The Winning Formula

Kemba Walker has been a huge upgrade over Kyrie Irving for the Celtics this season, especially when looking at the impact he’s had in the locker room.

Irving was throwing his teammates under the bus, and having temper tantrums both on and off the court, serving as a major distraction. Walker, on the other hand, has been quite the opposite — putting up big numbers, rolling deep like he’s on a streak playing games at, and he’s saying all the right things along the way.

Walker has averaged 22 points, five assists and four rebounds per game this season, doing a great job of playing alongside other ball-dominant players, such as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. He’s coexisted, rather than being the guy with the ball in his hands all the time, like Irving was. Head coach Brad Stevens praised his point guard in speaking to reporters on Friday, saying Walker is a guy who “gets it.”

“I would say that’s just a good example of a guy that gets it,” Stevens said, via NESN. “That’s what it’s about,” Stevens said.

“At the end of the day, if you can be around a group that you enjoy competing for, and competing with, I think that’s a good experience. That’s what usually leads to giving yourself a chance to maximize yourself.”

Walker’s impact has really been felt, with the Celtics sitting pretty at 35-15, trailing the Raptors by just 1.5 games for the two-seed in the Eastern Conference standings.

Falling from Grace

The Warriors have had quite a fall from grace in less than one year, going from being one of the best teams in the NBA, to the worst. In a six-month period, they saw Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry all suffer injuries. Not only that, KD chose to take his talents to Brooklyn over the summer.

Golden State finished last season with the best record in the Western Conference, going 57-25. It now sits at 12-40, in one of the most drastic turnarounds we’ve ever seen in the NBA. But they are looking to get better in the future.

The Warriors recently pulled off a trade with the Timberwolves, trading away D’Angelo Russell, Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman, but receiving quite a haul in return, with former No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins making his way to the Bay Area, and Golen State also getting a 2021 first-round draft pick, as well as a 2021 second-rounder.

Head coach Steve Kerr was asked about the rationale behind the move on Friday, and he stated that Wiggins is a “better positional fit” than D’Angelo Russell.

“We know that Andrew is a better positional fit for us than what D’Angelo was, just given that Steph [Curry] and Klay [Thompson] will be back by next season—hopefully before then in Steph’s case, ” he said. “So he’s a good positional fit, athletically. Now, it’s a matter of catching Andrew up to speed with what we like to do here and really trying to make an impact on him regarding our process and how we like to do our business and how we can help him get better and how he can help our team get better.”

It was always predicted that D-Lo would be a short-term rental until the Splash Bros. returned from injury, so trading him away isn’t a huge surprise. Not only that, it was rumored that Russell wasn’t well received in the Warriors locker room, in terms of his competitive spirit. And while Wiggins has had issues with laziness and defense, if anyone can get his career turned around, it’s the Warriors. His length and athleticism figures to play well there, and they’ve needed someone to play the 3-position since KD left, so maybe Wiggins can be that guy. Either way, they have two draft picks to work with as well, in the meantime.

The Homage Goes On and On

LeBron James threw down one of the most impressive dunks of the season so far in a losing effort against the Rockets on Thursday night, and it really sent a surge through the social media world.

And while the sensational, reverse windmill slam was electrifying, it was also strikingly similar to a dunk from a former Lakers legend.

Kobe Bryant threw down a dunk in a game roughly two years ago, and it was similar to LeBron’s in nearly every way. The side-by-side view shows just how alike the two dunks were.

LBJ reacted to the Lakers’ tweet with a number of emojis.

Maybe James was paying tribute to one of the greatest players the game has ever seen with that dunk. And if so, he nailed it.