The Pacers—And Everyone Else—Should Avoid DeMar DeRozan

The San Antonio Spurs are, unsurprisingly, rumored to be interested in moving on from DeMar DeRozan, figuring out a year too late that having a guy who relies heavily on low-efficiency midrange jump shots probably isn’t a guy you want taking a high volume of shots in your offense in 2019. What’s more, DeRozan and Kawhi Leonard, by virtue of being swapped for each other, provided a perfect test case for just how grotesquely overrated DeRozan is, as 60 regular-season games of Kawhi Leonard was (as this goes to press, it’s the day before Game 5, so if you’re reading …

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Breakfast Special: Will the Raptors Blow a 3-1 Lead?

The Golden State Warriors finally failed to hit 109 points in a Finals game, a score they’d posted like clockwork in each of the first three games of this championship series despite losing two of them. Too bad for them, because 109 would’ve been enough to win this one. As it stands they lost 105-92 to the Toronto Raptors and look an awful lot like a team that’s going to be forced to surrender when the battle shifts back to Canada for Game 5. In some small way, this is validation for Kevin Durant. Stephen Curry looked completely spent in …

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Breakfast Special: Now Steph Knows How LeBron Feels

Granted, Shaun Livingston is not J.R. Smith, but for Stephen Curry, his 47-point, 14-of-31 shooting, 6-of-14 from three and 13-of-14 from the line, eight-rebound, seven-assist gem of a game, one of the greatest performances in defeat in NBA Finals history, was wasted in a listless 123-109 loss in Game 3 as the Toronto Raptors grabbed back home-court advantage. Not since LeBron James‘ 51-point, 8-rebound, 8-assist performance last year, which was ruined when Smith lost track of the clock and launched a thousand Internet memes has one player done so much with his teammates just standing around watching. Although on the …

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Breakfast Special: Until the Road Team Wins a Game

The Golden State Warriors scored 109 points in each of the first two games of the NBA Finals. Trouble for Toronto came when they scored 118 in the first game and just 104 in the second, leaving the series tied at 1, home court advantage for now having evaporated, and the series on its way back to Oakland for Games 3 and 4 as the Dubs send off Oracle Arena in potential in-six championship fashion before heading into the new fancy digs in San Francisco next season. Game 2 was made possible by one of Golden State’s patented third quarters, …

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The Indiana Pacers Should Trade the 18th Pick in 2019

The Indiana Pacers are, as of this writing and pending any Woj bombs or Shams scoops, picking 18th in the 2019 NBA draft. It is the fourth time in a row they’ve picked between 18th and 23rd, that late-first-round ghetto where the best talent is off the board and for every Gary Harris (19th in 2014 to Chicago) or Caris LeVert (20th in 2016 to Brooklyn via Indiana), there are seemingly dozens of guys like Fab Melo (22nd in 2012 to Boston, played six NBA games) or Malachi Richardson (22nd in 2016 to Memphis, posted negative Win Shares in 70 …

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Breakfast Special: Marc Gasol Makes Me Look Dumb

At what point are we going to stop ragging on Nick Nurse as an NBA head coach? Nurse has guided the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA Finals in franchise history and his team executed a masterful game plan against the Golden State Warriors in order to take Game 1 at home—while we’re on the subject, for that matter, Nurse had such a great regular season coaching the team that his squad got to host Game 1 of the NBA Finals!—and the Raptors won 118-109 to take a 1-0 series lead. Now, let’s try not to over-react here; the home …

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Terrible Contracts: The Worst NBA Team Money Can Buy

When the discussion comes up about who in the NBA has the worst contract, the discussion often turns to guys like Chris Paul and John Wall, aging superstars with supermax contracts who can’t stay on the floor and who cost their teams millions on top of millions to effectively pay a guy to spend more time on the bench during the game than an assistant coach. But when Paul and Wall are out on the floor, they’re actually good. When they’re effective, Rockets and Wizards fans start dreaming of big things until they get hurt again and those dreams are …

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NBA Awards and the “Media Doesn’t Watch Games” Argument

Every time the question of analytics and the “eye test” comes up, someone starts in with the “these media guys never played the game” argument, suggesting that you have to play the game at a high level to fully understand it. Now, I don’t buy that argument for a variety of reasons. For one, most former NBA players who get into coaching tend to be awful at it. Sure, they’re great at the management of egos and the team cohesion side of the job, but when it comes to the Xs and Os, most former players revert to the style …

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Breakfast Special: Bucks Die by the Sword in Toronto

Rigidity of doctrine, no matter where it crops up, is a killer. It’s how once-prosperous businesses fail, it’s how politics stagnates into nations and empires in decline, and it’s how armies lose wars before the first shot is fired. For Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer, his rigidity of doctrine in terms of his offense and his commitment to minutes and rotations got him completely outcoached by Nick Nurse (!) as the Toronto Raptors beat Milwaukee 100-94 in Game 6 and won the series four games to two after dropping the first two games on the road in Milwaukee and looking …

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Breakfast Special: Fred VanVleet Comes Back from the Dead

Earlier in the Eastern Conference Finals, when the Milwaukee Bucks won the first two games and nearly ended up going up 3-0 on the road in Toronto, Fred VanVleet was so utterly awful that Raptors fans were ready to throw him off the CN Tower and openly questioned coach Nick Nurse on social media about his usage of the embattled guard. Well…fast forward to Game 5, where the Raptors, after winning Game 3 in overtime and taking Game 4 easily at home, traveled to Milwaukee and busted this series wide open, going up 3-2 with a 105-99 win that sends …

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