On the NBA Beat Ep. 145: Sekou Smith: “In the West, Everybody is Swinging for the Fences at All Times”

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Sekou Smith of NBA TV, NBA.com and the Hang Time Podcast returns to the show to survey the ultra-competitive West, a conference replete with fascinating storylines ahead of the season’s start. For instance, should the Lakers be considered heavy favorites, what’s going on in Houston, which teams are best primed to squeeze into the postseason and what can we expect from the Warriors following a lost '19-20 season? Sekou tackles all these Western Conference questions and more, plus he offers a bonus Giannis extension reaction and Aaron delivers a Spurs-themed Sexy Stats segment coming out of the break.

*Due to dynamic advertising, time stamps may vary -

8:09-8:38: “To me, there’s a built in advantage for (head coach) T(yronn) Lue in familiarity that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. He’s the kind of human being – knowing him as well as I do – and kind of coach who’s going to be extremely beneficial to the Clippers as an organization. You’re talking about a guy who’s had experience with the pressures that come with a win-or-else proposition like he had with LeBron.”

12:16-12:53: “They’ve changed the expectation for themselves in the postseason, which if you’ve built the way that they have – which I think is some of the best front-office work, roster building, player development we’ve seen in the past few years – then you’re right where you want to be. You’re in that conversation among the best teams in the Western Conference. You have young stars who are entering into their primes. You have even younger potential stars, like Michael Porter. Jr. – Bol Bol being an even bigger reach but certainly with an upside that is really incomparable when you think about his size and skill set.”

20:44-21:16: “Houston is such a difficult team to evaluate because we don’t know, is this the team they’re gonna carry throughout the season, is this the team that’s put together now with James (Harden) bought in or is James committed wholeheartedly at all to sticking around? When you strip all that away, if you start moving pieces and changing things up, then, to me, they fall out of the conversation of teams that are trying to make the playoffs.”

32:44-33:17: “I want to see him (Zion Williamson) play 30 minutes a night, just to see if he can sustain what we saw in glimpses during an injury-filled rookie season. He’s a mind-boggling talent when you look at his combination of size, heft and skill. And to me, that is the beauty of NBA seasons and the NBA in general, just watching talent evolve and seeing if it can reach its potential in a given situation.”

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