Wild Speculation and Outlandish Guesses: What Gives? Edition

Editor’s Note: Most of these responses were written after the Bucks and the Warriors announced their trade, but a few were written before.

Ricky Rubio? Stephen Curry? TJ Ford? What gives with all the Point Guard injuries?

Luke Hasskamp: I could try to fashion an interesting argument about how the bodies of small point guards just can’t handle playing in the NBA, the land of very large people. And that may raise an even bigger argument about how profession sports are evolving at a much faster rate than the bodies of individual athletes can - e.g. concussions in the NFL. But, realistically, I just think it was a bad week for a few guys, something not surprising in a condensed season. It’s always sad when injuries prematurely end players’ careers. T.J. Ford had a lot of potential coming out of Texas.

Andrew Snyder: I haven’t eaten in three days. I stopped going to work. I started shaving. Okay, only one of those is actually true (the shaving part), but as a Minneapolis resident and ardent fan of all Rubio mania (and #puppybreathandcinnamon), his ACL tear has put a major damper on my fairweather T-Wolves fanship. At least he’s going to miss the Olympics so we can beat Spain. USA!

Symbol Lai: I think the recent onslaught of injuries is probably a consequence of the condensed season. Guys are playing just about every other night so have very little time to recuperate. And because they probably feel some pressure from coaches, teammates, or even their own sense of accountability to continue playing, I can imagine that these guys are working through injuries rather than letting their body rest and heal. The whole situation is kind of ironic in the worst possible way. We get this crazy schedule as a result of a bid by players for more leverage and security against their employers and here they are jeopardizing themselves in order to work at a pace that is probably wrecking havoc on some of their bodies. Hopefully none of the injuries that occur this year will end anyone’s careers.

Omar Bagnied: There are more injuries due to the truncated season and back-to-back-to-back games. Fitness is an issue, especially with those more injury-prone. This is the issue with Rubio, Curry and Ford, they’re just injury-prone. They’re smaller players getting beaten up a little bit. Ford’s story is tragic and he just retired due to his spinal injuries. Rubio’s been beaten up all season; Timberwolves management actually compiled footage of him getting knocked around and sent it to NBA officials. Curry’s smaller frame, again, means he’s going to have a tougher time avoiding injury. And I remember this guy carrying GSW on his back when Monta Ellis missed time during the 2009-2010 season. Now that Ellis is gone I can’t imagine it’s going to get any easier for Curry and the Warriors.

I was watching the LAC-Boston game last night and there were 5 technicals in the first half. It just seems like players are annoyed with how often they’re made to play, and they’re taking out their frustration out on other players.

Jason Arends: TJ Ford is injured? Stop the presses! I’m not sure the injuries to any of them are that unusual. Two of those players have an injury history, and Ricky Rubio was playing in a ridiculously shortened season. As someone who can’t play 40 minutes without the aid of significant pain-killers the next day, I can’t imagine it’s been a fun season for pro athletes playing 5 games in a week. The league is lucky there haven’t been a lot more injuries this year.

New York and Dallas are both 2-8 in their last ten. What gives?

Luke Hasskamp: New York simply is not a good team. Linsanity was a statistical fluke, and he’s coming back down to earth. And Carmelo is not a winner. He’s a scorer, but not a winner. D’Antoni may not be the whiz we’ve always thought he was.

Dallas is a better team, but they had a fairly rough schedule the last 10 days, playing the Lakers, the Thunder, the Jazz and the Grizzlies during that span, as well as Steve Nash. Plus, 6 of those games were on the road. Sure, some of those losses were head-scratchers, but nothing to be too concerned about. Just don’t expect them to make another run this year.

Andrew Snyder: As a Boston native, obviously the answer is that New York just sucks. Shhhhhhh, don’t tell anyone I was a secret Knicks fan in 1999 because our family didn’t pay for cable and they were on NBA on NBC all the time and Allan Houston, John Starks, LJ, Oakley, and Ewing were sweet. Shhhhh! Mums the word!

On the other hand, Dallas is clearly missing Jose Juan Barea and Tyson Chandler. I’m not sure if Mark Cuban is really secretly planning the “NostraSimbo” predicted additions of Dwight Howard and Deron Williams with the cap space he cleared this offseason, but why break up a Championship team in a lockout shortened season?

Symbol Lai: The most logical answer for these poor records is that both New York and Dallas are simply going through a lull. It’s been a very streaky season and most teams (excluding obvious frontrunners like Miami, Chicago, and OKC) that people thought were frontrunners at the beginning of the season have gone through them so it’s just a matter of time before they start winning again. That would be the most reasonable explanation.

Too bad reasonable isn’t always right. While the lull theory might hold true for Dallas, I don’t think it applies to New York. Ever since the game against Miami, it’s become increasingly clear that Linsanity is over. We’re back to the same old pre-Linsanity Knicks that was playing some of the worst basketball I’ve ever seen. Besides the obvious critiques of not playing defense and turning over the ball too much, the offense is a sorry mess. Ball movement is sporadic. Shots selection is reckless. Hell, the players, again, don’t even look like they enjoy each other’s company. The only difference this second time around is that, with J.R. Smith and Baron Davis in the line up and Jeremy Lin a superstar, there are even more ball handlers and shot-takers to appease than before.

