What's Right with Nick Wright is a rapidly growing podcast from the Fox Sports Podcast Network. You may know Nick Wright from co-hosting FS1's First Things First. This podcast gives Nick a chance to develop, deep dive, and defend his sharpest opinions. During the show, Nick faces off against a ticking clock, a team of producers, and even his own family to try and get his points across. New episodes drop Monday, Thursday, and Friday wherever you get your podcasts. This is The Rich Eisen Show.
Goats have home lives too. Live from The Rich Eisen Show studio in Los Angeles. Rich Eisen. Hello, Rich Eisen. Rich Eisen.
Oh, that's Susie Eisen. The Rich Eisen Show. And now, sitting in for Rich, here's Dan Schwartzman. It is hour number three of The Rich Eisen Show.
On a Tuesday, Dan Schwartzman in for Rich. The rest of today and tomorrow as well. The NBA season rolling right along and, you know, it's interesting because a lot of times the NBA regular season is kind of looked upon as being just a wasteland, right? Because so many teams get into the postseason.
It's like, let's just wait. You make the playoffs. And I think the NBA more than other leagues, it's because, you know, it's like the NHL. You have a bunch of teams that make the postseason and you, in your mind, decide who truly has a chance to advance and who doesn't.
Who you think is a legit contender and who you think is not a legit contender. And a lot of times, like for instance, I root for the New York Knicks and they're not a legit contender and regardless of the fact if they win 45 games or 48 games or maybe even hit the magical 50 game mark, they're not going anywhere in the postseason. Maybe they win one round. Maybe that's about it.
But that's it. They're not a legit contender to come out of the Eastern Conference and win. And most teams, I think, kind of fit into that category. You know, Knicks are playing the Mavericks. Are the Mavericks legit?
18 and 16, they're a good home team. They're a terrible road team. They're 5 and 11 on the road. Can you win playoff series if you're not going to be a high seed and you can't win on the road?
Probably not. Same problem, by the way, the Golden State Warriors, they can't stay healthy for one, but also they are 3 and 16 on the road. I mean, think about that. 3 and 16 on the road. How are you supposed to win games on the road when you can't win on the road in the regular season? Nah, they get healthy, Steph's back, whatever it is, sure, they'll win a bunch of games. But what's interesting to me is the Brooklyn Nets. I had a conversation, the buddy of mine in Kansas City, about Brooklyn.
He said, well, what's the deal? You know, the Knicks and the Nets. What do you see with these two teams? And I said, the Knicks are kind of where the Philadelphia 76ers were before they decided to tank on purpose. They weren't bad enough to have a high draft pick and they weren't good enough to truly be a contender to win a championship. They're in that no man's land and everybody's trying to search for a superstar to come play for you. And you got to have the cap space for it. And let's face it, I mean, New York doesn't have the luster it once did.
Maybe it's the taxes. Maybe it's the fact that the organization hasn't won anything where it's not like superstars are actively trying to get to play for the Knicks. And then you have the Brooklyn Nets. And I said at the time, look, you know, the Knicks have Julius Randle, R.J. Barrett just seems to be another guy, right? He's good, nothing special. Brunson is a good offensive player.
He's a terrible defensive player. There's a little bit of young talent on the Knicks with Quinton Grimes, but nothing where you think future superstar, right? I said, but Brooklyn, on the other hand, you have Kevin Durant, one of the greatest players in the history of this game. Kyrie Irving may have a lot of off court issues and maybe a head case, but Kyrie Irving is also one of the best basketball players on this planet.
He is a legit superstar. And the Ben Simmons saga is really a strange saga, right? I mean, Ben Simmons, as much as he's not much of an offensive player, you can definitely say Ben Simmons is a really talented player.
You can say that. And he's kind of getting his basketball legs under him again, because remember Ben Simmons didn't play last year and didn't play parts of this year already, right? He's battled injuries as well.
There's a confidence situation with him, but he's starting to come back. And the scoring's been, you know, on and off. He's not taking many shots, but he's getting his assists. He's had, what, four straight games with eight assists. He's getting his rebounds. He's averaging, what, eight, nine rebounds a game over the course. These last four or so games. Scoring again has been an issue, but Ben Simmons is being a facilitator out there.
And guess what? Brooklyn has won nine games in a row. With those nine wins in a row, they have now moved themselves up in that Eastern Conference.
They are clearly a more dangerous team now, and you have to take them seriously. They're the number three seed. They've leapfrogged Cleveland, Philadelphia. They are half a game behind Milwaukee for the two seed. They're just two games back of Boston for the one seed. That's how good Brooklyn's playing with nine in a row. Philly's won eight in a row, by the way. They're playing good basketball as well. They're kind of moving up the charts as well. But yeah, Brooklyn's a legit team because now the focus on the Nets has not been off the court issues with Kyrie Irving and, you know, the curmudgeon Kevin Durant, who kind of always, I find him amusing.
