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 …

Read More

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 …

Read More

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 …

Read More

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 …

Read More

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 …

Read More

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 …

Read More

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 …

Read More

Is This NBA Player Any Good?: C.J. McCollum

Any discussion of great NBA backcourts always seems to eventually veer to Portland and the Blazers’ combination of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Their scoring prowess is unrivaled, but there’s more to quality basketball than simply putting the ball in the basket. You’ve got to stop the other guy from doing it too, for example. With that in mind, and with acknowledgment that Lillard is one of the top 20 players in the league in a bunch of the advanced stats, let’s put the spotlight on the other guy in this partnership and ask a simple question: Is C.J. McCollum …

Read More

Is This NBA Player Any Good?: Andrew Wiggins

Welcome back to the triumphant return of “Is He Any Good?”, Pace and Space’s Thursday-ish (as I write this it’s an hour to midnight Pacific time) weekly feature, and this week, we kick off the season asking if Andrew Wiggins of the Minnesota Timberwolves is, in fact, good or if he just puts up gaudy counting stats because he touches the ball so often. More to the point, we’re getting out the flagrantly-stolen-from-Discovery Mythbusters plate graphics and asking the simple question: Is Andrew Wiggins as good to the guys in the boardroom as he is to the guys in the …

Read More