What makes me think that this losing trend may be here to stay for New York is that I highly doubt Mike D’Antoni’s ability to be a coach in this situation. First of all, as he’s known for his all go, all the time offensive approach, I doubt he’s putting much emphasis on the turnovers and defensive disaster. (That Tyson Chandler seems to be the only person committed to defense suggests as much). Secondly, D’Antoni has a lot of personalities to balance and, so far, I don’t think he’s made any moves-lineup changes, offensive or defensive plan adjustments, or even rousing speeches-to get these guys to gel. I remember in the game against the Sixers, when the Knicks had started losing it in the 3rd quarter, D’Antoni went a long stretch without stopping the game to refocus the team. He kinda just stood on the sideline, shook his head in disappointment, and yelled some things until his team was long past the point of no return. By the time there was a time out, the Knicks looked thoroughly demoralized. He just doesn’t seem like a guy who will sit the players down to figure out individual roles to complement the team, which is what the Knicks need at this point.

Omar Bagnied: I’m in the Trade Melo camp. I thought the Lin-Fields-Novak-Stoudamire-Chandler lineup was perfect for this team. Lin has a killer instinct and was winning this team ball games, regardless of the competition. They won seven in a row and had serious momentum going. Melo killed it. Baron Davis killed it. They play a selfish brand of basketball. I’m of the opinion that Lin can be the player you go to in the clutch for big shots. I’m of that opinion because he’s done it, and on the biggest of stages. New York should trade Melo and Baron Davis for one of the bigs on the trading block, either Pau Gasol or Dwight Howard. Three bigs in that front-court would be ideal; JR Smith, Shumpert and Walker can be great complements off the bench.

With the Mavericks I just think they’re old, the oldest team in the league actually. They got worse over the offseason. Chandler, Barea, Butler, Stojakovic and Brewer were all important pieces that they lost. They knew their role on the team. What they gained is an older, more selfish crop in Vince Carter, Lamar Odom and Delonte West. I’m not surprised that they’re losing. I’m actually surprised that they’ve won as many games as they have this season.

This is actually the current Mavericks team photo.

Jason Arends: New York is, well, they’ve been terrible all year except for Linsanity month, when they played a lot of mediocre teams. Dallas is an older team playing a tough stretch. Dallas will probably revert to playing .580 ball soon, and I expect New York to return to winning two for every three they lose any week now. Which will probably be good for the 8th seed out East.

Finally, though this could very well be rendered irrelevant by the time this is posted, who will be the BEST player traded before the deadline?

Luke Hasskamp: Pau Gasol. Many teams are interested and he would fit with so many different teams, so something has to happen. Plus, the Lakers have to make a move because they’re not going deep into the playoffs with its squad as currently constituted.

Dwight Howard, the big baby in Orlando, isn’t going anywhere. He’s not interested in going to any team where it would actually make sense for a player with his game to go. Chicago would be an awesome destination, but he wants to be BMOC, so his ego is going to trump. The Magic probably should trade him, but they probably are mistakenly thinking he’ll finally stop pouting and realize that Orlando isn’t that bad of a place after all.

Andrew Snyder: Chris Kaman. I don’t think anybody remotely exciting will be traded. Reverse Jinx!

Symbol Lai: I’ll tell you who I don’t think will be traded. Dwight Howard. Even though he looks like he couldn’t care less about the whole city of Orlando. He cut off a lot of opportunities with his short list of teams he’d be willing to play for. Non-preferred teams probably wouldn’t give away their young assets for a guy who’s not committed for the long haul, especially since they’d want to build a team around him. And, given tonight’s win against the Heat, Magic management might be able to convince Howard that the Magic are win-worthy. I think this whole hoopla will be a cruel joke for 1) basketball fans b/c that’s all we’ve been hearing about for the entire effing season and 2) the poor journalists that have to analyze this shit ad nauseam in different words multiple times a week b/c that’s what people supposedly want to hear about. I can’t wait for the trade deadline to be over so I don’t have to hear about it anymore.

Omar Bagnied: Monta Ellis just got traded to the Bucks for Bogut and Jackson. It’s tough to predict who will or won’t be traded. I think Howard might end up staying put. Same goes for Gasol and Rondo. Right now I’m just going to say Ellis.

Jason Arends: I was going to say Monta Ellis or Steph Curry, but that was after I knew one of them had already been traded. So now I seem cheap instead of prescient. Putting on my melange filled helmet, I would suggest that Michael Beasley, Pau Gasol, and anything of value on the Hornets will be the best players moved by the deadline. Beasley hasn’t quite fit no matter where, and I can see some team thinking they can capture the amazing college player instead of the inconsistent professional. He still could be amazing, but it gets less likely each season. I don’t know what to make of rumors that the Lakers are looking to move Gasol, either they’re bonkers or convinced that Luis Scola will look much better not getting fed the ball. Finally, the Hornets are among the most depressing teams in the league, and I hope Dell Demps is allowed to ship off Kaman, Gordon’s last months in town, and Chris Paul’s old sneakers for something to help in the future. The fan in me hopes Chris Kaman isn’t the best player moved (excepting that Bogut’s already gone), but that might be how this year shakes out. Only time will prove me wildly wrong.

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