Charlotte Hornets are Headed Off a Cliff in 2020

The 2012 Charlotte Bobcats, at 7-59, put up the worst winning percentage in NBA history and, on a prorated 82-game basis, were three-tenths of a win worse than the 9-73 1973 Philadelphia 76ers. Now proudly rebranded as the Charlotte Hornets, the Not Cats should seriously consider busting out the throwback jerseys because early indications point to a team that, with Kemba Walker playing in Boston and Jeremy Lamb in Indiana, has about as much firepower as bringing a BB gun with a stuck lever on the action to a machine gun fight. Their best players with Walker and Lamb gone …

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Point Guards and Supermax Contracts Don’t Mix

The 2019 All-NBA teams came out Thursday, and the biggest winners out of all 15 players included on the list were Damian Lillard and Kemba Walker. By virtue of their second and third-team selections respectively, both are now eligible for the NBA’s “supermax” extension in their next contracts. If your first reaction to the term “supermax contract” is “oh gods, no”, then you’re probably a Wizards (John Wall), Rockets (Chris Paul), or possibly even a Thunder (Russell Westbrook) fan. Each of those players will be making well over $40 million by 2023, and each one of those players has either …

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Breakfast Special: Get Your Hot Buttered Playoff Scenarios

Well, that’s 1,219 games down in the NBA this season, just 11 to go as we prepare for a wild finish to the season. Eight teams played their last game Tuesday night. The other 22 play their last game tonight. And 15 of the 16 playoff participants are decided. Only Detroit and, shockingly, Charlotte are down to the last game to determine who gets the right to get smacked in the face in five by Milwaukee in the first round. So let’s start there. The Inexplicable Charlotte Hornets The Not Cats were left for dead after losing three in a …

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Breakfast Special: Lance, Make ‘Em Dance

The NBA featured one game with direct playoff implications, one potential Finals preview, and eight games that ultimately meant just about nothing in the grand scheme of how things shake out three weeks from now—even though one of them was a legit thriller that we’ll get to in the third featured spot, so stick around for that. The thing about all this frivolity is it leaves room for the ultimate frivolous player, Lance Stephenson of the Los Angeles Lakers, a walking ball of highlights and cognitive fan dissonance. And that was all an elaborate setup for Lance shaking Jeff Green …

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Jeremy Lamb: Is He Any Good?

Jeremy Lamb has begun to evolve into not just Kemba Walker‘s safety valve in Charlotte’s offense that forces the defense to respect him but into a bona fide second or third option in Charlotte’s overall game plan. His scoring on a counting-stat basis is at a career-high level, and he’s taking a lot more shots to tie or take the lead in the close games Charlotte always seems to lose, one reason that the Hornets, with their +0.2 point differential, nonetheless carry a losing 27-29 record into the All-Star break, the third year in a row they’re posting a positive …

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Breakfast Special: The Quest for 3,000 Points

In the entire history of NBA basketball, only two men have scored 3,000 points in a season. One is Wilt Chamberlain (who scored a ludicrous and unbreakable 4,029 points in 1961-62 and topped the 3,000 mark three years in a row from 1961 to ’63). The other is Michael Jordan (3,041 points, 1986-87.) And while it is vanishingly unlikely that James Harden will get there (you’d have to average 36.6 points a game and play all 82), he might get as close as anyone has since Kobe Bryant scored 2,832 points in 2005-06, seventh all-time and the most by anyone …

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Breakfast Special: Wait, Are the Spurs Back?

The San Antonio Spurs have come charging back from the dead during the back half of December, and they capped off 2018 with an impressive 120-111 home win over the Celtics that included a monster 46-point third quarter, where the 16-point swing in the scoreboard proved too much for a Boston squad that had to that point played solid defense. It was 23-17 for the visitors after the first quarter, after all. Davis Bertans was 5-of-8 from three, Bryn Forbes was 3-of-7, and Patty Mills was 3-of-6, and while the Spurs’ stars—DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge—continue to be All-Stars only …

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Breakfast Special: O Canada, Our Warrior-Crushing Land

No Kawhi Leonard? No problem! The Toronto Raptors were good before, they engaged in some serious addition-by-subtraction shipping the three-pointer-averse DeMar DeRozan out of town, and they they went out and demonstrated that team-first supremacy in Oakland Wednesday night as they beat the Golden State Warriors 113-93 on national television. If you’re going to wreck the Dubs, holding Stephen Curry to 10 points on 3-of-12 shooting—and watch as this becomes a theme later, since “take away the star” got another team a big win that we’ll get to in a minute—is a fine way to do it. Once again, Serge …

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Breakfast Special: Bucks 2, Raptors 0

Twice this season, the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors have met in a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals. And twice this season, the Bucks have emerged victorious. Sunday, they even did it on the road, winning 104-99 in Canada in a surprisingly defensive matchup between two powerhouse offenses. Then again, even though the Bucks and Raptors are 2nd and 4th respectively in Offensive Rating, they’re also 4th and 7th on defense, and yes, that’s Milwaukee in the better position in each case even as they trail the Raptors by 2.5 games in the East standings. The Bucks shot 41.4 …

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Kemba Walker Is One of the Worst Clutch Players of All-Time

Kemba Walker is one of the most enigmatic stars in the sport of basketball. His Hornets have outscored their opponents in each of the past three seasons, but their record in those years, respectively, are 36-46, 36-46, and 10-10. For the two full seasons, they underperformed their win expectation by six each of those two years, and this year, a team that should be on pace for 53 wins is instead on pace for 41. That, assuming Charlotte would be 13-7 if they held serve with their record this year, is 15 wins below expectation across a mammoth sample size …

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