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, …

Read More

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 …

Read More

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 …

Read More

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 …

Read More

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 …

Read More

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, …

Read More

Are the 2019-20 Philadelphia 76ers Good?

The Philadelphia 76ers have Processed their way from a 10-72 season in 2015-16, the second-worst 82-game mark not only in franchise history but of all time, to back-to-back 50-win seasons and second-round playoff appearances. Last year’s edition went 51-31 and came one insane, improbable miracle shot from Kawhi Leonard away from the Eastern Conference Finals. This year’s team is minus Jimmy Butler (gone to the Heat) but added Al Horford and Josh Richardson to a “big three” of Tobias Harris, Ben Simmons, and Joel Embiid. Some people say that’s the kind of lineup that will win you the East if …

Read More

Are the 2019-20 Boston Celtics Good?

Oh boy. Better put on a good, thick medieval helmet for this one…Boston Celtics fans are some of the most rabid and occasionally psycho fans on Twitter, and if I weren’t generally well-disposed toward them on account of having grown up in Boston during the Bird/McHale/Parish years I might very well think of them the way I think of Lakers fans…OK, let’s do this. The Boston Celtics were the most underachieving squad in the NBA in 2018-19. They won just 49 games, and if the Indiana Pacers hadn’t generously self-immolated down the stretch, the postseason could very easily have seen …

Read More

Are the 2019-20 Brooklyn Nets Good?

If you’re the type of person who just skips to the end of these looking for that graphic I ganked from Mythbusters, let me spare you some scrolling: What everyone will say when Kyrie kills the clubhouse vibe and Durant isn’t the same after he comes back. — Fox #PreviewsAreBack Doucette 🏀🍳🥓🥞 (@RealFoxD) September 12, 2019 Yeah, I’ve got jokes, alright. But the bigger question does remain, what on earth do the Brooklyn Nets think they’re going to gain from a prima donna point guard who’s never won anything without LeBron James and a guy who is coming back from …

Read More

Are the 2019-20 New York Knicks Good?

Welcome back to the NBA, folks! It’s season preview time, and every weekday between now and the start of the season, we’ll be taking a look one at a time at all 30 teams east to west and worst to first by division and asking and answering one simple question: Is this team any good? We start by rendering the title absurd and asking about the New York Knicks. This is a team that went 17-65 last year and got pantsed by the Basketball Gods at the draft lottery, ending up with Duke’s RJ Barrett instead of the dreamed-about and …

Read More