LAS VEGAS - In the middle of the madness of NBA Summer League, an introductory press conference for newly acquired big man Hassan Whiteside, and an injury to Nassir Little's shoulder, the NBA dropped another trade bomb on fans around the league.
What? Yeah, not a typo.
But really, isn't this all Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons' fault?
Let us explain. In the final game of regular season, Terry Stotts went with a six man rotation while he rested his rotation players for the playoffs. Anfernee Simons played the entire game and dropped 37 points on Sacramento in a comeback win that nobody expected. That win coupled with other game results around the league flipped the playoff matchups, vaulted Portland to the #3 seed and slotted them in vs. Russell Westbrook and the OKC Thunder.
Enter Damian Lillard.
Trail Blazers fans know the story. In Game 5, Lillard hit a step back 37 footer to put in the dagger and send OKC packing. He finished it all off with 'The Wave' as the celebration ensued inside Moda Center.
As former Blazers Edge contributor and current Washington Post reporter, Ben Golliver pointed out in a recent interview with Jamie Hudson at Summer League, that Wave may have shook up the entire NBA. If Simons doesn't go off in the regular season finale and change the playoff seeding and Lillard doesn't hit The Wave shot...does OKC still blow it all up?
Does Paul George head to the L.A. Clippers if OKC wins a playoff series? Probably not, according to Golliver.
So, while the faces of the Western Conference have changed dramatically in the last three weeks and OKC's two stars have new homes, the NBA can thank the likes of Anfernee Simons and Damian Lillard for making it all possible.