Brooklyn Nets…Or Broken Nets?

The Brooklyn Nets are 10-5 so far through games of November 16, having been clobbered 117-99 on their home floor by the Golden State Warriors Tuesday night. Their five losses have been against Milwaukee, Charlotte, Miami, Chicago, and the aforementioned Warriors, and the closest of those losses was by 13 points. That’s your defending NBA champions and three teams regarded as contenders, along with the ultimate wildcard of a Hornets team. And while Brooklyn is still third in the East and just a game behind surprising Washington for the top record in the conference, questions surround the Nets and whether …

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Golden State Warriors: 11 Wins, 2 Losses, 1 Enigma

The Golden State Warriors have two losses in 13 games so far in the 2021-22 season, and they’re the kind of losses that, when set against a team’s wins, tend to indicate a team that’s as good as their early-season surge. That is to say, after losing at Charlotte Sunday to drop to 11-2, the Dubs’ combined margin of defeat in the two losses is just seven, while 10 of their 11 wins were by at least seven points and eight were by double digits. Before the Hornets game—which, it should be noted, was the second game of a back-to-back …

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Jordan Nwora: Best Saved for TV?

So far this season, I’ve had the pleasure of watching Jordan Nwora of the Milwaukee Bucks on television twice, both times on TNT, both times in Bucks wins—first over Brooklyn on opening night, the second time Tuesday night against Philadelphia. In those two games, he has shot 10-of-19 (52.6 percent) from the field, 3-of-8 (37.5 percent) from long range, recorded a combined plus-8 while on the floor in his 41 minutes, all while turning the ball over just once. If you saw a guy like that, you’d think “he’s pretty good. At age 23, he might grow into one of …

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2022 Charlotte Hornets: The NBA’s Most Entertaining Team

The 2021-22 Charlotte Hornets started the season 5-1, but after losing 140-110 to Sacramento, they are now 5-5. But in those ten games, the Hornets have emerged as far and away the most entertaining team in the league to watch. Mind you, I’m not talking about entertainment value if you’re, say, a Hornets fan who wants to watch your team win. Despite the hot start, these guys are legitimately awful, not as good as their .500 record, and they’re probably headed for the play-in tournament as the 9 or 10 seed. I’m talking about entertainment value if you don’t give …

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Stop Trying to Make the New Orleans Pelicans Happen, TNT and ESPN

The New Orleans Pelicans, since drafting Zion Williamson in 2019, have gone 62-90, finishing 13th in the Western Conference in 2020 and 11th in 2021. So far in 2021-22, they’re 1-7, dead last in the entire league. But every year, TNT and ESPN insist on cramming the Pelicans down our throats, giving them national media exposure and trying to make Zion into the next LeBron James. It made a measure of sense in Zion’s rookie year. Williamson came into the league with a Hall of Fame ceiling. Everyone loves watching a hotshot rookie, even on a bad team. But Zion …

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Examining the NBA’s One-Loss October Teams

Through games of October 31, six NBA teams stand at 5-1. The Knicks, Wizards, Bulls, and Heat have recorded that mark in the East. In the West, the Jazz and Warriors hold the honors. The big question becomes one of which of those six teams, if any, has put up the statistical profile to suggest they’ll be able to sustain a winning clip through 82 games—an .833 winning percentage works out to 68-14 in an 82-game season. I wouldn’t bet on any of them winning 68 games, but high 50s/low 60s and the top seed? That’s the kind of goal …

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So Are the 4-1 Miami Heat For Real?

The Miami Heat never seem to play a close game. Their four wins have all been decisive, none more so than the 137-95 thrashing they gave the Milwaukee Bucks in their opener on October 21. The double-digit loss on their record may look on the surface like they got smacked around, but that Pacers game went to overtime. Coming into the Charlotte game, the Heat held a plus-14.8 Net Rating, second behind only the red-hot Utah Jazz (plus-18.2 after demolishing Houston to go to 4-0 on Thursday night.) Miami brought a 92.3 Defensive Rating into the contest. After a 114-99 …

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“Hack-A” Is Stupid. Stop Doing It.

During the Nuggets-Jazz game Tuesday night, Denver, trailing late in the game, tried the “Hack-A” strategy on Rudy Gobert, who had started the game 1-of-6 from the line. Gobert is a poor free throw shooter (63.1 percent for his career.) But even if he were a 50 percent shooter, it would still be a stupid idea to hack him and send him to the line. If we strip every element of the Offensive Rating formula out except for free throw attempts, what we’re left with is PTS/(.44xFTA)x100. The free throw attempt multiplier takes into account the fact that not every …

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The Denver Nuggets’ Weird 2-1 Start

As the Denver Nuggets get ready to face the Utah Jazz (as this goes to press it’s about two hours from tipoff), they are going to have to overcome a weird and disturbing three-game start to the season. Sure, they’re two up and one down after losing 99-87 to Cleveland Monday night, but one 87-point game generally doesn’t drag a team too badly even in the first three. The Nuggets are 26th in the league in Offensive Rating at a pathetic 100.1. Combine that with their 99.6 pace (eighth-slowest in the rapid-fire NBA of 2021) and they’re not even cracking …

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Small Sample Sizes Make the Best NBA Stats (2021-22 Edition!)

It’s time for the third annual edition of Small Sample Sizes Make the Best NBA Stats! If you’re not familiar with the concept, you can read the 2019-20 edition or the 2020-21 version, but the basic idea is after the first week of the season, when every team has played two or three games, there are all kinds of wacky statistical anomalies from players and teams getting off to hot (or ice-cold) starts. Projecting them for the entire season can be all kinds of fun and produce some insane forecasts that speak to just how powerful the Law of Averages …

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