NBA Best And Worst Contracts Part IV: Northwest Division

In previous installments of this series, we’ve looked at the relative value of the contracts in the Eastern Conference in terms of Win Shares per minute-weighted dollar of salary. Time for a trip out west, and we’ll run into the namesake of the Wiggins Factor stat when we get to Minnesota (spoiler alert: It’s a train wreck.) If having great value on contracts is a harbinger of making a deep playoff run, you might want to get to Vegas and get some money down on the Jazz. As a quick reminder, a rookie, veteran minimum, or midlevel exception contract should …

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Breakfast Special: It’s What We Broadly Expected

The NBA playoffs are fundamentally a problem of mathematical certainty given a large enough sample size. When you combine 82 games of regular-season basketball with best-of-seven series, and especially in the first round stir in teams with a high likelihood of a talent disparity due either to the simple fact that there’s a big difference between contender and mid-first-round draft pick team or due to that circumstance being forced by injury… …well, nobody should be surprised that Toronto and Boston both won on the road Friday. The Indiana Pacers, who finished the season 16-19 after Victor Oladipo went out, are …

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Breakfast Special: Get Your Hot Buttered Playoff Scenarios

Well, that’s 1,219 games down in the NBA this season, just 11 to go as we prepare for a wild finish to the season. Eight teams played their last game Tuesday night. The other 22 play their last game tonight. And 15 of the 16 playoff participants are decided. Only Detroit and, shockingly, Charlotte are down to the last game to determine who gets the right to get smacked in the face in five by Milwaukee in the first round. So let’s start there. The Inexplicable Charlotte Hornets The Not Cats were left for dead after losing three in a …

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Is Paul George 2019 MVP Material?

Russell Westbrook was the NBA MVP in 2017, the first of what has become three straight years in which he’s averaged a triple-double. Russell Westbrook is nearly inarguably the second-best player on his own team. Yet the Thunder are 45-33, and they’re almost certain to win either 47 or 48 games this year, which were their win totals in 2017 (when Westbrook put a G-League team on his back and dragged them to the playoffs) and 2018 (when Carmelo Anthony happened.) It is against this backdrop that we’re trying to build an MVP case for Paul George. The Thunder ditched …

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Breakfast Special: Players Only Make Broadcasts Worse

There is a classic formula in sports broadcasting that has worked for at least my entire lifetime (since 1977.) If you credit Monday Night Football with codifying the modern sports broadcast format and mainstreaming the three-man booth in 1970, it’s been nearly 50 years. You have a play-by-play announcer, usually someone with a background in traditional journalism and broadcasting, a torch that has been passed, depending on the sport, between the likes of Chick Hearn and Keith Jackson and Mike Breen. You have a color man, a former player or coach, giving expert analysis (indeed, the term “color commentator” is …

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Breakfast Special: Devin Booker, You Poor, Poor Fool

Devin Booker just had his third 50-point game of his career and his second in as many games Wednesday night in Phoenix. The Suns lost 124-121 to the Washington Wizards, dropping Booker to 0-3 in his career when he scores at least 50. Because Booker’s teammates are such a dumpster fire that we get yet another insane box score to gawk at the morning after. At least this time the Suns got five guys into double figures, but Booker was 19-of-29 shooting…and the rest of the team was 24-of-58 (41,4 percent.) The only reason this game was even as close …

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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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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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Breakfast Special: A Serge In On-Court Violence

Serge Ibaka built an NBA reputation on swatting shots away from the rim. But in the Toronto Raptors’ 126-101 humiliation at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday night, Ibaka decided instead to swat—and by swat I mean clobber—an opponent instead. Marquese Chriss ended up on the receiving end of Ibaka’s rage, and Everybody Hates Chriss: Ibaka and Chriss out here throwing punches 😳 pic.twitter.com/NwRhL6Apw4 — Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 12, 2019 That’s going to be worth a suspension. Possibly a lengthy one. Nice move for the playoff stretch drive, Serge. This was a beast of a game for Cleveland, …

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Breakfast Special: The Long, Dark Night Begins

Indiana Pacers fans have been dreading this moment ever since Victor Oladipo got hurt. A stretch of 11 games in which Indiana plays 10 playoff teams, eight of them on the road, and gets only the woeful Knicks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse to break up the potential 11-game losing streak started on national television… …and the Bucks came out in the third quarter, turned a game that was close at the half into a runaway, and won 117-98. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting and added 12 rebounds. The Bucks hit half of their shots and 40 percent …

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