Home World Warriors’ Draymond Green, Chris Paul in playoff spotlight

Warriors’ Draymond Green, Chris Paul in playoff spotlight

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Draymond Green and Chris Paul haven’t let missing the playoffs keep them away from the action.

Green has joined the incomparable Inside the NBA crew on TNT, and Paul has added commentary this week on ESPN’s NBA coverage.

Both fit in — in their own ways.

Green, in particular, isn’t for everyone. He has used the platform to air grievances and often relies on overt personal biases.

Still, he has also showcased a sense of humor with the playful Inside lineup and dissected defensive schemes expertly (particularly Boston and Al Horford in the pick-and-roll). He’s polarizing, and that’s a good thing; a television producer’s nightmare is boring and irrelevant commentary.

Paul has had fewer reps, but it’s no surprise he’s a natural on camera. There aren’t many more qualified people to break down guard play in the postseason than him.

Regardless of how much it suits them, being on television can be productive for both future Hall of Famers.

In the NBA, being on TV is good business. Doc Rivers called games before Boston hired him in 2004 and again this year before taking the Bucks job midseason. Grant Hill worked as a broadcaster before he became a part owner of the Hawks and managing director of USA Basketball. Steve Kerr worked for TNT before becoming a Suns executive and later the Warriors’ coach.

JJ Redick, currently an ESPN personality, is reportedly the frontrunner to coach his podcast co-host LeBron James and the Lakers.

Paul has said he’d like to own a team one day, and Green shared that Joe Lacob told him he saw him as a potential future Warriors coach. If either Green or Paul has greater future aspirations than the studio, they’ve put themselves in a good spot.

New York Knicks' Jalen Brunson celebrates after scoring against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half of Game 3 in an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Friday, April 21, 2023, in New York. The Knicks won 99-79. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
New York Knicks’ Jalen Brunson celebrates after scoring against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half of Game 3 in an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Friday, April 21, 2023, in New York. The Knicks won 99-79. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) 

America’s point guard

Jalen Brunson became the NBA’s new darling point guard by averaging over 30 points and willing the depleted Knicks to the conference semifinals.

Even with Brunson a busted foot, Indiana didn’t have an answer for the 6-foot-2 lefty. Philadelphia threw every wing it had at him, to no avail.

Remember when Moses Moody shut down Brunson in late February? Brunson shot 1-for-5 with Moody as his individual defender and finished 11-for-25 with four turnovers overall.

Brunson’s playoff performance should be revered because he might not be able to duplicate it. Small guards like him do not have long primes, and historically, neither do players coached by Tom Thibodeau. Basketball can be an unforgiving and fickle game.

Brunson’s run was eerily reminiscent of Isaiah Thomas in 2017. The latter’s star burned bright, as he led an under-talented Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals. He averaged almost 29 points per game, just like Brunson. He was 27 years old, just like Brunson. Fifth in MVP voting and second-team All-NBA, just like Brunson.

They played heavy minutes in the postseason, with Thomas requiring offseason hip surgery and Brunson breaking his shooting hand. Thomas was never the same, and out of the league a couple of years later.

The two are different: Thomas relied more on burst and shiftiness, while Brunson is more bruising and leans on expert footwork; Thomas’ hip injury appears much more serious than Brunson’s hand; Brunson is a few inches taller and certainly sturdier, which should help.

For Knicks fans’ sanity, cross your fingers that those contrasts are enough to prevent the same fate.

Recency bias off the charts

It seems like this year, the NBA media ecosystem is taking recency bias and overreacting to a new level.

But we’ve seen Anthony Edwards-Michael Jordan comparisons, a pundit saying Luka Doncic is already better than Larry Bird, and lists of where the Wolves rank among the best defenses ever.

Talk shows have debated whether Doncic and Kyrie Irving is the best offensive duo in league history. It’s not even the best offensive duo of Irving’s career! Steph Curry and Kevin Durant played together. So did Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaq and Kobe, and LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

Everything happening now doesn’t have to be the best or worst thing ever.

Maybe it’s the instant gratification social media era. Maybe it’s the devolution of talk shows on the Worldwide Leader. Maybe even thinking the current climate is fostering a historic level of recency bias is recency bias.

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JUNE 10: Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum (0) watches as the Golden State Warrior take Game 4 of the NBA Finals at TD Garden in Boston, Mass., on Friday, June 10, 2022, at TD Garden in Boston, Mass. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – JUNE 10: Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum (0) watches as the Golden State Warrior take Game 4 of the NBA Finals at TD Garden in Boston, Mass., on Friday, June 10, 2022, at TD Garden in Boston, Mass. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 

Boston’s path

The NBA community has lost the plot on how to talk about the Boston Celtics.

Especially if Tyrese Haliburton’s hamstring knocks him out of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics might have the easiest path to the Finals ever. The Celtics don’t get to choose their opponent, so why punish them for that?

Jayson Tatum supposedly does not elevate his game in the playoffs. That’s a surprise, given that in the 2020s, he is first in playoff points, second in rebounds, assists and steals, first in wins and has multiple epic elimination games.

The Celtics can’t win close games, they say, and when they do — like Game 1 against Indiana — they shouldn’t have let it be so close in the first place.

Pundits can’t seem to trust their offense, which is understandable when you watch them get stagnant late, but that argument ignores the fact that they literally have the most efficient offense in league history.



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