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

The Pacers are the NBA’s Most Fragile Team

The Indiana Pacers went from a 57-win team to a 37-win team in as much time as it took Victor Oladipo‘s quadriceps tendon to tell coach Nate McMillan what it thought of the amount of time Oladipo got left in blowouts that should’ve gone to garbage time players long before. The Pacers went 25-11 in games in which Oladipo appeared. They were 23-27 without him, including an awful 6-15 in the last 21 games including the playoff sweep against Boston. In fact, they managed to lose to the Celtics six times in the space of a month. This year, Oladipo …

Read More

Kevin Pritchard is the King of the NBA Offseason

A GM in a big NBA market like Los Angeles or New York is under tremendous pressure to bring home the truly epic prizes, guys like Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant, and with all the advantages in the world, any fool can close the deal—the Lakers, after all, got LeBron James for no better reason than because LeBron wanted to be closer to his media empire during the season. A GM in a small NBA market has to operate on the margins, bringing in value talent, drafting well, and winning trades in order to build even a perennial first-round playoff …

Read More

The Pacers’ 2019 Draft Has Something For Every Fan

To say Kevin Pritchard had a whirlwind of activity on draft night Thursday is to say that Dorothy got caught up in a light breeze on a calm Kansas evening. Normally that kind of capacity for understatement is reserved for British political leaders in the midst of a war. No, what Kevin Pritchard did was a full-scale, F5 tornado whirlwind of activity that saw the Pacers acquire a known commodity (T.J. Warren, one of those guys I love to watch play because when his shot starts falling he scores a lot of points in not a lot of time) for …

Read More

The Pacers’ Point Guard Options Are All Terrible

The Indiana Pacers have so many trade and free agency rumors swirling around who is going to start at point guard when the 2019-20 season tips off that you could plug any name from the entire NBA into a Mad Libs and send it off for editing and readers would tweet it far and wide with no regard for its credibility. Part of this is because every offseason for every team at every position of need is like this and part of it is the simple fact that the Pacers, by virtue of Darren Collison being about to turn 32 …

Read More

The Pacers—And Everyone Else—Should Avoid DeMar DeRozan

The San Antonio Spurs are, unsurprisingly, rumored to be interested in moving on from DeMar DeRozan, figuring out a year too late that having a guy who relies heavily on low-efficiency midrange jump shots probably isn’t a guy you want taking a high volume of shots in your offense in 2019. What’s more, DeRozan and Kawhi Leonard, by virtue of being swapped for each other, provided a perfect test case for just how grotesquely overrated DeRozan is, as 60 regular-season games of Kawhi Leonard was (as this goes to press, it’s the day before Game 5, so if you’re reading …

Read More

The Indiana Pacers Should Trade the 18th Pick in 2019

The Indiana Pacers are, as of this writing and pending any Woj bombs or Shams scoops, picking 18th in the 2019 NBA draft. It is the fourth time in a row they’ve picked between 18th and 23rd, that late-first-round ghetto where the best talent is off the board and for every Gary Harris (19th in 2014 to Chicago) or Caris LeVert (20th in 2016 to Brooklyn via Indiana), there are seemingly dozens of guys like Fab Melo (22nd in 2012 to Boston, played six NBA games) or Malachi Richardson (22nd in 2016 to Memphis, posted negative Win Shares in 70 …

Read More

NBA Awards and the “Media Doesn’t Watch Games” Argument

Every time the question of analytics and the “eye test” comes up, someone starts in with the “these media guys never played the game” argument, suggesting that you have to play the game at a high level to fully understand it. Now, I don’t buy that argument for a variety of reasons. For one, most former NBA players who get into coaching tend to be awful at it. Sure, they’re great at the management of egos and the team cohesion side of the job, but when it comes to the Xs and Os, most former players revert to the style …

Read More

Should the Indiana Pacers Trade Victor Oladipo for Bradley Beal?

The Indiana Pacers badly need to shake things up this offseason. They’ve got millions in cap space, millions more under the luxury tax, plenty of expiring contracts, and one superstar whose injury sealed their fate fully three months before the Boston Celtics finally made it official and swept the Pacers out of the playoffs. Now, the Pacers could go the sensible route. They could ride with Victor Oladipo, re-sign Thaddeus Young (the glue that holds the team together) and Bojan Bogdanovic, fire Nate McMillan and bring in a legitimate head coach who can actually run a modern NBA offense, and …

Read More

Pacers Predictive Postmortem on the Playoff Precipice

In 2016, the Memphis Grizzlies started the season 39-26 before a combination of injuries to Mike Conley and Marc Gasol led to a downright violent regression to the mean that left them 3-14 in their last 17 regular-season games before meekly bowing out to the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs via sweep. In 2019, the Indiana Pacers started the season 40-20, even initially staying strong despite an injury to Victor Oladipo in January. But that injury, plus a vicious toughening of the schedule, led to the team finishing 4-9 in their last 13 regular-season games …

Read More