I really do. He's got thin skin and he's perusing social media probably more than he needs to because of his thin skin. And remember he had that burner account he got busted with a few years back. But like Kevin Durant is a Hall of Fame talent and he will be a first ballot Hall of Famer and one of the greatest scores in the history of this league. When you have two superstars and Ben Simmons and a pretty decent supporting cast past those guys, you are legitimately a contender to win it all.
And they're playing well for Jacques Vonn. He's not Steve Nash. Steve Nash was always the wrong pick for that job. I never understood why Steve Nash was brought in to be the head coach of that team. When you have strong personalities and you have superstar players, you need a coach who has won something as a coach, not just as a player.
Steve Nash is a Hall of Fame player and he won back-to-back MVPs. Not taking that away from the guy, but he never coached squat. So why are guys going to take him seriously when he's never won as a coach?
All they care about is, does your coaching philosophy lead to wins? Guys like Popovich can say, sure, here are my rings. Phil Jackson's kind of a quirky guy, but he can say, sure, here are my rings, right? Bill Belichick's not the nicest guy, although, you know, his ex players do like him. But Bill Belichick can say, sure, here are my rings. While the Matt Patricia's of the world who tried to flash rings and claim them as theirs, the players said, nah, those are Belichick's rings.
You kind of rode the coattail. And while he tried to be a, you know, a hard nose type of coach, players did not gravitate to him because his philosophy wasn't the one that won. Belichick's won. So Steve Nash never had any cred as a head coach. He put him in a tough spot where he's got to massage egos, probably more so than X's and O's, and he couldn't do it.
And players walked all over him. Jacques Vaughn is a different story. Jacques Vaughn's got these players playing well. You know, they've gravitated towards Jacques Vaughn.
They've respected him. And, you know, they're nine and one their last 10, they've won nine games in a row. And again, they've moved themselves up to third best record in the Eastern Conference. And in fact, in the entire NBA right now, you're looking at a team with the fourth best record in all of basketball. The only team in the Western Conference with a better record is the Denver Nuggets.
That's it. The Pelicans are about a half game behind them. By the way, I love the Pelicans really. Willie Green has just done an amazing job there and one of the nicest guys you're going to meet in the sport. And it's great to see Willie Green having success with New Orleans and reshaping the narrative for that team, reshaping that roster. You hope guys look to stay there and continue to build something that is really starting to make some noise, right?
I mean, they're winning games. There is high-end talent, Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, bringing in CJ McCollum, Fallon Shunas, Trey Murphy has been a great role player for them. There is talent there. There is something to go watch there.
And there is star power. And you kind of hope they can keep it together. You know, I like New Orleans. I think it's a fun town.
It's maybe not the safest town in the world, but it's a fun town to be in. And you hope that they can kind of sustain it, keep the players around. But, you know, there's so much parity in the game today where you really have to say to yourself, is there one team that stands out over everybody else? Is Boston really better than Milwaukee, Brooklyn, and Philly? I'm not sure about Cleveland, but are they really better than them?
Is there a noticeable difference? And I think the answer is no. In the West, it's what? I mean, Denver is pretty good. But, you know, even though Denver is a top seed right now in the West, their point differential is not one of the best.
There's only 1.9 points positive point differential for them. New Orleans is way over them. Memphis is more than them. The Phoenix Suns are more than them. Dallas is exactly the same as the Sacramento. So, it's not like Denver is dominating people to where you say they're the clear-cut favorite.
Not at all. And then you have other teams that are just head scratching. You know, sometimes you look at a team, you say, there's enough talent there where, regardless of injuries, whatever it might be, they should be winning games. And I'm not going to cry for the LA Lakers. I'm really not going to cry for the Lakers, right?
Because they've dug this hole for themselves. And they've been hit with injuries, obviously. You know, Anthony Davis, guys like that.
Russell Westbrook has never worked out there. But I kind of wonder, the reaction to that team, they won a championship a couple years back in that COVID shortened season where they won it, I believe it was in Orlando, and all the teams are kind of quarantined there. But that Laker team, you would think just with LeBron James there, they win 50 games, right?
45-50 games. Considering, again, there's no real dominating team in the Western Conference or in all of basketball, that just with LeBron James running the show, they should win a bunch of games. But they're not. I mean, Laura Romo here in for Art Martinez. Laura, you, you know, do a lot with the Lakers. I mean, are you stunned that they haven't turned things away? They're in the midst of another four-game losing streak here. Are you stunned that even with LeBron James, who by himself can change the outcome of games, they have not been able to win games here? I mean, it is a little crazy, isn't it?
It's crazy. I'm not stunned just because, look, people that know me know I'm not a huge Bron fan. I give him his respects. But he can't do it alone. And he doesn't really have anybody helping him. Westbrook hasn't fit with him at all, even though he wanted him there. A.D.'s always hurt. If he's on the floor, he's literally on the floor, which sucks.
When he was there, he was dominating. But other than that, we don't really have anybody helping him. So what can he really do by himself?
You need a team. Basketball is a team. But here's the interesting thing about it is LeBron did this to himself.
