NBA Best And Worst Contracts Part II: Central Division

Yesterday, we took a look at the Wiggins Factor of teams in the Atlantic Division. We found some great value rookie contracts that set the bar for the very best young value plays in Pascal Siakam, Jarrett Allen, and Mitchell Robinson. We also found some terrible values, most of them on the Knicks, and established that somewhere around 400 or 500 is the cutoff for when a contract is just a bad use of the money even on a superstar player. We also found that the standard changes as you rise up the scale; guys on a rookie contract are …

Read More

Breakfast Special: 182 Fishing Trips Start Today

Last night was a chance to say goodbye to NBA yesterdays before looking ahead to the playoffs and two months of NBA tomorrows. Dirk Nowitzki played his last game with his career ending as it always seemed to go when he played—getting outclassed by the San Antonio Spurs. Dwyane Wade notched a triple-double with LeBron James and Chris Bosh in attendance, reminding Miami that they haven’t won a stinkin’ thing since 2014. An era of NBA basketball is over. Some on Twitter are wondering where we go from here. Regular readers of Pace and Space already know the answer to …

Read More

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 …

Read More

Breakfast Special: Mile High, Road Low for the Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets are 31-6 at home this season, half a game behind the top-team-in-the-league Milwaukee Bucks, who are 32-6. Denver is 19-18 away from the rarefied air of their home floor, and it’s the biggest reason they’re only in second place in the Western Conference, trailing the Golden State Warriors by a game after the Nuggets went to Houston and got absolutely pantsed by a 112-85 count. James Harden had 38 points on 10-of-22 shooting, hitting 13-of-14 from the line and taking anyone who tried to defend him to school. After losing a battle of MVP candidates to Giannis …

Read More

Breakfast Special: Silly College, March is for Pros

The talk on most of basketball Twitter yesterday turned from the NBA to college, as everyone’s a bracketologist om Selection Sunday. And besides my alma mater Nevada getting in as a 7 seed (and apparently 26th overall by the NCAA’s gimcrack math), that’s all I have to say about college ball until the draft. The NBA was too busy giving us amazing matchups, like… Did the Sixers Just Make a Finals Case? Philadelphia beat Milwaukee on the road 130-125. Imagine a world where either the Pacers pull off a major miracle and finish third or else Boston gets hot down …

Read More

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 …

Read More

Breakfast Special: Of Greek Freaks And Beards

Giannis Antetokounmpo seems to get short-shrifted in the MVP conversation. Pundits go back and forth about Stephen Curry and LeBron James and James Harden (more on the Beard in a minute), but Milwaukee’s the team with the gaudy record (39-13, best in the league, and on pace for 61 wins), the massive point differential (+10, what you’d expect out of a 68-win team), and the best athlete in the whole league, good ol’ Greekazoid. Antetokounmpo had 30 points on 12-of-19 shooting, grabbed 15 rebounds, dished nine assists, and powered the Bucks to a 113-94 smackdown of the Nets in Brooklyn …

Read More

Breakfast Special: Dwane Casey’s Two Scoops of Revenge

The dumbest thing the Toronto Raptors did in an otherwise stellar offseason was fire Dwane Casey after a 59-23 regular season. And the smartest thing the Detroit Pistons did was show Stan Van Gundy the door in order to get Casey back on an NBA sideline without missing a single gameday. So as good as the Raptors are—and at 12-2, they are very good—Wednesday night belonged to Casey’s Pistons, who won 106-104 on some late-game heroics from Reggie Bullock: Your game-winner, courtesy of @ReggieBullock35! #PistonsNow pic.twitter.com/0Bk49404Kn — Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) November 15, 2018 Just watch the pure exuberance on Blake …

Read More

So We Killed the Midrange Jump Shot in the NBA. Now What?

In my article about Scott-Hollins Syndrome a few days ago, I sang the praises of the kinds of shot charts that the Bucks and Rockets are putting on the board these days, a ring of three-point attempts separated from layups and dunks by a no-man’s-land of empty space in the midrange, where be dragons. There’s just one small problem with all of this. Namely, with the midrange shot more or less completely off the table, what does this mean for the two-sided flow of a basketball game? Or, in simpler terms than that, what’s the defense going to do about …

Read More

Breakfast Special: The Education of Lonzo Ball

Are we seeing LeBron James singlehandedly turn Lonzo Ball into a quality NBA player? Because in Lonzo’s past two starts since Rajon Rondo got suspended, he’s 10-of-19 from the field, 3-of-8 from long range, and even though he’s still one of the worst in the league at willing his way to the line, that’s not terribly surprising for any second-year guard (and he has hit four of his five free throw attempts this season.) Throw out the Portland game (in which Lonzo went 2-of-7) and he’s averaging 13 points a game on 52.6 percent shooting and 43.5 percent from three-point …

Read More