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NBA Today: The Finals Edition

June 3, 2024 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Kristaps Porzingis is on the comeback trail for the Boston Celtics.
If Kristaps Porzingis can return soon, Dallas could be in real trouble. (Eric Canha-USA Today Sports)

This week, the NBA Finals start as Boston’s Jayson Tatum is hoping twice is a charm to get his ring; Sacramento has rewarded Coach Mike Brown with an extension and massive raise; and Detroit is shaking up its front office after another season at the bottom of the standings.

Can Dallas Keep Rolling?

We’ve got a very interesting NBA Finals on tap this season. On the one hand, Boston looks like a machine. Even without Kristaps Porzingis (who got a taste of it and clearly wants more as you can see in the video below), the Celtics have no obvious weaknesses and seem capable of steamrolling any opponent.

One the other hand, you’ve got a Dallas squad that spun its wheels most of the season, but has been among the best teams in the league over the last quarter, keeping that run going through the playoffs. The Mavericks won 80 per cent of their final 20 games, and have been nearly as impressive (12-5) against some damned good teams in the postseason.

Who knew what to expect when last season Dallas opted to deal for Kyrie Irving to pair with budding superstar Luke Doncic, but almost right from the get-go, the two elevated each other’s games.

Doncic took his craft to a new level this season, staying a bit healthier, continuing his career-long trend of logging more minutes every year and again sinking more buckets while setting new career bests in three-pointers per game, three-point accuracy, FT percentage, assists, steals, points and triple doubles (21). He’s used his shooting range, rebounding prowess and elite distribution skills to become a perennial MVP candidate.

Doncic is playing ridiculous minutes in the playoffs, and while the shooting and scoring results haven’t been quite as good as during the regular season, he’s faring better from the charity stripe and doing finer work on the glass. And to top it off, he’s inadvertently been pulled into a war between rapper Cam’Ron and Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards.

Back on the court, it should be fascinating to see which direction bettors go during the NBA Finals over at FanDuel.

Aaron Gordon’s Struggles

As if things weren’t tough enough for Aaron Gordon after this season, now he’s lost his brother. Former NBA player Drew Gordon died in a car accident on Thursday, a tragedy which naturally makes Aaron’s on-court struggles this season seem insignificant.

Having said that, if Gordon dynasty league owners were hoping that he’d use this offseason to rekindle his offense, that plan may take a backseat for now. Who knows how anyone will react in such a situation; perhaps his brother’s death will inspire him to be the best version of himself.

While Gordon saw more PT this season, he had his lowest scoring season since his debut in Denver back in 2020-21. His bucket count dipped, he sunk his fewest treys per game since his sophomore season and he really struggled from beyond the arc (just 29 per cent accuracy).

Gordon’s rebounding also dipped. Really, the only good news was that he averaged his most assists since coming to the Nuggets.

Glimmer of hope: he stepped up in the postseason, shooting better — especially from downtown — and improving his all-around game. In Game Four of the series against Minnesota, Gordon had a game for the ages, becoming the first player in playoff history to score 27 points with seven boards, six dimes and a 90 per cent FG percentage.

If we can somehow see more of this version of him next season, he could be worth a fourth round pick.

RotoRob Tune of the Day

Canadian singer Murray McLauchlan has been at it since 1965. In 1976, he released Boulevard, which reached No. 14 on the Canadian charts and included “Met You at the Bottom.”

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