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Looking Back At 2021-22 NBA Regular Season Observations: 12-10-21

Photo: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

12-10-21  

1. Knicks’ transition from Elfrid Payton & Reggie Bullock to Kemba Walker & Evan Fournier hasn’t resulted in winning

Notes: The losing continued for the Knicks, mostly due to an inconsistent offense/defense, Julius Randle’s low three point percentage, and Derrick Rose’s injury. But next season could be a lot better, especially in the backcourt. They already landed Jalen Brunson and have a legit shot at getting Donovan Mitchell.

2. Timberwolves have a nice big 3 in Towns-Edwards-Russell, but other guys not getting it done

Notes: Minnesota’s role players stepped it up after starting out the season at 16-20, as the club ended up making the playoffs. They traded Patrick Beverley, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Malik Beasley for Rudy Gobert over the summer, which helps improve their interior defense quite a bit. They also added experienced veterans like Kyle Anderson, Bryn Forbes, and Austin Rivers, but how they defend on the wing/D’Angelo Russell’s efficiency will be big keys going forward.

3. Nick Nurse isn’t giving Malachi Flynn a chance to develop the right way

Notes: Nick Nurse pretty much didn’t play a backup point guard all 2021-22, so I don’t know what Flynn’s role will be next season. I’m still confident in his abilities, but consistency has to be his main focus heading into year 3, no matter how many minutes he gets (career 38% FG).

4. Pelicans aren’t seeing improvement from young players besides Ingram & Zion

Notes: The three young players I mentioned (Jaxson Hayes, Kira Lewis, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker) still face uncertain futures/haven’t really improved. Hayes faces a tough situation with Zion Williamson & Larry Nance Jr. returning, Lewis is recovering from a torn ACL after an inconsistent 24 games in 2021-22 (22.4% 3-PT), and Alexander-Walker got traded to Utah/shot a career low 31.1% from three point land.

5. Watching Rudy Gay & Hassan Whiteside play productive basketball for Jazz makes you wonder how much of a difference they can make in the playoffs 

Notes: This observation pretty much meant nothing once the Jazz collapsed at the end of February. Gay wasn’t in the playoff rotation vs. Dallas and Whiteside only averaged 10.9 MPG on the series. However, a drop in production from the Jazz’s starters, Joe Ingles’ ACL tear, and Jordan Clarkson’s average season (31.8% 3-PT) made it hard for Gay and Whiteside to make a real impact as those 8 and 9 guys in the rotation once the team fell apart.

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