Westbrook’s Lakers and Durant’s Phoenix

5:00 am on the 10th, the NBA trade deadline has passed. Unlike Korea’s KBO league, where rumors are rife among fans ahead of the trade deadline, but no big deal actually takes place, in the major leagues and the NBA, quite a lot of trades are made during the trade deadline. It is because the interests of each other are aligned as the teams running towards the goal of winning the final are separated from the teams promising the future rather than the immediate results.

At the trade deadline, the Los Angeles Clippers acquired veteran shooting guard Eric Gordon through a triangular trade with the Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Rockets. Another triangle trade involving the Denver Nuggets and Charlotte Hornets brought in athletic big man Mason Plumlee. The ‘defending champion’ Golden State Warriors re-signed Gary Payton Jr., who contributed to last season’s championship from the Portland Trail Blazers.

But, above all, the two teams that drew the attention of basketball fans at this trade deadline were the Los Angeles Lakers, who succeeded in trading Russell Westbrook, who was a ‘greed’, and the Phoenix Suns, who sold a lot of household items to recruit superstar Kevin Durant. This is why the second half of the Lakers, which disposed of Westbrook, who could not coexist with the ‘one-two punch’ LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and Phoenix, who gave everything to win the finals this season, are more curious.

Sending Westbrook and recruiting a large number of young players 바카라

Even until Westbrook wore the Lakers uniform through a large trade involving five teams in August 2021, basketball fans said that the strongest triangle leading to James, Davis, and Westbrook had been built. mouthed together This is because Westbrook was the most versatile offensive point guard in the league, having won two scoring titles, regular league MVP for the 2016-2017 season, and three triple-doubles in the season.

However, Westbrook’s play style, which requires long possession of the ball to revive his performance, overlapped with the team’s ace James, and when the two players were on the court together, the synergy was not as great as expected. Westbrook risked playing on the bench this season, but the Lakers’ performance did not improve, and in the end, the Lakers sent Westbrook to Utah while acquiring three players through a triangle trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz.

Newly recruited D’Angelo Russell was the ace of Minnesota’s backcourt, recording 17.9 points and a 39.1% 3-point shooting percentage this season. Malik Beasley, who scored 13.4 points while playing as a sixth man in Utah, is also a player who can add strength to the Lakers on the outskirts, and Jared Vanderbilt is also a competitive player as a power forward and undersized big man. It is also very encouraging that all three players who joined the Lakers this time are in their early and mid-20s.

The Lakers didn’t stop there, but through a deal with the Orlando Magic, they sent veteran guard Patrick Beverly and acquired Mohamed Bamba, who boasts a 239cm wingspan. Bamba is expected to play an active role as a backup center for Davis. The Lakers, who sent Thomas Bryant to Denver, whose position had narrowed due to the joining of Vanderbilt and Bamba, got Devon Reed and three second-round picks. Through three trades, the Lakers sent Westbrook, who had been a headache, and made a substantial reinforcement in their own way.

The problem is that as of the 10th, the Lakers are only 13th in the Western Conference with a record (25 wins, 31 losses) that is 6 wins short of a 50% win rate, including the recent 3 consecutive losses. Therefore, in order for the Lakers to advance to the ‘Play-in Tournament’ and challenge for the championship, they must win as many games as possible while working smoothly with new players in the remaining 26 games. This is why the Lakers, who have won 17 finals in their career, must show their back. There are many legendary point guards in the Phoenix NBA, such as Magic Johnson and John Stockton, who bet everything on winning this season, but when talking about the lineage of NBA point guards, Chris Paul, the Phoenix Suns’ ‘CP3’, is one that is never left out


However, Chris Paul, who has won two Olympic gold medals, has won five assists, and has been selected as an 11-time All-NBA team, has never won the finals. After his debut in the 2020-2021 season, he advanced to the finals for the first time, but unfortunately lost to the Milwaukee Bucks with 2 wins and 4 losses and stayed in runner-up.

Even at the age of 37, Paul is still performing as a league-leading point guard with 13.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 8.7 assists this season. Accordingly, the Phoenix club made a bold choice not to miss the opportunity to challenge for the first championship in the club’s history. Ahead of the trade deadline, Phoenix sent Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, Jay Crowder and four rookie picks to the Brooklyn Nets and acquired Durant, a 4-time scoring champion and 10-time All-NBA team selection.

With Durant joining, Phoenix has a splendid lineup featuring four All-Stars, including point guard Paul, shooting guard Devin Booker, forward Durant, and center DeAndre Ayton. Above all, it is a great blessing to Phoenix that it has a 208cm tall ace that can be trusted and entrusted to it in the second half of the game. In fact, Durant is so strong in big games that he was named Finals MVP twice during Golden State.

However, Bridges and Johnson, who were considered the main players to lead the team’s future along with Booker and Ayton, and above all, giving away the 3 first-round picks are a huge loss for Phoenix. In other words, if Phoenix fails to win the championship this season, it means that the team could be greatly shaken from the point of Paul’s aging curve (decline in skill with age). Durant’s healthy return after the All-Star break is also a worrying factor for Phoenix.

Meanwhile, Brooklyn received 3 rookie nomination rights from the Dallas Mavericks through the Kyrie Irving trade and 3 rookie nomination rights from Phoenix through the Durant trade. The Big 3 leading to Durant, Irving, and James Harden (Philadelphia 76era) in 2021 were disbanded after two years, but maybe the real winner of this trade deadline is Brooklyn, which has collected 11 first-round picks.

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