Who to Watch (January 18 – January 24)

Credit: via NBA News Now

Welcome back to Who to Watch! Football fans, there is a BIG weekend coming up with the Rams and Saints, as well as Pats and Chiefs vying for a birth in the Super Bowl! The top two seeds in each conference, and the best offenses in football, it’s set to be two great games.  In the NBA, James Harden is STILL dominating in a manner we have not seen in a LONG time (he’s now averaging 35.37 PPG, which would make him the 9th player all-time to average at least 35 PPG in a season).  Kyrie had a statement game against the Raptors, but the Celtics are still not consistent enough to be considered a viable playoff threat at this time.  The Warriors scored 51(!) points in the first quarter against the Nuggets, and with DeMarcs Cousins’ debut set for this evening, they might be ready to make their run.

Sit back and enjoy our players to watch over the next week!


Fredy: Kyrie Irving

27 points and 18 assists against the Raptors is enough for me to choose Kyrie. 10 points in the 4th, getting others involved, and finding them, is why Kyrie is a superstar. Quietly, the Celtics are 2-1 so far against the 34-13 Raptors this season. He’s been tearing it up all season and now the Celtics are 6-3 against the Sixers, Pacers, Bucks, and Raptors. This may be the game we look at and say was the turning point. The team looked together and played incredible. Kyrie is a leader and he will be treated as such!

When to Watch: 

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Boston Celtics (1/18; 7:00 PM)

Boston Celtics vs. Atlanta Hawks (1/19; 7:30 PM)

Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics (1/21; 6:00 PM)

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics (1/23; 7:30 PM)

Mike: Donovan Mitchell

Utah Jazz vs. Houston Rockets
Credit: Getty Images North America

After struggling to start the season, Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz have climbed back into contention for a playoff spot. Winners of five straight, the Jazz are currently the 8th seed in the crowded West and sit only two games back of the 3rd seed. Mitchell’s return to excellence is a big reason why the Jazz are surging. Per game averages of 31.2 points (on 50/41/83 shooting), 4.2 rebounds, and 6 assists over Utah’s last five, Mitchell has been driving the Jazz to success almost by himself. I noticed many analysts were down on Mitchell after a slow start, but he is still a young player that will have some growing pains. If Mitchell can come close to maintaining his improved shooting percentages and playmaking, Utah will be poised to make noise come playoff time.

When to Watch:

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Utah Jazz (1/18; 9:00 PM)

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Utah Jazz (1/21; 9:00 PM)

Denver Nuggets vs. Utah Jazz (1/23; 10:30 PM)

Kerm: Bradley Beal

Ignoring his seven turnovers against the Knicks in London, Bradley Beal has been on a roll recently. In his two previous games against the two best teams in the East, Beal was putting up video game numbers. Last Friday, Beal managed to put up a 32-7-5 stat line in a victory against the one-seed Bucks. Then on Sunday he went toe to toe with Kawhi Leonard in overtime with a 40 point triple double. John who?

When to Watch:

Detroit Pistons vs. Washington Wizards (1/21; 2:00 PM)

Golden State Warriors vs. Washington Wizards (1/24; 8:00 PM)

Nick: Tom Brady

Folks, how can I not!? Now I was worried about Brady because he had not really put together too many consecutive good games during the regular season (more on the roster he was given than him), but MAN, he was AMAZING last week.  The Chargers were the second best team in the conference, a juggernaut on the road, yet they came into Gillette with a lot of momentum, and a fair share of pundits supporting them, and they got DESTROYED.  It was a balanced attack, but you cannot deny how great Tom Brady looked.  33 for 44 (77.3%), 343 yards, 1 TD, 106.5 passer rating (more on that here).  Brady has been dominant his past 6 postseason games, and I think he’s hearing all the noise from the doubters, and for the man who still gets pissed about being the 199th pick in the 2001 NFL Draft, we know how he plays with a chip on his shoulder.  Arrowhead will be a hostile environment, and the Chiefs are a great team, but I saw psycho Tom last week, and for this Pats fan, if I want a shot at seeing another Super Bowl, I’m buying the G.O.A.T.

