Ham’s Hoops Roundup Tuesday 1/16: Frankie From The Upside Down

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Frank Ntilikina is a Deme-Dog. Giannis is still a Demagorgon. A well-rested Embiid dominates Toronto. LeBron can’t beat the Warriors alone. And Chris Paul’s return to LA was smooth sailing. It’s the Hoops Roundup for Monday, January 15th. Let’s get it…

Scores from Monday, January 15th

Charlotte 118  –  Detroit 107
Toronto 111  –  Philadelphia 117
Milwaukee 104  –  Washington 95
San Antonio 99  –  Atlanta 102
New York 119
 –  Brooklyn 104
Miami 111  –  Chicago 119
LA Lakers 114  –  Memphis 123
Sacramento 88  –  Oklahoma City 95
Golden State 118  –  Cleveland 108
Indiana 109  –  Utah 94
Houston 102  –  LA Clippers 113



Charlotte 118  –  Detroit 107

Charlotte  (17-25)  11th in East
Detroit  (22-20)  8th in East

Charlotte kicked off MLK Day with a clean W in Detroit behind 20p/9a from Kemba and 21p/17r from Dwight.

I’ve got some Kemba trade thoughts but I’ll save them for a shorter day. Lotta stuff to get to today and I’m pretty sure every single one of you skipped this game anyway.

Toronto 111  –  Philadelphia 117

Toronto  (29-13)  2nd in East
Philadelphia  (20-20)  9th in East

Full arsenal on display from Embiid (34p/11r) last night, who looked fresh and explosive after playing just one game in the last ten days thanks to the London trip.

Philly has two more days off before starting a 10 games in 16 days stretch in Boston on Thursday. Halfway through the season and with a real chance at the 8th seed it’ll be interesting to see how Philly and how Embiid himself handles his games and minutes. Lot of season left – but every game without Embiid makes every game with him that much more important.

Milwaukee 104  –  Washington 95

Milwaukee  (23-20)  7th in East
Washington  (25-19)  5th in East


27 Points. 20 Rebounds. 6 assists. 2 blocks. Giannis was a goddamn beast and absolutely abused the Wizards inside all afternoon yesterday. There’s a back-to-back moment in this highlight at the 2:00 mark where Giannis backs down Brad Beal for a turnaround and knocks him backward so forcefully that it looks like a flop and then blocks John Wall on a fast break by reaching his arm about fifteen feet out while walling backwards and it’s utterly ridiculous to watch.

John Wall has been balling this month, averaging 25.9p/11.3a/2.1s and getting to the line almost 8 times a game. Yesterday he got there 13 times, hitting 12 on his way to a 27p/4/9a/2b/3s game in the loss.

I’ve said it before but we really need to see a Washington-Milwaukee playoff series. There’s so many interesting cross matchups and so much visible competitiveness/contentiousness and it’s just a joy to watch these two go at it.

San Antonio 99  –  Atlanta 102

San Antonio  (29-16)  4th in West
Atlanta  (12-31)  14th in East

Dennis Schroder (26p/5r/7a) continues to make a case to sneak onto the East All Star team, which is a sentence I 1000% never thought I wold write. But he’s posting 20 and 7 a night and even though Atlanta sits at the bottom of the East, they have enough impressive wins and more than enough super competitive losses to justify it. This should be the worst team in basketball. And even though technically speaking they actually are, they’re pushing good teams more on a nightly basis than any bottom of the barrel team I can remember thanks in large part to Schroder. That series he had against Washington last April was no fluke. Dude is balling.

New York 119  –  Brooklyn 104

New York  (20-24)  10th in East
Brooklyn  (16-28)  13th in East

I’ve got it.

Holy fucking shit I’ve got it.

Ever since Frankie Smokes jumped onto the radar as a potential Knicks pick I’ve been trying to figure out his comp. You heard a lot of George Hill and some Avery Bradley. And those made sense on some level. But I thought then and I believe even more so now that he’s got a ton more offensive upside than that. He is a lead guard. That’s clear at this point. So I wanted a better comp. And this morning I think I have it…

Frank is mini Giannis. If Giannis is The Demogorgun from Stranger Things Season 1 (Trademark: me), then Frank is a Demo-dog. Frank is D’Artagnan.

He’s all over the court. He’s freakishly long and super athletic. He’s still crazy raw but has all the tools. He’s feisty as hell with a very evident competitive streak (see: James, LeBron). And like young Giannis, he’s still in that very early stage where he doesn’t fully realize how capable he is of taking over games.

He’ll never be Giannis simply because the size difference is so vital to Giannis’s game. I still get that even as I am getting wildly carried away. But if you’re offering me mini Giannis, with a better shot and cleaner handles, terrorizing guys on the perimeter with his length and relentlessness, that’s not the worst option at point guard for the next decade.

Giannis averaged 14.5p/9.3r/4.1a/1.7b/1.7s per 100 possessions with a 110 defensive rating as a rookie.

Frank is averaging 13.1p/5.6r/8.3a/0.5b/2.7s per 100 possessions with a 108 defensive rating through 41 career games.

Last night’s 10p/10r/7a/2b/1s near triple double last night was just a taste of what’s coming. This has been Today in Wild Knicks Overreactions with Ham.

