We Can’t Talk About NBA Defense. That’s a Problem.

There was an offhand remark in a recent Zach Lowe column on ESPN that pointed out Klay Thompson‘s positive attributes as a wing defender, and Thompson enjoys a reputation as one of the premier stoppers in the league whenever he’s got a man in front of him. Anyone who watches Warriors games can see it. But on the other hand, Thompson’s advanced defensive metrics range from “mediocre” to “utterly putrid, like among the worst in the league” when you look him up on Basketball Reference, his 112 Defensive Rating, minus-2.2 Defensive Box Plus-Minus, and that stat’s subsequent drag on his …

Read More

Bradley Beal Trade Rumors Are Getting Ridiculous

Sometimes you get a real gem of a made-up trade on Twitter that’s so far beyond-Thunderdome ludicrous that you’ve just got to roll your eyes, shake your head, and if you’ve got a national NBA column, write about it. Because this one’s a doozy: Who says no? (Poll following tweet) pic.twitter.com/AQ46UV0lJc — NBA Best Matchups (@NBABestMatchups) January 21, 2019 With all due respect to one of NBA Twitter’s more entertaining accounts, go home, you’re drunk. A rumor of Bradley Beal to the Sixers for Furkan Korkmaz, Wilson Chandler, Markelle Fultz, a second-rounder (2019), and a future first (2021) is silly …

Read More

De’Aaron Fox Is Most Improved Player And It’s Not Close

My namesake in Sacramento, De’Aaron Fox, came into the league fifth overall in the 2017 NBA draft, and at the time, I told anyone who would listen that he’d be the steal of the draft class, taking more than a few digs at the Lakers in the process for drafting the guy Fox clowned in college, Lonzo Ball. Well, Ball still sucks (although he’s evolving as a defender, all that makes him is a cross between Russell Westbrook and Tony Allen, but nowhere near as good as either at Westbrook’s stat sheet stuffing or Allen’s ability to lock down his …

Read More

Not All Stars, but All-Stars: The Guys-Fox-Likes Team

I like to think of myself as a reasonably objective observer of the sport of basketball. Sure, I have my biases—I am an unrepentant stan for the Pacers and a believer in the Bill Simmons school of sportswriting where it’s OK to root for your team in national media—but for the most part, Sheed’s Law is the first rule of my writing here. But let’s face it. Basketball isn’t any fun without the ability to watch it as a fan, to root for guys, to make certain League Pass choices based not on what national trends say makes the best …

Read More

2018-19 Might Just Be the Best NBA Season Ever

The NBA hasn’t been this entertaining in decades, as a full 14 years have passed since the last time the league added even one expansion team, and the dilution of talent that triggered the Dark Ages was so long ago that when the Raptors played their first NBA game in October of 1995 (a 94-79 win over the Nets!), it was just three months after Dave Grohl released the first album from Foo Fighters. Which, in turn, means that for the first time in ages, the level of talent in the league is stacked when compared to the number of …

Read More

The Pelicans Should Trade Anthony Davis to the Pacers. Here’s Why.

The worst place an NBA team can be is stuck in Mediocrity Hell, and while it’s unrealistic to expect every team’s fans to have a “win the title or blow it up” mentality, it is not unreasonable to expect even small-market teams to have designs on at least the second round if not the conference finals year in and year out. Meanwhile, in the seven years Anthony Davis has been in the league, the Pelicans have only even so much as made the playoffs twice, lucking into the 8 seed after Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant couldn’t stay on the …

Read More

The NBA Can Kill College Basketball and the G-League Is the Murder Weapon

As a sports fan and an NBA guy, I generally find that anything that moves toward finally cutting the diseased heart out of college sports is a good thing, whether it’s minor league baseball long ago rendering college baseball completely irrelevant or Canadian junior hockey doing the same to college puck. And with everything that’s been in the news about college basketball over the past couple of years, and the plantation purgatory that is the one-and-done rule, it is long past time that someone takes NCAA basketball out back behind the woodshed and puts a bullet in its brainstem once …

Read More

The Draymond Green Effect: Redefining Positions for the Modern NBA

by Zach d’Arbeloff Basketball is changing rapidly, and the name of our website proves it. The Pace and Space era is in full throttle, and as teams jack up tempos, shoot more threes, and generate open shots with spacing and ball movement, the traditional understanding of positions has changed. This article originally appeared on January 12, 2016. Stats cited in this article are as of that date and from the 2015-16 season. The sport has gotten smaller, faster, and more skilled. Most teams now have certain “positionless” lineups, designed to put five players on the floor that can dribble, pass, …

Read More

Pace and Space Returns September 5 With 2019 Season Previews!

Hey there Smart NBA Fans, your intrepid writer here… First off, thank you to everyone—over 20,000 of you—who have dropped by since the WordPress relaunch last fall to read and enjoy what I’ve had to say about the Association. This is my passion project and has been since 2015 on the old webhost (sadly, a lot of that content’s been lost to the whims of Internet history, one reason I’m on WordPress now.) And for those of you who have taken a look at the homepage and periodically wondered where I’ve wandered off to, well, yeah, maybe Summer Reading wasn’t …

Read More

LeBron on the Lakers—What on Kyrie’s flat Earth is he thinking?!

LeBron James is a Laker. 4 years, $154 million, take-the-money-and-run Los Angeles Tinseltown Lakers. And his supporting cast? Well, he’s just traded the Canton Charge for the South Bay Lakers, with Lonzo Ball, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, and whatever other curios and relics a 35-win team in 2017-18 can drag off the bottom of the ocean off Long Beach and suit up in a Lakers uniform. Paul George re-upped with the Thunder. The Spurs would rather surrender the Alamo than trade Kawhi Leonard to Los Angeles unless it’s to the Clippers. And the Rockets are one Trevor Ariza short of …

Read More