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 …

Read More

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 …

Read More

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 …

Read More

Are the 2018-19 New Orleans Pelicans Good?

The New Orleans Pelicans took a horrifically mismatched roster and turned it into a playoff team in 2017-18. Anthony Davis is what he is—a bona fide superstar who can drag a team to the playoffs by himself. But Rajon Rondo‘s selfish assists and the tendency of the New Orleans offense to turn into a clogged toilet whenever Davis had to share the floor with DeMarcus Cousins conspired to make the team worse than it should have been until Boogie’s injury unlocked their potential. New Orleans was 27-21 in games Boogie played. They were 21-13 without him. That latter is a …

Read More

Are the 2018-19 San Antonio Spurs Good?

Hoo boy…something is rotten in the state of Texas, and the smell seems to be coming from the Alamo. The Spurs have their worst roster since 1996, when they spent a year tanking to get Tim Duncan, and speaking of 1996, this is the most Scott/Hollins Syndrome roster in the league, full of guys who can’t space the floor, can’t shoot threes, and who…well, OK, at least they play defense like a ’90s team. San Antonio was 26th in the league in eFG%, 20th in two-point percentage, 26th in three-point percentage, 17th in Offensive Rating, and made the playoffs on …

Read More

Are the 2018-19 Dallas Mavericks Good?

The Dallas Mavericks bottomed out as a franchise in 2017-18, dropping all the way to 24-58 after a fairly consistent run of being at least decent for pretty much the entirety of Mark Cuban’s tenure owning the team. But that’s what happens when your franchise-defining player finally gets washed up, and Dirk Nowitzki is washed up. Dallas won 33 games in 2016-17. They won 24 last year. They’re supposed to win 34.5 or better this year. Is that crazy talk? Or will the likes of Luka Doncic and second-year Dennis Smith Jr. be enough to drag the Mavs back to …

Read More

Are the 2018-19 Memphis Grizzlies Good?

Last year, a combination of injuries, Marc Gasol doing his Dwight Howard impression to get David Fizdale fired, and just plain not being good at basketball conspired to push the Memphis Grizzlies to a 22-60 record, second-worst in the entire NBA ahead of only the woeful Phoenix Suns. This year, armed with fourth overall pick Jaren Jackson Jr., Mike Conley‘s horrifying contract, Gasol’s attitude, a coach in J.B. “Make Them” Bickerstaff who couldn’t generate team chemistry if you gave him a plastic volcano, some baking soda, and some vinegar… Brace yourselves. Suckage is coming. The Grizzlies overachieved several years ago …

Read More

Are the 2018-19 Cleveland Cavaliers Good?

And now, the only team with a Tuesday time slot in this year’s previews (let’s see…Toronto, Miami, Portland, Houston, Golden State…yep, only team) that unequivocally sucks. That’s right, forget the score, grab your Henny, and buckle up, because we’re sifting through the burning river of the NBA to find a team that gave up the title of best sports team in Cleveland to the Indians in as much time as it took LeBron James to sign with the Lakers. Hell, now that Baker Mayfield is trying to render a little joy into the Factory of Sadness, the Cavs might not …

Read More

Are the 2018-19 Indiana Pacers Good?

The Indiana Pacers won 48 games in 2017-18, snagging the 5 seed in the Eastern Conference, giving LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers one of the greatest first-round NBA playoff series of all time, and just generally having a dream season after the departure of Paul George to Oklahoma City. This year, they have one job in the eyes of the Vegas over/under: Do at least that well. And with Victor Oladipo, Thaddeus Young, Myles Turner, Darren Collison, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Cory Joseph all back, and with Tyreke Evans and Kyle O’Quinn adding to the bench depth and LeBron out …

Read More

Are the 2018-19 Milwaukee Bucks Good?

The Milwaukee Bucks went 44-38, finished seventh in the Eastern Conference, took the Boston Celtics to seven games in the playoffs, and did all of the above with a lousy coach (Jason Kidd) fired midway through the season and a who-dat interim coach who had two fewer wins in eight fewer games (Joe Prunty, who coached the Bucks to a 21-16 record after Kidd started 23-22) during the stretch drive. So, in essence, Milwaukee played half the season at a 46.5 win pace. Guess what the over/under is for the Bucks this year. Now, of course, there are more factors …

Read More