Each week, The Three-Man Weave will fill the lanes and Weave To Achieve on the News, Views and Truths of the NBA and beyond. The unit will be led by Will Strickland and Duane Watson, hosts of TSN 1050's basketball radio show, 1 On 1 with Will & Duane.
This week, the first overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, Toronto native and Cleveland Cavaliers forward Anthony Bennett joins the discussion, where The #3MW discusses the Raptors looking to win their first playoff series in over a decade, Commissioner Adam Silver's ruling on Donald Sterling and of course the NBA Playoffs.
What Do The Raptors Have To Do To Win Game 6 in Brooklyn?
Bennett: It's good to see the Raptors back in the playoffs and have the whole city of Toronto behind them. Brooklyn is a tough and experienced team. I think the Raptors will have to limit turnovers, rebound efficiently and contain Deron Williams and Joe Johnson.
Watson: Defense, defense, defense. If the Raptors can muster up that defense presence they used at the end of Game 4, the game is theirs. The quick double-teams on scorers like Joe Johnson and more importantly the second man rotations, have proven to limit the Nets opportunities. problems. Offensively, they have to continue to move the ball and use their size to their advantage with the solid play of their big men of Jonas Valanciunas, Amir Johnson and Patrick Patterson.
Strickland: Protect The Pumpkin. Value Every Possession On Both Ends. Win Every Quarter By One Point. Be Not Afraid Of The Moment. Then And Only Then Will The World Unfold As It Should... #WeTheNorth
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's Lifetime Ban Of Clippers Owner Donald Sterling Was...?
Bennett: The Commissioner's lifetime ban of Donald Sterling was very fitting. The NBA is a very diverse league with players from all over the world. The league continues to grow and it is my belief that this ban will help to grow the NBA.
Watson: Swift and fair. Knowing the past pandering of former Commissioner David Stern, the league office has been known to favour it's owners. Commissioner Silver unequivocally established himself as his own man in the most important decision of his young tenure. He did exactly what he was supposed to do, but truth be told, I was a little surprised that he did it, based on the history of the league.
Strickland: Adroit and Resolute. It was far more than I'd initially expected, but Silver's playing the long game. Any equivocation outside of Sterling's expulsion from the league as an owner would have possibly done irreparable damage to the NBA... and he and the other 29 owners knew it. Silver officially became the Commissioner of the NBA once he planted this flag. It will be a defining moment in his legacy. Adam Silver's decision didn't end racism in sports, ownership or the world. But it did set a very important precedent and protocol in dealing with issues like this in sport.
Most Surprising Player In The Eastern Conference Playoffs Thus Far?
Bennett: The most surprising player in the East hasn't been a surprise to me because I have played against him in Las Vegas, but it would have to be Kyle Lowry. He is just incredible for what he brings to the game for his size.
Watson: Washington Wizards big man Nene missed 22 games down the stretch of the season with a sprained MCL and only played in four regular season matches before the post-season. He not only came back averaging 17.8 points per game in the playoffs on .548 % from the field, spacing the floor, but outplayed Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah. In his 11th season, he's showing he still has it and is a perfect compliment to the the speed and shooting of the Wizards' wings in John Wall, Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza.
Strickland: Nene, easily. The talents always been there. Sounds a little oxymoronic to say "Wizards fans", but... They should revel in the fact that Nene's finally put it all together when it counted most, destroying the 2013-2014 Defensive Player of The Year, Joakim Noah. He must also not become a #BrainCrampChamp during the playoffs by getting ejected/suspended for working on his MMA skills during NBA games!
Most Surprising Player In The Western Conference Playoffs Thus Far?
Bennett: In the West, it would have to be Damian Lillard. Scary that this is the first go around in the NBA Playoffs and he looks like he's been there for years.
Watson: LaMarcus Aldridge of the Trail Blazers has been in discussion as one of the best power forwards in the NBA, but he is ending those talks with his post season play right now. The power forward is averaging 29.8 points per game with 10.8 rebounds, carrying his team on his back. His ability to consistently knock down the mid-range jumper at a clip of .500% has forced the Houston big men to come out and contest him or get beat off the dribble. He has shown another level to his game, particularly when it matters.
Strickland: La Marcus Aldridge. He felt like he should have started in the All-Star this past season and he's proving why he should be considered without question one of the best players in the NBA, if not the best power forward in the game. 30 ppg and 11 rpg are monster numbers that can only aid this young Portland Trail Blazers team in securing a first round defeat of the highly touted Houston Rockets of James Harden and Dwight Howard. Aldridge can have those guys reaching for the tackleboxes early to start their summers of lament and woe with a legendary Game 7 performance.
The 2014-2015 Anthony Bennett Will Be...?
Bennett: Next season, I will finally be a healthy me again who gets to play in summer league and contribute to my team's success in the regular season and we will hopefully be in the playoffs next year.
Watson: Whatever he wants himself to be. The Toronto, ON native faced intense criticism last year after recovering from shoulder surgery, which forced him to miss summer league and parts of training camp. He won't have those obstacles this year, which should all help his growth, he showed flashes of the talent that earned him the #1 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft and has tons of motivation to prove all of his critics wrong. Look for Bennett to bounce back.
Strickland: A Year Better. A Year Stronger. A Year Wiser. Bennett, who I chose as Rookie Of The Year in our Pre-Season #UNO Awards on #1On1, fell far short of that lofty goal. It was a difficult year of ridicule, doubt, injury, second-guessing and hand wringing for Cavs fans and media pundits. Brampton's very own Anthony Bennett should shed the weight of expectation and go into training camp next season armed with knowledge of the effort it takes to be a top flight NBA player and work to achieve all of his goals and not ours.
The Three-Man Weave contributors are co-hosts of TSN Radio 1050's 1-on-1 with Will and Duane, Will Strickland (@WallStrizzle1) and Duane Watson (@byDuaneWatson) and special guest 6'8", 250 lb Weave Achiever, Cleveland Cavaliers SF Anthony Bennett (@AnthonyBennett)