Is This 2018 NBA Team Any Good?: Oklahoma City Thunder

by Fox Doucette Russell Westbrook got himself some friends to play ball with this year. A team that featured Westbrook and nobody the goddamn hell else managed to win 47 games despite being the worst three-point shooting team (a cover-your-eyes 32.7 percent), completely incapable of getting an assist that Westbrook didn’t dish out (they were 25th in the league overall, and don’t blame the counting stat on pace; they were ninth-fastest in the Association), and exceptionally turnover-prone (19th in turnover percentage.) On the bright side, they were fantastic at offensive rebounds (grabbing a league-high 27.9 percent of that cavalcade of …

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Is This 2018 NBA Team Any Good?: Houston Rockets

by Fox Doucette Houston is the archetype of the modern NBA analytics revolution. The Rockets won 55 games last year by pulling off the curious combination of looking at the stats on the court and the effect that obvious lack of chemistry got them in real numerical terms. The eye test guys always squawk about how you can’t measure things like team chemistry. If that were the case, Dwight Howard’s departure wouldn’t have been good for 14 wins. The offense was 6.4 points per 100 possessions better, second only to Golden State’s unstoppable juggernaut in terms of efficiency. The defense, …

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Is This 2018 NBA Team Any Good?: San Antonio Spurs

by Fox Doucette Are the San Antonio Spurs any good? Of course they are. They’re the Spurs. Next question. “OK, wiseguy,” you may say at this point, “are the Spurs good enough to hold their ground in an increasingly top-heavy Western Conference and make a run at the Finals?” Well, of course they are. They’re the Spurs. Let’s take a closer look. Stats via Basketball Reference, over/unders via Sports Insights. 2016-17 Record: 61-21 2018 Over-Under: 54.5. The Spurs You Know And Love Tony Parker’s still rehabbing from offseason surgery but will be back around the All-Star Game if projections hold. …

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Is This 2018 NBA Team Any Good?: New Orleans Pelicans

by Fox Doucette One of this site’s biggest running catchphrases is the term “Scott-Hollins Syndrome”. Named after disgraced NBA coaches Byron Scott and Lionel Hollins, whose failure to embrace advanced analytics and the offensive tenets from which we draw our name here, it is our term for when a coach, team, or (Charles Barkley, looking at you) TV guy shoot themselves in the foot with their ignorance of modern basketball. Well, if Scott-Hollins Syndrome put on an NBA uniform and trotted out a team, it would be the 2017-18 New Orleans Pelicans. The Pellies feature DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis, …

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Is This 2018 NBA Team Any Good?: Memphis Grizzlies

by Fox Doucette The Memphis Grizzlies have finally, sort of, not really, blown up a squad that might singlehandedly have demolished the idea that sportswriters ought to be in NBA front offices. Since John Hollinger gave Lionel Hollins his walking papers for being half of the namesake of one of this site’s coinages for eye-test dinosaurs (as in Scott-Hollins Syndrome), the team has gone from 56-26 to 50-32, 55-27, 42-40, and 43-39, as Mike Conley’s $33 Million Salary has been good for an 87 rating in NBA 2K18, Zach Randolph’s been shipped out of town and his pumpkin turned back …

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Is This 2018 NBA Team Any Good?: Dallas Mavericks

by Fox Doucette Man, it’s been a long summer, hasn’t it? As a guy who doesn’t get too deep into the offseason stuff (I wouldn’t do any better on “Who He Play For?” than does Charles Barkley), this has been a bit like a school teacher’s summer, and change in the offseason has been as much a part of my life (new apartment, new girlfriend, new-ish night job I’ve had since April) as it has for 30 teams across the NBA. With that in mind, we tip off our 30-previews-in-30-weekdays set of NBA previews in the Southwest Division; we’ll have …

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