By: Josh Weinstein
At Homestand Sports, we’re pleased to provide our weekly 4-for-Four to all of our readers. The goal of the 4-for-Four is to answer four questions weekly, with the goal of recapping the most notable storylines and trends from the past week of NBA action. Enjoy!
Also, be sure to visit homestand.ca to purchase your tickets for the Hoop Talks Toronto Basketball Summit on March 28. Doug Smith, Sherman Hamilton, Paul Jones, Michael Grange, Eric Koreen, and Ashley Docking will be there. Will you?
Q: PLAYERS CATCH OUR ATTENTION IN UNEXPECTED WAYS. WHO'S ONE PLAYER LOCALLY OR NATIONALLY WHO YOU'RE WATCHING ESPECIALLY CLOSELY OF LATE?
I've had my eye on a couple of big men, DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Drummond have both been playing out of their minds for their respective teams.
Starting with Cousins, he recorded a monster triple-double earlier this week with 44 points, 24 rebounds, 10 assists, while adding four steals and one block for good measure. The tandem of Cousins and Anthony Davis has been wreaking havoc in New Orleans this season and show no signs of slowing down. Whether the duo's front-court dominance can translate into a playoff berth for the Pelicans remains to be seen.
As for Andre Drummond, he played with quite a chip on his shoulder Wednesday night in his first game since being snubbed from the all-star game. The Pistons centre finished with 30 points, 24 rebounds, six blocks, and three steals in a losing effort. Even though the Pistons are outside of the East's top eight teams, Drummond was still deserving of all-star recognition due to his statistical dominance.
Q: IT'S NEVER TOO EARLY TO START LOOKING FOR TRENDS WHEN IT COMES TO PLAYERS, GENERAL MANAGERS, COACHES, TEAMS OR EVEN THE LEAGUE AS A WHOLE. WHAT'S ONE TREND THAT'S STANDING OUT TO YOU SO FAR IN 2018?
I loved the idea of a draft to determine the all-star teams this season. The West has dominated the East in recent years in the All-Star game, so shaking things up and allowing the top vote-getters from each conference, LeBron James and Stephen Curry, to draft their own teams was clever. We'll now have teams comprised of talent from both conferences, which adds a much-needed level of intrigue to the game.
From seeing James and Kyrie Irving back on the same team, to having both Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant on Team LeBron, or the dominant Pels front-court of Cousins and Davis teaming up, there are plenty of storylines to look out for on February 18.
Q: THERE ARE SURPRISE TEAMS EVERY YEAR, AND WHILE MOST END UP FADING AWAY, SOMECONTEND ALL YEAR. ARE THERE ANY LEGITIMATE CONTENDERS AMONG THIS YEAR'S SURPRISE CLUBS?
After a quiet start to the season, the Miami Heat have been rolling of late. The team put together a seven-game winning streak and have won nine of its past 13 games. Goran Dragic has been the catalyst of the Heat offence over that span, averaging 20.5 points and 5.9 assists in his past ten games. The Dragon was inactive in Miami's past two games with a knee injury, but returned Thursday night against the Kings, scoring 23 points.
With the help of Dragic and the rest of the roster's hot play of late the Heat currently sit at 27-21, which is good enough for fourth in the East. There's no reason to think Miami won't sustain its level of play and clinch a playoff berth in the weak Eastern Conference.
Q: WHAT'S SOMETHING SMART OR INTERESTING YOU READ RECENTLY AND WHY DID IT STAND OUT?
I loved reading a Yahoo sports article about how LeBron James is supposedly still pissed off at the Cavaliers for not acquiring Eric Bledsoe and Paul George when the team had the chance to in months past. It seems that no matter what the Cavaliers do, they somehow find a way to upset LeBron. All the evidence points toward this season being James' last in 'The Land'.