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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Lou Williams: Is He Any Good?

Lou Williams, who may just end up being the last prep-to-pro from the old era left at the rate he’s going, was drafted out of high school in 2005 and immediately banished to obscurity; he’s been a starter for only 95 of his 808 career NBA games. But the 31-year-old journeyman, playing for his fifth team in the past four years, is making an incredibly strong case for Sixth Man of the Year, averaging 20 points per game off the bench for the Los Angeles Clippers. So this leads us to a simple question. Is Lou Williams a starter in …

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Eric Bledsoe: Is He Any Good?

As this goes to press, Lonzo Ball just had another Flea Market Westbrook game, going for 10 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists, continuing to be a player who even on a good day is mediocre at best. But then, Ball had two of the best games of his career against Phoenix and Milwaukee. The common thread between those two matchups? Eric Bledsoe, traded from the Suns to the Bucks in the interim. Ball torched Phoenix for 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists in only his second career game as a pro. He followed that up with his first …

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Dennis Schroder: Is He Any Good?

The Atlanta Hawks are genuinely terrible. After getting the royal smackdown from King James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, they’re now 4-17. The roster is a combination of castoffs, injuries, and injured castoffs, coach Mike Budenholzer is out there like “what, you gave me a G-League team, did you want playoffs?”, and the question of whether the players are any good almost seems a wasted question since, well, they’re 4-17. But the question must be asked, if only because it becomes a referendum on the guys Atlanta tried to keep in their great roster purge and subsequent tank job. So we’ll …

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Is This NBA Player Any Good?: Allen Crabbe

Ever since Vinnie Johnson, aka “The Microwave”, purified the art of the electric scorer off the bench, there have been guys like Allen Crabbe, who in Portland made a habit of being equal parts small-lineup forward and straight backup to the combination of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Now, in Brooklyn, he’s got a new role; he’s started as many games this season (nine) as he did in any season in Portland (2014-15, when he started nine of the 51 games in which he appeared.) In simplest terms, he’s become a starter of necessity thanks to the Nets having both …

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Is This NBA Player Any Good?: Emmanuel Mudiay

Emmanuel Mudiay has been a bête noire of mine for as long as he’s been in the league. My vicious “he’s a bust” rhetoric in 2015 about Mudiay’s -0.042 WS/48 season as a rookie is the reason Matt Moore of CBS blocked me on Twitter. Speaking of Twitter, everything you’re about to read is written with a big tip of the hat to Nuggets maven Rafael Torres, whose tweet started my brain’s gears moving and decided the subject of this week’s Is He Any Good: Mudiay is playing great so far this season and he’s continued it tonight. — Rafael …

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