Manu Ginobili vs. Chris Paul: Who Was Better?

Manu Ginobili is arguably the greatest foreign player ever to wear an NBA uniform—it’s pretty much down to him or Dirk Nowitzki. Which led the Twitter summer hot take machine to toss out this beauty of an argument over the weekend. Hot Take: Manu Ginóbili is better than Chris Paul — ⚡️ (@HeadbandBookk) August 12, 2019 The whole thing got me thinking. Chris Paul is worth a few superlatives in his own right, but the biggest one might be one he shares with John Stockton and Karl Malone as the best players never to win a championship. Paul is in …

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Basketball is the Ultimate Sport About Failure

Move over, baseball. Your title as biggest sport about failure has just been usurped by basketball. Because in baseball, “you can fail 70 percent of the time and be an All-Star” is both untrue (batting average is dead; all hail on-base percentage, and you’d better be getting on base closer to two times in five if you want to be a true star) and irrelevant; once you are out, you are back in the dugout and your ability to contribute meaningfully to your team’s success is done for another two or three innings. In basketball, on the other hand, some …

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On NBA Sidelines, We See the WNBA’s True Value

As a business entity, the WNBA is just about a complete non-factor, a small blip on the NBA’s balance sheet, a league that makes barely more money in a year than one NBA player on a four-year supermax will in Year 4 of that contract. But in terms of its contributions not just to women’s sports but to sports irrespective of gender, the WNBA punches far above its weight—like on a Little Mac in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out level of punching above its weight. Kara Lawson, WNBA and Olympic champion and Washington Wizards broadcaster, was hired by the Boston Celtics to …

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The Pacers—And Everyone Else—Should Avoid DeMar DeRozan

The San Antonio Spurs are, unsurprisingly, rumored to be interested in moving on from DeMar DeRozan, figuring out a year too late that having a guy who relies heavily on low-efficiency midrange jump shots probably isn’t a guy you want taking a high volume of shots in your offense in 2019. What’s more, DeRozan and Kawhi Leonard, by virtue of being swapped for each other, provided a perfect test case for just how grotesquely overrated DeRozan is, as 60 regular-season games of Kawhi Leonard was (as this goes to press, it’s the day before Game 5, so if you’re reading …

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Breakfast Special: The Worst Game 7 I’ve Ever Seen

The first round of the NBA playoffs was so top-to-bottom terrible that in the process it made a fine argument for just reducing the number of teams in the playoffs from 16 to 8 and proceeding directly to the conference semifinals. Heck, I’m a Pacers fan and even I would be perfectly OK with those eight teams being conference-agnostic—Milwaukee-Utah, Toronto-Philadelphia, Golden State-Portland, and Denver-Houston would’ve been your four first-round matchups in that case. The four top East seeds went 16-2. The Blazers and Rockets won their series in 5, the Warriors needed 6 only because they seemed so hell bent …

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Breakfast Special: Spurs-Nuggets: Endgame Coming Soon

Before this series, I predicted Nuggets in 7 with the home team winning every game. And…well…half right still counts for something? Because after some utter weirdness in the first four games of this series, Denver won Game 5… …and San Antonio held serve decisively at home, 120-103, to force the series back to the Mile High City for a decisive Game 7 this weekend. The score through 6 games? Denver 646, San Antonio 637. But this ain’t soccer, and nobody cares about aggregate score. The Spurs simply lived by the sword in Game 6. LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points on …

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Breakfast Special: Kevin Durant’s Better As A Heel

Kevin Durant may be a thin-skinned, easily-riled mercenary with all the moral courage of a toddler threatened with having his screen time taken away, but there aren’t many better players in the league when they’re in full-on Eff You Mode. Durant had 12 points in the first quarter, finished with 38 points on 14-of-23 shooting including 11-of-13 on his two-point shots, posted a game-best plus-32, and led the Golden State Warriors back to control of their first-round series with the Los Angeles Clippers with a 132-105 win. Some games merit deep dives and deeper analysis. Durant and Stephen Curry (21 …

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Breakfast Special: Nice Knowin’ Ya, Brett Brown

Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown deserves some kind of lifetime achievement award for seeing the Sixers through the deepest dark of the Process and into the playoffs. But the question needs asked: Is Brown going to be tarred with the brush of a “rebuilding coach”, the guy you hire when you’re going to do a franchise teardown and then let go when the team is good to bring in a guy who’s more a veteran-leadership playoff coach in the mold of guys like Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich, and Phil Jackson? Not that there’s anything wrong with turnaround guys; for every …

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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: Meet the New West, Same as the Old West

Last year, the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets faced off in “the real Finals” as the two top seeds in the Western Conference doing battle for the right to stomp Cleveland in the all-over-but-the-shouting championship series, the most anticlimactic gold medal game since the US beat Finland after polishing off the Soviet Union in the Miracle On Ice Game at the 1980 Winter Olympics. This year, the Denver Nuggets entered Sunday in first place, leading the Warriors by half a game and forcing a would-be Golden State vs. Houston rematch into the second round of the playoffs as the …

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