John Wall called the Wizards’ bench their “downfall” in the playoffs – a fair assessment. Washington’s starters outscored opponents by 4.7 points per 100 possessions and its bench got outscored by 15.5 points per 100 possessions – the biggest disparity this side of Oklahoma City.
I made this chart to illustrate the point:
Even more glaring than the Thunder, look at the Cavaliers and Warriors in the top right corner. The NBA Finalists had – by far – the best and second-best starters AND benches (as defined by NBA.com) in the 2017 playoffs.
Golden State’s starters are +21.9 per 100 possessions and its bench is +7.8. Cleveland (+19.4, +8.6) has also excelled with both starters and reserves.
The Warriors boast a Finals MVP (Andre Iguodala) and two-time All-Star (David West) off their bench. The Cavs often have LeBron James run sweet-shooting reserve-heavy units (that include Kyle Korver, Iman Shumpert, Deron Williams, Richard Jefferson and Channning Frye).
After a lousy postseason so far, maybe these teams will provide 48 minutes of thrilling action each game of the Finals.
This is just the third matchup in the last 21 years (as far back as NBA.com records go) where the top two starters and benches through the first three rounds of the playoffs met in the Finals, joining Heat-Spurs in 2013 and 2014.
Here’s every Finals matchup in that span with starters rank, bench rank by net rating among the 16 playoff teams:
- 2017: Golden State Warriors (1, 2) | Cleveland Cavaliers (2, 1)
- 2016: Cleveland Cavaliers (1, 1) | Golden State Warriors (2, 3)
- 2015: Golden State Warriors (2, 4) | Cleveland Cavaliers (1, 2)
- 2014: San Antonio Spurs (1, 2) | Miami Heat (2, 1)
- 2013: Miami Heat (1, 2) | San Antonio Spurs (2, 1)
- 2012: Miami Heat (2, 1) | Oklahoma City Thunder (3, 2)
- 2011: Dallas Mavericks (2, 2) | Miami Heat (4, 1)
- 2010: Los Angeles Lakers (3, 5) | Boston Celtics (2, 6)
- 2009: Los Angeles Lakers (3, 3) | Orlando Magic (4, 2)
- 2008: Boston Celtics (1, 10) | Los Angeles Lakers (2, 5)
- 2007: San Antonio Spurs (2, 4) | Cleveland Cavaliers (7, 1)
- 2006: Miami Heat (2, 1) | Dallas Mavericks (1, 3)
- 2005: San Antonio Spurs (4, 1) | Detroit Pistons (2, 5)
- 2004: Detroit Pistons (1, 6) | Los Angeles Lakers (2, 4)
- 2003: San Antonio Spurs (2, 1) | New Jersey Nets (1, 5)
- 2002: Los Angeles Lakers (4, 7) | New Jersey Nets (5, 8)
- 2001: Los Angeles Lakers (1, 1) | Philadelphia 76ers (8, 3)
- 2000: Los Angeles Lakers (2, 3) | Indiana Pacers (7, 2)
- 1999: San Antonio Spurs (1, 3) | New York Knicks (2, 1)
- 1998: Chicago Bulls (1, 2) | Utah Jazz (5, 1)
- 1997: Chicago Bulls (1, 5) | Utah Jazz (2, 11)
Anthony Davis is headed to the Los Angeles Lakers. The New Orleans Pelicans got a significant haul in exchange for their beleaguered star, and LeBron James is openly happy his team finally got the player they wanted all along.
Other favorites to land Anthony Davis this offseason were the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks. Danny Ainge had to wait until after July 1 to make a trade for Davis thanks to some special CBA rules regarding Kyrie Irving‘s contract.
But that no longer appears to be on the table, in part because Boston decided not to offer Jayson Tatum in any deal for Davis. Thought to be the crown jewel of any potential Celtics-Pelicans trade, there was also concern by Ainge that Davis would not re-sign in Beantown.