This is where I think it gets interesting. And this is the big debate that's kind of happened in the league is you got the faction of people that don't want to blame LeBron for this mess. And I think what they're doing is they're kind of being insincere here. And they try to make it as if LeBron James has not been the guy that has controlled the narrative as to who plays with him. But the fact is, LeBron James is the de facto GM of that team. LeBron James will tell you who he wants coaching that team. LeBron will decide who plays next to him. And it's funny because some people don't want to admit that narrative, you know, and they're never going to publicly say because I don't think the team wants to throw LeBron under the bus and say, hey, he's the reason why this has been such a mess. But let's face it, Laura, realistically, though, I mean, isn't LeBron sleeping in the bed he made?
I mean, I've said that from day one. I wanted DeRozan over Westbrook, but LeBron wanted him. And that's what the Lakers have. It's hard as a Laker fan. It's hard to see where our team is at, because I expected better having the roster that we did with Westbrook AD and LeBron. But we are where we are.
I mean, we don't we don't really have anybody we can count on. And I find, you know, the Westbrook thing to me is is fascinating, right? Like to me, Russell Westbrook, statistically speaking, is one of the greatest players in basketball history. Before Russell Westbrook became this triple-double machine, we had one season in NBA history where a player averaged a triple-double for the entire year, and that was Oscar Robertson. Russell Westbrook has done it four seasons, three straight, by the way, 2016 through 2019. He did it three straight years and then did it again, by the way, in 2020-2021 as a member of the Washington Wizards.
Okay, four years he has done that. Career statistics, he's close to 23 points, seven and a half rebounds, eight and a half assists per game, and he's closing in on 24,000 career points. So right there automatically you say to yourself, Hall of Fame player, Russell Westbrook. Stats don't lie. That's what it is.
But I got to throw this out there. I mean, I do think Russell Westbrook becomes a Hall of Famer. But is Russell Westbrook really a Hall of Famer?
I think it's the big question. Do we just look at the stats and say, yeah, he's a stack compiler, but they're so impressive he's got to be a Hall of Fame player? Or do you look at the fact that he's never won anywhere and probably because of himself that Russell Westbrook's game doesn't allow for others to succeed to where he literally is the hindrance to winning games? So what I'm saying is while Russell Westbrook's put up unbelievable statistics and has had an incredible career is the reason for the lack of postseason success for the teams he's been on strictly because of him.
I think that's a legitimate question. And I think if you're going to ask that question, you have to bring up in your mind, is he a Hall of Famer? And I wrestle with this because I want to give somebody their due, right? I want to give somebody, you know, if they've had successful careers and they're in that conversation to be Hall of Famers, then by all means, get in the Hall of Fame, right?
If you've earned it, go in. But then when you look at the fact that they've never won because of him most likely, can you call him more than a stack compiler? See, Carmelo Anthony to me is the exact same type of thing. Like, Carmelo Anthony has put up tremendous statistics for his career, right? He's one of the all-time greatest scorers in NBA history. But if you've watched enough Carmelo Anthony and you see the fact that I don't believe he's ever gotten past what, a conference finals once in his career, isn't it hard to say he's a Hall of Fame player?
Isn't it? Are you putting him in the Hall of Fame? Is a lack of team success when he's the focal point of that team a hindrance to you? To me, it is. I look at it and I say to myself, you know what, I can't put the guy in the Hall of Fame because I just don't believe that a guy that can't lead his team anywhere far in the postseason is truly a Hall of Famer. But look, again, statistics will ultimately get people in. But for me, he is not a Hall of Famer. Brian Mahoney covers the NBA.
He's going to join us next to kind of give us his thoughts on the mess called the Lakers. But don't forget when you open up a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van, you're opening up more than just doors, you're unlocking potential. The potential to do your own thing, be your own boss, do your own success and blaze your own trail. Each and every Sprinter van is built, designed and equipped to let you hit the open road and take on any goal you set to help you follow your own passions, reawaken that spirit of adventure and check all those big, bold, fun and exciting experiences off your bucket list. Owning a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van lets you live, work and play out your dreams no matter how far off the beating path they'll take you. And with 16 body types, your choice of a gas or diesel engine, thousands of ways to customize and now available in all-wheel drive, a Sprinter van is capable and versatile enough to help drive your ambitions wherever you want to take them. So now's the time to discover what it is that moves you most.
Don't wait, unlock your potential inside a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. Brian Mahoney will chat some NBA basketball coming up next. Brooklyn, are they for real? Is there one team that you think truly is more dominating than anybody else in this league?
And how do you view the Lakers and that mess and how much responsibility do you put on the shoulders of one LeBron James? Dan Schwartzman on a Tuesday in for Rich Eisen right here. It's the Rich Eisen Show. What's right with Nick Wright is a rapidly growing podcast from the Fox Sports Podcast Network. You may know Nick Wright from co-hosting FS1's First Things First. This podcast gives Nick a chance to develop, deep dive and defend his sharpest opinions. During the show, Nick faces off against a ticking clock, a team of producers and even his own family to try and get his points across.
