At the Buzzer: DeRozan buzzer-beaters, All-Star hipster pick, LeBron vs. Father Time

Published January 6, 2022, 10:00 AMIsaac Go, Sandy Arespacochaga

Our All-Star Analysts discuss DeRozan’s game-winners, best 10-day contract pickups, the red-hot Grizzlies, hipster picks for the NBA All-Star Game, and LeBron defying Father Time.

Which DeMar DeRozan buzzer-beater was better: one-legged 3-pointer or corner shot against a double team?

Coach Sandy Arespacochaga: His second shot was better. Mainly because two guys challenged him and almost blocked his shot. It was awesome because as the play unfolded, you knew DeMar was getting the ball following the previous night’s game-winner. Yet he still got it and sank it!

Isaac Go: As much as I wanna pay homage to the great Dirk Nowitzki and his one-legged shots, I’d have to go with the corner 3. Two defenders, basically buried in the corner, and DeRozan had to double pump to get the shot off in time. It doesn’t take away from the one-legged 3, but that one was easier because the opposing big gave him some space. Another difference was that he seemed like he forgot the time in the one-legged 3. In the corner 3, he was aware of the clock, went to his move, and got the shot off. I’d pick the corner 3 ten out of ten times. 

Who has been the best pick-up among the players who got a 10-Day contract?

Coach Sandy: I love the vets. Isaiah Thomas! Joe Johnson! Lance Stephenson! Greg Monroe! They showed they can still play at their age and still make it to the NBA. Age is just a number in the form of a 10-day contract.

Isaac: In terms of impact, it had to be Isiah Thomas. He was one of the first signees and had two big games which sent shockwaves through the NBA, proving that players do deserve a second chance. But if I had to choose someone who could get signed to a contract for the rest of the year, it would be Stanley Johnson. He brings the energy, defense, and youth that the Lakers desperately need. He could have real rotation minutes in the playoffs and that’s why he is the best 10-day pickup.

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With a franchise-record 12 wins in December, can the Grizzlies sustain their hot run in 2022?

Coach Sandy: Why not? The Grizzlies are winning, considering they have a couple of key players in the health and safety protocols like Dillion Brooks, De’Anthony Melton, and Kyle Anderson. They also have a promising core of young players led by Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Desmond Bane. This team is playoff-bound.

Isaac: I think the Grizzlies will be able to continue their hot streak. There’s no doubt that their stars in Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. have played a big part, but other pieces like Desmond Bane, De’Anthony Melton, John Konchar, Dillon Brooks, and Brandon Clarke have also stepped up. Plus, other teams in the West are currently not as good as they were marketed. The Lakers, Blazers, Clippers, Mavericks, and even the Nuggets have been disappointing for one reason or another this season, and their loss is the red-hot Grizzlies’ gain. 

With the NBA All-Star voting now open, who's your hipster pick to get into the All-Star Game?

Coach Sandy: Someone from my favorite team to watch, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Darius Garland and Evan Mobley are deserving. But since we are talking hipster pick, what could be more hipster than the ‘fro, Jarrett Allen? He’s making big men relevant again. 

Isaac: It’ll have to be Miles Bridges, one of the breakout stars this season. He made a jump that people didn’t think he had in him. He evolved from just being a lob threat to a legitimate ballplayer. He’s proven that he can accept a heavier scoring and playmaking role as evidenced by his increased production. Also, fans want to see flashy dunks during the All-Star Game, and Bridges – one of the most explosive dunkers today – could definitely provide that kind of entertainment. If he does make it to the All-Star game, they have to bring in the Hornets announcer, Eric Collins, to scream his brain off after every Miles Bridges highlight.

LeBron James in his last 19 games: 31.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 6.7 apg, 53.1 FG% – has there ever been a better NBA tito?

Coach Sandy: Nope! Right now, LeBron is making a case as the best player in the NBA this season. And at his age, he can now be called the GOAT: Greatest of all Titos.

Isaac: These are absurd numbers by LeBron. We know Father Time is undefeated, but LeBron has managed to delay it as much as possible and he’s aging like fine wine. Honestly, I think only Michael Jordan would be in the conversation. They put up relatively comparable stats at the same points of their career. The difference is that Jordan’s Wizards failed to make the playoffs, while LeBron’s Lakers are making the playoffs. This, for me, gives the edge to LeBron. The only question remains: will LeBron play till 39 like MJ or will he stay in the league even longer?