No, Nancy Lieberman, Lonzo Ball Is Not 2020 Most Improved Player

The talking-head media world is full of plenty of hot takes, terrible takes, and terrible hot takes, but this take from Nancy Lieberman of Fox Sports might be the hottest and most “thass turrable” (thank you Charles Barkley) of them all. "If Lonzo Ball is not up for Most Improved Player in the NBA this year then, apparently, nobody has cable."@NancyLieberman drops knowledge on Lonzo's improvement this season.#WontBowDown pic.twitter.com/ChSiAFHGco — FOXSports NewOrleans (@FOXSportsNOLA) February 22, 2020 To be Most Improved Player, one must show improvement. This much ought to be obvious. Giannis Antetokounmpo won MIP when he made his leap …

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Lonzo Ball: Is He Any Good?

The mere inability to shoot the basketball does not necessarily disqualify a player from becoming an all-time great. After all, Jason Kidd couldn’t shoot for beans (40.0 FG% for his career, and his five years in Phoenix were the only stretch with one team where he shot above that mark) and he’s in the Hall of Fame. Further away from the basket, Russell Westbrook is arguably the worst 3-point shooter of all-time. His 30.4 percent mark is second behind only Charles Barkley‘s 26.6 for players with at least 2,000 attempts, but Russ has attempted 3,150 through games of January 9, …

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Achtung Panzer! #5: The Tanking New Orleans Pelicans

The New Orleans Pelicans were supposed to revive their franchise post-Anthony Davis with a collection of castoffs from the Los Angeles Lakers plus the extraordinary luck of winning the Zion Williamson Sweepstakes last offseason. Instead, Williamson has started the season injured, those Lakers have been exactly the kind of players who couldn’t make the playoffs with LeBron James on their team, and the Pellies stand a woeful 6-20, tied with the Knicks and Hawks for the second-worst record in all of basketball ahead of only the what-on-Earth-happened Golden State Warriors at 5-22. And for all the talk of Brandon Ingram …

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Are the 2019-20 New Orleans Pelicans Good?

The New Orleans Pelicans are one giant full-of-promise question mark away from being a G-League team full of castoffs and discards who weren’t good enough for a 35-win Lakers team. But when the question mark is Zion Williamson, whose ceiling is LeBron James and whose floor is Aaron Gordon (big, athletic guy who doesn’t translate dunk contest excellence into superstar performance in actual games), everyone wants to anoint New Orleans as the next Golden State Warriors. Vegas seems to be splitting the difference, pegging the Pellies for 39 wins, 10th in the Western Conference, expecting them to miss the playoffs …

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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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Dell Demps, Sam Hinkie, and the Meaning of NBA Genius

  Dell Demps just managed to do completely by accidental bumbling what Sam Hinkie did by deliberate, willful arrogance, and in the Process managed to prove once and for all that the gods have one heck of a sense of humor. After all, what difference is it truly between New Orleans being a garbage fire for years under an incompetent GM, lucking into a couple of top draft picks, and rebuilding the franchise into a contender under a smarter GM, and Philadelphia being a garbage fire for years under an incompetent GM, whiffing on a bunch of draft picks and …

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Is Zion Williamson Already Better Than LeBron James?

Tuesday morning, an interesting question came over the wire on Twitter. Who is the BEST FORWARD currently in the NBA that Zion will instantly be better than once he gets drafted. — Justin Grant (@ThePackageJG) May 14, 2019 “Who’s the best forward that Zion Williamson will already be better than when he gets drafted?” And I thought about it for a minute. Because Zion is, of course, so obvious a lock for Rookie of the Year that they might as well just engrave the trophy now and hope he doesn’t blow out his ACL like Blake Griffin. And then I …

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The New Orleans Pelicans Should Hire Dave Joerger

Because the Sacramento Kings are a Roland Emmerich movie of a franchise and because Vlade Divac is as power-hungry as he is incompetent—and why do those things always seem to go together like ketchup and french fries?—Dave Joerger is set to get his walking papers in a face-to-face meeting that was leaked on Twitter way in advance. This leaves Joerger as a free agent a year after taking a Kings team that was languishing in NBA hell and leading them to 39 wins, a legitimate playoff run that ended only when the insane West got away from them (if Sacramento …

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Dell Dumpster Fire: Pelicans Finally Unload Dell Demps

The New Orleans Pelicans finally, like a woman going to divorce court after a bad marriage where the love was gone ages ago, parted ways with embattled general manager Dell Demps. And across the Big Easy, someone’s bound to set “Ding Dong the Wicked Witch is Dead” to a Louis Armstrong trumpet. Let’s have something clearly understood. Demps was one of the biggest reasons the Pelicans were completely unable to build a positive environment around superstar Anthony Davis, and it doesn’t take a genius to connect the dots to the massive Demps-ter fire that resulted when Davis, LeBron James, agent …

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Breakfast Special: Limping into the Break

There were three games in the NBA Thursday night, and from the looks of them, the players on some of those teams were already dreaming of wherever it is they’re spending All-Star week, whether it’s at some travel destination, at the game itself, or just home with their families getting healthy and enjoying a brief respite from the long grind of the NBA season. The net result of all this was that we got some real stinker games. Like… Charlotte Fixes a Problem There are two ways you can fix the problem of having a positive point differential and a …

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