New episodes drop Monday, Thursday and Friday, wherever you get your podcasts. Did you know that driving high is considered driving under the influence? That's right. Driving under the influence of marijuana is against the law in every state, even in states where marijuana is legal. That means driving high could get you a DUI. And if you think law enforcement officers can't tell when you're driving high, you're wrong. Your friends can tell. Your coworkers can tell. Even your parents can tell.
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Paid for by NHTSA. 22 past the hour, our three of the rich eyes in show on a Tuesday. Dan Schwartz been in for rich today and tomorrow as we head into 2023. I can't believe we are less than a week away from literally the next year. Crazy as it is, the NBA season, by the way, continuing to roll along. A lot of parity in the league right now, the Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, both red hot, Brooklyn 9 straight wins, Philly 8 straight wins.
And then the Lakers on the other hand continuing to lose the latest with that. Brian Mahoney, the NBA writer for the AP joining us. And Brian, first off, happy holidays and happy new year to you and your family. Yeah, same to you, Dan. Thanks very much.
Thank you, Brian. I want to start off with the Eastern Conference. Boston's atop the conference right now, but you know, Brooklyn is looking great. You know, Philly's looking great. Obviously, health's an issue there in terms of them being able to kind of get healthy again and start winning games with Brooklyn. How much credit are you giving Jacques, Jacques Vaughn right now for what they've done this turnaround?
A lot. You know, he came into a crazy situation where everyone thought he was going to have the job for a couple of days. They were going to hire Umay Odocu. You know, Kyrie Irving wasn't around at the time.
No one knew when he was going to be back. So, you know, just trying to find a way to stabilize things was hard enough, then let alone actually start winning and winning for a long time now. They've done great.
You know, they've played better defense. He's found some rotation guys who weren't playing much in the season who have gotten more minutes and ended them well. And he just, you know, he speaks for the confidence and, you know, that seems to be like they'll figure it out. And I think the players believe in him and rightfully so.
And, you know, this is a great turnaround that he's made there. I think when you look at Ben Simmons, for instance, right, this is a guy that didn't play a whole season. He has had injury concerns this year as well, but he's playing more and more regularly now and seemingly getting some more confidence. Offensively, obviously, it's always going to be an issue with him. But what are you seeing from Ben Simmons? How encouraged are you in terms of what he's going to bring to the table moving forward?
Yeah, I think, you know, he's really found, you know, a way to play and a way to fit with them early on. I think there was a lot of concern. You know, his knee was hurt early in the year, you know, probably, you know, just soreness from taking it, you know, not playing for a year, but people were worried that they're going to have to sit him alive.
They're going to have a minutes restriction. And, you know, he didn't score at all early in the season and he had a lot of turnovers, a lot of fouls. He was doing a lot of things wrong and he just kept saying, I just need time.
And that seems to be the case. He's played his way into shape. You know, he's impacting games on both ends the way he used to do when he was an all-star. So, you know, they were not going to be good at all unless he played well and he's playing really, really well. A lot of parity in that Eastern Conference, frankly, a lot of parity right now in the entire league. But right now, in your mind, Brian, who is the best team in the East? I think ultimately, you know, Boston has the most, you know, the great scorers when you look at, you know, Tatum and Brown, their defense, what they did last year. I think they'll get back close to that level. Robert Williams, obviously, only has, you know, come back recently and he's such a key for them.
So, you know, I like three or four teams there, but if I had to pick one of them, I think ultimately Boston probably has the most ways they can win. You trust the Sixers. Injury's always a concern with them.
B, Maxey's been hurt. James Harden's been hurt. I mean, they're getting production at Tobias Harris, but frankly, again, injury seems to be the big concern there. You think this is a team that you can trust when, you know, when push comes to shove later in the year?
I'm starting to. It would have been a good question, you know, a week or so ago even, but, you know, I definitely trust Embiid. You know, Harden is looking like Harden, you know, not just for a game or two, for a decent little chunk here. And as Doc Rivers said the other day, you know, when guys are injured early in the year, you know, it's never a good thing except that other guys are forced to learn how to play for you. And that's happened certainly with guys like Melton and, you know, Shaq Milton or whoever else you want to point to.
So I do think now they are trustworthy and I think they're going to be the kind of threat people thought they possibly could be. Chat with Brian Mahoney, covers the NBA for the Associated Press here on the Rich Eisen Show. Dan Schwartzman in for Rich on this Tuesday.
What is this? Are you buying this James Harden talk? The reports came out earlier this week that he was interested in going back to Houston. I don't know why Houston would be interested in investing in a guy that's his age when they're such a young team. Are you hearing the same thing? I mean, is there any legit, you know, truth to these rumors?
I hadn't heard anything about it, but to be honest, I wouldn't have been talking about it quite yet. It seems quite early, you know, to jump into free agency. But it's interesting, you know, I can see where if a guy really just loved the place and you maybe say, all right, the grass isn't always greener, I could definitely want to go back there. You know, the more issue I think is you just brought up is would Houston want him back? They've obviously gone really, really young. He's a different kind of player. He's an older player. You know, would they be interested in bringing him back?
