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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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Are the 2018-19 Detroit Pistons Good?

Riddle me this, Batman. In what universe is a team that has a full season of Blake Griffin, Dwane Casey’s cured case of Scott-Hollins Syndrome as a coach, and the same roster otherwise that won 39 games and at times looked like a playoff team supposed to regress by two wins or more? But that’s exactly what Vegas is saying about Detroit, which went 39-43 last year under Stan Van Gundy (who hasn’t done jack squat as a coach when he didn’t have Prime Dwight Howard) and with Griffin only for the stretch run? Yes, they lost Tobias Harris, and …

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Are the 2018-19 Chicago Bulls Good?

As this goes to press, it’s September 19, International Talk Like A Pirate Day, and for the Chicago Bulls, they just got keelhauled and shipwrecked in one of the weirdest voyages that a bunch of salty landlubbers ever took upon the seas of the NBA in 2017-18. When they lost to the Pacers on December 6, it dropped them to 3-20. When they beat the Pacers on the 29th, they were 13-22, winners of 10 out of 12. They went 14-33 the rest of the way to finish with 27 wins. And meanwhile, they still have the same terrible coach, …

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Are the 2018-19 Miami Heat Good?

The Miami Heat won 44 games in 2017-18, won the Southeast Division, and got smacked by the Philadelphia 76ers in the playoffs because the Southeast Division is garbage. The Heat are staring at a 41.5 over/under in 2018-19, expected to come in second behind the Wizards. This implies a regression, but what grounds do we have to expect that? The roster is pretty much the same as a year ago, Hassan Whiteside is healthy (even if he’s a whiny, pouty jerk in the media to the front office and to Erik Spoelstra’s coaching staff, basically Dwight Howard Lite), Bam Adebayo …

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