Golden State Warriors Headed for a Fan-Friendly Decline

The Golden State Warriors, mere weeks removed from their fifth straight trip to the NBA Finals, are a moribund franchise about to embark on a collapse that will give them some boffo odds in the draft lottery in 2022. Sure, they’ll hang on in the short-term, maybe even make one more deep playoff run on fumes and Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson shooting 30 threes a game between them and seeing enough of them go in to get past a not-quite-there-yet Nuggets or Jazz team in the first two rounds before the Clippers put up a Kawhilight reel in the …

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The Wiggins Factor: A New Way to Evaluate NBA Contracts

Back in May, we took a look at the worst contracts in the NBA, using the human garbage fire that is Andrew Wiggins as our model for determining just how bad a contract can be. The Version 0.5 beta formula for Wiggins Factor is salary divided by (Minutes Played/3936), then multiplied by 5 if you’re applying it to estimated team stats off an individual player’s performance. So for Wiggins himself in 2018-19, that’s approximately $39.4 million. This sum is particularly egregious considering that Wiggins got paid all that money to post a career-worst .012 Win Shares per 48 minutes, a …

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Charlotte Hornets are Headed Off a Cliff in 2020

The 2012 Charlotte Bobcats, at 7-59, put up the worst winning percentage in NBA history and, on a prorated 82-game basis, were three-tenths of a win worse than the 9-73 1973 Philadelphia 76ers. Now proudly rebranded as the Charlotte Hornets, the Not Cats should seriously consider busting out the throwback jerseys because early indications point to a team that, with Kemba Walker playing in Boston and Jeremy Lamb in Indiana, has about as much firepower as bringing a BB gun with a stuck lever on the action to a machine gun fight. Their best players with Walker and Lamb gone …

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Statistical Test: Correlating VORP and NBA Team Wins

Back in May, I examined the contributions of “replacement-level” NBA players, those guys with 0.1 either side of zero VORP, and in the process tried to figure out what an entire team of those guys or their presumed G-League “replacement player” equivalents would do over the course of a season. And in that effort, I took a six-team sample size from a cross-section of NBA competence to determine a formula: Wins (per 82 games) = (2.15*aggregate VORP)+19. But it occurs to me that I can do better than just taking a sample, shoehorning a little back-of-the-envelope math into it, and …

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The LeBron-Davis Lakers’ Death Lineup Scares Nobody

Sometimes, in the wonderful world of NBA Twitter, you see something so brain-explodingly silly that all you can do is laugh your little head off at it. Like this tweet from Magic Johnson, for example: Laker Nation, I’m dreaming about the 4th quarter Lakers team with LeBron, AD, Danny Green, Avery Bradley, and Kyle Kuzma. That’s almost unbeatable! — Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) July 8, 2019 Magic asserts that a fourth-quarter lineup of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Danny Green, Avery Bradley, and Kyle Kuzma is “unbeatable”. I mean, the joke writes itself, doesn’t it? But OK, Magic, I’m a man …

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The Toronto Raptors Are Headed for a Historic Dropoff

Kawhi Leonard finally made his free agency decision, and he’ll be teaming up with Paul George on the Microsoft Clippys…er, Los Angeles Clippers, looking to become the kings of Staples Center in a rivalry with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Leonard’s former Spurs and Raptors teammate Danny Green. Meanwhile, the Raptors have a dinosaur mascot, an aging Kyle Lowry, and a slammed-shut championship window that followed the greatest one-season free agent rental in NBA history. It stands to reason that the Raptors aren’t going to come anywhere close to the lofty heights they achieved in 2018-19. The Milwaukee Bucks have …

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Kevin Durant’s Career Is Over

Sometimes, a player can get injured, even catastrophically, sit out a season, come back, and return to the form they enjoyed before they got hurt, noticing no dropoff in performance that anyone is able to measure statistically. An Achilles tendon rupture, which Kevin Durant suffered during Game 5 of the NBA Finals, is not one of those injuries that players typically come back from. Here’s a list of the All-Stars besides Durant who have torn Achilles tendons, according to collected sources from a Google search that all seemed to be working from the same data set: Elton Brand, Dominique Wilkins, …

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The Pacers—And Everyone Else—Should Avoid DeMar DeRozan

The San Antonio Spurs are, unsurprisingly, rumored to be interested in moving on from DeMar DeRozan, figuring out a year too late that having a guy who relies heavily on low-efficiency midrange jump shots probably isn’t a guy you want taking a high volume of shots in your offense in 2019. What’s more, DeRozan and Kawhi Leonard, by virtue of being swapped for each other, provided a perfect test case for just how grotesquely overrated DeRozan is, as 60 regular-season games of Kawhi Leonard was (as this goes to press, it’s the day before Game 5, so if you’re reading …

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Terrible Contracts: The Worst NBA Team Money Can Buy

When the discussion comes up about who in the NBA has the worst contract, the discussion often turns to guys like Chris Paul and John Wall, aging superstars with supermax contracts who can’t stay on the floor and who cost their teams millions on top of millions to effectively pay a guy to spend more time on the bench during the game than an assistant coach. But when Paul and Wall are out on the floor, they’re actually good. When they’re effective, Rockets and Wizards fans start dreaming of big things until they get hurt again and those dreams are …

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How Much Value Do G-League Replacement Players Have?

One of the most useful catch-all stats in the advanced statistician’s playbook is VORP, Value Over Replacement Player. Like WAR (Wins Above Replacement) in baseball, VORP distills the value of a player’s entire offensive and defensive contribution on the floor to one number, defined by Basketball Reference as “A box score estimate of the points per 100 TEAM possessions that a player contributed above a replacement-level (-2.0) player, translated to an average team and prorated to an 82-game season.” Very long story very short, this means that a team full of replacement players would post a -5.4 net rating, and …

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