Frank Vogel and Jason Kidd to Coach the LOLakers

Women with children across Laker Hater Nation got a great Mother’s Day gift from the NBA’s most verklempt franchise—move over Knicks, at least you guys have a fighting chance at getting Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on your team. Frank Vogel is reportedly going to be the new head coach of the purple-and-gold Dumpster fire in Tinseltown, and Jason Kidd is going to be one of his assistants. This is the same Frank Vogel who got himself run out of Indiana for failing to adopt anything remotely resembling modern offensive principles—even Nate McMillan looks like Mike Budenholzer compared to him—and …

Read More

Breakfast Special: New Year, Same Great Choking Rockets Taste

Last year in the Western Conference Finals against Golden State, the Houston Rockets choked away Game 7 at home by missing 27 three-pointers in a row. This year, in the Western Conference Semifinals, the Rockets took a lead into the fourth quarter and choked it away, but this time they shot just fine from three-point land (43.6 percent for the game) but just couldn’t get a defensive stop when they needed one. The Warriors didn’t have Kevin Durant, and even though they should’ve been the weaker squad sans merc, they managed a win and pulled off a cool feat in …

Read More

Breakfast Special: Let There Be Game 7

After a complete garbage first round that was as chalk as the White Cliffs of Dover, we’ve got ourselves the thrills and chills of Game 7 imminent in Toronto and Denver. The Philadelphia 76ers got an insane MVP-level performance from Joel Embiid on their way to a 112-101 win, and the matched set of 11-point victories got completed by the Portland Trail Blazers in a 119-108 win over Denver in the nightcap. We begin in Philadelphia. Drawing an Embiid on the Enemy Here’s your insane stat of the night. Embiid had 17 points on 5-of-14 shooting, pulled down 12 rebounds, …

Read More

Breakfast Special: Kevin Durant’s MRI to Decide NBA Finals

Heading into Game 5, a strong undercurrent of “the team that wins this game is going to win the championship” permeated the atmosphere and lent heavyweight power to every dribble, every shot, every minute of the game. The Warriors won the ballgame 104-99, taking a 3-2 lead in the series and keeping alive a wild run where all five games have been decided by no more than four points nor fewer than six. Which, well, series over, crown the Dubs champs as the first three-peat since the 2000-02 Lakers, right? Wrong. Because Kevin Durant went down in the fourth quarter …

Read More

Breakfast Special: Smash TV

Do you like closely-contested, intense playoff basketball that comes down to the wire and gives a thrilling finish? Well, tough. We’re fresh out. Can I interest you in a pair of one-sided beatdowns normally reserved for regular-season games against lottery teams instead? Nothing puts out the flames of an underdog in a seven-game series like losing Game 5, and the Raptors and Nuggets now get a chance to close out on the road before coming home where they’ll be heavily favored in Game 7 if that’s the way this whole show turns out. We begin in Toronto. DEFENSE! DEFENSE! To …

Read More

How Much Value Do G-League Replacement Players Have?

One of the most useful catch-all stats in the advanced statistician’s playbook is VORP, Value Over Replacement Player. Like WAR (Wins Above Replacement) in baseball, VORP distills the value of a player’s entire offensive and defensive contribution on the floor to one number, defined by Basketball Reference as “A box score estimate of the points per 100 TEAM possessions that a player contributed above a replacement-level (-2.0) player, translated to an average team and prorated to an 82-game season.” Very long story very short, this means that a team full of replacement players would post a -5.4 net rating, and …

Read More

Breakfast Special: Bucks Got In 5 On It

The Milwaukee Bucks are, in the plainest and simplest point of fact, a better basketball team than the Boston Celtics. Milwaukee’s star, Giannis Antetokounmpo, is the legitimate for-real honest-to-gods MVP in the whole league. Boston’s stars, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, are “the worst parts of Allen Iverson‘s game” and “half the Domantas Sabonis for twice the price” respectively. And there’s something oddly satisfying (if you’re a Celtics hater) in watching the culmination of Danny Ainge‘s years of wheeling, dealing, scheming, and roster building at the expense of the Nets and Sixers turn out to be Boston advancing just one …

Read More

The NBA has a Baseball Problem

With the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks shooting three-pointers in the playoffs like there’s an invisible electric fence installed in the arc that will shock anyone who shoots the ball between it and the restricted area, Gregg Popovich’s comments about how the NBA has devolved into a three-point shooting contest have once again been all over Twitter. To wit (and hat tip because it inspired this article)… More efficient basketball does not equal higher appealing basketball. Whoever makes the most 3’s wins. Fun sport — Billy Cliff 🏆 (@BillyCliff4) May 6, 2019 You’ll notice that the objection isn’t about analytics. …

Read More

Breakfast Special: In Which Order Is Restored

Nothing shatters an in-six narrative quite like an underdog, up 2-1 and with a chance to lose Game 5 on the road before coming home and closing out their opponents, failing to do the one thing an underdog needs to do in order to win a playoff series. That’s right; the Sixers and Blazers couldn’t win a Game 4 at home. Toronto Raptors fans went from “crap, we’re going to lose on our home floor in Game 5 without Pascal Siakam” to “Conference Finals, here we come!” in as much time as it took Siakam to get some Mr. Miyagi …

Read More

Breakfast Special: Stephen Curry, Playoff Choker

Kevin Durant has scored 45 points or more in three of the Warriors’ nine playoff games so far. The Warriors are 1-2 in those games. First it was the Los Angeles Clippers beating the Warriors despite Durant’s 45 in Game 5 of the first round. And Saturday night, it was the Houston Rockets either winning the obligatory Game 3 on their way to losing in 5 or winning the game that keeps this all about home court and stands as a milepost where the series will be won in Game 5 when one team goes up 3-2 and either closes …

Read More