Can the Miami Heat Void Meyers Leonard’s Contract?

Meyers Leonard, the Ivan Drago lookalike center who has been in street clothes due to a shoulder injury and will miss the rest of the season, did the second-dumbest thing an NBA player can do, and now his team is at a decision point. I say “second-dumbest” because “getting caught on a hot mic using an anti-Semitic slur” is only slightly less dumb than the same scenario but using or implying the N-word—see Sterling comma Donald for the fallout of that particular error in judgment. But still, using a word guaranteed to offend not only Miami Heat owner Micky Arison …

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LeBron James’ Amazing Playoff Statistical Legacy

In March of 2019, I took a look at LeBron James‘ amazing career statistically. I talked about the Grand Triple-Double (10,000 each of points, assists, and rebounds; based on his career averages, LeBron will reach that mark sometime during the 2021-22 season if he stays healthy.) I talked about his chances of passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the all-time scoring list—he has 4,147 points to go to get to 38,388, and at his career scoring rate of 27.1 points per game, he’ll do that in two seasons, maybe early in a third if the NBA truncates the 2020-21 season to 60 …

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The Importance of Shortened NBA Playoff Rotations

During the NBA regular season, bench depth is a vital way to make sure that starters are fresh for the playoffs. Whether it’s pounding weak teams into dust so teams can use their end-of-the-bench guys in garbage time or simply having a second unit that can play 15 or 20 minutes a game and hold a lead, using every one of the 13 guys at a team’s disposal pays dividends in the spring (or, if there’s a plague around, the early fall.) Case in point, the Los Angeles Lakers. During their five-game series win over the Denver Nuggets, eight players …

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Are the 2019-20 Miami Heat Good?

The Miami Heat finished second in the Southeast Division with a record of 39-43 in 2018-19 and came within three games of winning the division—not that this would have done them any good had they not been in the top eight in the East, but that only further underscores how bad 39-43 is when you get a division full of scrubs and can’t post a winning record. But that Heat team might as well be a completely different franchise compared to this year’s edition. Hassan Whiteside is gone. Jimmy Butler is in. Dwyane Wade and his brutal .061 WS/48 and …

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NBA Best And Worst Contracts Part III: Southeast Division

In the previous two editions of this series, we took a look at the best and worst contracts in the Atlantic and Central Divisions, and we finish our look at the Eastern Conference today with the Dumpster fire that is the Southeast Division—a division Orlando won with a 42-40 record and sent no other teams to the playoffs. Which, in turn, points to the wisdom of the NBA making its playoff standards division agnostic. In the old days, the 4 seed Magic would’ve hosted the 5 seed Celtics in Game 1 of the first round, a Celtics team that won …

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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 …

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Was Paul Pierce Really Better Than Dwyane Wade?

Paul Pierce caused quite a stir when he claimed on national television that he had a better career than Dwyane Wade. The reaction on social media was divided, with Celtics fans of course agreeing with Pierce and the NBA Twitter barbershop generally coming down on the side of D-Wade. Plenty of folks advanced the theory that Pierce is still bitter about his legacy since he didn’t get the Kobe Bryant/Dirk Nowitzki/”One Last Dance” lovefest that other stars got. And the statheads pointed out that the race is tighter than you realize. Your intrepid columnist is all set to wade into …

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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 …

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LeBron’s Legacy by the Numbers

The legacy of LeBron James is bookended by NBA history, trying to be better than the greats of the past while setting a standard that will withstand the challenge of the greats of the future. The legacy of LeBron is also bookended alphabetically, by the letter K on one end—Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Karl Malone—and by the letter M on the other, in the person of Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. Kareem, Karl, and Kobe are the three guys left in the way of LeBron setting the career record for scoring. Magic is the gold standard for versatility, his …

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Breakfast Special: How the West Was Won

Don’t look now, but the Western Conference has a first-place tie again, all while the battle at the bottom of the bracket has intensified to the point where every possible combination between the Warriors, Nuggets, and Rockets at one end and…well, everyone else at the other end…is in play for the first round of the playoffs. Along the same lines, the eighth-place Clippers, at 41-30, are on pace for a 47 or 48 win season. If Sacramento wins out, they’ll go 47-35. It’s all over but the seeding, and speaking of that… A Playoff Game 3 in the Regular Season …

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