Karl-Anthony Towns: Is He Any Good?

Karl-Anthony Towns made his first All-Star Game in the third year in the league in 2017-18, but his Minnesota Timberwolves barely made the playoffs, and this year the Wolves stand at 13-15, 13th in the Western Conference standings. And granted, he’s playing alongside Andrew Wiggins, one of the worst players in the league, and the one competent star he had alongside him, Jimmy Butler, got traded to Philadelphia for a bag of peanuts. OK, so maybe Robert Covington and Dario Saric are pretty good quality peanuts, but they’re not Jimmy Butler. But Minnesota’s been down this road before. A team …

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Klay Thompson: Is He Any Good?

Klay Thompson is a flash point. Doubt his prowess in a room full of Warriors fans and it doesn’t matter what else you say, they’re going to say you don’t know what you’re talking about. Thompson has a reputation as a great wing defender, he puts up three-pointers like they’re going out of style, and he’s a four-time All-Star. But the stats hate him. So who do you believe, me or your own eyes? The question under discussion here is whether Thompson’s deserving of his role as a four-time All-Star and the association that guys who are perennial All-Stars tend …

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Gordon Hayward: Is He Any Good?

Gordon Hayward returned from a lost season to the Celtics’ lineup, and rather than sparking a new golden age for the team, Hayward has instead struggled mightily as Boston has limped to a disappointing 11-10 start, their point differential so far this season projecting them as a lackluster 48-win team despite the second-best defense in the league. Then again, the man at the center of this entire discussion is a guy who used to toil for a team that can’t crack 50 wins despite being one of the league’s best defensive teams. But the Jazz play in the West. Except …

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Thaddeus Young: Is He Any Good?

The Indiana Pacers traded the 20th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, which became Caris LeVert, to the Brooklyn Nets for Thaddeus Young. Nearly two full years later, Young is a key piece in the starting lineup for a team that just won its 47th game, still has a chance to win 50, and has improved immensely this year after the departure of the majority of last year’s team. Now, we know Young’s not an All-Star. He’s a serviceable starter, the fifth option behind Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Darren Collison in some order. And since this column’s …

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Damian Lillard: Is He Any Good?

Oh man, I can’t wait for Twitter to slam me for the headline. “Damian Lillard? He’s great! MVP candidate!” Settle down, Beavis. What we’re asking here is, as is normally the case when we’re talking MVP-candidate-level players, whether Lillard is truly worthy of that kind of consideration. If we were writing about, say, Evan Turner, we’d be asking if he was a waste of money and establishing he was good if he wasn’t. (He is.) As on the show from which this series’ premise shamelessly cribs, you have to remember what the “myth” is before it being busted or confirmed …

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Carmelo Anthony 2018: Is He Any Good?

Carmelo Anthony used to be good. He used to put up spectacular numbers on some truly awful Knicks teams, and before that he developed a reputation as a guy who couldn’t get the job done in the playoffs because apparently he was expected to turn the Denver Nuggets into champions by himself and with famous playoff choker George Karl as his coach (this site is based in Seattle. Where were you on May 7, 1994?) When sitting down to write this, my first thought was “is Carmelo Anthony washed up?”, and I would look at all the evidence to arrive …

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Khris Middleton: Is He Any Good?

The Milwaukee Bucks have been in free fall since just before the All-Star Game. The team has lost 8 out of their last 12, their lone double-digit win in that span a win over the hapless and tanking Orlando Magic. Their point differential is down to minus-0.3 on the season, they’ve fallen to seventh in the East just above the equally anemic Heat, and they look an awful lot like they’re simply going to bow out in five games against the likes of Toronto or Boston come playoff time. Against the backdrop of this underachievement is a team with a …

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Trevor Booker: Is He Any Good?

The Pacers recently acquired Trevor Booker off the waiver wire for their playoff run, shoring up their power forward situation and presumably giving Thaddeus Young a backup who isn’t Al Jefferson. In theory, this should add bench depth to a team that is in critical need of it while at the same time they get Glenn Robinson III back; by the time Darren Collison returns, this should be a fully loaded team for the playoffs. But that presumes that Booker is actually any good…and at age 30, he’s as good as he’s ever going to be. So let’s frame the …

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Spencer Dinwiddie: Is He Any Good?

This year, in the absence of Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie has been drafted into the role of starting point guard for the Brooklyn Nets. On the one hand, he’s a G-League refugee, a guy who never caught on in Detroit, and a third option. On the other hand, dude won the Skills Competition at All-Star Weekend. But anyone who is not Joel Embiid can navigate a skills course. Doing meaningful things in actual games is a whole other matter. In the grand tradition of movable goal posts on this here publication, we tailor the test to the …

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Julius Randle: Is He Any Good?

Sometimes you learn more in a trade by who a team keeps rather than who they ship out, and the Lakers’ decision to keep Julius Randle at the deadline speaks volumes about what they think of him compared to, say, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., who got shipped to Cleveland in the Isaiah Thomas trade to placate LeBron James. Randle is the incumbent power forward on a team that has Brandon Ingram coming to his own at the 3 and Kyle Kuzma evolving as a sixth man behind Randle at power forward. It is that latter competitor for minutes …

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