I'm not necessarily sure. Probably would come down to, you know, how much he wanted to go. Would he give up that much money to do it? And would it kind of hinder the development of the young players in Houston because he is kind of a ball dominant type of guy? Well, I think that would be the concern for sure, even though he's less ball dominant than he was early in his career. Of course, now he's a guy who has led the league in assists and, and he's become much, much better at that. But still at the same time to be that kind of player, you stopped out the ball in your hands a lot.
And, you know, they, you know, put the ball in, you know, Kevin Porter's hands and they've got young guys that they want to get their touches. So it would be interesting. You know, if he's playing like he is now, he's still an all-star level player and you can't pass that up, I guess, if it's out there for you. But it would, it would not be a no-brainer decision.
It would take some, some pros and consless thinking, I think. Brian, how do you fix the Lakers or is that just something that can't be done? Well, I mean, it's the simple answer. You have to have Anthony Davis on the floor all the time and he doesn't stay healthy all the time. It's just, you know, when he, when he's out there, they can beat anybody. When you have LeBron and Anthony Davis to, you know, still top 10 players in the NBA, then sure you have a shot every night. But when Anthony Davis is not playing, LeBron is, you know, even he can't win games by himself all the time anymore. And, and Davis just, you know, has never been able to, in the last few years, stay healthy enough. So they'll look good sometimes when he's out there and when he's not, they won't look good.
It's pretty simple stuff, I think. Now, you know, the debate that I think a lot of people have had, I'm sure, Brian, you've had this conversation as well, publicly and privately as well, is, you know, Russell Westbrook's career at some point is going to be coming to an end as his role continues to diminish and his age continues to get higher. He's not going to play that much longer. How do you view his career? Four years of triple doubles, but yet people kind of look at him more as a hindrance to a help in getting a team to a championship. How do you view him?
It's a good question. You know, I, I still would say he's a, you know, hall of fame guy. He's, you know, played for, played for great teams that won for a long time and put up great individual numbers. But there, I think there's players in every sport where you might say, okay, I've no doubt he was a great player. The stats show it, but he just wasn't my kind of great player. And I think that's always Westbrook. He's never been a John Stockton kind of point guard pass first.
He's never been a ultimate, you know, team guy that, that some people love that you just feel like he'll do whatever it takes that he's got to do it a certain way. And so, you know, Westbrook is just not for everybody, but I think certainly we need to give him credit for the great player he was. And he showed that even just a couple of years ago in Washington, getting them to the playoffs, you know, you had a great year, I thought that year. Is he kind of like Carmelo in the sense of statistically speaking, he's a no brainer hall of famer, but then you wonder, is it more stack compiling rather than helping a team? Is that kind of the argument you get with Carmelo as well? No, I think, I think he put them both in the same category and, you know, I'm also a guy who likes Carmelo too. So I can, I can see why you can say, yes, there's a ton of positives, but you also have to acknowledge the negatives and, you know, his team didn't win and how much his team not winning was his responsibility. And, you know, for a guy like Carmelo, right, or even Westbrook, you say, okay, in certain places, they just weren't built to win as great as he played. And in some places you say, maybe if he did it a little bit differently, we could have gotten over the top.
So I can understand, you know, both sides on both guys. Brian, I'm a big fan of the New Orleans Pelicans, big Willie, Willie Green fan. I actually did a player show with Willie years ago and he played for the Sixers. And at that point, you can tell, you know, first of all, this is a guy that knew basketball, studied basketball and would be a good head coach one day. And he certainly has been tremendous since coming to the Pelicans, especially when he considering how bad of a start they got to last year before he turned things around.
But the question for me is, can they keep it together? You know, is New Orleans still kind of the team where people don't look to stay? Remember Chris Paul, things like that? Or is this now changing because of the fact there's a lot of talent, a lot of young talent there and, you know, as good as they are, I think the only hindrance will be losing players there. Well, that has been a concern through the years that it happened.
It's obviously more than once, right, Chris Paul, Anthony Davis. And I think they'll always have that kind of fear. You know, I think it helps that Zion has, you know, kind of said, I don't want to go when people, you know, from the minute he was drafted said, okay, when's he coming to New York, coming somewhere?
So, you know, hopefully, hopefully for them, that's not the case. Because as you say, it's a great young core. Willie Green, like you say, blew me away last year, got turned around to get off to that kind of start, you know, and have all the, you know, the Zion drama last year, you're going to come back and play it all didn't play and still, you know, make the great run they made. So yeah, there's a lot to like there. And, and, you know, they could win the West, there is, you know, there's no one out there who stands out as a dominant team. There's no reason why they couldn't do it. So, you know, it's certainly they're a team worth watching.
