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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Are the 2019-20 Milwaukee Bucks Good?

The Milwaukee Bucks made it to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2018-19 before falling to a team of destiny in the Toronto Raptors, who went on to win the NBA championship. This year, Kawhi Leonard is in Los Angeles, the Bucks find themselves atop one of the weakest divisions (if the Pacers run aground on injury problems) in the league, and expectations are so high that the squad has the highest over/under win total in the league at 57. You’ll notice that’s three wins less than the 60-22 record they put up in 2018-19, meaning that if MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, …

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Are the 2019-20 Indiana Pacers Good?

As an Indiana Pacers fan, this must necessarily be the most difficult of the 30 season previews each year to write, because it is impossible for me not to bring my emotions as a passionate watcher of sports in which I have an emotional stake in the outcome to bear. So this was also the preview I agonized the most over, because the temptation is there to reverse jinx the team, sell low on everyone, convince myself the sky is falling, predict a mid-lottery pick, and then be as pleasantly surprised when they win even the 48 games they’re expected …

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Are the 2019-20 Detroit Pistons Good?

The Detroit Pistons are at a place in their franchise history not unlike the old TV game show “Card Sharks”, in which contestants had to guess whether the next card in a sequence would have a value higher or lower than the one under discussion. On Card Sharks, if the host flipped over an eight, that was the nightmare of probability for the player—with aces high, that meant a coin-flip-odds proposition and lots of suspense from the audience. In the NBA, it means a 41-win team that could win more or fewer games than it did in 2018-19. Vegas has …

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Are the 2019-20 Chicago Bulls Good?

Bad teams must someday become good unless they’re the Knicks. The Chicago Bulls were good when some guy from North Carolina played shooting guard for them in the 1990s, then they were bad, then Derrick Rose was briefly healthy and amazing and they were good again, and now they are terrible. They will be good again. Nobody knows when, or what catalyst will spark that leap from garbage to quality. But unless Thaddeus Young, Tomas Satoransky, and Luke Kornet somehow morph into Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Horace Grant, this ain’t the year. It’s hard to believe in the core …

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Are the 2019-20 Cleveland Cavaliers Good?

Man, sometimes creating a title Google will like has some unintended consequences…but the Cleveland Cavaliers, winners of 19 games in 2018-19 and in possession of a second-year player who just put up the third-worst advanced-stats season in NBA history (measured by VORP), are not good. The question here isn’t will they make the playoffs or indeed be in contention after Thanksgiving. The question is whether they’re going to win the 24 games (tied with Charlotte for the lowest over/under on the board) required to pay the over bets. Whether that happens will depend mainly on whether Collin Sexton and his …

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Are the 2019-20 Toronto Raptors Good?

The Toronto Raptors are, on paper, the “defending NBA champions.” But how much are they really trying to defend when the heart and soul (and Finals MVP) of the team, Kawhi Leonard, is on the Clippers now and Danny Green is on the Lakers? That’s 15.2 of last year’s Win Shares out the door, over a quarter of the team’s output. The highest-paid guys on this year’s team are, in order, Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Norman Powell, and Fred VanVleet. Nobody else on the team makes more than $4 million. And sure, that includes Pascal Siakam‘s rookie contract, …

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