Jeremy Lamb: Is He Any Good?

Jeremy Lamb has begun to evolve into not just Kemba Walker‘s safety valve in Charlotte’s offense that forces the defense to respect him but into a bona fide second or third option in Charlotte’s overall game plan. His scoring on a counting-stat basis is at a career-high level, and he’s taking a lot more shots to tie or take the lead in the close games Charlotte always seems to lose, one reason that the Hornets, with their +0.2 point differential, nonetheless carry a losing 27-29 record into the All-Star break, the third year in a row they’re posting a positive …

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Wilson Chandler: Is He Any Good?

Wilson Chandler has started 32 games of the 36 in which he’s played for the Philadelphia 76ers this year, and to say that he’s the fifth option is mainly to say that five men exist on the basketball court at one time for each of the teams. When Philadelphia acquired Chandler, Denver threw in a pair of second round picks in exchange for nothing but a cash payment and the Sixers’ willingness to take Chandler’s $12.8 million salary off their hands. Chandler is an unrestricted free agent after this season, at which point he’ll either sign with some team on …

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Jusuf Nurkic: Is He Any Good?

The Portland Trail Blazers rely heavily on their backcourt offensively, using Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum to take most of the shots and do most of the scoring. But at the same time, they’ve got a big Bosnian in the middle of the paint defensively protecting the rim and in the low block offensively to create a focus to keep the defense from simply ranging out on Portland’s shooters and short-circuiting their offense. The big Bosnian, Jusuf Nurkic, is the subject of this week’s examination of his skillset, and on a Blazers team with aspirations toward genuine contention in the …

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Malcolm Brogdon: Is He Any Good?

As Rookies of the Year go in NBA history, Malcolm Brogdon is one of those guys that you’d never remember won the award. You’d say to yourself, “OK, who was a rookie that year, Joel Embiid…Buddy Hield…Jamal Murray…Ben Sim, no, wait, Ben Simmons got hurt that year…” Brogdon, the 36th overall pick, a second-rounder, ended up walking away with the award. Of the players in that 2016 draft, Brogdon is already third in Win Shares behind Simmons and Pascal Siakam, and just ahead of Domantas Sabonis. And if you think that looks an awful lot like a pattern developing before …

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Is Luka Doncic Really an All-Star Candidate?

Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic is currently second in the fan vote, behind only LeBron James, for the Western Conference All-Star starting forwards. Lukamania has seized the nation, as he has seized the mantle from Goran Dragic as America’s Best Slovenian. But what do NBA fans know? These are the same dingbats who have Derrick Rose second among guards in the same balloting. At least Dwyane Wade‘s vote total in the East is understandable given a lot of fans don’t care about his stats, they just want to see a Farewell Tour stop that involves sharing a court (albeit as …

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Nikola Vucevic: Is He Any Good?

This week, we’re taking a look at Nikola Vucevic, a guy who’s getting some All-Star buzz in the East even as he flies under the radar as the center of an Orlando Magic team firmly planted in that Mediocrity Hell between the Easy First-Round Outs (Miami, Brooklyn, and Charlotte, of whom only the Heat are even so much as at .500; the other two squads are below it through games of January 10) and the Panzer Battalion that is the Hawks, Bulls, Knicks, and Cavaliers. The Magic are in 10th place in the East, 2.5 games out of eighth place …

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Anthony Bennett: Is He Any Good?

(Ed. note: This piece originally ran on December 1, 2016. I’m re-posting it because with Bennett’s name in the news after a recent star turn in the G-League, NBA teams are seriously considering signing him to a 10-day contract and seeing what he can do. Enjoy!) “Jesus, Fox, Anthony Bennett? Are you changing your column to Is This NBA Player Even Still in the League?” I hear some of you saying. Hardly. I’m just taking the title of my column literally this week, as in is this NBA player any good, like, at all? More specifically, let’s define the myth …

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Montrezl Harrell: Is He Any Good?

The Los Angeles Clippers were left for dead after finishing last season 42-40, their collection of castoffs, nobodies, and HERO OF SERBIA not considered to be enough to compete in a loaded Western Conference. But there the Clips are, at 21-16, sixth in the West and hanging in a top eight that is starting to create some separation between itself and the teams from ninth (Sacramento, at 19-19 2.5 games back of the Clips for sixth and two back of the Lakers for eighth) place on down. Part of this has been because what one observer would call a lack …

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Tim Hardaway Jr.: Is He Any Good?

Tim Hardaway was one of the most underrated players of the 1990s, lost in the shuffle because his Warriors teams in the early part of the decade never came close to matching up with the likes of Seattle, Portland, Phoenix, Utah, San Antonio…man, the Western Conference was scary in the ’90s like it is now… And his Miami Heat teams, as good as the ’97 edition of the squad was, got pantsed by Michael Jordan and the Bulls, bowed out to Jeff Van Gundy’s Knicks in 1998, ’99, and 2000, and that was it for the title window. How odd …

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Rudy Gay: Is He Any Good?

The San Antonio Spurs are one of the most enigmatic offenses in the league. On the one hand, coach Gregg Popovich’s disdain for the three-pointer and the front office’s insistence on getting guys who can’t even shoot them—LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan—makes it all the more likely that their offense is going to happen entirely inside the arc like it’s 1975. But there Rudy Gay is, hitting 45.2 percent of his three-point shots, and at one point earlier this season, he had led the league at over 50 percent. What we’re asking of the 32-year-old Gay here is not “can …

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