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 …

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5 NBA Teams Are 4-1. They’re Completely Different.

As the NBA heads into the 2021 calendar year, the 76ers, Pacers, Magic, Clippers, and Suns are all 4-1, tied for first in their respective conferences. Indeed, the Magic were the last unbeaten holdout, winning their first four games before losing to Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve. But if five games have taught us anything, there’s more than one way to win four out of five in professional basketball. Let’s take a look at the five best teams in the league as of ten days into the season and see what they have in common…and what makes no sense about …

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Doc Rivers: Worst Coach to Ever Win an NBA Title

Sometimes, a great coach takes a team to the next level and leads them to a championship, bringing the talent together and leaving open questions of just how bad the last guy was that he couldn’t figure it out. Steve Kerr taking over for Mark Jackson and leading the Golden State Warriors to glory in 2015 comes to mind. So does Larry Brown working his magic on the Detroit Pistons to get them to two straight NBA Finals and that 2004 title over a Lakers team that was about to implode. Heck, if you’re old enough to remember it, Dick …

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Chris Paul: Greatest Point Guard Ever?

Way back when I was writing my “Which Advanced Stats Make the Best GOAT Lists?” article in April of 2019, most of the results produced some version of the LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan argument, as any good GOAT discussion ought to. The weird thing, though, was that while combing through the data, one name kept coming up as one of the top ten if not top-five guys of all time, and it wasn’t who you’d expect. Chris Paul is fourth all-time in Win Shares per 48 minutes, fifth in Box Plus-Minus, 10th in Value Over Replacement Player, and fifth …

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Early Favorites: Evaluating the Los Angeles Clippers

Through games of November 3, the Los Angeles Clippers, the early favorites to win the Western Conference, stand third behind the Lakers and Timberwolves at 5-2. This is all the more impressive since Paul George, one half of “The 213” combination (both Los Angeles’ area code and their uniform numbers) with Kawhi Leonard, has yet to appear in a game this season due to injury. This is a team that hasn’t even reached its final form and is still tearing up a Western Conference with ten of its 15 teams at or above .500 as Monday morning dawned this week …

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Are the 2019-20 Los Angeles Clippers Good?

They’ve got a ready-made nickname for a superstar tandem (“The 213”, both the area code for Los Angeles and the uniform numbers of Kawhi Leonard (2) and Paul George (13) respectively). They’ve got two of the biggest bench superstars on great contracts in the league (Lou Williams at $8 million and Montrezl Harrell at $6M) and a sophomore player who has a chance to make a huge leap with the national spotlight on him (Landry Shamet). And they’ve got a coach in Doc Rivers with a championship to his name from the 2008 Celtics, The Los Angeles Clippers look like …

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NBA Best And Worst Contracts Part VI: Pacific Division

As we wrap up our look at NBA contracts, a few things—good and bad—about Wiggins Factor as a stat start to come through in the analysis. In one case, it’s a sins-of-the-father argument… This really should say ‘the Wolves HAD one of the worst front offices in the league’. None of those bad contracts were signed by the current regime. — Jake Paynting (@jakepaynting) August 23, 2019 It’s going to take the new front office awhile to take out the trash. And in another case, it’s an example of Stewart’s Maxim: “It’s not funny anymore when it’s your guy.” @RealFoxD …

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Breakfast Special: Kevin Durant’s World of Super Adventure

Kevin Durant, in Game 5, scored 45 points, tore the Clippers apart, and saw the Golden State Warriors lose 129-121. So for Game 6, with a blown 3-1 lead in progress, Durant decided “if at first you don’t succeed, turn the funk dial up to dangerously funky, put on your Soviet dancing shoes, and Ra-ra-Rasputin your way into Beast Mode.” Oakland’s Greatest Love Machine had FIFTY points, on 15-of-26 shooting, 38 of them in the first half, and put those shots together with 6-of-14 from three and 14-of-15 from the free throw line. Draymond Green chimed in with a triple-double, …

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Breakfast Special: The Golden State Warriors Blew a 3-1 Lou Williams

There is no simpler way to summarize Wednesday night in the NBA other than to simply say the Rockets turned to the Warriors, said, “ready for that Western Conference Finals rematch, friends?” and the Dubs turned back to the Rockets and said “let us get back to you on that, we’ve got a 3-1 lead and, you know how it is…” Lou Williams went on a one-man 8-0 run in the clutch, the Clippers won Game 5 129-121 to take their second game on the road this series—just imagine if they could actually win at home!—and we’ve got ourselves a …

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Breakfast Special: The Sixers Finally Showed Up

Far from the outright embarrassment they were when they lost Game 1, the Philadelphia 76ers showed up in a big way in Game 2 to even their playoff series with the Brooklyn Nets 145-123. This was a case of a Nets team with virtually no playoff experience against the seasoned Sixers who made it to the second round last year, exactly the kind of battle-hardened bounceback game that shows maybe Brett Brown isn’t going to be coaching the Pelicans next year after all. HERO OF SERBIA Boban Marjanovic showed out for the second unit, scoring 16 points in 18 minutes …

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