And hopefully for them, they'll stay that way for years to come. Last question, Brian, they unveiled Dirk Nowitzki statue in Dallas, awesome statue, by the way, and obviously well deserved, probably the greatest foreign player at this point in NBA history. But you go to the game after they unveil the statue, you see another great foreign important European player, Luka Doncic, who continues to seemingly get better and better every year. He's got to do it long term, obviously, he's got to put up the years Dirk did. Does he have to win the championship to kind of steal that mantle from Dirk Nowitzki if he keeps doing this for another 10 years? You know, probably, you know, I think ultimately, you know, the fact that Dallas won, especially in a year when people didn't think they were going to win, you know, cemented it for Dirk, that, you know, how his overall greatness. That was a great sort of quote unquote, one man title team. You know, so if Luka doesn't win a title in Dallas, can he ever be better than been Dirk?
I probably not. I think he'd have to get one. He certainly could. I mean, the way his career started, he's an unreal player.
They got way further last year, I thought they would with that team get into the conference finals. So it's out there for him, I could see it at some point. But, you know, Dirk said a really, really high bar for sure. But isn't it insane when you watch, you know, you watch Luke and I know defensively there's some deficiencies there.
But I said, what can't the guy do? I mean, you know, everybody knows he's getting the ball. Everybody knows that he's the focal point. Yet there he is putting up 34 points a game. He'll get his rebounds.
He gets his assistance. It's mind boggling to me to kind of watch this guy night in and night out and really kind of understand what we're watching. You know, people talk about greatness, right, when you watch Shohei Ohtani in baseball. Isn't it kind of similar with what we watched with Luka Doncic?
I think so. And, you know, I think he'd already sort of come into the NBA, even go back to Dirk again, where people were like, who is this guy? His first couple of years were a struggle. And Luka from the minute he came in watching him, you know, playing Europe ahead of time, it's like, this guy, I think, is going to be a can't miss kind of player. And it looks like he is. But, you know, you look at him physically. Yeah, he doesn't.
It doesn't look like LeBron. He's not a powerhouse, you know, superstar physique guy, but he gets to his spot. He makes the guys around him better.
He just keeps finding a way to do it, whatever it is that night that needs to be done. So, yeah, I love watching him play. And, you know, I imagine he's going to have a great, great career for many years to come.
I think they'll find a way to get better talent around him. And that'll just make him look even better. No, you're right. Like, you look at the guy, it's not like he's ripped, right? He's got, he's closer to dad bod than he is to like muscle man, right?
No, it's true. I mean, you know, full respect for him for, you know, maximizing what he's got, because, you know, you're right. He doesn't, you know, he's not a speedster like a Westbrook. He's not a powerhouse like LeBron. He just, he's sort of a combination of everything. And, you know, it works for him. I love watching him play and, you know, but again, yeah, he's not the guy I guess you look at. Maybe that's why he didn't go number one.
You know, that was probably the concern, but certainly to me, he's proven it's not a problem for him. And people kind of forget, it could be one of the greatest trades in NBA history. I mean, both teams kind of came out pretty well, but he was originally drafted by the Hawks and traded for Trey Young.
Yeah, that's right. And, you know, Trey has done pretty well for them too. That it's certainly not a, you know, you know, not a one-sided as it did seem at the time. I think both teams got to be happy. No, but I'll tell you what though, it's funny because as great as Trey Young is, it's still, ah, but they had Luca, you know, cause I think there is a better player as great as Trey Young. I was just 27 points game in his career, Brian, but it's still like, yeah, but they had Luca and they got rid of him for Trey. It's kind of diminishing Trey a little bit unfairly, I think.
Right. I mean, don't get me wrong. Luca's the guy you'd want if you could only pick one or two, but we've seen some trades where, you know, it's like, oh my God, you've got a guy who, you know, couldn't last in the NBA. You gave up, you know, at least they got a guy who, you know, got them to the playoffs and, you know, got them pretty far in the playoffs.
You know, Trey Trey's career certainly no slouch considering, but Atlanta has been for many, many years. So it's, you know, it's, it's gotten better for them. It's never going to, it's never going to be a trade you could say they won, but it's not as bad a loss as it was the first couple of years. You can say Hall of Famers traded for Hall of Famer potentially, you know, down the road, if you look at both players and what they've done. Yeah. The numbers are, the numbers are excellent. You know, I don't think, you know, it's, I can't figure out quite what's going on in Atlanta right now with, with him and the Hawks, but the last couple of years, yeah.
Those seem like possibly Hall of Fame paths for sure. Unbelievable. Brian Mahoney, NBA writer for the Associated Press. Always great talking with you, Brian. Happy new year for you, my friends.
And we'll talk soon. Thanks again. Take care. Happy new year to you. Thank you, Brian. Awesome stuff from Brian Mahoney as always. It is, it is kind of wild.
Isn't it? Like you think about it as good as Trey Young is as a player and he's pretty good, right? I mean, he's really good.
The fact is, I think it's fair to say the Hawks lost that trade, right? I mean, he's good, but Luca is better. I mean, Luca potentially is an all-time great. You know, that's, his trajectory is all-time great.
