Are the 2018-19 Philadelphia 76ers Good?

Talk about your mood whiplash; when you sort the Atlantic Division from worst to first, you go instantly from the Nets and Knicks to the 76ers, Celtics, and Raptors, a massive gulf in talent that instantly trades the 23rd and 22nd best teams in the league for the top three seeds in the East last year. We begin with the third-best among them, and the team that a lot of folks have pegged for the 2 seed this season behind a newly-recovered-from-injuries Boston squad. The first thing that jumps out at you is that Wilson Chandler is the second-highest-paid player …

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Are the 2018-19 New York Knicks Good?

When you do season previews for all 30 NBA teams, not every question is a nuanced, open debate. Sometimes… Coming soon to a quality #NBA site near you: "Are the 2018/19 New York Knicks Good?"Ehhhh… pic.twitter.com/A7U5JdVTNd — Fox Doucette 🏀🍳🥓🥞 (@RealFoxD) September 6, 2018 Man, where do we even start with this? Well, let’s start at the beginning. 2017-18 Record: 29-53 2018-19 Over/Under: 29.5 Wins Unicorn Nonexistent The elephant in the room: Kristaps Porzingis won’t be back until at least February—and there’s plenty of good reason to suspect that unless the Knicks massively overachieve, the team might just decide at …

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Are the 2018-19 Brooklyn Nets Good?

The last time the Brooklyn Nets were a relevant force in the NBA, they played in New Jersey, Jason Kidd was their point guard and LeBron James was in high school. Since moving to Brooklyn in 2013, they started out with a 49-win season and first-round playoff exit, traded for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett and faceplanted to a 44-win season in 2014, and promptly fell off a cliff. And they traded away their climbing equipment. Thankfully, the worst of the storm has passed, but because this is Brooklyn we’re talking about, their highest-paid player is Dwight Howard, who has …

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Pace and Space Returns September 5 With 2019 Season Previews!

Hey there Smart NBA Fans, your intrepid writer here… First off, thank you to everyone—over 20,000 of you—who have dropped by since the WordPress relaunch last fall to read and enjoy what I’ve had to say about the Association. This is my passion project and has been since 2015 on the old webhost (sadly, a lot of that content’s been lost to the whims of Internet history, one reason I’m on WordPress now.) And for those of you who have taken a look at the homepage and periodically wondered where I’ve wandered off to, well, yeah, maybe Summer Reading wasn’t …

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Does Russell Westbrook Help or Hurt the Thunder?

Russell Westbrook, by plenty of traditional basketball measures, is one of the biggest superstars in terms of production that the league has ever seen. But by a lot of those same measures, he’s also the most selfish stathound who ever cost his team wins by trying to do everything himself, like the rich man’s Lance Stephenson or, considering I’ve repeatedly called him “Dollar Store Westbrook” when writing about him, Lonzo Ball. The question at issue here is whether everything Westbrook does right—and when you average a triple double in two consecutive seasons when only one player in league history, Oscar …

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Statistical Test: LeBron’s Lakers, By The Numbers

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers are a motley assemblage of who-dats and castoffs, somewhere between a Rucker Park team and a G-League roster, with one of the worst No. 2 overall draft picks ever to lace up the sneakers in an NBA arena and with a Shaqtin’ MVP quite possibly set to be the starting center. But just how bad are the Lakers, really? Well, let’s imagine a world where LeBron James is replaced by a mid-tier starting small forward. Not a G-League replacement, not a guy who couldn’t crack the roster on the 2016 76ers or anything, …

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The NBA Draft Rules Are Stupid And Bad

The worst place to be in the NBA draft is picking late in the first round, after the lottery picks and the mid-first-round steals are off the board. What you’re going to be stuck with is a guy on a guaranteed contract who may never play a game at the NBA level and who is just as likely going to be a garbage time staple who maybe, somewhere down the road, might crack your rotation. Now imagine picking early in the second round, like picks 31 through 35 overall. All of a sudden, the risk is gone; you are playing …

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DeMarcus Cousins Is My New Favorite Player

I have a great deal of respect for any athlete who comes out firing in Eff You Mode with both barrels, and DeMarcus Cousins joining the Golden State Warriors on a $5.3 million midlevel exception is absolutely the most fantastic case of Eff You Mode I have seen in recent memory. This is not Kevin Durant playing mercenary in the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” NBA tradition. It’s not LeBron James doing the same thing in 2010, or Bron going Hollywood for reasons other than basketball or Carmelo Anthony doing the same thing when his media-obsessed wife took …

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LeBron on the Lakers—What on Kyrie’s flat Earth is he thinking?!

LeBron James is a Laker. 4 years, $154 million, take-the-money-and-run Los Angeles Tinseltown Lakers. And his supporting cast? Well, he’s just traded the Canton Charge for the South Bay Lakers, with Lonzo Ball, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, and whatever other curios and relics a 35-win team in 2017-18 can drag off the bottom of the ocean off Long Beach and suit up in a Lakers uniform. Paul George re-upped with the Thunder. The Spurs would rather surrender the Alamo than trade Kawhi Leonard to Los Angeles unless it’s to the Clippers. And the Rockets are one Trevor Ariza short of …

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The Indiana Pacers Are Blowing the 2018 Offseason

I trust Kevin Pritchard. Anyone who can boldly go into a trade negotiation, fleece the Oklahoma City Thunder for two guys who have turned into two of the best young players in the league at their respective roles, and not be laughed out of the room when he says it went according to expectation is a guy not to be questioned lightly. That said… ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FLIPPING MIND?! AARON FREAKING GORDON FOR $20 MILLION?!?! Put another way, I’m not on board with the Aaron Gordon offer sheet rumors. Gordon was great in the 2016 dunk contest. But …

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