This Week in the NBA: The Magic are fun, the Timberwolves are weird and the Jordan Poole Patrol begins

One of my favorite sports columns of all time came from SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell, who used to do a weekly roundup titled “This Week in the Bulls.” The column collected the week’s funniest memes, plays and talking points from the Chicago Bulls. Given the state of that franchise, it’s been indefinitely shuttered. 

With the permission of O’Donnell, I’m reviving This Week in the Bulls, but extending it to the entire NBA.

One of the best parts of being a terminally online member of NBA Twitter is seeing all of the creativity and jokes that come about when you crowdsource thousands of people who are bored at work and obsessed with hoops. For those who don’t have Shams-level screen time, this column will be a great way to see the best of the best viral tweets, plays and memes that you may have missed.

As you might expect, there will be Jordan Poole content on a weekly basis.

MORE: How Chet Holmgren has emerged from Victor Wembanyama’s shadow

The Magic are fun again. The Pistons, not so much

The Magic are among the top teams in the East, and they’re embracing it. The play of the week came on a Jalen Suggs alley-oop where he decided to recreate an iconic Dwyane Wade image. 

Suggs gets a 10/10 for the pose.

The Pistons, on the other hand, are a depressing mess. They managed to go 0-15 in the month of November.

Here’s NBA Twitter legend and Suns fan sreekar with his commentary: 

The Timberwolves are winning on and off the court

The Timberwolves haven’t been good for a long time. Like, a REALLY long time.

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Here’s a wild stat from The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski and Duncan Pinderhughes:

In their previous 34 years of existence, the Timberwolves spent a grand total of 10 days as the outright No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

After beating Utah, the Wolves have been the outright No. 1 for 10 days THIS SEASON.*

*from @TheAthleticNBA’s great @JJ__NBA

— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) December 1, 2023

The Timberwolves being good is a weird story, but not as weird as their on-court entertainment. I challenge you to watch this without breaking into a smile:

Zach LaVine is over it 

LaVine and the Bulls look destined to part. Since the announcement of his soft trade demand, the team has been in the tank and LaVine has looked mostly checked out. 

That was captured beautifully by a Celtics photographer in their blowout loss against the Celtics, in which LaVine had two points on 1-of-9 shooting.

LaVine is sitting out at least a week’s worth of games with a sore foot. That could be his lasting final image from his days in Chicago. 

Jusuf Nurkic is the king of disrespectful defense

Nurkic has had one of the funniest reactions to jump shooters he doesn’t deem worthy of contesting. He simply turns his back and walks away.

Nurk tested out the move against Anthony Davis last season and broke it out again while guarding Julius Randle, as pointed out by /u/valhallaindeed on NBA Reddit

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Don’t hate Nurkic for working smarter, not harder. Opponents are shooting zero percent against his Nurkic No Contest. 

Steve Kerr is all of us

If there is one thing that unites every sports fan, it’s a general disdain for referees. 

Kell pulled off a great troll job when he won a coach’s challenge against the Spurs last week (h/t: /u/NokCha_ on NBA Reddit).

Mitchell Robinson’s feel-good story with his high school coach

Robinson’s high school coach Butch Stockton had his wife pass away in September. It turns out that the coach, from a small town outside of New Orleans, has moved in with Robinson since then to take his mind off his loss. 

Robinson plans to keep his new roomie for the rest of the season. 

Quote of the Week

Tom Thibodeau is one of the most demanding coaches in the league. He also has a dry sense of humor that he will flash from time to time. He broke it out after the Knicks gave up 112 to the Pistons in a win. 

The Poole Patrol

Every bad team should take a page out of the Wizards’ book. Yes, they’re bad, but they’re entertaining as hell in the process.

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Whether it’s looking away as he bricks a 3-pointer, throwing alley-oops while down 21 or not understanding why teams walk the dog, League Pass junkies tune in just to see what Jordan Poole is going to do next.

This week’s Poole moment came when he dropped Cade Cunningham, paused while wide open and then got obliterated on a finger roll attempt.

Here’s sreekar with another banger:

Jordan Poole is like Wembanyama in that any given night he does something we’ve never seen in the history of the game https://t.co/cIgFc7ZHjq

— sreekar (@sreekyshooter) November 28, 2023

This has been your week in the NBA. 

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