Meanwhile, Porzingis had his most efficient game of the season, pouring in 26p/9r/2b on 8-14 shooting. Super Cool Beas (23p/10r/2b) helped shut the door with a monster fourth quarter. And the Knicks bounced back nicely from a crushing OT loss late Sunday afternoon.

Miami 111  –  Chicago 119

Miami  (25-18)  4th in East
Chicago  (17-27)  12th in East

Zach LaVine has showed zero rust returning from a torn ACL in his first two games of the season, following a 14 point debut Saturday with a 18p/5r/5a/2s line on 7-12 shooting in just 20 minutes last night.

And Lauri Markkanen added 17p/9r on 6-13 shooting to help Chicago stop a scorching hot Miami team’s 7 game win streak.

By the way, Markkanen became the fastest player to reach 100 career three pointers last night. It’s still absolutely wild to me that the Minnesota-Chicago Jimmy Butler trade might end up being one of the most mutually beneficial trades in NBA history. Minnesota is 3rd in the West and climbing. Jimmy is a very real MVP candidate. And the Bulls have a very real, very impressive young core who’s only problem is that they might be too good now to add another top five lottery talent.

LA Lakers 114  –  Memphis 123

LA Lakers  (15-28)  12th in West
Memphis  (14-28)  14th in West

No Lonzo or Ingram for LA as they fell in Memphis to another impressive rook in Dillon Brooks (19p on 6-8 shooting with 4 threes).

Sacramento 88  –  Oklahoma City 95

Sacramento  (13-30)  15th in West
Oklahoma City  (24-20)  5th in West

De’Aaron Fox (12p/3r/5a) is still doing his thing in January, holding his own as much as you could expect a raw rookie to against Westbrook and even turning on the gas for a very Westbrook-esque baseline to baseline dunk.

But Russ is still Russ, carrying OKC with 19p/16r/9a on 8-14 shooting before getting the boot with 3 minutes left. Last night  was a contentious night folks.

Golden State 118  –  Cleveland 108

Golden State  (36-9)  1st in West
Cleveland  (26-17)  3rd in East

As much as I want to avoid the First Takeyness of this take, it’s unavoidable…

LeRbLoN cAnT bEeT tHe WaRirRrS bY hImSeLf

He just can’t. It’s not possible.

KD is too good and too efficient and can basically mirror LeBron on the court and in the box score with half the effort and a quarter of the responsibility. LeBron put up 32p/8r/6a/4b/3s on 12-18 shooting while doing everything and clearly being the best player on the court. KD put up 32p/5r/8a/1b/3s while basically chilling until he had to turn it on late in the third.

So long as Durant is playing LeBron to a draw there’s just no way for Cleveland to win. Even when Kyrie was playing Steph to a draw last June it was almost impossible for Cleveland’s 3 through 9 rotation guys to outplay Golden State’s 3 through 9. That was the difference last year.

Now that’s Isaiah in Kyrie’s shoes (you’re never winning a Steph-Isaiah matchup – even on Isaiah’s best and Steph’s worst day)…

…AND the Warriors 3-9 expanded that gap even more by adding Jordan Bell, Team Basketball Swaggy P, and a rejuvenated David West to their bench to counter any improvements Cleveland made to theirs with I’ve-still-got-it-when-I’m-well-rested Dwyane Wade and potentially-rejuvenated-but-I-still-don’t-fully-trust-him Jeff Green. Add in the devolution of Kardashian Curse Tristan and Tide Bounty Washed Jae Crowder and Cleveland basically has to hope Love, JR, and Korver combine for 19 threes to even begin to match Golden State’s 3-9.


Klay (17p/4r on 7-12 shooting with 3 threes) and Draymond (11p/16r/9a/2a) did their thing, basically playing scratch golf type games for themselves as the best 3-4 you’ll ever see. And goddammit this was depressing because it’s the first time I can’t talk myself into anyone beating the Warriors.

We’ll get into trade stuff as the deadline approaches. If the Nets pick is on the table things could still swing. The most interesting deal I can think of that 1. is realistic, and 2. makes logical sense in trying to match up with Golden State is something centered on Isaiah’s expiring deal, the Nets pick, and salary fillers for Mike Conley, assuming Conley is healthy in the next few weeks.

But if that Nets pick isn’t on the table I don’t see any possible trade that swings things back in Cleveland’s favor. 

Indiana 109  –  Utah 94

Indiana  (24-20)  6th in East
Utah  (17-26)  10th in West

Sneaky very fun matchup between two of the best young shooting guards in the league last night. Oladipo (28p/6r/6a/2s) got the best of Mitchell (23p/2r/2a/2s), but you could really see the similarities between these two – accentuated by the fact that the Jazz and Pacers decided to rock opposing colors last night.

Houston 102  –  LA Clippers 113

Houston  (30-12)  2nd in West
LA Clippers  (22-21)  7th in West

Well folks,, I think we need to take this one to a second blog…

Schedule for Tuesday, Jan 16th:

7:00   Minnesota  –  Orlando
7:30   New Orleans  –  Boston   NBATV
9:00   Dallas  –  Denver
10:00   Phoenix  –  Portland   NBATV

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