The NBA’s “Omicron Asterisk” in 2022

The last three seasons of NBA basketball have been challenging to sort out if you’re the kind of person who isn’t a fan of making apples and oranges occupy the same history book. The 2019-20 season had a five-month hiatus, an eight-game abbreviated finish, and playoffs conducted entirely within a “bubble” where home court advantage instantly evaporated in a puff of COVID-scented smoke as all the games were in the same place and played to empty houses. Indeed, fans of the Phoenix Suns, who won all eight of their bubble games, stood at 34-39, and in any other season would’ve …

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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 …

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Breaking Down the 2022 Eastern Conference Free-For-All

The NBA’s Eastern Conference standings are proof that when you take your eye off the league for even one minute, let alone an entire week, much like a momentarily neglected toddler with a distracted parent, those 15 teams get into all kinds of trouble. As of Thanksgiving Day, just three games separated the tied-for-second-place Miami Heat and Washington Wizards and the 12th-place Toronto Raptors with nearly a quarter of the season in the books. Things both did and did not shake out a bit over the weekend thus far. Miami beat Chicago and Washington beat Dallas on Saturday night, bringing …

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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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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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Every NBA Team’s Worst Player Ever (Part 3)

When last we left off (two days ago…whoops), we’d gone through 20 of the 30 current NBA franchises and took a look at the worst player to suit up for at least 400 games, or five full seasons’ worth of time. These are not guys who show up, stink out the joint, then get thankfully dismissed—either traded, waived, or even stretch-provisioned if their contract is so awful that they’re untradable. These are guys who are on the team for years even though they stink. And funnily enough, most of these guys have been centers whose sole virtue as basketball players …

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Every NBA Team’s Worst Player Ever (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this series, we took a look at 10 NBA teams and asked who their worst player ever turned out to be. Our criteria included not just advanced stats (although it’s hard to argue with negative Win Shares or a deeply negative VORP) but also a player who hung around long enough to do real damage, playing at least 400 games in that team’s uniform. After all, any player can come in, stink out the joint for a year or two, and then get run out of town or stretch-provisioned out of a bad contract (ask any …

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Every NBA Team’s Worst Player Ever (Part 1)

In the long history of the NBA, every team, no matter how good or bad they’ve been overall as a franchise, has had a star player who left a legacy behind in the team’s city and usually made his own Hall of Fame case in the process. Complete dumpster fires like those in Minnesota and New Orleans still managed to have guys like Kevin Garnett and Chris Paul, after all. But even the greatest teams—storied franchises like the Celtics, Lakers, and Spurs, with a long history of continued excellence—have had some absolutely horrendous players. And I don’t mean the 12th …

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You, Readers, Are Predictable And I Love You All For It

Sometimes, due to the fact that Pace and Space is not my primary (or even secondary; if you’re seeing ads on this site, they’re not because I’ve tried to monetize it, so there shouldn’t be ads here and you can block them with my blessing) source of income, I get sidetracked from basketball and get a little behind on the news. Like, for example, Damian Lillard scoring 55 points in a 147-140 loss to the Denver Nuggets in Game 5 of the Portland Trail Blazers’ ongoing first-round playoff series Tuesday night. I did not twig to this because I checked …

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The COVID Vaccine and the NBA Feeling Like Itself Again

As this goes to press, my arm hurts like hell at the injection site where I got my second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine a couple of days ago. I woke up this morning feeling like I’d been hit by a car; that was apparently what the great random number generator that powers the universe rolled on the dice for me. But as I shook it off, I read a report in the New York Times that suggested that the US Centers for Disease Control is finally coming around to the idea that fully vaccinated people are safer than …

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