing each other. The hope of moving Westbrook to the bench is that they can more effectively stagger their ball handlers and put more guys that are better at contributing without having the ball into lineups with 2-3 of those star players/ball handlers and doing so would make these lineups work much better together. Westbrook is at the point of his career where if he is on a contender he needs to be a role player. I think it’s awesome that he is accepting that and doing whatever he can to best help the Clippers win.
Trip to the trade machine: A trade request in the Windy City?
I told myself I’d go away from bringing up the Bulls in the trade machine session and then Shams had to go on and tweet that a real trade might be imminent. I agree with the reading that a lot of people are having that this is a trade request by LaVine and his Klutch camp. Whenever a Klutch client requests a trade, it is hard to ignore the Lakers as the most likely destination. My personal favorite trade is with a different California team so we will focus on that. The Lakers trade is pretty self explanatory.
Klay Thompson has been terrible for the Warriors this season and it might be time to move up. The Warriors have had a hard time on offense because nobody but Curry is a legit 20 ppg scorer. For the previous 3 seasons, LaVine has averaged 25.4 ppg. He would solve that problem and Alex Caruso would be another big get for them. Bulls can get off of LaVine’s salary and get some picks and a young player or two in the process as well.
Future Star Watch: Tyrese Maxey is proving that trading Harden was the right move.
Maxey is probably a star right now, but given his age, it’s hard to ignore the potential he has to even get to All-NBA level sooner rather than later. He was having an awesome season before his 50 point outburst.
He has proven himself as a legit co-star to reigning MVP Joel Embiid. The 76ers can now use the assets they got for Harden and look at other options besides a star for a trade. Now if a star becomes available, they can still pursue, but Maxey’s growth gives them much more flexibility. Maxey will be Indy in 2024 making his All-Star game debut.
The Block Party of The Week: Bam Adebayo continues to improve
Bam Adebayo might be the best defensive player in the league to not have won a DPOY. He doesn’t get a ton of block shots but that doesn’t stop him from being an elite rim protector. Bam has gotten better every season. His offensive game is what has caught my eye this season but the elite defense and rim protection is always fun to watch.
This could be the season Bam finally breaks through and makes All-NBA and/or wins a DPOY. Bam has been one of my favorite players in the league since the bubble. I think it’s sometimes underrated that he’s been the clear second best player on a team that has been to 2 Finals. Let’s take a walk down memory lane to wrap up by checking out one of the most clutch blocks in NBA history from the bubble.