Diehlman at Halftime: An NBA Weekly Column

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The Golden State Warriors seem to be a hot spot for coaching candidates.

On May 8, assistant coach Mike Brown was hired to be the next head coach of the Sacramento Kings. Now, assistant Kenny Atkinson will be hired as the next head coach of the Charlotte Hornets. Atkinson led the Brooklyn Nets from 2016-20, but he stepped down in March 2020, right before the season was suspended due to COVID-19.

Although we don’t know who the NBA champions are just yet, we do know that this series could be coming in for an intense landing. As the series is tied 2-2, someone will have to win in either six or seven games.

The Warriors will have a home-court advantage for Game 5 and, if necessary, Game 7. Game 6 is the only match left that the Boston Celtics possess home court. Game 5 is set for Monday, June 13, at 9 p.m, Game 6 will be on Thursday, June 16, at 9 p.m, while Game 7 would be on Sunday, June 19, at 8 p.m.

Finally, next week will be the last “Diehlman at Halftime” of the season.

So, who’s raising eyebrows at the moment?

Highlight, Lowlight, Random Stat

Highlight

This year’s NBA Finals have been back-and-forth.

Boston won Games 1 and 3, and the Warriors won Games 2 and 4. As of writing this, I’d say the Celtics now have a slight advantage in Game 5 because they’re 7-0 in matches that came after a loss. Basically, they haven’t lost two in a row this entire postseason.

Jayson Tatum’s team will look to bounce back after Steph Curry dropped 43 points on them in Boston’s TD Garden on Friday, June 10. Tatum is still looking to find offensive consistency, as he’s averaging a putrid 34.1% shooting.

In order to win this series, Boston will have to string together a couple more strong defensive performances. I’m not saying they have not already, but they can’t afford to take their foot off of the gas pedal.

No matter how many more games this series goes for, my x-factor is actually not Tatum, it’s actually Jaylen Brown.

Again, with Tatum’s rough shooting nights, Brown will have to take more of a scoring load. Tatum can be a facilitator, as I mentioned in last week’s “Random Stat.”

With a possible Game 7 being on the road, the Celtics have an uphill battle. However, they won Games 5 and 7 on the road in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat. Boston absolutely has the ability to do it again.

Lowlight

“Is Steph Curry entering G.O.A.T. territory?” I’ve been hearing this topic nonstop recently, and I feel it’s time to address it.

For those of you who are unaware of the acronym, G.O.A.T. stands for “Greatest of All Time.” There have been countless LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan G.O.A.T. arguments to decide who is better since they are the top two NBA players on the lists of most fans, former players and media members.

On ESPN’s Top 75 Players’ list from February 2022, they ranked Curry at No. 16. This is one spot ahead of Dirk Nowitzki and one spot behind Moses Malone.

Curry has three championships, two MVPs– including the league’s only unanimous MVP in the 2015-16 season– eight All-Star selections, and he led the league in scoring twice. This is only a small part of Curry’s resume.

Here’s my take on this discussion. The Warriors’ superstar is the greatest shooter in basketball history.

He literally changed the game to the point that everyone on the court is chucking up threes every possession. Have you seen how far Trae Young and Damian Lillard shoot their shots?

However, he is not in the G.O.A.T. conversation. He’s just not in the same stratosphere as James and Jordan. For example, Curry and the Warriors fell apart against Jame’s Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 Finals, becoming the only team in NBA history to blow a 3-1 series lead in the Finals.

He also had the help of Kevin Durant for three years. Golden State with Durant was essentially unstoppable. Curry could slide into my top ten if he dominates for a few more seasons, but I’m not ready to place him in there just yet. The good news for him is that the Warriors’ dynasty doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.

Random Stat

Draymond Green is one of the most unusual players in the NBA. He’s one of those guys who you love to have on your team, but hate him when your team had to play against him or you are a fan of a rival team.

Green is notorious for his temper, and many mock him for his “triple singles.” A triple-double is when you get at least ten in three of the following categories: points, rebounds, assists, steals, or blocks. This can be done in a game, or you can average it over an entire season.

Green’s averages in the regular season were 7.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, and seven assists. Hence, the “triple single.”

But, here’s our “Random Stat” for this week, in the current series against Boston, Green has 18 fouls and 17 points. Um, that’s not good.

In both of the Warriors’ losses, he fouled out. Contrary to what some will tell you, Green’s presence on the court is crucial. The former second-round pick, hopefully, will keep himself in check as the series comes to a close.

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