NBA championship odds: Lakers still lead pack despite quiet trade deadline; Clippers improve chances
Did you make of the two teams? How do you feel about them currently? Wow Oh well I I I I stand by. I think the clippers have long time then the favorites. I think the way that the Lakers have played This season and how they've consistently consistently performed Dwight Howard has been a pleasant surprise. I think Kyle Kuzma with the injury to start off the season. He he hasn't really gun the things that they would like. These are very good contributor. But I think that the clippers with all the management and and Paul George Missing Time and some Injuries and you look at where they are there. Second Right now and for me. I think that the clippers are the best team right are they. Are the team that come at at the end of the day you're going to have to go through in order to try and win a championship. Even though the Lakers have the best record and it looks like the Lakers are GonNa have home court At at this point in time if it were to start today I still feel like you know the clippers. The team that you're GONNA have to be in order to win the whole thing Richard. How all surprising that? The rockets decided to go full monty. There Bison not only are we gonNA run small lineups. We won't even carry a gun on the roster who would allow us to run any sort of other type lineups. Well it's a at this point in time. If you look at Dantonio you look at Dell Maury winter. We've we've had they not gone all in on whatever they believe right. What do they have to lose? They've been criticized up and down and make pulled off some pretty impressive trade getting in Chris. Paul getting in Russell Westbrook. They've done some really really good things to pair With with James Harden James Harden continuingly improved his offense of game. But it's like I'm not surprised anymore. It's like they look at their team. And they're like the way we're structured right now. We're probably up for a first or second round loss What can we do to really shocked at? How can we try and change things up? And they made them moved. ooh They believed that adding Covington and giving up Cappella and they just WanNa go all small ball kind of like what you would see from the Golden State Warriors for for a time So I'm not surprised by it. I think that you know everyone out. There is fighting for their job. I think Daryl Morey I think I think You look at Dan Tony think these guys are low key fighting for their jobs so if they know that first or second round loss possibly could be the end to their tenure. So why not try and go all whatever you believe. Richard Jefferson hanging out with this year. Makes you check them out today. Five o'clock Indiana Toronto. ESPN mean is also in studio with us as well by the way. You're listening to Los Angeles. So Richard Let me ask you this about what Brian said yesterday specifically in regards to that game like he he kind of talked about their lack of focus on defense. Where do you think the Lakers can get better on defense? Can they do it. Internally you have again you have some talented players and I. I always proceed very cautiously when you have a game like that and everyone wants to run and talk about it and break it down like look Russell. Westbrook had a great great game. Houston shot the ball extremely well if you send shot the ball like that against anybody on any given night. They're going to win that game Even Dan Tony said in his interview. He's like hey I understand what we're doing is different It all has to do with whether or not these guys will buy in and tonight was a big step that they would have gone out and got him blasted in a D had forty five right an twenty six against them. Everybody in that Houston Rocket Locker. Room would be questioning. What's what's going on? They would be getting murdered by the media. It would be going crazy but they were fortunate to get that win in La which very hard place to play and now. Everyone's questioning the Lakers. Well look I believe this. I believe that the Lakers are great regular season team. I think that last night they should've stayed with the White Howard. You can't Anthony Davis if there's a difference between being like having your numbers be dominant and actually being dominant and physically dominant. Anthony Davis just. Wasn't that Anthony. Davis Davis is not an again. I hate to talk about. What player isn't because he is a million great in every anybody would want them on their team but he's not a guy that just going to low post blocks doc band you up and then go and shoot a five-foot Hook shot and don't because he worked position that's why he runs the floor so well so he can get that early early post up in a great position and it's harder to guard but in the postseason when it becomes half court basketball? That's what the Houston Rockets are depending on when it becomes a half half halfcourt basketball game and they can spread it out and just have Russell James go to work and kick it out to more shooters so everyone had their theory. It's just a matter of WHO's going to be able to impose their will Richard One of the things that That's happening for the Lakers. This year is that when Lebron plays the offense is is tremendous right there. They're one of the best offensive teams out there. But when he doesn't play when he's not on the floor I should say that offense becomes very anemic even when Anthony Davis was an. MVP candidate in his own right is on the floor. And it reminded me of the years in In Cleveland the three years that Love Irving and and Lebron were together. When Lebron didn't play that team wasn't just not a great team not wasn't just a below five hundred they were awful and given that you've been on the inside you've been on a Lebron James Team? Can you explain to me how that is. How talented players? Once you remove this one guy turned into a bad basketball team. I think it's it's style of play. It's continuity I think that's something that it's it's weird because Lebron James is always you typically been healthy. She's always played in seventy five or more games except for last year due to the groin injury. So it's like this is the guy that each up eighty ninety percent of like court time. So you're what what you're really referencing is like non-core time and even then comes the postseason. This is a man that's going to go from playing thirty seven minutes a night thirty eight. He's going to go up to like forty three forty four minutes a night. 'cause there's no bags and there's no practices for most of his energies just using games. So what you're really talking about is how do you play Good Basketball for eight to ten minutes in it for twelve minutes and that can be tough to find that continuity. It's tough because it's such a small sample size right and yes it's a small. It's a large sample size is when you look at how often it happens. But it's very very difficult for coaches to be like how we're GONNA play for this ten to twelve minutes when the broncos out of the game because when he's in the game everything's everything's perfect. Everything's runs great room and I think that's the challenge. The coaches have a lot of people are talking about Darren. Collison coming in and then interrogating him bats. That's the challenge and it's and it's been a long time. The bron James Challenge is how do we play that 'cause they had with Kyrie Kyrie is a great score but it's like when Bronco go out of the game game that was an opportunity for Kyrie to really explore and really play his game and get his rhythm will Kyrie's rhythm might not necessarily be the rhythm for the the other guys on the court and I thought knock on Kyrie. If just like broad had the ball handed Kyrie was basically a two guard. Then Kai Bronco Ga.. The game in Cairo would become the point guard. But this was an opportunity to get going scoring and maybe throw the ball into Kevin Love. which when you had the surrounding guys there wasn't an offense? There wasn't a continuity beauty for us to play through so there's good still Lebron and there's challenges to Lebron. I wouldn't even call that bad but I think this final stretch is going to be key but understand. He's going to play more minutes in the postseason. So you can't really say like hey we need to figure out what we're GONNA do when he's out of the game because that's just realistically he's going to be in the game Ormeau. Richard Jefferson with this year on the Sodano show on ESPN. This actually leads perfectly into my next question. This is good chemistry right here. These three guys. So Rondo they have Rondo. Problem is a net negative player. He's been that for seven seasons now but to a means point it falls off a cliff. He's usually usually the guy that has to lead that second unit. I don't think they can afford to play him anymore. To be honest with you what do you do if you do agree with me. What do you do with Ronda how do you how do you manage? Rondo at this point Well I I think there's there's two components there's an on the court and then there's a locker room right. There's a locker component and it's like a like say what you want about Rondo. He's a very dynamic guy on and off the court so you WanNa make sure that Rondo understands what your is your team goals are. I think Rondo is in a very different space. And he was years and years ago whether it was in Dallas when I played with them or leaving Boston I think Rondos one of those guys that in this moment right here they need to find. I I think that's Darren Collison being. It's so big the need to find one more guy that can compliment that second unit And so yes do but you gotta look at what can you do. He's a net negative guy adding Rondo very very rare. But no one really questions Kenney still play is he's still a contributor when you're just looking at the second unit and when I tell you that the six years prior that's one thing this year I I mentioned it early.