Trey Young is really good, but I don't think anybody says all-time great with Trey Young. And it's funny because it unfairly diminishes what he's done in his career because he's always going to be compared to the guy he was traded for and Luca's just the better player. And meanwhile, Trey Young is averaging 27 points a game in his career for being the guy that wasn't the best player in a trade that most likely when it's all said and done will have involved two hall of famers being dealt for each other. I know there's a pick involved as well, but that's not the point.
Look at what, I mean, it's, it's mind-boggling, right? At such a young age, Luca is putting up 32.8 points a game, shoots by the way close to 36% from three-point land, 8.3 rebounds, 8.7 assists per game, right? That's what he's done so far this year. And for his career, he's averaging 27 points per game on the dot, eight and a half rebounds and eight assists. He is, and he's 23 years old, he'd be 24 at the end of February. So, you know, he's on his way to being, barring injury, an all-time great. Now Trey Young on the other hand is averaging 27 and a half points a game, close to three rebounds and a shade under 10 assists per game this year. And for his career, he's averaging 25 and a half points a game, close to four rebounds and over nine assists per game.
Really good, like really good, like unbelievable numbers. But Trey Young is the inferior player to Luca. I don't care how long you've been watching NBA basketball. I don't care if you are a Hawks fan.
I don't care if you're a Trey Young fan. For you to think that he's better than Luca, you're wrong. He's not, but yet he's a tremendous player in his own right. But he will, oh, and by the way, he's a year and a half older than, what is he, a year and a half or a year older? I guess, well, he's September, he'll be 24 years old in September and Luca is going to be, actually no, he's a year and a half older than Luca Doncic, right?
So you got to throw that into the equation as well. I like watching, look, I'm not a Dallas Mavericks fan, but I always loved watching Dirk Nowitzki play that turnaround jade that he would shoot, which is his beauty, a work of art. And then you watch Luca Doncic and we just talked about him. He's not exactly built like some muscle man NBA player, right?
He's not cut at all. Like if Luca Doncic didn't have probably trainers telling him to go work out, he'd probably have a body like mine, have a decent beer belly and, you know, not that I'm fat, but I'm just saying like, you know, I don't work out. My wife says I should, but I don't, you know, I'm slightly overweight and Luca kind of fits me more than he does that like cut NBA basketball player. We've, you know, like LeBron James, right?
Like we're accustomed to seeing guys like six packs and like, you know, 5% body fat. Luca's not that guy and yet somehow at 6'7", 230, he is able to do things that you don't think he can do. More power to him and at this point in his career, he's been in the league, you know, this is his fifth year in the league. If they would have figured it out, they would have figured it out. They would have figured it out by now.
They have not. He continues to actually get better, which is again, staggering to me. Like he continues to get better, even though he's not the fastest guy in the world. He is, you know, not the strongest guy in the world, but if you take overall ability, overall talent, very few people probably would take anybody else over Luca Doncic, especially long-term.
I don't think you would. The guy is trending to be legitimately an all-time great right now, barring injury, of course. That's always the big thing to think about is barring injury, he is trending to be an all-time great and he's fun to watch. I'll watch his games because I enjoy watching great basketball players play.
I think the style of basketball today isn't great, but I think Luca Doncic is one of those guys that if you're flipping through the channels, a Mavericks game is on, you stop and you actually watch for a bit, because A, you either want to see what he's all about or B, you know what he's about, and you kind of want to enjoy it and appreciate it just a bit longer. Again, thank you to Brian Mahoney from the AP for joining us here on the show. All right, back to the NFL here, want to discuss obviously some of the big topics around the league. The Jets getting Mike White cleared to play in this game coming up Sunday. They're still alive in this playoff scenario. You have the two attacking by Lois situation, Russell Wilson absolutely self-destructing with the Denver Broncos.
That's all coming up next. Dan Schwartzman in for Rich Eisen. It is a Tuesday edition of the Rich Eisen Show. Prize picks is daily fantasy sports made easy. How does it work? You pick two to six players, and if they score more or less than their prize picks projection, you can win up to 25 times your money on any entry. Didn't get your picks in before the game started?
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Some restrictions do apply. See the website for details. Wrapping things up on a Tuesday, Dan Schwartzman in for Rich Eisen. The Rich Eisen Show.
I'll be back tomorrow as well. NFL season rolling along. Just a couple more weeks of the regular season and then it's the playoffs and some crazy playoff scenarios especially in the AFC. The Jets looked like they were done.
Losers are four in a row, but they win their next two games and they get the Patriots losing one of two to either the Dolphins, although two is not going to play, or the Buffalo Bills, the last game of the year. And the Jets are in the postseason, as crazy as that sounds, considering they played terrible football. But you know, let's face it, they have, Mike White's been cleared to play.
As crazy as that sounds, Jet fans have now looked at Mike White as the savior. To them, Zach Wilson is done and most likely Zach Wilson is done. If you believe Jay Glazer's reports on Fox Sports, the Jets are done with him and they believe it's now a change of scenery is necessary for Zach Wilson and for the Jets for, you know, away from him as well.
