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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1992: The Worst NBA All-Star Game

The sharp and complete transition between two eras in the NBA doesn’t happen often, and when it does, it’s downright jarring, like a major geopolitical shift after a war rather than a passing of the torch where the next generation asserts itself as the older generation declines. I don’t mean something like Michael Jordan‘s retirement in 1998 either. That was not ultimately an instant sea change. It was if you’re a Bulls fan, but legends drafted in the mid-80s still had their rivalries going—the Pacers and Knicks in the East, the Jazz, Rockets, Spurs, Trail Blazers, and Suns in the …

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The Greatest NBA Players Not in the Hall of Fame

There are currently 34 players in NBA history with at least 100 Win Shares who are not in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Of those, nine—in descending order, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Stephen Curry, Carmelo Anthony, and Russell Westbrook—are still active. It’s probably safe to say all nine will eventually end up in the Hall after they retire, and five (James, Paul, Durant, Harden, and Curry) are absolute locks to go in on the first ballot. Another eight—Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, Vince Carter, Dwyane Wade, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Tyson Chandler, and …

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6 is the New 8: The Fight To Avoid the NBA 2021 Play-In Games

As this article goes to press on the evening of April 29, the NBA has on its hands a fascinating look into the wisdom of choosing a four-team play-in tournament to decide the final two playoff spots in this truncated 72-game season. In the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat are tied for the sixth spot at 33-30. In the Western Conference, the Dallas Mavericks hold a half-game lead, 34-27 vs. 34-28, over the Portland Trail Blazers. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal; the big race would be 8 vs. 9 to determine who gets to either …

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The Most Underachieving Teams in NBA History

In our last piece, we took a look at the most overachieving teams in NBA history—that is, the teams whose regular-season records most exceeded the record you’d expect them to post given their point differential. But what about the flip side of that? What about teams that did great on the aggregate scoreboard but lost far more games than the stats say they should have? We’re going to look at that today. Some of these teams missed the playoffs when they should’ve gotten in. Others had a lower seed and a tougher road. And still others got a better draft …

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The Most Overachieving Teams in NBA History

In every team sport where points (or goals) are counted to determine a winner, there is a strong correlation between point differential and won-lost record. Indeed, two major sports—baseball and basketball—have developed mathematical formulas to predict with startling accuracy the overall record of a team in any given year. And indeed, when that ledger gets too far out of balance, it is often a sign that a team is about to sharply regress toward its expected record, all other things being equal (that is, they didn’t punt on the season at the trade deadline after a below-expectation start, for example.) …

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