Does Russell Westbrook Help or Hurt the Thunder?

Russell Westbrook, by plenty of traditional basketball measures, is one of the biggest superstars in terms of production that the league has ever seen. But by a lot of those same measures, he’s also the most selfish stathound who ever cost his team wins by trying to do everything himself, like the rich man’s Lance Stephenson or, considering I’ve repeatedly called him “Dollar Store Westbrook” when writing about him, Lonzo Ball. The question at issue here is whether everything Westbrook does right—and when you average a triple double in two consecutive seasons when only one player in league history, Oscar …

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Statistical Test: LeBron’s Lakers, By The Numbers

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers are a motley assemblage of who-dats and castoffs, somewhere between a Rucker Park team and a G-League roster, with one of the worst No. 2 overall draft picks ever to lace up the sneakers in an NBA arena and with a Shaqtin’ MVP quite possibly set to be the starting center. But just how bad are the Lakers, really? Well, let’s imagine a world where LeBron James is replaced by a mid-tier starting small forward. Not a G-League replacement, not a guy who couldn’t crack the roster on the 2016 76ers or anything, …

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The NBA Draft Rules Are Stupid And Bad

The worst place to be in the NBA draft is picking late in the first round, after the lottery picks and the mid-first-round steals are off the board. What you’re going to be stuck with is a guy on a guaranteed contract who may never play a game at the NBA level and who is just as likely going to be a garbage time staple who maybe, somewhere down the road, might crack your rotation. Now imagine picking early in the second round, like picks 31 through 35 overall. All of a sudden, the risk is gone; you are playing …

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DeMarcus Cousins Is My New Favorite Player

I have a great deal of respect for any athlete who comes out firing in Eff You Mode with both barrels, and DeMarcus Cousins joining the Golden State Warriors on a $5.3 million midlevel exception is absolutely the most fantastic case of Eff You Mode I have seen in recent memory. This is not Kevin Durant playing mercenary in the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” NBA tradition. It’s not LeBron James doing the same thing in 2010, or Bron going Hollywood for reasons other than basketball or Carmelo Anthony doing the same thing when his media-obsessed wife took …

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LeBron on the Lakers—What on Kyrie’s flat Earth is he thinking?!

LeBron James is a Laker. 4 years, $154 million, take-the-money-and-run Los Angeles Tinseltown Lakers. And his supporting cast? Well, he’s just traded the Canton Charge for the South Bay Lakers, with Lonzo Ball, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, and whatever other curios and relics a 35-win team in 2017-18 can drag off the bottom of the ocean off Long Beach and suit up in a Lakers uniform. Paul George re-upped with the Thunder. The Spurs would rather surrender the Alamo than trade Kawhi Leonard to Los Angeles unless it’s to the Clippers. And the Rockets are one Trevor Ariza short of …

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The Indiana Pacers Are Blowing the 2018 Offseason

I trust Kevin Pritchard. Anyone who can boldly go into a trade negotiation, fleece the Oklahoma City Thunder for two guys who have turned into two of the best young players in the league at their respective roles, and not be laughed out of the room when he says it went according to expectation is a guy not to be questioned lightly. That said… ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FLIPPING MIND?! AARON FREAKING GORDON FOR $20 MILLION?!?! Put another way, I’m not on board with the Aaron Gordon offer sheet rumors. Gordon was great in the 2016 dunk contest. But …

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The Indiana Pacers Need To Pay Julius Randle

It has been a bit of a running theme here at Pace and Space that Julius Randle is too good for that rotten Lakers franchise he’s been toiling for, usually when he does something Breakfast Special-worthy in the course of a game. But with Randle clearly not in the Lakers’ long-term plans as they look to dump salary and create room for the alleged superteam involving Paul George, LeBron James, and Kawhi Leonard, admittedly a superteam that has about as much chance of happening as I have of winning the Powerball and re-enacting Charlie Sheen’s midlife crisis in my own …

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Carmelo Anthony Killed Paul George’s Career

It is the general consensus in Indiana at least that “the Pacers won the Paul George trade.” After all, the Pacers got Victor Oladipo, who didn’t need anyone to drop out due to injury in order to get into the All-Star Game. They got Domantas Sabonis, who went from statistically one of the league’s worst rookies in 2016-17 to an emerging star at center in 2017-18. And they also got a team that won 48 games in the regular season, gave Cleveland their toughest test on the road to the Finals (sorry Boston, you guys had home court advantage and …

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The Last Glory of LeBron James

Once upon a time, I used to be a boxing writer. I covered the sweet science both as a journalist, with ESPN’s old Friday Night Fights show as my beat—a great gig that got me ringside seats in Reno, where I met Teddy Atlas in one of the coolest total-fanboying moments of my life—and as a romanticist, writing historical fiction in the only sport besides maybe baseball where you can do that for a sports news publication and not be thought terribly unusual. (Unless you’re Jon Bois from SBNation. I am not Jon Bois.) And boxing was at the forefront …

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Breakfast Special: Pack It In, Boys, Kevin Durant’s Finals MVP

Not since D-Day in 1944 has a group of people defending their turf been so thoroughly shot to pieces on the sixth of June as the Cleveland Cavaliers got at the hands of the Golden State Warriors in a 110-102 second-half comeback Wednesday night. Dub Nation is just one win away from sending your columnist into hibernation for the next four months (this is a lie; there will be Pacers talk and free agency talk and draft talk. The hiatus won’t start until early July, and the previews will be back like they always are starting shortly after Labor Day.) …

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