This runs contrary to everything we’ve heard about Boston going after Davis. Ainge has always been one to leverage his assets in a way that’s less conservative than other team execs. Plus, the reports have been that the Celtics were not concerned about Davis re-signing. Perhaps Davis gave them a little extra information, telling them directly that he would not re-sign? Davis’ agent Rich Paul said as much publicly, but what’s posturing and what’s negotiating isn’t one in the same.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Pelicans and Lakers will complete the deal on July 6. There’s a lot of time before we hit that date, and Pelicans leader David Griffin won’t back out of his deal with L.A. But the fact there’s still time on the table and the Celtics didn’t change their tune on Tatum tells us all the information we need to know.
The Anthony Davis trade saga is finally over. The deal between the New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers hasn’t been completed yet, and is expected to be done on July 6.
For now, L.A. can move its attention elsewhere to look for another star. The Lakers will have significant cap space — $23.7 million, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Bobby Marks — and they’ll need another star.
Talk recently has been that former LeBron James running mate Kyrie Irving is headed to the Brooklyn Nets. But no deal is officially in place, and free agency hasn’t started. According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, there are folks in LeBron’s camp who are hopeful that Irving could still join L.A.
Via The Athletic:
Just days before the Davis deal was done, a source close to James indicated some optimism that – Nets noise be darned – Irving was still in play for the Lakers.
Remember, Irving and James had a heart-to-heart talk earlier in the season. They hashed out what happened in Cleveland, with Irving apologizing to James for how he acted as a younger man.
That sparked speculation that Irving could be looking to join LeBron with the Lakers this summer when he had the ability to opt out of his contract with the Boston Celtics.
We haven’t even reached the 2019 NBA draft yet, and already free agency is ramping up and getting crazy. This July is going to be wild, and until the music stops and the butts are in the seats, don’t count anyone as being a sure thing for any team just yet.
Anthony Davis isn’t in Los Angeles yet. In fact the trade between the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans hasn’t been completed, and reportedly won’t be completed until July 6.
But that doesn’t mean that Lakers fans aren’t already anticipating his arrival.
On Instagram Sunday, Venice muralist Gustavo Zermeño Jr. posted an incredible new rendering of Davis, draped in Forum blue and gold.
Zermeño is the artist who painted one of the LeBron James murals that was defaced in L.A. last summer.
The Lakers did nothing right last season, and are a train wreck of an organization. Despite that, they have landed one of the best players in the NBA and if he can stay healthy they should be able to find their way back to the playoffs next season. There’s lots of work to do on this Lakers roster, and as much as people want to jump to conclusions, it’ll take some filling out before they’re contenders.
Davis is a step in the right direction, but this whole thing could go in the direction of “Now This Is Going To Be Fun” very quickly.
Never put it past Lakers fans to go all in. Less than 24 hours from the announcement of the trade and we already have a mural of Davis.
The trade for Anthony Davis has not been completed yet. The New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers are apparently not expected to finalize the deal until July 6.
But one thing that could throw those plans out the window is if GM David Griffin gets another offer before Thursday’s NBA Draft. According to multiple reports, teams have been calling the Pelicans interested in the No. 4 overall pick they gleaned in the deal in principle for Davis.
From a distance it appears Griffin is not looking to completely rebuild from the bottom. His roster isn’t really set up for that, anyway. Jrue Holiday is already 29, and having two 19 or 20-year-olds would necessitate waiting longer to contend than perhaps Holiday’s contract lasts.
Still, it’s not as though Griffin couldn’t have another deal in principle in place by Thursday for that pick. Teams select for other teams all the time. A wink-and-handshake deal could be done so the Pelicans select for whomever a potential trade partner wants at that No. 4 spot.
The NBA is a weird place so I wouldn’t be surprised if this deal gets done earlier, or even later as Adrian Wojnarowski has suggested is possible. At the end of the day, the outcome is that Davis is on the Lakers despite that organization doing absolutely nothing right to get him there other than being in L.A.