Is This 2018 NBA Team Any Good?: Los Angeles Clippers

by Fox Doucette The Clippers, who were gifted Chris Paul by the league, apparently missed a payment to their State Farm agent, because CP3 got repossessed and given to the Houston Rockets. Which means… Blake Griffin’s so fragile that he hasn’t played a full season’s worth of games since 2014, DeAndre Jordan is a one-trick pony who doesn’t have Paul to lob him easy dunks anymore, and while the addition of Sam Dekker, Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Danilo Gallinari, and Montrezl Harrell make them an intriguing team, the question then becomes whether any of these pieces actually fit together. Can …

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Is This 2018 NBA Team Any Good?: Sacramento Kings

by Fox Doucette Sacramento traded away its best player, admitting that the Boogie Cousins Era was just seven years of having a great-stats-bad-team guy on a squad going nowhere. They were 24-33 at the time of the trade; they went 8-17 after the trade. That’s the squad they’re going to run out this year, a team on a 26-win pace, to try and clear the low bar of their 28.5 over/under. Which leaves only one question…is De’Aaron Fox going to be Sacramento’s savior? I sure hope so, because five is my lucky number and if you think I’m not buying …

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Is This 2018 NBA Team Any Good?: Phoenix Suns

by Fox Doucette For every yin, there is a yang, and for every Golden State Warriors squad tearing up the top of the league and redefining the word dynasty for a modern age, there is a sad-sack franchise with a cheapskate owner and no discernible leadership doomed perpetually to suck. Say hello to your 2017-18 Phoenix Suns, folks, as easy a case of Busted as the Dubs were Confirmed. Let’s unpack the sad tale of a pathetic franchise, which spends every waking moment of its life in the futile pursuit of a sadistic playoff berth, which mocks them and laughs …

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Is This 2018 NBA Team Any Good?: Golden State Warriors

by Fox Doucette Are the Golden State Warriors any good? Well hmmmm, let me think about it for a minute. Hold on, this might take me awhile to decide, because… …are you flipping kidding me? Of course they are! They’re the overwhelming favorite to win the title for the third time in four years, it’ll be 2019 before they run into potential contract trouble (when Klay Thompson might up and decide to take a max deal somewhere else because he’s tired of winning all the time and wants to be Raptors-era Chris Bosh for a change…) So rather than make …

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Is This 2018 NBA Team Any Good?: Denver Nuggets

by Fox Doucette The first question when asking about the Denver Nuggets isn’t “what’s the over/under on wins?” It’s “what’s the over/under on dumb puns on Nikola Jokic’s last name?” I’m serious, that’s no Jokic. I don’t have kids, but I’ve got dad jokes, folks. Now then. On to the team itself. This team, coming off a 40-42 season in which they missed the playoffs by just one game after a furious 5-2 finish that included a razor-thin one-point loss to Oklahoma City in Game 80 that sank them beneath the waters of a charging Portland squad with less than …

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Is This 2018 NBA Team Any Good?: Minnesota Timberwolves

by Fox Doucette The Minnesota Timberwolves added Jimmy Butler to a team that already has Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. They shipped out Ricky Rubio, who can’t shoot and who gets as many assists as he does precisely because he can’t shoot and has to get rid of the ball to guys who can (Rajon Rondo on the Celtics built his reputation that way.) They’re coached by a defensive mastermind in Tom Thibodeau. But this is also a team that couldn’t guard anyone last year, that always seemed to be less than the sum of its parts, and that had …

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Is This 2018 NBA Team Any Good?: Portland Trail Blazers

by Fox Doucette Seattle, where this site is based, is not the hotbed of NBA activity it once was. Most of this city’s denizens hold nostalgia for the Sonics; the folks my age remember Payton and Kemp, while the grizzled old folks remember the ’79 title team that brought this city its first (and, until the Seahawks won Super Bowl 48, only) championship. Folks don’t follow today’s game, not since the team naffed off to Oklahoma City. Still, there are Blazers fans in the midst, folks who decided that the dream of the ’90s is alive in Portland, at least …

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Is This 2018 NBA Team Any Good?: Utah Jazz

by Fox Doucette The Utah Jazz won 51 games last year, dispatched the Clippers in the first round of the playoffs, then gave Golden State…not a damn bit of trouble, losing all four games by double digits and shooting 41.9 percent as a team for the series. But hey, the Warriors were 16-1 last year in the playoffs and put up one of the greatest seasons of all time, no reason to panic, right? Well, Gordon Hayward is on the Celtics now. It is time to panic. Utah is now left rebuilding a defensive identity and trying to be a …

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Is This 2018 NBA Team Any Good?: Oklahoma City Thunder

by Fox Doucette Russell Westbrook got himself some friends to play ball with this year. A team that featured Westbrook and nobody the goddamn hell else managed to win 47 games despite being the worst three-point shooting team (a cover-your-eyes 32.7 percent), completely incapable of getting an assist that Westbrook didn’t dish out (they were 25th in the league overall, and don’t blame the counting stat on pace; they were ninth-fastest in the Association), and exceptionally turnover-prone (19th in turnover percentage.) On the bright side, they were fantastic at offensive rebounds (grabbing a league-high 27.9 percent of that cavalcade of …

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Is This 2018 NBA Team Any Good?: Houston Rockets

by Fox Doucette Houston is the archetype of the modern NBA analytics revolution. The Rockets won 55 games last year by pulling off the curious combination of looking at the stats on the court and the effect that obvious lack of chemistry got them in real numerical terms. The eye test guys always squawk about how you can’t measure things like team chemistry. If that were the case, Dwight Howard’s departure wouldn’t have been good for 14 wins. The offense was 6.4 points per 100 possessions better, second only to Golden State’s unstoppable juggernaut in terms of efficiency. The defense, …

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