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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Myles Turner: Is He Any Good?

by Fox Doucette Myles Turner is in his third season in the league, and he’s played 180 games now. The day looms large where the Pacers will have to decide in free agency whether he’s essential to the franchise future; his rookie deal, which pays him $2.57 million this year and $3.41 million next year, is up in 2019. But is Turner worth it? The way he sends shots back and protects the rim brings to mind Hassan Whiteside, but his rebounding draws comparisons to Roy Hibbert. Likewise, he’s ranging out beyond the arc and shooting slightly below league average. …

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Blake Griffin: Is He Any Good?

Blake Griffin, he of the max contract and frequent injury, got traded from the Clippers to the Pistons this week, and as he begins his career in Detroit, the question must be asked…is he actually any good? And not just “is he a good basketball player”. Any fool can see that. He’s athletic, strong, a massive improvement over just about any power forward in the game today. But that’s not the point of the question. This week, we ask the question a different way: Is Blake Griffin worth his max-level contract, or is he a massively overpaid cap albatross who …

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Steven Adams: Is He Any Good?

Steven Adams has always been a bit of a wild card in his four years in Oklahoma City. He started his career as a bit of a cleanup guy on offense, putting back whatever Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant missed while doing very little offensive work of his own; at his peak in that role, he was hitting on 61.3 percent of his shots while grabbing 2.7 offensive rebounds a game. Last year, he was the second-best player on a Thunder squad that was Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Blue Featuring Steven Adams. This year? His role is the …

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Tobias Harris: Is He Any Good?

Tobias Harris, when he shoots the ball well, is a massive addition to a Detroit Pistons offense that is perpetually in dire need of the guys who make four-out basketball possible. Andre Drummond cannot win games by himself, and spacing the floor is how his dominance down low is able to be such a huge factor in Detroit’s wins. But on the other hand, when Harris shoots the ball poorly, he’s like Josh Smith out there; a guy who can go 4-for-13, as Harris did against Toronto in a 96-91 loss on Jan. 17, puts your team at a grave …

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Goran Dragic: Is He Any Good?

Goran Dragic, America’s Best Slovenian, has been a factor in the Miami Heat’s surprising run to the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference this season. With 17 points and just under five assists a game, he’s been the anchor at the point guard spot, and with Dion Waiters just having suffered what may be a season-ending injury, it’s going to be down to the Dragon’s leadership to keep the Heat in the driver’s seat as they look to continue the momentum that put them at 30-11 in the last 41 games of the 2017 season, falling short of the playoffs …

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Paul George: Is He Any Good?

When Paul George was a member of the Indiana Pacers, he picked up a superstar’s reputation without really putting up a superstar’s stats. This was partially attributable to the terrible team he was on; after all, Indiana without him was basically a G-League team, and PG13 was practically 2006 Kobe in terms of singlehandedly carrying a bad team to the playoffs. With no chance of signing him when his contract expires, Indiana traded him to Oklahoma City, where he has joined Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony as the Big Three on a so-called superteam that really isn’t very super. Sure, …

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Bradley Beal: Is He Any Good?

Bradley Beal has emerged as a legitimate star for the Washington Wizards, putting up some huge games this year and keeping the team afloat when John Wall went down with an injury. His 51 points at Portland powered a Wizards win on Dec. 5, and he’s scored at least 20 points in 25 of his 35 games this season. Beal is a great volume scorer, putting up points on the board on a playoff team. But he’s also got some efficiency problems and can be downright Dark Ages at times. Which leads us to an important question: Is Bradley Beal …

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J.R. Smith: Is He Any Good?

There’s a certain class of NBA player—Lance Stephenson, Robert Covington, Shane Battier—whose role as the “glue guy” is more important to the team’s winning ways than anything they actually do on the court. Sometimes those guys are good players in their own right; Covington is firmly in that fringe starter tier of guys who justify the minutes they’re given (14.5 PER, .113 WS/48, and 1.0 VORP, that last being on the edge of the second tier of NBA shooting guards we talked about yesterday.) Other times, those guys are more trouble than they’re worth, shooting teams out of games and …

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