The 2019 NBA All-Stars According to Advanced Stats

Sports fans are, by and large, idiots. Need proof? OK, look at the All-Star fan vote counts and take a look at Draymond Green and Derrick Rose. Sentimentality is one thing (I am all for Dwyane Wade getting an All-Star appearance as a sort of Lifetime Achievement Award for a fantastic Hall of Fame career, the same way I was OK with a washed-up Michael Jordan in 2003 and an equally ‘he’s toast’ Kobe Bryant in 2016.) I am also OK with a player becoming an instant fan favorite and getting a sort of ‘borrow against future stardom’ star next …

Read More

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 …

Read More

Breakfast Special: Kyle Kuzma Goes Beast Mode

Kyle Kuzma, after shooting an atrocious 4-of-20 in his last outing, bounced back in spectacular fashion at Staples Center, scoring 41 points on 16-of-24 shooting in just three quarters of action as the Los Angeles Lakers clobbered the Detroit Pistons 113-100. For Detroit, they helpfully provided an atrocious shooting night of their own (44.8/31.8/57.1), got to the line only 14 times all game (making eight, against 13-of-18 for the Lakers), and played horrific defense overall, allowing the Lakers to shoot 56.1 percent overall. Someone clearly turned up Kuzma’s “recover from slump” slider in the video game of life. Lonzo Ball …

Read More

Breakfast Special: Down With 34-Minute Basketball Games

Indiana Pacers fans were uncomfortably reminded of the bad old days Tuesday night, as a 26-point lead nearly evaporated against the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers, before the Pacers—the last team Cleveland beat before the Cavs’ current 10-game losing streak—avoided bookending the streak in question and finished off the 123-115 win. And the Pacers defense was so hideous that it only serves to remind us all why Myles Turner deserves to be Defensive Player of the Year; the team is a completely different squad without him anchoring the defense and protecting the rim. All due respect to Domantas Sabonis, who is a …

Read More

Breakfast Special: Denver’s Impending Second-Round Exit

The Houston Rockets continue to round into form as the second half of the season looms, and their 125-113 win over the Nuggets Monday night was exactly the sort of performance we’re likely to see repeated if the Nugs are the 1 or the 2 and Houston’s between 3 and 5 and they somehow manage to meet in the second round of the playoffs. The Nuggets remind the viewer of nothing so much as those Seattle teams in the 1990s that were heavy on regular-season highlights and, except for one run in 1996 when they put it together in the …

Read More

Not All Stars, but All-Stars: The Guys-Fox-Likes Team

I like to think of myself as a reasonably objective observer of the sport of basketball. Sure, I have my biases—I am an unrepentant stan for the Pacers and a believer in the Bill Simmons school of sportswriting where it’s OK to root for your team in national media—but for the most part, Sheed’s Law is the first rule of my writing here. But let’s face it. Basketball isn’t any fun without the ability to watch it as a fan, to root for guys, to make certain League Pass choices based not on what national trends say makes the best …

Read More

Breakfast Special: Russell Westbrook, Guitar Hero

Since their improbable win over the Warriors on Christmas Day, the Los Angeles Lakers have looked like the G-League team they are without LeBron James and Rajon Rondo, both of whom are out with injury. The Oklahoma City Thunder beat them 107-100 at Staples Center Wednesday night on national television, powered by Paul George‘s 37 points on 15-of-29 shooting and Russell Westbrook‘s 14-point, 16-rebound, 10-assist triple-double. Plus, there was this brilliant razz of Lance Stephenson after PG13 drew an and-one: Westbrook so petty 😂🤣 pic.twitter.com/E9MhNJ8jd8 — Sports ReUp (@SportsReUp) January 3, 2019 Never mind that Russ shot 3-of-20 from the …

Read More

2018-19 Might Just Be the Best NBA Season Ever

The NBA hasn’t been this entertaining in decades, as a full 14 years have passed since the last time the league added even one expansion team, and the dilution of talent that triggered the Dark Ages was so long ago that when the Raptors played their first NBA game in October of 1995 (a 94-79 win over the Nets!), it was just three months after Dave Grohl released the first album from Foo Fighters. Which, in turn, means that for the first time in ages, the level of talent in the league is stacked when compared to the number of …

Read More

Breakfast Special: Welcome Home, Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose, take me home, to the court where I belong, West Chicago, United Center, welcome home, Derrick Rose. Now that you’ve got that earworm kicking around your brain, it was a fantastic homecoming for Rose and the Timberwolves, who smashed the Bulls 119-94 to keep the never-ending curious case of the Western Conference lottery teams going. Minnesota’s now won two in a row, moved their point differential to even and their record to 16-18, bounced off the 14 spot (although New Orleans, at 15-20, risks sinking into the inky abyss of a team that’s actually going to fail to …

Read More

Breakfast Special: A Night of Festivus Miracles

Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, even Andrew Wiggins…if you stayed up late enough on the East Coast to watch the late games in the NBA on Festivus, you got treated to Feats of Strength and, if you follow fans of the losing teams (or Doncic’s own team) on Twitter, you got Airing of Grievances big-time. There were 11 games in the Association as everyone gets Christmas Eve off before the annual Hoopsmas extravaganza on Tuesday, and like Santa in his sleigh, here come the presents of highlights from all 11: Steph Gonna MVP Warriors, with Curry: 18-5 (64-18 full-season pace) Warriors, …

Read More