At the Buzzer is a weekly feature where NBA.com Philippines All-Star Analysts give their takes on fun and interesting things that happened throughout the league in the past week.
Who do you think will be the biggest star traded before the deadline? (Ben Simmons, John Collins, Kyrie Irving, Paul George have all been mentioned recently in rumors)
Camille Clarin: I’ve been eager to see where Ben Simmons would land come February’s trade deadline, sadly it’s looking like the 76ers are nowhere closer to coming to a deal. For that reason, I think the biggest name we’ll see traded is John Collins. As an extremely talented forward, it’s quite surprising to hear that Atlanta is willing to give him up for less than they have room to command for. I love his play and impact on the Hawks but they definitely have disappointed this year which is why I think they’re in the market and could potentially shake things up.
Coach Sandy Arespacochaga: I don’t think any of the players named here would be traded this season (except for Ben Simmons, for sure, in the offseason). But one star player, I think, that will be traded is De’Aaron Fox. The Sacramento Kings have two young point guards in Tyrese Halliburton and Davion Mitchell and they have been doing well while Fox is out because of an ankle injury. They can add one more player with Fox (Buddy Hield? Harrison Barnes? Richaun Holmes?) to get rid of salary for another player and a first-round pick. They should get ready for the future since it is doubtful they will make the playoffs this year.
What would be the first thing you would do if you were a Wizards fan and you watched your team blow a 35-point lead plus give up a 4-point play in the final moments?
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!— Bally Sports (@BallySports) January 26, 2022
Luke Kennard converts a 4-point play to complete the Clippers' 35-point comeback win over the Wizards!!! 😱
Camille: That type of loss is one you just have to endure in silence. It’s a different type of hurt to have the game in the bag, fumble it, then completely drop it on a 4-point play. Maybe if it was an and-1 on a really hard foul, I’ll be able to muster up some energy to yell at the refs and throw a fit. But a foul on a 3-pointer? AND it goes in? You just have to take that L in peace and look for a restaurant to eat away your pain.
Coach Sandy: First thing I would do is say, “#%*#?*>!?!” But then that will be disrespectful. So instead, I will just say, “%#!?*+\#?!!! po!” Just kidding. Kids, don’t do this at home.
Who's your must-have reserve for the All-Star Game?
Camille: I know it’s a fan vote for the starters but it’s kind of crazy how the best team in the NBA doesn’t have a single starter in the All-Star Game; this brings me to my answer to the question. My must-have reserve for the All-Star Game is Devin Booker. His Suns have the best record in the league, he’s averaging 25.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 4.4 assists, and he has even elevated his overall performance after last year’s NBA Finals run. It’s a no-brainer, DBook gets my vote.
Coach Sandy: Darius Garland. He’s averaging 19.8 points, 2.5 3s, 3.3 rebounds, 8.2 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. He’s leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 31-20 record so far, stepping up for the injured Collin Sexton and Ricky Rubio, emerging as the leader of this young and talented Cavs team.
The Warriors got a K-pop star as a global ambassador which happened to help with their All-Star votes. If you could pitch your own campaign, what would it look like?
It’s the best time to begin 2022! He is one of the best two-way players!— BamBam🦢 (@BamBam1A) January 8, 2022
Wiggs deserves to be an All-Star, vote Andrew Wiggins into the 2022 NBA All-Star Game..and I can’t wait to meet you all very soon#AndrewWiggins #NBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/bpOXKAJ920
Camille: The K-pop route is genius so kudos to the Warriors for tapping into one of the most active and powerful markets in the world, and as we saw, it definitely paid off. Since that route is not up for grabs, my next best campaign would be centered around who I believe is social media’s most powerful family, the Kardashians. Although they’ve tamed it down in the last few years, they’re easily responsible for some of the biggest trends and have some of the most loyal followings. Kris Jenner aka Mama-jer is a marketing genius so I’d let her decide what’s best. All I know is that everything the Kardashians touch turns into gold or the next best internet craze? Mix that with a campaign for an NBA player? Automatic All-Star selection.
Coach Sandy: Oh, getting singers to help with All-Star votes is a good idea! I would get two singers and not just one. I would get Lenny Kravitz and Pink to do the campaign (this way we can #LetLeniLead and become a #kakampink).
Are the Raptors the dark horse of the East?
Camille: Coming in as eighth in the Eastern Conference standings, the Raptors are far from being championship-caliber. With that being said, as a fellow Torontonian, I always have hope for the resurgence of my home team and that’s why I believe they are the dark horses of their conference.
Two main reasons behind my belief: first of all, their record may not be impressive but we’ve seen sparks of their potential against some of the best teams in the league: a triple OT win against Miami the other night and a close four-point loss to Phoenix. Our ranking isn’t even close to those teams, but we’re right in it with them during games. Second, Fred VanVleet. We’ve seen him as a crucial role player in the past seasons but this year he’s taking command and is now the leading scorer of the Raptors. Only in his sixth season, FVV is taking over and I believe he can get them to the playoffs.
Coach Sandy: With a 25-23 record, I would say the Toronto Raptors, indeed, are the dark horse In the East. As of today, they have a better record than New York, Boston, and Atlanta. Can they sustain their winning ways and make it to the playoffs? Let’s see. They don’t have much bench depth and head coach Nick Nurse likes to play his starters a lot of minutes. So the key for them is avoiding injuries and maybe having a couple of their bench guys to step up, too. It’s going to be a battle for the playoffs in the East and the Raptors are definitely making it more interesting.