“(Smart’s) departure leaves a gaping hole, not only in terms of what he brought to the table talent-wise, but more specifically what his presence meant to this team both in terms of a playmaker and an elite defender,” Blakely wrote. “While it’s to be determined who will replace him, it’s clear as day that first up to do so will be Derrick White.”
Blakely then takes a deep dive into what the Celtics might look like and expect with White as the starter. You can read the full newsletter here.
“It’s 100 percent right that Cunningham’s play this season is the critical factor for the Pistons,” Vecenie wrote. “We have extremely positive signs about how that is going to go following his performances at Team USA camp this summer. But Cunningham is the centerpiece of the rebuild, and the NBA is a star-driven league — and has arguably never been more star-driven than it is now. It’s hard to find teams that don’t have a proven star or a potential star. For the Pistons to make that leap, Cunningham needs to be the guy.”
Added James L. Edwards III of The Athletic: “There can’t be 17 wins again. A budding star needs to make himself known. Youth is still prevalent on the roster, but that didn’t stop other organizations from taking a leap last season. Detroit, a legacy franchise, must plant the seeds this season for a better life moving forward.”
Thorpe’s post was based on recent comments made by star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“There will never be hard feelings with the Milwaukee Bucks. […] I believe that we’ve had 10 unbelievable years, and there’s no doubt I gave everything for the city of Milwaukee,” Antetokounmpo said, via Tania Ganguli of the New York Times. “Everything. Every single night, even when I’m hurt. I am a Milwaukee Buck. I bleed green. I know this.
“This is my team, and it’s going to forever be my team. I don’t forget people that were there for me and allowed me to be great and to showcase who I am to the world and gave me the platform. But we have to win another one.”
You can check out Thorpe’s full breakdown here.