Are the 2019-20 Denver Nuggets Good?

Is there a wider gap between a team’s actual performance last year and how many wins you’d expect them to get if you looked just at their roster than the Denver Nuggets? I mean, Gary Harris, Jamal Murray, and friends are decent basketball players, but the only true consistent All-Star they have on the roster is Nikola Jokic. In point of fact, there’s a team like that in the East and they barely made the playoffs last year with a former-Yugoslavia All-Star center and a cast of “meh” players. Why aren’t the Nuggets more like the Orlando Magic? Well, part …

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Are the 2019-20 Portland Trail Blazers Good?

The Portland Trail Blazers went 53-29 in 2018-19, made the Western Conference Finals, then made sure Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum got paid the big bucks so their deep-playoff-running backcourt can keep doing that thing they do for years to come. Vegas rewarded them by…penciling them in for a six-win regression at an over/under of 47.5. Buh-what now?! They lost Jake Layman, Evan Turner, Meyers Leonard, Al-Farouq Aminu, Enes Kanter, and Maurice Harkless. They added Hassan Whiteside, Kent Bazemore, Anthony Tolliver, Mario Hezonja, and Pau Gasol. My gut reaction is to say any team that subtracts Evan Turner automatically gets …

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Are the 2019-20 Utah Jazz Good?

The Utah Jazz are expected to do great things in the 2019-20 season, as Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell get a couple of serious teammate upgrades from Mike Conley replacing Ricky Rubio and Bojan Bogdanovic playing a role once occupied by Jae Crowder. The “surround a big man with shooters” offense, so popular in Milwaukee, finds another home here, and for Gobert, already one of the most lethal offensive presences efficiency-wise in the low-post, having outlets will only be a boon to his already-impressive scoring prowess. And then there’s the whole having one of the best rim protectors in the …

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Are the 2019-20 Oklahoma City Thunder Good?

Remember when Chris Paul played games in Oklahoma City when he was with the then-New Orleans Hornets after Hurricane Katrina? When he put up 5.7 VORP as a rookie and 3.9 in his second year, that first season good for fifth all-time among rookies since VORP became possible to keep as a stat in 1973-74, he set the world on fire in a city that didn’t even have a team yet. The top four, in order? Michael Jordan (8.1), David Robinson (6.4), Tim Duncan (6.0), and Alvan Adams (5.8.) Three Hall of Famers and one guy who made his only …

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Are the 2019-20 Minnesota Timberwolves Good?

The Minnesota Timberwolves were the only member of the Northwest Division not to post at least 48 wins in 2018-19, posting a dismal 36-46 record after Jimmy Butler and Tom Thibodeau had a falling-out that led to Butler playing in Philadelphia and Thibs out of a job. Interim coach Ryan Saunders had to make chicken salad out of chicken…not salad, and he was hampered in his efforts by a combination of not-ready-for-prime-time youth (Josh Okogie), veterans not as good as they think they are (Derrick Rose), and the biggest garbage fire in the league (Andrew Wiggins.) Even going 17-25 with …

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Are the 2019-20 Orlando Magic Good?

The Orlando Magic won the Southeast Division in 2018-19 mostly because somebody had to. Late in the season, it looked entirely possible that the division winner would post a losing record, and the Magic made the playoffs as a 7 seed because there weren’t 8 good teams in the other two divisions in the East (it turned out there were seven, with the Bulls, Cavs, and Knicks finishing 13-15 in the conference. The Southeast Division took spots 9 through 12 inclusive.) Thankfully, the NBA did away with division seeding a few years back, so the 42-40 Magic didn’t get a …

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Are the 2019-20 Miami Heat Good?

The Miami Heat finished second in the Southeast Division with a record of 39-43 in 2018-19 and came within three games of winning the division—not that this would have done them any good had they not been in the top eight in the East, but that only further underscores how bad 39-43 is when you get a division full of scrubs and can’t post a winning record. But that Heat team might as well be a completely different franchise compared to this year’s edition. Hassan Whiteside is gone. Jimmy Butler is in. Dwyane Wade and his brutal .061 WS/48 and …

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Are the 2019-20 Charlotte Hornets Good?

If you’re sufficiently cynical about Kemba Walker‘s role in the Charlotte Hornets grossly underachieving over the past three seasons since making the playoffs as the 6 seed in the East back in 2015-16, you might look at his departure to Boston at three times the price as “better them than us, now we can get a guy who can actually deliver in crunch time.” But with Walker gone, they needed to field a worthwhile team to move forward. And… Jeremy Lamb is gone. Frank Kaminsky is gone. The team picked up Malik Monk‘s team option despite the fact that Monk, …

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Are the 2019-20 Washington Wizards Good?

The Washington Wizards finally parted ways with executive and head idiot Ernie Grunfeld last season, and that by itself is enough to preface this entire piece with optimism that the Wizards will be better both on and off the floor as a franchise, so let’s go ahead and lead with that, Wizards fans. Brighter times are ahead. But man, that product on the floor last year was putrid. 32 wins, a salary cap nightmare draining any hope for the future, John Wall‘s albatross of a contract destined to soak up cash while Wall watches games in street clothes…yikes. Wall played …

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Are the 2019-20 Atlanta Hawks Good?

The Atlanta Hawks could be best summarized as Trae Young, John Collins, and a bunch of guys who might be a playoff team and might not contend in the G-League. So which is it? Which direction is this 29-53 Southeast Division cellar dweller from 2018-19 going to go? Are they headed toward and way past their 36-win over/under for a date with late-April basketball? Or is this whole thing going to get impaled on the spear of Young’s seventh-worst-in-the-league defense (more on that in a minute) and lose a bunch of games 120-115 on their way back to the lottery? …

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