Trevor Booker: Is He Any Good?

The Pacers recently acquired Trevor Booker off the waiver wire for their playoff run, shoring up their power forward situation and presumably giving Thaddeus Young a backup who isn’t Al Jefferson. In theory, this should add bench depth to a team that is in critical need of it while at the same time they get Glenn Robinson III back; by the time Darren Collison returns, this should be a fully loaded team for the playoffs. But that presumes that Booker is actually any good…and at age 30, he’s as good as he’s ever going to be. So let’s frame the …

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Spencer Dinwiddie: Is He Any Good?

This year, in the absence of Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie has been drafted into the role of starting point guard for the Brooklyn Nets. On the one hand, he’s a G-League refugee, a guy who never caught on in Detroit, and a third option. On the other hand, dude won the Skills Competition at All-Star Weekend. But anyone who is not Joel Embiid can navigate a skills course. Doing meaningful things in actual games is a whole other matter. In the grand tradition of movable goal posts on this here publication, we tailor the test to the …

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Julius Randle: Is He Any Good?

Sometimes you learn more in a trade by who a team keeps rather than who they ship out, and the Lakers’ decision to keep Julius Randle at the deadline speaks volumes about what they think of him compared to, say, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., who got shipped to Cleveland in the Isaiah Thomas trade to placate LeBron James. Randle is the incumbent power forward on a team that has Brandon Ingram coming to his own at the 3 and Kyle Kuzma evolving as a sixth man behind Randle at power forward. It is that latter competitor for minutes …

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Myles Turner: Is He Any Good?

by Fox Doucette Myles Turner is in his third season in the league, and he’s played 180 games now. The day looms large where the Pacers will have to decide in free agency whether he’s essential to the franchise future; his rookie deal, which pays him $2.57 million this year and $3.41 million next year, is up in 2019. But is Turner worth it? The way he sends shots back and protects the rim brings to mind Hassan Whiteside, but his rebounding draws comparisons to Roy Hibbert. Likewise, he’s ranging out beyond the arc and shooting slightly below league average. …

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Blake Griffin: Is He Any Good?

Blake Griffin, he of the max contract and frequent injury, got traded from the Clippers to the Pistons this week, and as he begins his career in Detroit, the question must be asked…is he actually any good? And not just “is he a good basketball player”. Any fool can see that. He’s athletic, strong, a massive improvement over just about any power forward in the game today. But that’s not the point of the question. This week, we ask the question a different way: Is Blake Griffin worth his max-level contract, or is he a massively overpaid cap albatross who …

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Offensive Rebounds Vs. Getting Back On Defense: Which Is More Effective?

There are two maxims in the NBA that are seemingly contradictory. To do one, you must concede the other. One is “you need to limit your opponent to one shot.” The other is “you need to get back on defense and prevent transition baskets.” After all, if you miss a shot and you’re getting back when the shot goes up, you have given the opponent the former…but if you crash the boards to try to get multiple shots on the possession, you’re vulnerable to a 2-on-1 or a 3-on-2 going the other way, especially in an age where more and …

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The Denver Nuggets: The NBA Friday Champions

Statistical anomalies are as much a part of data as anything else. Just because something has a tiny chance of actually happening doesn’t mean it never happens; just ask anyone who’s ever won the lottery. But a lottery is, ultimately, a large sample size. Hundreds of millions of people buy tickets, so something that has a hundreds-of-millions-to-one chance must happen eventually, sometimes after a dry spell that pumps the jackpot up over a billion dollars. And indeed, when you hear that there were three winners splitting one of those billion-dollar jackpots, it’s little more than a small piece of statistical …

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Goran Dragic: Is He Any Good?

Goran Dragic, America’s Best Slovenian, has been a factor in the Miami Heat’s surprising run to the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference this season. With 17 points and just under five assists a game, he’s been the anchor at the point guard spot, and with Dion Waiters just having suffered what may be a season-ending injury, it’s going to be down to the Dragon’s leadership to keep the Heat in the driver’s seat as they look to continue the momentum that put them at 30-11 in the last 41 games of the 2017 season, falling short of the playoffs …

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Using Point Differential To Project the 2018 NBA Playoffs: Western Conference

Click here for the breakdown for the East. OK, now that we’ve projected the East standings, let’s go ahead and do the same thing for the West. As a reminder, the methodology assumes that the factors (injuries, intangibles, player skill, all the normal variances of an NBA season) are going to remain constant, because we can’t predict how that stuff will shake out; we can only use the actual game results to extrapolate to the rest of the season. This is not a comprehensive crystal ball game. It’s a statistical test, no more, no less. Now then, the West standings through …

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Using Point Differential To Project the 2018 NBA Playoffs: Eastern Conference

(Click here for the Western Conference projections.) Roughly halfway through the 2017-18 season, we’ve seen a few surprises in the league, both good and bad. The Heat, Pistons, and Pacers have overachieved in the Eastern Conference, while Philly and Charlotte in particular have disappointed. Out West, the Thunder have fallen short of expectations, the bottom fell out on the Grizzlies, the Lakers remain a joke, and the Timberwolves find themselves on a 50-win pace by record. Part of this has been the unpredictability of any given NBA season; there are always surprises, often involving rookies who perform beyond anyone’s wildest expectations …

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