The NBA season is in full swing, and we will be here each weekday with the NBC Sports daily roundup Three Things to Know — everything you might have missed in the Association, every pivotal moment from the night before in one place.
1) Let’s all take a step back and savor LeBron’s greatness
When it comes to the NBA’s core audience — fans, writers, a lot of people in the flowing conversation on Twitter/Instagram — we tend to pick things apart. It’s part of the 24-hour sports talk/media culture. We critique the details of a players’ footwork in the post, we break down weaknesses with his handles, we analyze and dive deep into the advanced statistics, we question how good teams really are as constructed. We tear things apart and occasionally down.
Too often, we don’t stop, slow down, and let the game bring us joy.
We forget to savor what we have.
Not today. Today we are going to step back and admire LeBron James and his greatness. We need to savor getting to watch a Mount Rushmore player, one of the greats ever to lace them up, play through his prime, which never seems to end.
That greatness was on full display Monday night. Don’t forget, LeBron is in his 18th season, has racked up far more minutes than Michael Jordan ever did, played 46 minutes in a double-overtime game two days before (and he has not missed a game this season), and Monday he rolled out a triple-double of has 28 points, 14 boards and 12 assists playing 42 minutes. Because of him (with some help from Wesley Matthews and Montrezl Harrell), the Lakers beat the Thunder in overtime.
Did we mention LeBron is 36 years old, besting a bunch of fresh-legged 20somethings?
LeBron has played 89 minutes in the last 2 games.
At age 36 in his 18th season, he is averaging more MPG (34.5) than these following 20 year-olds:
Ben Simmons pic.twitter.com/ifcE64wed0
— StatMuse (@statmuse) February 9, 2021
Sometimes we don’t appreciate what we have. When we see true greatness in sport — Usain Bolt running the 100, Simone Biles on the floor exercise, Lionel Messi standing over a free kick, Rafael Nadal on the clay at Roland Garros — we should take a step back and just savor it. These are magical moments in sports, the moments that made us fans and fall in love with the sport. We need to soak them in.
We need to do that with LeBron James as long as he is still on an NBA court. Greatness like this does not come around often. Savor it while we can.
2) Yes, it’s funky. But LaMelo Ball’s three-point shot goes in.
Nobody is going to confuse LaMelo Ball’s three-point shooting form with Klay Thompson’s.
Well, except in one area — it goes in.
LaMelo became the youngest player in NBA history to hit seven threes in a game Monday night, going 7-of-12 from three.
Ball is shooting 36.3% from three for the season, and in his last six games, he is 21-of-40. After the game, he said people have talked to him about changing his shotput-style shooting form from deep, but if it’s not broke, he’s not fixing it.
“I stick with it. I say, `This is how I shoot,”‘ Ball said. “I’m confident in it and I feel good letting it go. I came here and they tried to adjust it a little, but I’m like, `Ah, this is how I shoot.”‘
Charlotte got the win over the Rockets 119-94 behind Ball and his shooting.
3) Would the Toronto Raptors trade Kyle Lowry?
There was an uproar in Toronto when Masai Ujiri traded fan-favorite DeMar DeRozan — this was the guy who stuck with the Raptors when he had other options, he was an All-Star and beloved by the fan base. Of course, the Raptors got back Kawhi Leonard, who led them to the franchise’s first title, so all was forgiven.
That uproar would be nothing compared to the cries if the Raptors were to trade the greatest Raptor of all-time: Kyle Lowry. The rumors are out there that the Raptors are considering it, but would Toronto really do it?
There would certainly be interest in the 34-year-old All-Star point guard averaging 17 points and 6.7 assists this season. Right now, the trade market is slow, with very few sellers and plenty of potential buyers — it is a seller’s market and Lowry would fetch a premium price. That said, constructing a deal for a guy making $30 million in the final year of his contract — teams would see him as a rental — is not easy, and he likely would not draw offers as large as the Raptors would hope.
Toronto has a decision to make with this season: Do they consider trading Lowry and other veterans to start the rebuild around Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, and Fred VanVleet? Or, do they make a trade for a center such as Andre Drummond — Toronto is not the same without Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka in the paint — climb up out of the play-in series level they are at now, and make another run at it.
Don’t bet on a Lowry trade out of Toronto, although teams will ask.
However, will Lowry re-sign with Toronto as a free agent next offseason? That is a very different question.