It’s getting to the point in the season where teams that are on the playoff bubble are wondering if it’d be better for the organization to make a push for the playoffs, or try and land a better draft pick for the future. Obviously there are some teams that have made tanking their goal throughout the season, just to have a shot at landing Zion. A good question may be, which teams are on the playoff bubble, or a little outside of it, and should go ahead and pull the plug on this season?
It’s simple. Shut down Beal, and have him ready to go next season, or at least preserve his trade value by ensuring his health. Beal still has two years left on his contract, so he’s still got solid trade value. Washington is only four games out of the eighth seed in the East, but at this point there’s no point in continuing to risk injuries to key players only to get swept by the Bucks or Raptors. Let the young guys that still need to prove themselves carry the team for the rest of the season. Players like Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker should take that opportunity and run with it, and make their case for a roster spot next season. The Wizards should take the opportunity to improve young talent, and prepare to select their big-man of the future in this upcoming draft.
Trae Young is great, but he’s not going to lead the Hawks to the playoffs yet, and he’s sure as heck not going to win a series with the Hawks this season. The Hawks need to start limiting Young’s minutes to lower his injury risk. Young is a player that you can use as a building block in constructing a franchise, and you don’t want to risk any type of career altering injury. The Hawks need to get another young, well rounded, legitimate scorer that can be paired with Trae in order to form one of the better young backcourt duos in the NBA. Say, Cameron Reddish or R.J. Barrett?
Los Angeles Lakers
It seems as if the Lakers haven’t been on the same page all year. There’s no connection between the players and Walton, and there’s no chemistry between the players as they have dropped two in a row as of February 26. That’s not going to get it done when you’re trying to make a playoff push in the West. As bad as it hurts me to say it, LeBron is looking tired. He’s looked tired before, but for a game or two at a time, not for an entire season. He’s not putting out as much effort on defense, and his tactics to fire up his team seem to have fallen short of his expectations. The team doesn’t seem to respond consistently to anything that LeBron says. This isn’t a personnel problem, it’s a chemistry problem within the team. LeBron missing the playoffs entirely, definitely wasn’t in his plans for the Lakers this year, but at this point, it may be better for his future if he sits the rest of the season, and let the young guys take over. Maybe even end up with a decent pick in the draft in order to gather more assets for the future. LeBron needs a break after going to the finals for eight straight years, and it’s obvious.
Luka is the real deal. He has taken the league by storm and holds all the potential in the world, right in his hand. The 19-year-old Slovenian is a legitimate franchise player, and he should be rested the rest of the year. He’s already dealt with a few injuries this year, and there’s no need to entertain the idea that he may get hurt. Maverick fans are patient. I mean c’mon, they waited years for Dirk to finally bring their city a title, and they were grateful. I think they’d be just as grateful if the Mavs put the long term health of Doncic before a few more wins this season. Another young talent may also come with a higher pick in the draft. The Mavericks are gearing up to become the next superteam, and the league should take notice.
Whether it be for a better draft position, or not risking injury, some teams need to shut it down for the year. At this point it’s just up to those teams and how much pride they take in winning, or accepting the truth that they need to regroup.