Hey Indiana Pacers! Nate McMillan Needs to be Fired. Now.

It is not normally considered good form to complain about the coach based on one game of an 82-game season. But for the Indiana Pacers, they should’ve fired Nate McMillan…well, they never should’ve hired him in the first place, but if last year wasn’t enough to convince them to take the franchise in a new direction leadership-wise, then what’s it going to take? And I don’t want to hear the argument “but they won 48 games!” Yes they did. Because they have a ton of talent that in the right hands with the right offense could win 60 in any …

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Domantas Sabonis: The Best Contract Extension in the NBA

The Indiana Pacers, after some saber rattling and a slew of trade rumors, signed Domantas Sabonis to a four-year contract extension Monday that, according to various reports, is good for something in the $75-80 million range with incentives. The Indianapolis Star reported $74.9 million, as did Shams Charania, so that’s the figure I’m going to go with for this piece. At that salary, and given Sabonis’ .197 WS/48 last year (the same as Karl-Anthony Towns and Kyrie Irving), that gives him a Wiggins Factor of 203.55, which is spectacular for a guy making star money—anything below 300 is good, 250 …

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Are the 2019-20 Golden State Warriors Good?

The Golden State Warriors fell short of winning their fourth title in five years in June, with injuries to Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson acting as a decisive Gotterdammerung at the hands of the Toronto Raptors. This year…hoo boy. Some prognosticators have suggested they won’t even make the playoffs, as Durant is gone to Brooklyn, Thompson will miss a substantial portion of the 2019-20 season, and Stephen Curry isn’t getting any younger and has had his own battles with injuries throughout his career since getting hurt in the 2016 playoffs. Vegas, for its part, remains optimistic, pegging Golden State for …

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Are the 2019-20 Los Angeles Clippers Good?

They’ve got a ready-made nickname for a superstar tandem (“The 213”, both the area code for Los Angeles and the uniform numbers of Kawhi Leonard (2) and Paul George (13) respectively). They’ve got two of the biggest bench superstars on great contracts in the league (Lou Williams at $8 million and Montrezl Harrell at $6M) and a sophomore player who has a chance to make a huge leap with the national spotlight on him (Landry Shamet). And they’ve got a coach in Doc Rivers with a championship to his name from the 2008 Celtics, The Los Angeles Clippers look like …

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Are the 2019-20 Sacramento Kings Good?

As this goes to press, rumors are flying all around NBA Twitter of Buddy Hield seeking a max extension after his rookie deal expires this year. De’Aaron Fox, meanwhile, will surely be in the same camp if he has another season like his breakout year in 2018-19. So it looks like the Sacramento Kings have big aspirations, but they’re going to have to prove it on the court this year if they’re really going to be able to say—with their wallets as well as their words—that they have the next big superstar backcourt on the West Coast to rival the …

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Are the 2019-20 Los Angeles Lakers Good?

The Los Angeles Lakers are LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and a G-League team. In other words, Davis, besides having possibly the GOAT on his team, doesn’t have a supporting cast any better than what he had in New Orleans when he ran himself out of town. But if you’ve got two top-5 players in the whole league on your team, does it matter what the other 10 guys do? (don’t answer that, Warriors fans.) Look. We know LeBron and AD will excel, provided they stay healthy. What we’re really trying to answer here is if the Lakers have anywhere near …

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Are the 2019-20 Phoenix Suns Good?

With the possible exception of the New York Knicks, is there a bigger Dumpster fire of a franchise in the NBA or indeed all of sports than the Phoenix Suns? As the Pacific Division is last up on the docket before the season starts, we get the benefit of having watched the preseason come and go as these previews go live, and the Suns in particular have had their disaster-movie status confirmed not by their own play on the court (these games are meaningless and have no predictive value for the regular season) but by three guys who aren’t even …

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Are the 2019-20 Houston Rockets Good?

No team in all of sports confounds expectations quite like the Houston Rockets with the possible exception of the discussed-Monday San Antonio Spurs. They are the ultimate dichotomy, the Spurs a testament to the power of brutalist old-school efficiency on two-point shots and fundamentally sound play that left them sixth in eFG% despite being dead last in 3PAR. The Rockets are the polar opposite, freewheeling with an astounding 51.7 percent of their overall attempts on the floor coming from long range and the fourth-highest eFG% despite the seventh-worst raw FG%—that’s right folks, in case you needed reminding, three is more …

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Nate McMillan and the Pacers’ Culture of Good Enough

Welcome back to Pacers Tuesday, here for another season on Pace and Space! We begin this season with a reminder that unlike Pacers and Pacers-adjacent media, I am not here for Nate McMillan as the coach. I have written more than once about McMillan’s commitment to Dark Ages basketball, his aversion to the 3-pointer, and his tendency to get outcoached even by objectively lousy coaches like Tyronn Lue in the playoffs. But Pacers media loves the guy. Pacers media has always loved the guys who at best coach the team to a high-40s win total and a first-round playoff exit …

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Are the 2019-20 San Antonio Spurs Good?

Of all the teams in all of professional sports, no team confounds analysis like the San Antonio Spurs. This is a team that won 48 games in the Western Conference and nearly upset the 2 seed Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs despite a coach whose offensive philosophy is so mired in the Dark Ages that if he weren’t a legend walking, he’d have been fired as the team said “we need to modernize and look toward the future.” The Spurs were dead last in 3-point attempt rate. Their two best players, LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan, …

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