By JOHN LIKANJE
Heat Check is a weekly recap of the best basketball writing and analysis the internet has to offer.
- A Rochester special: Thomas Bryant put the finishing touches on his best season as a pro by leading the Washington Wizards to their lone bubble win, Thursday. Here’s a review of his entire season by Billy Heyen.
- Damian Lillard has been a man on a mission in the bubble. Thursday night with their playoff lives on the line, he refused to let the Portland Trail Blazers lose, exploding for 42 points and 12 assists. FanSided NBA editorial director and former Pickin’ Splinters writer Ian Levy added the bubble MVP candidate to his power rankings.
- The NBA is discussing whether to give out awards for the seeding games, including an MVP. Considering how well these players have performed, the bubble MVP candidates have to be Giannis Antetokounmpo, Devin Booker, Luka Doncic, James Harden, Damian Lillard and T.J. Warren. FanSided Writer Gerald Bourguet wrote who his MVP is along with a list of the All-Seeding Games Teams.
- Carmelo Anthony is one of the most polarizing players in NBA history. Some people strongly like and respect him and claim he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Others claim he doesn’t deserve it because of how his career has gone compared to LeBron James and Dwayne Wade. Despite what people say, Anthony continued to make his case as one of the league’s all-time scorers by passing Paul Pierce for 15th on the list (by Bourguet).
- The New Orleans Pelicans have been the most disappointing team in the bubble. They had one of the easiest schedules and only mustered up two wins in eight games. One player who didn’t play up to his potential was Lonzo Ball (by Steven Kubitza).
- The Phoenix Suns had zero expectations entering the bubble. They were added in to balance out the amount of teams invited to Orlando. Nobody expected them to win all eight seeding games and come a Caris LeVert jumpshot away from making the postseason for the first time since the Steve Nash era. Here’s a review of their bubble performance by Bourguet, who is also a Suns beat reporter.
- League commissioner Adam Silver put in a lot of time and effort to make the Orlando bubble a reality. His plan has finally started to see its full effects as not only have most of the games been competitive, but no player has tested positive for the coronavirus since early August (by Kubitza). Because of this, Silver revised the guidelines regarding the guest policy (by FanSided writer Emily Adams).
- The Houston Rockets took a major blow to their playoff hopes with the news that Russell Westbrook will miss part of their first round series with a strained quad (via FanSided writer Mike Luciano).
You can also find John at fansided.com/nba.