Are the 2018-19 Los Angeles Clippers Good?

In 2018, the NBA experienced a quantum shift as a player consistently among the league leaders in Win Shares Per 48 Minutes, a fan favorite, but a guy who some folks consider overrated, traveled to Tinseltown to set the Staples Center ablaze with excitement. That’s right, folks…Boban Marjanovic, HERO! OF! SERBIA!, is on the Los Angeles Clippers. Which sets their floor for this season preview at Plausible by default. OK, fine, so they’ve got your columnist’s favorite player (yes, really) on their team. They’ve also got Tobias Harris, and they ended up shipping Blake Griffin out of town at a …

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Are the 2018-19 Los Angeles Lakers Good?

The Lakers went 35-47 last season with the worst point guard since Smush Parker as the primary ballhandler; Lonzo Ball earned the derisive nickname of “Dollar Store Russell Westbrook” from this here esteemed publication for his counting-stat-chasing YMCA chucking and selfish assists. This year, it looks like they got a professional basketball player to play point guard, as the early returns from the preseason have cast LeBron James in the role Kevin Garnett used to play in Boston for Rajon Rondo: LeBron picking up Rondo’s signature way to start games is amazing. pic.twitter.com/OmJ40qWa31 — Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) October 11, 2018 …

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Are the 2018-19 Sacramento Kings Good?

That the Sacramento Kings did not finish last in the Pacific Division in 2017-18 is a startling testament to just how bad the Phoenix Suns were. It is not, in any conceivable way, an endorsement of the quality of the Kings as a team. De’Aaron Fox had an atrocious rookie season. The Kings front office could not be trusted to organize a bake sale, never mind the day-to-day operations of an NBA team, and what is it with the implication that bake sales are always managed by incompetent people? Where’s the love for the stay-at-home moms taking an active role …

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Are the 2018-19 Phoenix Suns Good?

The Phoenix Suns finally hit rock bottom just in time for the DeAndre Ayton Sweepstakes in 2017-18. They should, if the NBA’s insistence—as in other sports—that parity is powered by the draft is true, be a much better team before too long. But “before too long” and “one year after going 21-61” aren’t quite the same thing. Is there anything on this roster than can actually contribute right away to getting off the floor? Or are we about to settle in for a Philadelphia Process in the Pacific Division? 2017-18 record: 21-61 2018-19 over/under: 28.5 Ayton All The Donuts Ayton …

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Are the 2018-19 Portland Trail Blazers Good?

The difference between third and ninth in the Western Conference in 2017-18 was three games, and it was the same difference between first and last in the Northwest Division. The Portland Trail Blazers beat the Utah Jazz on the last day of the season to wrap up the division title, and even though they summarily got smoked by the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round of the playoffs, the Blazers were a 49-win team and are getting their Big Three of Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, and Jusuf Nurkic back intact for another crack at NBA glory. The question remains, …

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Are the 2018-19 Oklahoma City Thunder Good?

What happens when a top-10 offensive and defensive team gets rid of one of the worst players in the league? The Thunder seek to answer that very question in 2019, as Carmelo Anthony is gone, off to Houston and taking his “talents” (and by talents I mean washed-up negative-VORP ass) with him. Melo had a -1.1 VORP, which translates to three wins taken off the board compared to slotting a G-League player into his roster spot. The Thunder won 48 games last year and Vegas has them down for 50.5 this year. Do the math, folks, this isn’t going to …

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Are the 2018-19 Utah Jazz Good?

The Jazz were my second-worst whiff in the 2017-18 previews. I never saw Donovan Mitchell coming, expected the team’s lack of offense to be unable to compensate for their great defense, and said that any missed time by Rudy Gobert would mean a sub-30-win season. Well, Mitchell was a genuine star as a rookie, the team was 16th in offense and 2nd in defense, and Gobert missed time (and the team was 19-28 when he came back) but went 29-6 in their last 35 games, a 68-14 82-game pace. No, they’re not going 68-14 this year. But it speaks to …

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Are the 2018-19 Minnesota Timberwolves Good?

I have no idea and neither do you. Next! But seriously, folks, writing about the Timberwolves and trying to forecast how they’ll be in April is like looking outside the window and trying to figure out what the weather’s going to do on a specific day next April (well, OK, I’m based in Seattle. It’s going to rain.) Where are they going to trade Jimmy Butler? Are they going to get value back or will it be a fire sale? Will Tom Thibodeau insist on playing Andrew Wiggins despite Wiggins being one of the worst players in the league? Will …

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Are the 2018-19 Denver Nuggets Good?

The Denver Nuggets lost a heartbreaker of a final game in the 2017-18 regular season that may prove to be the most successful defeat in recent NBA history. Because in losing to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a win-or-go-home shootout, they denied Minnesota the pretense they’d have needed to fire Tom Thibodeau, sending a franchise into disarray (we’ll have more on this tomorrow.) The Nuggets, meanwhile, capped off a 46-win season, showed a ton of potential, and positioned themselves as the classic “team on the rise” with a young roster and, in the person of Nikola Jokic, a superstar in the …

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Are the 2018-19 Houston Rockets Good?

And now for something completely different, in which we ask if a Western Conference Finals team that came one utterly horrendous stretch of three-point shooting away from a shot at the title is good. Of course they’re good. The Houston Rockets still have Chris Paul and James Harden. They have Clint Capela and Eric Gordon and the unpredictable but amazing-at-his-best Gerald Green. They even managed to grab Marquese Chriss off the Suns’ trash heap in hopes of turning him into someone other than a guy who sucks at NBA basketball. Houston won 65 games last year. They’re forecast for a …

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