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: A Few Extra Bucks of Gate

In a pair of Game 4s in which the road team could close out a first round series and further underscore the essential pointlessness of a league that has at most four or five contenders each year nonetheless making everyone play a best-of-seven series against mediocre teams, one team decided that they didn’t need to get any extra gate revenue from losing and dragging out the series. Indeed, the Milwaukee Bucks’ next home game will be the We’re Not Indiana Game forthcoming against the Boston Celtics, a game that ought to be much more difficult for the Celtics than playing …

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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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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: Blazin’ the Nets in Portland

There were only four NBA games on Monday night, so of course one of them had to go 10 extra minutes to make up for it. The Portland Trail Blazers held home court, clinched a playoff berth, and made the race between 6 and 9 in the East a little more interesting by dropping the Brooklyn Nets 148-144. Damian Lillard was wildly inefficient in this one, scoring 32 points but requiring 31 shots to do it, while D’Angelo Russell wasn’t much better for Brooklyn with 39 points on 16-of-34. All the same, even by the standards of double ovetime, this …

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We Can’t Talk About NBA Defense. That’s a Problem.

There was an offhand remark in a recent Zach Lowe column on ESPN that pointed out Klay Thompson‘s positive attributes as a wing defender, and Thompson enjoys a reputation as one of the premier stoppers in the league whenever he’s got a man in front of him. Anyone who watches Warriors games can see it. But on the other hand, Thompson’s advanced defensive metrics range from “mediocre” to “utterly putrid, like among the worst in the league” when you look him up on Basketball Reference, his 112 Defensive Rating, minus-2.2 Defensive Box Plus-Minus, and that stat’s subsequent drag on his …

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Breakfast Special: 26-of-55 From Three. OK, That’s the NBA Now.

The Houston Rockets had been moving away from the three-point shot a little too much in recent games, as teams defending the perimeter took away their ball movement and their ability to find the good looks from out there that are the team’s bread and butter. Well, you know how you remedy that? You catch the Washington Freaking Wizards on a SEGABABA after they lost to the Hawks the previous night and pound them like cheap steak, exposing their awful defense and hitting an NBA-record 26 three-pointers (on 55 attempts!) in a 136-118 beatdown. My gods, it was a thing …

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Breakfast Special: Garbage Day

When the closest game in the NBA on any given night is 22 points, you know you weren’t exactly treated to the best competition the game has to offer. But what did you expect when two games involved a playoff team against a tank crew and the third involved one of the most feast-or-famine teams in the league? Boston beat the Knicks 128-100 in a snoozefest opener, Utah beat Houston 118-91 in the nightcap, and over on League Pass Portland pantsed the Suns 108-86 in a game that was over in the first quarter—Portland led 34-9 after one and cruised …

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Breakfast Special: When We Bring to the World Disorder

The Dallas Mavericks would make the playoffs if the season ended today. And while you may be asking yourself how a team so wretched last year could be so good this year, consider one simple stat. Per point differential, the Mavs, who went 24-58 last season, played more like a 33-win team. Then they added Luka Doncic, who’s positioned himself as a frontrunner for Rookie of the Year. They are now on pace to go 45-37 by record and 47-35 by point differential. So Doncic adding 12 wins in theory and 23 in practice as a combination of statistical regression …

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Breakfast Special: Jamal Murray’s A Mile High

You know the analytics people have gotten maaaaaybe a bit afield of the plot when there are Celtics fans on Twitter trying to point out that Kyrie Irving‘s 31 points was worth more than Jamal Murray‘ 48 because Murray took 30 shots while Irving took only 17. Meanwhile, Irving remains a little punk, one of my least favorite NBA players: Kyrie threw the ball into the crowd after Jamal Murray's attempt to make 50-points as the game ended pic.twitter.com/Vbx3oNxmaf — Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) November 6, 2018 Murray went for the shot to try to get to 50 …

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