The Crossover welcomes ESPN’s Zach Lowe to discuss trends at the NBA’s mathematical midpoint, including the sudden burst of high-scoring individual games capped by Donovan Mitchell’s 71-point out. They also reflect on their preseason fumbles, discuss the merits of a trade with the Lakers, and ponder his tournament advantage midseason. Plus: If you could go back in time and save a team from its worst offseason blunder, what would it be?
The transcript below is an excerpt from crossover Listen to the full episode on NBA Podcast. podcast player everywhere or SI.com.
Beck: I said we are at the mathematical halfway point. In retrospect for a minute… we’ve all been doing silly pre-season predictions and predictions and rankings and all that stuff. And I was looking back at some of myself. I think the thing that cringed me the most was that Rudy Gobert was preseason Defensive Player of the Year. Well, it probably won’t happen.
Row: So that race is wide open.
Beck: I think we’re still okay with Clips over Bucks in Finals, but at least 17 Finals iterations are possible. And that, you know, we’ll see.
Was there anything you were sure mid-season about the teams, the races, the players, the pre-season situation?
Row: I was dramatically wrong about the Toronto Raptors. I thought the Raptors were good. Whatever their over/under was, I can’t remember what it was, but I was like over, over, over. Well, they say he’s 16-22. Every possession is a slog and they’re starting a homestand right now that will make or break the season. It started with comeback wins and losses.
Their defense wasn’t as good as I expected. And you’re starting to feel the shortcomings of the lengths, sizes, and types of variety they’ve chosen. Center is good. Those shortcomings became roost. That’s what I did most wrong. …
I was probably a little too low in Portland, but they were only one game over 500. And, you know, despite all the opposition I had to the Gobert trade, I still thought the Timberwolves were going to be a good regular season team. was not good as a team. And… Utah is clearly the one that we were all wrong about, but those are the ones that stand out.
Beck: I had my easy hit list underestimating Utah, Portland and Indiana.All of these teams were really fun and competitive. And yeah, not surprisingly, none of these teams have won a playoff series.
I thought the Grizzlies would struggle to replicate last season’s success. It was about the depth of the Western Conference and the players coming back to Denver, the Clippers, etc. I knew things were going to get tough. …
Row: Well, Jaren Jackson Jr. started the season and got injured. I thought their downside was a potential ‘hmm, we need to avoid play-ins’…and they’re really, really good people. Grizzlies are really good.
Beck: They are the first to be tied in the West when we record this.
Row: As I said before… it’s a team. They play for big fish. If I were them, one small asset, one pick, one young player, or something like a medium sized fish that could be traded and become the 5th to 8th best player but a proven veteran with the skill set can help me, I think that team has enough to do it now. I think you should.
Listen to the full episode at podcast player everywhere or SI.com.