All-Star Analysts

At the Buzzer: First-time All-Stars, painful teammate breakups, surprising trades

Published February 15, 2022, 3:00 PMIsaac Go, Gabe Norwood

All-Star Analysts Isaac Go and Gabe Norwood talk about All-Star first-timers, star duos that parted ways, shocking trade deadline deals, and more!

Which first-timer will make an impression in the All-Star Game?

Isaac Go: It's either LaMelo, with his flashy passing, or Ja, with his explosive dunks. It's going to be crazy when these two guys take the floor and immediately steal the show. Not only that, they’d want to prove that people made a mistake not selecting them as All-Stars in the previous years. NBA fans should be ready for a show. 

Gabe Norwood: Simply off of the showmanship and entertainment value of the All-Star Game, I think Ja or LaMelo will have the most “oohhs” and “aahhs.”

Fill in the blank: KD not picking Harden for his All-Star team is…

Isaac: Extremely petty, but causes some tasty drama that some NBA fans want. This isn’t the first time KD has been involved in some drama especially in the All-Star Game but it also leads to good fun like the time Westbrook and Durant seemed to make up during the game. It's gonna be fun to see the interaction between the former teammates at the All-Star Game. My only wish was that they were on the same team. 

Gabe: Nothing serious.

What other painful teammate breakups can you remember (eg. Dame & CJ)?

Isaac: What makes these breakups very difficult is the fact that the two have a shared history and genuine friendship. There are two that come to mind. The first was DeMar [DeRozan] and Kyle [Lowry]. This was painful both on and off the court. They were the best of friends who played really good basketball together. The duo really loved the city of Toronto but was suddenly broken apart in a flash. No news, no buildup. It just happened. It also became more difficult as Toronto went to win a title that same year. The other painful teammate breakup is Tobi [Tobias Harris] and Bobi [Boban Marjanovic]. Their on-court play together wasn’t much, but their off-court friendship made up for it. They were like two kids just having fun, enjoying each other's company, making fun of one another. They even staged multiple commercials together. This just shows how big their friendship was. Hopefully, we do see them on the same team once again to bring back Tobi and Bobi.

Gabe: Kobe splitting up with Shaq is probably the biggest teammate breakup that comes to mind. It’s just wild to think of what they would have accomplished if they stayed together in LA.

ALSO READ: Biggest trade deadline winners and losers 

Which trade deadline deal surprised you the most?

Isaac: The Simmons for Harden trade was arguably the biggest trade at the trade deadline, but another trade that surprised me is Dallas giving up on Kristaps [Porzingis]. Trading for Porzingis was well received at first, and when healthy, the duo of Porzingis and Luka Doncic almost knocked out the LA Clippers, who were championship contenders in the last two playoffs. However, that wasn’t the case. Porzingis has been hurt for the most part. The tag of “the unicorn” was perfect for him. He had an unreal skill set which only a few had, but at the same time, he was rarely seen on the floor (this was a comment by Richard Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins). This trade marked the end of the partnership and Dallas would now be looking for a new partner for Luka. 

Gabe: The Tyrese Haliburton-to-Indiana deal surprised me a bit, but looking at the number of guys that played similar positions in Sacramento, it made some sense.

What kind of star teammate does Luka need to take Dallas into championship contention?

Isaac: Ben Simmons would have been perfect for Luka. Someone who can defend at an elite level, take care of ball-handling duties with Luka on the bench, and be a strong pick-and-roll partner with Luka. The shooting may not be there, but they can surround both Luka and Ben with shooters, putting Ben in a Draymond Green-type situation where he is at his best.

Gabe: I’m not sure if it’s specifically one type of teammate needed by Luka in Dallas. The top-end of the Western Conference is just so good–from individual stars and role players, all the way to coaching. It’s going to be tough.