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The Basketball Roundtable: Scrimmage Reviews & Early Predictions

Welcome to “The Basketball Roundtable”! Every so often, we’ll be throwing a few questions to some of our contributors, relevant to trending topics of news within the current week. This is meant to be a casual conversation, similar to those that we all have while sitting around a table. With that being said, welcome to “The Basketball Roundtable.”

  1. What was the biggest shock from the scrimmages?

AlBol Bol’s performance during the scrimmages. Coming into the scrimmages, we knew he had potential to be a solid player, but not an All-Star caliber talent. Bol looked like a savvy veteran on the court, registering an insane stat line in his first game followed by decent showings. Before this season, there were concerns with Bol’s health, and those concerns were the reason Bol dropped so far down in the draft – but it looks like he’s past that and looking forward to what the future holds.

Sam Shin – The Denver Nuggets. From Bol Bol to Michael Porter Jr. to the insane lineup they deployed against Washington, the Nuggets showed us all kinds of crazy flashes throughout the three scrimmage games. We’ve been so caught up with the other teams in the Western Conference that the Nuggets always get lost in the scrum, but let’s not forget how deep this team really is – and they showed it once again during the scrimmage games. Now, Bol Bol most likely won’t be playing as much as he did in the scrimmages, but if he showed us anything, it’s that this team also has hope for the future. Add onto that the injury-riddled MPJ, who can really pose some matchup problems off the bench for this Nuggets squad.

Adam Do – How well everything seemed to run. Excuse the pessimist in me folks, but I don’t think I was the only person who was worried about total disaster from the scrimmages. 10 players suddenly collapsing due to injuries as a result of sub-par conditioning during quarantine? Four players suddenly testing positive after their first scrimmage games? Awkward integration of fans into the arena using 17-foot screens? Okay, well two of those things didn’t happen, so overall I think it was great to see.

James Garcia – The biggest shock for me was seeing a lot of players who were injured come back and play so well from the beginning. Usually they would look rusty, but because everyone is rusty I guess they blended right in. 

  1. What was the biggest disappointment from the scrimmages?

Al – NBA TV availability for a local team’s games. My local team is the Brooklyn Nets, and they were supposed to have games scheduled on NBA TV, but viewers couldn’t see them. These viewers were prompted with a blurb basically saying the game is not available “in your area.” If you attempted to switch over to the Nets’ affiliate TV station, YES TV, you wouldn’t find the game over there as well. If you schedule a game on your station, make sure it’s there!

Sam Shin – The weird mics under the floor. I don’t have many complaints against any of the players and teams, so I’m going to go with this weird and unusual answer. For anyone that’s been watching the scrimmages, you’ve probably noticed at some point and time throughout the game that there are moments in which it sounds like horses are galloping through the courts. I mean, seriously. And trust me, I understand that the scrimmages are an exhibition for the league as well, especially in this unfamiliar setting; it’s meant for the league to try out different camera angles, different sounds, mics, anything of that nature that may either increase or decrease viewership for the games that actually matter. But the mics under the floor were just too much for me, often times distracting – I’d rather spend that energy listening to players talking trash to each other or calling out plays and conversing with each other on the court.

Adam Do – I can’t say there were many disappointments, if any. How dare the NBA not allow my face to also be on the 17-foot screens mentioned above? Seriously, I wonder what the process was to get your face on the screen. What if they had to sign contracts promising they wouldn’t do anything inappropriate? Better yet, what if all those people are actually volunteers from within the NBA office and team offices? Anyways, it was great to see my Lakers playing seriously again after so many months, even if only on limited minutes with no stakes. 

James Garcia – The out of bounds area not being a different color really grinds my gears. I’m not sure why it bothers me so much, it’s such a little problem but I can never take my eyes off of it. 

  1. Your All-NBA Scrimmage Team:

Al – Luka Doncic, James Harden, Bol Bol, Jaylen Brown, Giannis Antetokounmpo

Sam Shin – Ja Morant, James Harden, Tobias Harris, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bol Bol

Adam Do – Dion Waiters (say cheeeeeeeessssseeeee), JR Smith, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Tacko Fall (it’s Tacko)

James Garcia – Luka Doncic, Mikal Bridges, Jonathan Isaac, Grant Williams, Bol Bol

  1. Early predictions on Jazz-Pelicans & Clippers-Lakers?

Al – If Zion is made available, I’m going with the Pelicans. They have enough young pieces with energy to tire the Jazz.

For the Clippers-Lakers match….I’m a Celtics fan, so Clippers.

Sam Shin – I’m taking the Pelicans in the opening match. They’ve looked great over the three scrimmage games, and if Zion is available it’ll be tough to stop him. If you’re the Jazz, with Bojan Bogdanovic out, who do you even put on him? Joe Ingles? Royce O’Neale? Also, despite people bypassing the “supposed” tension between Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, I still think that’s going to take a couple games for them to really get comfortable again – especially when you get to the portion of the game where every possession counts. If you’re Donovan, are you passing it to Rudy at that point?

Without my bias, I’m still going with the Lakers here for several reasons. First of all, it seems like Anthony Davis will give it a go after all. Second, and most important of all, the Clippers are going to be without some key players: Montrezl Harrell, Lou Williams, and potentially even defensive stalwart Patrick Beverley. Missing the first two out of the three is already going to hurt, but if they’re missing Beverley too…that’s going to be quite a dogfight for them. On the opposite side, the Lakers bench and newly introduced pieces in Dion Waiters and J.R. Smith (I can’t believe I just wrote that) have seemingly fit in pretty seamlessly, and without Lou and Trez to counter that, the Clippers may find themselves in a bit of trouble once PG and Kawhi hit the bench.

Adam DoZion Williamson will dominate the news cycle for the day despite having played 10-15 minutes in the game. Fans around the world will classify his dunks, rebounds, and 3-point shooting as “GOAT”-like. I’m taking the Jazz to win because they have a little more on the line for them; plus, they have more experience playing in high-pressure games. As for the Lakers-Clippers game, go Lakers!

James Garcia – I’m taking the Jazz in a close but sloppy game. I’m expecting the game to have an exciting finish. 

I’ll take the Lakers by a decent margin but this won’t be the last time the Lakers will have to deal with the Clippers. The Clippers seem to be more of a team that will really start clicking after the first few games. 

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