It was a long argument, but I explained last column why I believe the Lakers would be better than the Clippers. The adulation over the acquisition of Paul George was because they caught us by surprise, while the Anthony Davis trade was hanging like a dark cloud for almost a year.
But unless you live in a parallel universe, Paul George is not better than Anthony Davis. We could drag on about the rest of their rosters and their coaches but we might as well just wait for them to play the games (Man, we can’t wait!!!) to settle the debate.
Side note: My own hot take is that Doc Rivers is overrated. He has never handled a bad team since 2008. When the Celtics went bad, he bolted to the Clippers to coach another Big Three (CP3, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan when he still mattered) yet he only has one title to show for.
PBA finals predictions
Terrence Jones is just a force, and sadly, Ginebra’s bigs are in awe of him. This is why Coach Tim Cone used a small-ball starting five. Japeth Aguilar is really thrown off: he changes his shot, he takes it from outside. They just don’t want to challenge Jones. Talk N’ Text has the psychological advantage here, and they just need one more game to finish off the Gins.
Speaking of psychological advantages, San Miguel has Rain or Shine’s number. It’s heartbreaking—no matter how big a lead they dump on the Beermen, even 29 points, they still end up losing. The ROS locker room ambience after Game 2 must’ve been tough.
Rain or Shine could steal a game — but that’s exactly what it is — stealing, because SMB owns the series. We’ll have two legit NBA first rounders in the Finals, and I’ll stand my prediction—the winner of Ginebra-TNT will take home the Commissioners Cup.
Trades in the offing
Watching the recent 3×3 Championships, it’s overwhelming just how much talent will be available in the upcoming PBA Draft. Expect many trades coming, but any team with a first-round pick will definitely get a solid rotation player.
The rumors on the Ray Parks trade are steaming up, but the expectation is that teams will likely put off the trades until the end of the season, with the Philippines busy with the World Cup (as it should be) in the gap between Commissioners and Governors Cup. The teams are set and as Talk N’ Text has shown, it’s all about the import in these conferences.
Ray Parks to one of the empires, and the rumors about transferring to Meralco may have shifted to the other side of Ortigas Center. Will Parks return to the franchise where it all started (San Miguel in 1987)?
Side note: Christian Standhardinger is getting more playing time with Beermen. This increases his trade value. He has also stolen minutes from JuneMar Fajardo. The Kraken will not be traded, but Standhardinger will be worth a top draft pick, or a star rookie. SMB is an aging team, and they need to keep the continuity going.
Andray’s last tour of duty
Speaking of aging, Andray Blatche is 32 years old. In 2023 he would be 36. He could probably stick around for the FIBA qualifiers (February 2020) but perhaps they should begin the search party this early. The process has started for Justin Brownlee, and they float around the prospects for top imports that play in the PBA.
This is not a bad approach, as the PBA is the top level of Philippine Basketball. Terrence Jones looks like a model big man for today’s basketball, but I still maintain that we should have a rim protecting, rebounding 6’10 to 7-footer.
We have 6-7 and 6-8 players in the pipeline who can develop into stretch forwards, but we don’t have a true player 6-10 above who can dominate the glass and alter shots. Kai Sotto is too young to carry the burden of Philippine basketball. The Koreans chose Ricardo Ratliffe — he doesn’t play the Korean long-ball, but he gives them what they don’t have. This is what we should look for.