Diehlman at Halftime: An NBA column

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Okay, so ignore everything I said last week about Ime Udoka going to Brooklyn.

The Nets have decided to remove the “interim” tag from assistant coach Jacque Vaughn and promote him to head coach. Vaughn has been with the team since 2016 and also played for the Nets for two seasons in the mid-2000s. Vaughn will look to fix this squad that’s had more off-the-court drama than Conference Finals appearances in the Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons era.

In other news, the Miami Heat have terminated the contract of their arena sponsor, FTX, after the latter filed for bankruptcy. The Heat will look for a new naming rights partner. Before FTX, they formerly played in American Airlines Arena.

So, who’s raising eyebrows at the moment?

Highlight

The Milwaukee Bucks are steamrolling the NBA this season. Also, the sky is blue, and the grass is green.

Milwaukee is 10-2 at the moment, with their only losses being to the Atlanta Hawks and San Antonio Spurs.

Bucks superstar Giannis “The Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo is finding himself in the MVP conversation once again, averaging 31.3 points, 11.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game. You know what’s crazy to think about? He’ll only be 28 on Dec. 6, and he’s already won back-to-back MVPs in his career!

After the Bucks won the title in 2021, they’re looking to put last year’s Eastern Conference Semifinals loss behind them. Of course, Antetokounmpo cannot do everything by himself.

Jrue Holiday is one of the best guard defenders in the NBA. Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis are key pieces for Milwaukee to make noise in the postseason.

The 31-year-old Middleton hasn’t even played this season, and the team is still winning. Imagine the Bucks’ record with him in the starting lineup.

The battle for the No. 1 seed is tight, but if the Bucks can claim home-court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs they will be difficult to slay.

Lowlight

No matter what the Minnesota Timberwolves do in the draft or the offseason, no one is impressed or intimidated by them. Never, never, never.

The Timberwolves are 6-8, which is 12th in the Western Conference. They swung for the fences over the summer by trading for former Utah Jazz Rudy Gobert. While Gobert is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, his abilities on the offensive side are quite limited.

Franchise cornerstone Karl-Anthony Towns has been in Minnesota since 2015. In that time, the Timberwolves have been to the playoffs twice — as quick first-round exits.

I haven’t even mentioned Anthony Edwards being their No. 1 overall pick in 2020. He’s a budding superstar, but this team can’t get over the simplest of obstacles.

Even though it’s still early in the Gobert experiment, those draft picks Minnesota handed to Utah might haunt them in the future. Remember, in order to acquire Gobert, Minnesota gave away five first-round picks!

We all know the saying, “You can’t break what’s already broken.” This probably rings true to the hearts of Timberwolves fans.

Random Stat

Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors is the greatest three-point flamethrower the NBA has ever seen.

Last year, he surpassed Ray Allen to become the league’s all-time three-point record holder. This season, he’s averaging numbers eerily similar to his unanimous MVP season in 2015-16. Let’s take a look.

Seven seasons ago, he averaged 30.1 points per game, along with 5.4 rebounds, 6.7 assists, and 2.1 steals. This was in addition to being in the 50-40-90 club for shooting. That was when he was 27 years old.

At 34 years old now, Curry is averaging 32.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 6.9 assists on 52.6%-43.4%-91.8% shooting. Curry is second in the league in scoring, narrowly behind Dallas’ Luka Dončić.

It seems as though Curry is showing no signs of slowing down, despite already possessing four championship rings in the last eight years. How on earth was he picked No. 7 in the 2009 draft? In any “re-draft,” he would definitely go No one.

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