LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and “Making Teammates Better”

The Lakers are a burning Dumpster fire of a franchise, and it looks like for the first time since 2005, the NBA playoffs will happen with no LeBron James present. Despite this, LeBron is having another top-notch season statistically, posting 27.4 points per game (above his career average of 27.2) and, considering his 35.3 minutes per game are a career low, he’s actually posting the highest scoring rate on a per-minute basis in 16 seasons in the league. He’s posting a 26.0 PER, .595 True Shooting, .186 WS/48, and 4.5 VORP, all despite playing in just 50 of the Lakers’ …

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Zach LaVine: Is He Any Good?

In the NBA, there are Dunk Contest Guys and there are actually-plays-in-real-games guys as far as effectiveness is concerned. Rare is the man who can combine greatness in the dunk contest with the kind of career that, say, Michael Jordan had or Dominique Wilkins had or Vince Carter had. Look at the past few years of the dunk contest for All-Star weekend. Hamidou Diallo and Glenn Robinson III and Aaron Gordon and Zach LaVine. The only guy to do real damage in the dunk contest who isn’t a Dunk Contest Guy, at least not in how he’ll be remembered, was …

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How Do Fringe NBA Teams Make the Playoffs?

It’s a maxim in the NBA that your typical 8 seed gets into the playoffs by taking care of business against bad teams and then winning just enough against other teams in their neighborhood to get a little separation when the wins are counted after 82 games. And sure, because it’s a long season, there will be some surprising wins in there, beating Houston or Golden State on the road, and there will be some cringeworthy losses, dropping a game to a tanking team at home, but for the most part, you get to that 42-win range (East) or 48-win …

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Are the 2018-19 Chicago Bulls Good?

As this goes to press, it’s September 19, International Talk Like A Pirate Day, and for the Chicago Bulls, they just got keelhauled and shipwrecked in one of the weirdest voyages that a bunch of salty landlubbers ever took upon the seas of the NBA in 2017-18. When they lost to the Pacers on December 6, it dropped them to 3-20. When they beat the Pacers on the 29th, they were 13-22, winners of 10 out of 12. They went 14-33 the rest of the way to finish with 27 wins. And meanwhile, they still have the same terrible coach, …

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How Good NBA Teams Lose And Bad Teams Win

There are, at present, three NBA teams that are indisputably good in the sense that they win at least 75 percent of the time, the bar a team needs to clear to go 62-20 or better; the Boston Celtics (18-3), Houston Rockets (15-4), and Golden State Warriors (15-5). There are also three teams in the Association that are so utterly putrid that they are on pace to win 20 games or fewer over an 82-game season; the 3-14 Chicago Bulls, 4-16 Atlanta Hawks, and 5-15 Dallas Mavericks. But if the best teams always won and the worst teams always lost, …

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NBA Breakfast Special: Luke Walton’s Point Guard Dilemma

Another day, another Lakers win that happened in spite of rather than because of sensible point guard play. Lonzo Ball and his 3-of-13 (23.1 percent) shooting, 2-of-8 beyond the arc, and complete lack of free throw attempts got the Lakers only eight points in a game that they came back from the dead to win, grabbing a 103-94 win over the Chicago Bulls in a game they trailed 56-42 at halftime. And of those three makes, one of them was a dunk: This is like Lonzo Ball’s first dunk of his life. pic.twitter.com/TQBWEYPMG3 — Rey-Rey (@TheNoLookPass) November 22, 2017 Coming …

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NBA Breakfast Special: New Orleans Boogie

The New Orleans Pelicans have never quite figured out how to use Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins together. A twin-towers big man lineup just doesn’t work in today’s NBA no matter how much Boogie might want us all to believe he’s a stretch 5. But by himself, and against his old team in Sacramento? How’s 41 points, 23 rebounds, and six assists sound? He was the focal point, and being focused propelled the Pellies to the win, 114-106, on national television. His “l’etat, c’est moi” game on TNT came against a caring-and-sharing Kings squad that saw seven players in double …

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Is This 2018 NBA Team Any Good?: Chicago Bulls

by Fox Doucette No team has fallen quite as far or as spectacularly as the Chicago Bulls seem to have. They traded Jimmy Butler to Minnesota for nearly nothing. Dwyane Wade is on the Cavaliers. Rajon Rondo is on the Pelicans. Any connection the Bulls had to their old glory days is out the door. And so a team that went 41-41 and snuck into the playoffs last year now projects as a panzer battalion, tanking all over the league. This is the last year a team can bottom out and gain a real advantage from it, so now is …

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