Zion Who? The NBA’s Rookie of the Year Candidates Through October

The first calendar month of the young NBA season has come and gone, in a manner of speaking, as even though the season started just nine days ago, it’s still “the end of October.” And with a four- or five-game sample size, we’re still very much in wild overreaction territory but certain narratives are coming together about who in the NBA’s 2019-20 rookie class is truly “NBA ready” and who, at best, needs some seasoning in the G-League (looking at you, Goga Bitadze, after that massive egg you laid in nine minutes against Brooklyn Wednesday night for the Pacers) and …

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Are the 2019-20 Memphis Grizzlies Good?

It’s hard to draw an accurate bead on the Memphis Grizzlies as they proceed to try and move past the Grit N’ Grind Era and into a newer, more modern approach to the game. On the one hand, they have a good combination of promising youth and savvy veterans that you need for a team on the rise. On the other hand, they have an absolutely awful coach in J.B. Bickerstaff, a complete moron of a GM in Chris Wallace, and an approach to analytics powered by John Hollinger, a guy whose statistical analyses have been passed by thanks to …

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NBA Best And Worst Contracts Part V: Southwest Division

Welcome to Part 5 of our 6-part series taking a look at every contract in the NBA—except for rookies and two-way contracts, plus anyone who didn’t play in the league last season due to injury or having been overseas or something—and quantifying the ratio of minute-weighted dollars paid to Win Shares produced. To remind folks who haven’t read previous entries in this series: As a quick reminder, a rookie, veteran minimum, or midlevel exception contract should produce a Wiggins Factor below 100, a rotation player with a rotation salary should be under 200, and ideally you want your superstar-level contracts …

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Breakfast Special: Blazin’ the Nets in Portland

There were only four NBA games on Monday night, so of course one of them had to go 10 extra minutes to make up for it. The Portland Trail Blazers held home court, clinched a playoff berth, and made the race between 6 and 9 in the East a little more interesting by dropping the Brooklyn Nets 148-144. Damian Lillard was wildly inefficient in this one, scoring 32 points but requiring 31 shots to do it, while D’Angelo Russell wasn’t much better for Brooklyn with 39 points on 16-of-34. All the same, even by the standards of double ovetime, this …

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Breakfast Special: Revenge of the Scrubs

There were a few real head-scratcher losses by good teams in the NBA Wednesday night, and while we’ll save the recaps for the lightning round because they don’t merit a feature (with one exception for the top three that you’ll see when we get there), it is endlessly interesting every year when March and April roll around and for every team that provides a compelling storyline as they fight for a playoff spot (Pacers and West Coast road trip, anyone?), there are five more that are either bad teams winning as their garbage fire roster finally provides some hope for …

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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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Breakfast Special: James Harden “Only” Scores 28

James Harden‘s streak of consecutive 30-point games came to an end in the Rockets’ 119-111 win over the Atlanta Hawks in Houston, and it did so in the most James Harden way possible, as the Beard shot 7-of-21 from the field, 0-of-10 from three, and 14-of-16 from the line. He also turned the ball over six times, just the most Harden game you can possibly dream up. Harden did, however, get some support from his teammates for a change, as Chris Paul poured in 20 points on 5-of-10 from the field and 7-of-7 from the line, Eric Gordon had 16 …

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Breakfast Special: Is Basketball OK?

Before we get to the NBA highlights this morning, a moment to call out the single worst Super Bowl ad from a branding perspective in the history of spending millions of dollars on 30 seconds of air time. Pepsi ran an ad in which a customer at a diner orders a Coke, the waitress says “is Pepsi OK?”, and then Steve Carell, Cardi B, and Lil Jon spend 30 seconds ranting about how Pepsi is “better than OK.” Which…you just showed a customer in a restaurant ordering a Coke. You just showed a restaurant practically apologizing for serving your product. …

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Should the Indiana Pacers Trade for Mike Conley?

The Memphis Grizzlies have finally figured out that they’re not very good, and not just when guys like Mike Conley and Marc Gasol are hurt but also when they’re healthy. After starting 12-5, the Grizz have gone into a tailspin, posting a pathetic 7-23 record since Thanksgiving. And they’re finally sellers on the trade market as the Feb. 7 trade deadline approaches. And one of the most attractive landing spots for Conley is his hometown of Indianapolis, where a local-boy-makes-good story potentially awaits for the weak-at-point-guard Pacers. Conley’s a bona fide star, one of those guys who’s never made an …

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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 …

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