Achtung Panzer! #3: The Tanking Atlanta Hawks

Losers of nine straight and 12 of 13, the Atlanta Hawks now stand 4-15, dead last in the Eastern Conference and just half a game ahead of the woeful Golden State Warriors for the worst record in the NBA. A team that was supposed to have their breakout year instead finds itself mired in the throes of awful, as John Collins serves a 25-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance, Kevin Huerter sits in street clothes with injury, and Trae Young puts up monster stat lines (like his 49-point outburst against the Indiana Pacers on Black Friday) in …

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Are the 2019-20 Atlanta Hawks Good?

The Atlanta Hawks could be best summarized as Trae Young, John Collins, and a bunch of guys who might be a playoff team and might not contend in the G-League. So which is it? Which direction is this 29-53 Southeast Division cellar dweller from 2018-19 going to go? Are they headed toward and way past their 36-win over/under for a date with late-April basketball? Or is this whole thing going to get impaled on the spear of Young’s seventh-worst-in-the-league defense (more on that in a minute) and lose a bunch of games 120-115 on their way back to the lottery? …

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NBA Best And Worst Contracts Part III: Southeast Division

In the previous two editions of this series, we took a look at the best and worst contracts in the Atlantic and Central Divisions, and we finish our look at the Eastern Conference today with the Dumpster fire that is the Southeast Division—a division Orlando won with a 42-40 record and sent no other teams to the playoffs. Which, in turn, points to the wisdom of the NBA making its playoff standards division agnostic. In the old days, the 4 seed Magic would’ve hosted the 5 seed Celtics in Game 1 of the first round, a Celtics team that won …

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Breakfast Special: RIP, My Favorite Weird Stat Story

The Charlotte Hornets got absolutely pantsed by the Golden State Warriors Sunday, losing 137-90 in the third-biggest margin of defeat by any team all year—Boston beat Chicago 133-77 on December 8, while the Mavericks beat the Jazz 118-68 on November 14. It was Golden State’s fifth win of the season by at least 30 points, while Charlotte has now lost five games by at least that margin. It also busted Charlotte’s net point differential to minus-1.6 per game, pretty much assuring once and for all that the Hornets will surrender more points than they score this season. And with that …

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Breakfast Special: Pacific Powerhouse Pulverizes Pacers

The Indiana Pacers wrapped up an 0-4 West road trip Thursday night with an absolute stinker of a 112-89 loss at Golden State. The Warriors, meanwhile, continue to hold Denver at bay (more on the Nuggets in a minute) while showing that when they want to engage playoff mode defensively, no team in the league can score consistently on them. It was 19-19 after one quarter, the Warriors’ defense keeping things tidy until the offense got going. The next two quarters spanning across the half? Golden State 69, Indiana 43. The game was over by the time the fourth tipped …

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Breakfast Special: Three Warriors and a G-League Team

How many more games are the Golden State Warriors going to have where they get 20-plus from three guys but the rest of the team combined wouldn’t even be the second-leading scorer? They can’t keep winning those with a paper-thin bench, can they? Golden State beat Houston 106-104 Wednesday night on national TV behind 30 points from Klay Thompson, 27 points from DeMarcus Cousins, 25 points from the rest of the team, and 24 points from Stephen Curry. One Steph three more and the field wouldn’t have even cracked the top three. What are they even doing out there offensively? …

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Does Trae Young Really Have a Rookie of the Year Case?

Trae Young has been picking up a ton of Rookie of the Year momentum in the giant kangaroo court that is NBA Twitter. Especially among the hey-look-at-the-highlights crowd, the Barkley and Scott-Hollins Syndrome and “eye test” people, who if you’re reading hi welcome to Pace and Space we don’t do that here, Young is the rallying cry for the backlash against a season of people anointing Luka Doncic as Rookie of the Year and treating the debate as settled. Now granted, there’s some merit to the idea that Young should get the benefit of the doubt if you believe that …

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Breakfast Special: The Rockets Round Into Form

James Harden had 42 points, Eric Gordon had 32, and the Houston Rockets absolutely mauled the Boston Celtics 115-104 in Boston Sunday. For the Celtics, it’s a continuing demonstration of just how far they’ve dropped off despite in theory being a deeper team than last season with their superstars back from injury. The paradox has the Celtics careening toward a fifth-place finish, and they only have five in the loss column on sixth-place Detroit. And while the Pistons are extremely unlikely to catch the Celtics in just 18 games, it’s not out of the question if they catch fire. Boston’s …

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Breakfast Special: Even the Spurs Can’t Lose to Memphis

The San Antonio Spurs bandwagon has been sliding around out of control like a Seattle driver in last Saturday’s snow traffic ever since the team left for the Rodeo Road Trip. The Spurs, before they beat Memphis 108-107 in the House That 24-Second Violations Built, had lost four in a row. But when the Grizzlies are running out the likes of Avery Bradley to start at guard (even though Bradley did have 33 points), Mike Conley is a DNP-CD, and Marc Gasol is in Toronto, even the Spurs, crashing back to earth as their antiquated style of basketball and your …

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Breakfast Special: P Is For Powerless

Some days, you watch basketball and wonder if perhaps your time wouldn’t be better taken up by just changing hobbies. Like becoming a grizzly bear wrangler. Or an “experience collector” in North Korean labor camps. OK, so life isn’t THAT bad for Pacers fans, not when if you really want to experience the frozen wastes of Jotunheim in this mortal life, you need only step outside in Indianapolis this morning. But without Victor Oladipo, and with Myles Turner still not quite wholly sure how to be the focal point of an offense while maintaining his defensive intensity, and with Tyreke …

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