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Falcons in the NBA – Midseason Report

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Everyone in the NBA passed the mid-season mark last week. Let’s check out Keegan, Luka, and… Joe Wieskamp?!?! Joe Weiskamp! Let’s go!

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Keegan Murray

The Western Conference Rookie of the Month defender continues his solid play for the Rookie Kings. Wait – Kings Rising?

These guys are in very rare air. That’s a long time to go without 5 games going over .500. Like, they haven’t started a hot season, EVER, since 2006?? Then again, they’ve been running poorly this whole time, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

Murray continued his solid play in January. His December numbers were 12.7 points per game and 3.5 rebounds per game on the 46/46/65 shooting splits. This is a great streak, especially the 3-point shooting. He somehow improved on those shooting numbers in January, with a 47 percent from the floor and an outrageous 48 percent from 3.

It’s a lock to take the franchise by three points. The NBA tag is a tough job but it would be an incredible feat. Here’s another stat on his 3-point shot – over 40 games, he’s made 95 3s. This was good for third all-time by a player’s first 40 games. The two players in front of him are Lauri Markkanen (No Slouch) and Luka Doncic (Really No Slouch). This is a great company to keep.

In his last match against Los Angeles LakersHowever, Murray notched his first career double-double, tallying 10 points and 10 rebounds in a 116–111 win. He knocked 2 over 3s for the year (now at 97 ft 3s for the season). The win was Sacramento’s 5thy-Straight – They’re now over 7 .500 games! – and consolidated their hold on the Pacific Division. Now, before we get too crazy, divisions in the NBA don’t matter. The NBA has eliminated division winners with top 3 rankings in years. The catch is the only time split is the tie breaker for the split seed (more on that in a second). Still, that’s a nice feather in their cap given that the division includes the defending NBA champions, one of the league’s glamor franchises the Lakers, the Suns were in the Finals two years ago, and the Clippers, so in seasons after devouring their last playoff appearance (05-06), they’ve been The Kings are either fourth or fifth in Division 13 out of 16 seasons. Most importantly – right now, the Kings will be the three seeds in the Western Conference. This is brutal.

Back to Keegan – this year has been nothing but an unconditional success for him. In 41 games played, he averaged 11.7 points per game, 4.0 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.6 blocks with impressive shooting splits. It’s an impressive shooter.

Crucially, he didn’t get into a situation where he had to score 20 points on the night. He got into a team that already had a center of gravity with Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox and had a good veteran core. He’s not the first item on the reconnaissance report so he can bomb 3s. As above – it’s not the top element, so someone went under that screen on a guy who shot over 40 percent from the 3 in the year. this, no. These guys haven’t won the title, but they’re not someone I’d want to see in the first round either. They have home court advantage again and can score a lot of points – they have a recent streak in which they’ve scored 130 or more points in 5 straight games, the first team to do so in the NBA since Doug Moe Denver Nuggets It’s November of 1988. Imagine you’re battling it out and finding yourself on a trip to Sacramento down 3-2, needing to win Game Six. no thanks!

Luke Garza

We have to stand up and applaud Luca – he made it in the NBA! For the month, he averaged 8.8 points with 3 rebounds and shot well in 11 minutes per game. Like Keegan, his 3-point shooting is a godsend up and down the Timberwolves – he’s 46 percent.

What’s impressive here is that opponents who have shown flashes against them – Denver twice, Cleveland and their great forward line, and the Clippers are not a weak team (they don’t play well and the guys don’t play enough so they lack chemistry, but they still have a good talent level). In both Denver games (January 2 and last night), he scored 9 points and grabbed 6 rebounds in a 124-111 win in the second and then had 16 points in a 122-118 loss last night that even had Doris Burke calling out his shooting ability. This is not news for Iowa fans – we all knew he could get buckets. It was always about defense, speed and footwork for him. So far, he’s sticking around and working hard in the absence of Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Goubert.

Perhaps the most impressive game of this stretch was his 10-minute stint against Cleveland on January 14 in which he scored 9 points and was vital to Minnesota’s comeback.

This is what teammate Nas Reid had to say about Luca:

He’s being held. This is a really nice race from Luca. With Karl Anthony Towns still present and no date set for his return, Luca will continue to get minutes. Currently, the T-Wolves are restricted to 10 daysy With Portland to make the final but get a nod – that’s where divisions matter – divisional record (6-6 vs. 4-7).

Joe Weiskamp

Welcome back, Joe Weiskamp! Wieskamp signed a 10-day contract with Toronto Raptors on January 7, and then he got a second 10 days on January 17. So far he hasn’t seen playing time, and at the conclusion of those 10 days, the Raptors must either release Wieskamp or sign him for the rest of the season. Believed to be marketing some of their best players, the Raptors have had an incredibly up and down season (under . 500 and completely out of the playoff picture, but they’ve won 4 of 6). Given their shooting troubles, it’s surprising Wieskamp didn’t play. If Toronto manipulates their roster, they may need Wieskamp’s shooting and depth. Keep an eye on this.

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