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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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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