Learning How to Win: The Renaissance of T.J. Warren

Back toward the beginning of the season, I applied some history from my days as a boxing writer to surmise that there are some NBA players who, by virtue of playing on Dumpster fire teams for their early careers, learn how to lose and as such become liabilities when the game is on the line. One of my examples, Kemba Walker, was one of the worst clutch players in the league when he was in Charlotte, shooting atrocious percentages in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime when shooting to tie or take the lead. And for …

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Kyle Kuzma: Is He Any Good?

Bob Costas once said of Michael Jordan that “you could surround him with the Spice Girls and the Bulls would still make the playoffs.” The Lakers seem to be attempting something like this, as behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis stand the South Bay Lakers, just getting out of the superstars’ way, letting them 2020 it out there, and occasionally making some spot-up 3-pointers or dunking a basketball while looking like Steve from Accounting (I see you there, Alex Caruso.) It’s a tried and true modern NBA method to win games despite minimal actual talent in aggregate in that “this …

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See, I Told You So About Malcolm Brogdon and the Pacers

Last week, in this weekly Indiana basketball portion of your Pace and Space program, I spoke at some length about the importance of Malcolm Brogdon to the well-being of the Indiana Pacers. And it just so happens that I tend to decide on an angle for this column around the time the Pacers play a game on a Sunday or Monday night before this feature runs. And this Monday, against the Joel Embiid-less Philadelphia 76ers, your President and mine showed out to the tune of 21 points (despite 5-of-15 shooting, thanks to an 8-of-9 night at the line and 3-of-6 …

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Lonzo Ball: Is He Any Good?

The mere inability to shoot the basketball does not necessarily disqualify a player from becoming an all-time great. After all, Jason Kidd couldn’t shoot for beans (40.0 FG% for his career, and his five years in Phoenix were the only stretch with one team where he shot above that mark) and he’s in the Hall of Fame. Further away from the basket, Russell Westbrook is arguably the worst 3-point shooter of all-time. His 30.4 percent mark is second behind only Charles Barkley‘s 26.6 for players with at least 2,000 attempts, but Russ has attempted 3,150 through games of January 9, …

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The Indiana Pacers Without Malcolm Brogdon Are a Mess

The Indiana Pacers are losers of five of their last eight games, including a couple of awful losses to the 8-29 Hawks and (in a blowout) the 12-25 Pelicans. Not coincidentally, Malcolm Brogdon has missed six of the last seven games, and the seventh was a decisive 18-point victory over Philadelphia in which Brogdon was ineffective (five missed shots and two assists in eight minutes before leaving with an aggravation of his injury.) Without Brogdon this season (10 of the team’s 37 games), the Pacers are just 5-5, and that once again includes getting destroyed by an awful Pelicans team. …

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Jayson Tatum: Is He Any Good?

It’s a funny thing sometimes…you sit down to write an article and as you’re getting ready to tell people on Twitter to stay tuned for it, this happens. Jayson Tatum, how?! 😳#Celtics pic.twitter.com/ffIbJv5pgq — NBA TV (@NBATV) January 4, 2020 That’s Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics, the subject of this week’s Is He Any Good, doing something that indeed says yes, he’s any good. He’s pretty good. One might even say very good. But that’s not really what we’re asking in the headline. Tatum is bandied about by Celtics fans as a would-be All-Star, a superstar in the making, …

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Where Are the 2015-16 Indiana Pacers in 2020?

As the 2010s draw to a close, it is perhaps instructive to think about just how much can change in four short years, as in the four years since Pace and Space first launched on our old webhost (which sadly lost the Year 1 archive in a server wipe, one reason this has been on the current WordPress server since 2017), my favorite team has gone through so much roster upheaval that only one player from that debut season’s team—Myles Turner, who was a rookie—is still in the blue and gold. Some Pacers left under poor circumstances, and by “some …

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Achtung Panzer! #7: The Tanking Washington Wizards

The Washington Wizards, losers of 11 of 14 and 9-21 on the season overall, look set to claim another lottery pick in the 2020 draft to go along with Rui Hachimura, the ninth pick in 2019. The Wizards are still a capped-out, injury-riddled nightmare, hence the 9-21 record, as Bradley Beal, once expected to be part of a Big Three with John Wall and Otto Porter, is now just a 26-year-old star without the supporting cast to help him claim his place on the national stage. Speaking of Beal, his stats have fallen off a cliff without quality teammates. His …

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Are the Indiana Pacers Really “Without Their Best Player”?

As the NBA tips off its Christmas Day games Wednesday, the Indiana Pacers are 21-10, sixth in the Eastern Conference, just one game behind second-place Boston in the standings, all “without their best player having played one second,” as just about all of Pacers Twitter has said in some form or fashion. Indiana owns wins over the Celtics, Lakers, and Raptors in just the last two weeks alone. Sure, they’ve been thumped by double digits by the Bucks (twice) and Clippers, but c’mon, that just means they lost to the favorites to make up the 2020 NBA Finals. Of course …

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Achtung Panzer! #6: The Tanking Cleveland Cavaliers

Welcome to the debut of Pace and Space from our new digs…two miles from the old digs! Still in rain-soaked suburban Seattle, but I’ve moved house, gotten a good night’s sleep, unpacked (mostly), so let’s talk NBA, shall we? The Cleveland Cavaliers, like the New York Knicks we talked about a couple of weeks back, are less “tanking” and more “a complete joke of a franchise that ought to be compared to the likes of the Browns or Jets in the NFL.” At 8-21 through games of December 21, the Cavs own the third-worst record (bless the Knicks and Hawks, …

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