When to Watch: 

New England Patriots vs. Kansas City Chiefs (1/20; 6:40 PM)


Fredy: Chris Hogan

Image result for chris hogan
Credit: via Yahoo

The once viable weapon for the Patriots has been a shell of himself this season. It looks like he’s no longer in the Brady circle of trust that is exclusive to get in to. Sunday against the Chargers, he caught 3 passes for only 13 yards. If that doesn’t smell like shit I don’t know what does.

What’s hard to believe is that his regular season receiving yards (532) are close to his career high from 2016. So are touchdowns and receptions. But something feels off and he hasn’t made that big play we are used to seeing from him; I don’t see that coming at all this game.

When to Watch:

New England Patriots vs. Kansas City Chiefs (1/20; 6:40 PM)

Mike: Avery Bradley

Los Angeles Clippers v Brooklyn Nets
Credit: Abbie Parr/Getty Images North America

Doc Rivers must really love his former Celtics players because that is the only reason Avery Bradley could still be starting for this Clippers team. Having lost four consecutive games – and slipping to 7th in the West in the process – Doc needs to at least consider making an adjustment. Over the last four games, Bradley is shooting under 40% from the field (39.3%), has attempted ZERO free throws, and has a net rating of -25! And if that’s not enough to warrant a change, Bradley’s averages of 7.3 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 2.5 APG, and 0.5 STL are very weak. This is while starting and playing just over 28 minutes a game. In addition, Bradley isn’t boosting the team’s defense when he’s on the floor either, the Clippers have a 111.3 defensive rating with him on the court, and it drops to 107.4 with him off! Doc Rivers needs to find a way to lessen Bradley’s role before LA drops too far.

When to Watch: 

Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Clippers (1/18; 10:30 PM)

Los Angeles Clippers vs. San Antonio Spurs (1/20; 7:00 PM)

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks (1/22; 8:30 PM)

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Miami Heat (1/23; 7:30 PM)

Kerm: Marc Gasol and Mike Conley

Image result for marc gasol mike conley
Credit: via FTW/USA Today

This pick is personal. I used to love the grit and grind Grizzlies. I loved the underdog combination of Gasol, Mike Conley, Zach Randolph, and Tony Allen. They would battle OKC is some wild playoff series. Fast forward a few years and it’s a tough pill to swallow. Allen and Randolph are out the league, Conley is overpaid, and the Grizzlies are a weekly disappointment.

In a game against the Houston Rockets on Monday, Gasol managed to have more turnovers than points. Against the Bucks Wednesday, the Memphis duo both had an atrocious plus/minus. And on top of that, they’re both ruining my fantasy basketball team. I picked up both rounds after they projected to be drafted, thinking I got a steal. Sadly, both players have been disappointments even from where I drafted. Am I being petty making them my sell picks? Absolutely.

When to Watch:

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Boston Celtics (1/18; 7:00 PM)

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Toronto Raptors (1/19; 7:30 PM)

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Memphis Grizzlies (1/21; 5:30 PM)

Charlotte Hornets vs. Memphis Grizzlies (1/23; 8:00 PM)

Nick: Kyle Lowry

Image result for kyle lowry
Credit: Nick Wass/AP

Kyle Lowry is a CRYBABY! I’m sorry, but if you were watching that game on Wednesday, how often was he on the floor, acting like he needed Paul Pierce’s wheelchair, only to be fine and playing the next possession?  I counted three.  Lowry helped revive basketball in Toronto, and he has been a huge reason they have made the playoffs the past 5 seasons.  Although his assist numbers are a career best (9.5 APG), his shooting numbers have taken a step back.  This past week, Lowry averaged 10.5 PPG (27.9% from the field). 5.5 RPG, and 8.25 APG.  He was 6 of 28 from three (21.43%); this is the same guy who was shooting 41.2% from three just two seasons ago.  Now Toronto has a lot of great players, Lowry’s role has changed, and they look set to make a deep playoff run this spring, but if Kawhi leaves this summer, they won’t be able to rebuild around the 32-year-old PG, because he’s not THAT guy anymore.  Long term? I’m selling on Lowry.

When to Watch:

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Toronto Raptors (1/19; 7:30 PM)

Sacramento Kings vs. Toronto Raptors (1/22; 7:30 PM)

Toronto Raptors vs. Indiana Pacers (1/23; 7:00 PM)

The “Who to Watch” series drops every Friday, via Hold My Drink Sports

Author: Nick Collins

Boston sports fan sharing his love for sports and perspectives as a fan

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