Anyone can have a blog about an NBA team, but some set themselves apart from the rest with the dedication and valuable insight they bring to their craft. We’ll be sharing some knowledge from these dialed-in writers on Hoops Rumors in a new feature called Top Bloggers. As with The Beat, our ongoing series of interviews with NBA beat writers, it’s part of an effort to bring Hoops Rumors readers ever closer to the pulse of the teams they follow. Last time, we spoke with Eric Griffith of Blazer’s Edge. Click here to see the entire Top Bloggers series.
Hoops Rumors: Carmelo Anthony is adamant that he won’t demand a trade from the Knicks. Given all of their struggles, are you buying that?
Ian Levy: Anthony had an opportunity to leave last summer but chose to stay in New York, one would assume for the money, consistency and continuity. I don’t believe for a second that he thought they were a playoff team last season, or that he thinks they’re competing for a championship this year. I think part of the attraction of New York is the blind optimism that help is on the way. I can absolutely see him hanging out and waiting for the cavalry to arrive.
Hoops Rumors: The Tristan Thompson issue is still dragging on. How do you see the Cavs resolving things with the 24-year-old?
Ian Levy: I don’t think the Cavs are budging and I don’t blame them. Thompson is a useful piece but the contract he’s asking for is out of whack with his actual value, even in the context of Cleveland’s roster. I think things get resolved when Thompson decides to compromise.
Hoops Rumors: Who do you think will be the surprise team of the 2015/16 season?
Ian Levy: The Oklahoma City Thunder. After their struggles last season it seems like everyone assumes they’re now a second-tier team in the Western Conference. Assuming health, I think they could be right there with the Warriors, Clippers and Spurs.
Hoops Rumors: Which team do you think will be the biggest bust this year?
Ian Levy: I’m not sure it will happen, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Miami Heat fell apart. They don’t strike me as particularly deep and the top of their rotation, while extremely talented, seems extremely fragile as well. Even nagging injuries for Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Goran Dragic or Chris Bosh seems like they could pull the whole house down.
Hoops Rumors: What can the Hornets do to try and offset the loss of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist?
Ian Levy: I think they’d be better off trying to mix in some small lineups and spread the floor a little. It’s difficult because they’re already stacked up front but giving Nicolas Batum more minutes at power forward than at shooting guard is probably good for the overall health of their offense.
Ian Levy: Honestly, I don’t pay much attention to this sort of thing. Thinking about possible landing spots for Durant is far less interesting to me than thinking about how Billy Donovan will use him and Westbrook, what their bench rotations will look like, how minutes are managed between Steven Adams and Enes Kanter, and whether Dion Waiters can ever get out of his own way. As far as I’m concerned Durant is a member of the Thunder until he’s not.