And probably yes, I don't disagree. I think a change of scenery is definitely necessary. I think Zach Wilson is not cut out from New York.
I think that he's not mentally built to succeed there. You know, it takes a different kind of person to make it there because of the fact that, you know, you have incredible media attention that's going to be on you. Like people forget that in New York, unlike other cities and other teams, you don't have like three or four beat reporters that cover the team.
And that's it. It's always the same three or four people that are in the locker room, right? If you're the Jets, the Giants, and you go into a locker room after the game, you're talking about an unbelievable number of media members that are there.
Cameras, microphones, whatever it may be. I mean, you're talking about being inundated by it. And some guys don't like that. Some guys just don't feel comfortable. And Zach Wilson obviously is not a guy that is comfortable in that scenario. And that's why when he was asked that question after the Jets had lost and he had, you know, the offensive played poorly and the defense obviously had played great. Zach Wilson was asked if he felt that the offense and him had let the defense down and he said no. And he took a lot of heat for that.
Right. And that kind of was the beginning of the end for him in New York. Like people kind of couldn't believe he said that there was an arrogance factor with that.
And people just at that point said, I'm done with this guy. Like he doesn't get it. He doesn't understand his role as the quarterback of a team. When you're the quarterback of a team, you take the bullets. Even if you don't truly believe that you are responsible for the fact that your team has lost as a quarterback, you say, I am responsible. If you pass for 500 yards and you lose instead of saying, yeah, I had a great game. You say, man, I didn't play good enough. And that's why we didn't win.
That's just the way it goes. Like you will, you know, it's not about your individual statistics. It's all about, did you do enough to help your team win? And for him, the answer was no, he hasn't been good enough to help the team win because he wasn't winning. So he's now bench.
And in fact, it's not just bench. He is literally inactive, right? Moving forward the last couple of weeks of the season, Zach Wilson is inactive.
He's not going to dress. Joe Flacco is the backup quarterback. And you got to be kidding yourself if you believe that Zach Wilson gives you a better chance to win games around New York than Mike White. Mike White has become the guy that's going to win you games.
And no one would have thought that. A guy who was what, on the practice squad a bunch of times, released a bunch of times. Originally he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys as a fifth round pick.
And he has turned into a guy that has probably made himself a good deal of money. Remember, he's a free agent this coming off season. He is a free agent. And you have people out there that believe that Mike White is a legit starting quarterback in the NFL. And if he can win these next two games and the Jets get some help from the Patriots losing, Mike White potentially has made himself a ton of money either in New York, continuing with the Jets as their quarterback of the future, or somewhere else where somebody pays him big money to come play for them. But there is going to be a market for him.
No question about it. There will be a market for Mike White. And if he wins and leads this team, no way will a Jet fan allow him to leave. What I mean by that is, no way would a Jet fan want the organization to let him leave thinking that there's a better option for them to win games.
What I mean is this. So people talk about Jimmy Garoppolo being available. People talk about Aaron Rodgers potentially being available. They talk about Derek Carr being available. Now you can trade for these guys. And they're going to come in and instantly make the New York Jets, who have a great supporting cast, a legit Super Bowl contender.
But if you already have a young guy like Mike White and he's not going to cost as much as Derek Carr, who's got a couple of years left on a pretty big contract, maybe that's the direction you go in. Maybe that's the guy you bring in. You keep him there in New York.
You build around him. The players love him. That's one thing about him that's amazing is the players love him. You never hear New York Jet players praise Zach Wilson the way that they go out of their way to praise Mike White.
The guy's a gamer. The guy, you know, I'd run through a brick wall for him. These are the statements that they make about this guy. They love him. And then when you watch him against the Buffalo Bills, take unbelievable shots, right?
Like legitimately taking massive shots where you feel bad for the guy and you think to yourself, my goodness, he's getting killed out there. But yet he continues to come out and play even with fractured ribs. He bought himself a whole new group of fans outside of New York with that toughness. The Buffalo Bills players were talking about that toughness. So he's the guy that they're going to roll with and rightfully so the rest of the way.
He is the guy that they believe is going to lead him to the promised land. And I think he is clearly the one that right now gives the Jets the better chance of winning these last two games and potentially backdooring their way into the playoffs. All right, that's all we have for this Tuesday edition of the Rich Eisen Show. I will be back tomorrow filling in for Rich yet again. Appreciate you tuning in as always. Thanks for tuning in.
It's the Rich Eisen Show. How wrestling really works and how you get the ratings. Eric Bischoff and Conrad Thompson explain on 83 weeks. You're either growing or you're dying. I think it'd be hard to recreate the kind of growth that WCW experienced between 95 and 98. This audience should be growing. The character should be coming more and they're not. Everybody's gradually losing audience. I think people will say, well, but AEW is 15% ahead of where they were last year, but there's variables there. Let's see where we're at year from now. 83 weeks on YouTube or wherever you listen.
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