Every NBA Team’s 2021 Christmas Present

Christmas and the NBA go together like hamburgers and J. Wellington Wimpy’s credit rating. As such, let’s take a look at all 30 NBA teams, from worst to first by conference, and play Santa Claus, giving every team its dearest holiday wish. No fancy intro this time out, just straight to opening presents like…well, like a kid on Christmas. Detroit Pistons: All Their Young Players Hit Their Best Possible Ceiling. The Pistons start three players—Cade Cunningham, Isaiah Stewart, and Killian Hayes—who are too young to drink the fun kind of egg nog on Christmas morning. Another starter—Saddiq Bey—is 22. And …

Read More

Achtung Panzer! The 4-21 Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons, at 4-21 through games of December 10, hold the dubious distinction of not just being the worst team in the NBA in absolute terms in 2021 (although the 5-21 Orlando Magic are nipping at their heels) but being well on their way to the worst season in franchise history. They have zero double digit wins. The teams they have beaten have been terrible. They have the second-worst Net Rating—Orlando is worst. And it’s not like Dwane Casey is an awful coach. This is just a team that has had three straight years of the most utterly putrid …

Read More

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 …

Read More

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 …

Read More

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 …

Read More

State of the Site 2021

The NBA Finals have come and gone, and we will once again return to 82-game seasons and mid-October starts in the season to come. For the first time since 2019, stats won’t have to be prorated to compare to other seasons—with 72 games for everyone in 2021 and a variety of game totals from 64 to 75 in 2020, matching everything to 82-game rate stats has been a mess. Which means good things for basketball fans; we don’t have to wait until Christmas for the season to start or end up sitting on our hands for five months while a …

Read More

The Weird, Wacky Past of the 1970s Bucks and Suns

As the Phoenix Suns jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 2021 NBA Finals, handily beating the Milwaukee Bucks 118-105 on Tuesday, I got to thinking if they’d ever met in the playoffs before. “But Fox,” you may object, “the Bucks haven’t been to the Finals since 1974, and the other two times they played for the title, it was against the Celtics and the Bullets. What do the Suns have to do with that?” Well, you’ll notice for one thing that those two prior Finals appearances featured the Bucks as champions of the Western Conference. You’ll also notice …

Read More

The Changing Face of Chris Paul’s Legacy

Chris Paul is officially out of the discussion of “greatest player never to make the NBA Finals.” On the one hand, that’s a nice little backhanded compliment to Steve Nash, who resumes his place as the holder of that honor, depending on how you feel about Pete Maravich or Dominique Wilkins. CP3 was and is better than any of those guys, but now that he’s made the Finals, he’s graduated off the list for that dubious honor. The question now becomes whether Paul can get over the hump, beat the Bucks or Hawks (Milwaukee leads the East finals 3-2 as …

Read More

Speaking Too Soon: The 2021 Eastern Conference Finals

You ever read something and think “man, I need an editor?” Because in my piece “The Terrible Coach Redemption Tour”, I asserted that Steve Nash was coaching in the conference finals. This is what happens when you have a deadline, Game 7 of the conference semis are still to be played, and of course you’re going to be spending the next five days working a contract gig full-time that’s nowhere near your home studio. The Milwaukee Bucks won Game 7 over the Brooklyn Nets. And of course I didn’t get time to write about it until Saturday. Gods help me. …

Read More

2021 Playoffs: The Terrible Coach Redemption Tour

Editor’s Note: I made the mistake of assuming Brooklyn would win Game 7 of the East semis and wrote this column accordingly. Of course, Milwaukee won that game, so Mike Budenholzer, not Steve Nash, is coaching against McMillan and the Hawks in the ECF. Pace and Space regrets the error. The NBA was, for decades, a coaches’ league. Great leaders like Gregg Popovich, Phil Jackson, and Pat Riley became synonymous with the teams they led to greatness and were linked to the careers of their star players in Tim Duncan, Michael Jordan (and later Kobe Bryant), and Magic Johnson. In …

Read More