Headed For A Fall: The 2022 NBA Overachievers

Through games of January 14, the 2022 NBA season is effectively at its halfway point. Only three teams—Chicago, Denver, and Toronto—have not yet played their 41st game, while Memphis and Sacramento have played 45 contests, most in the league. Some teams have grossly underachieved so far, perhaps none more so than the 15-28 Indiana Pacers, whose Net Rating stands at just minus-0.9 even after Boston and Phoenix slaughtered them this week. But perhaps more interesting is the list of teams at the other end of the scale, teams whose records on the court are better than their records on the …

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Montrezl Harrell is the 2022 NBA MVP So Far

The Washington Wizards are a rather inexplicable 10-5 to start the 2022 season, fourth in the East. And leading the team in WS/48 and VORP by a country mile? Montrezl Harrell, the 2020 Sixth Man of the Year, a guy who may not look like a superstar in a traditional sense out on the floor but who racks up counting and advanced stats seemingly effortlessly whenever he’s in the game. Harrell is sitting on .323 WS/48 in 15 games and 430 minutes this season. He’s posting a 7.0 Box Plus/Minus and 1.0 VORP, that last projecting over 82 games to …

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The Washington Wizards’ Best Season: 1978

The Washington Wizards haven’t had much success since they dropped the name “Bullets” after the 1997 season. In point of fact, the Bullets/Wizards haven’t been any good since Wes Unseld—now the coach of the 2022 Wiz—retired in 1981. But during Unseld’s 13-year career, the Bullets were one of the NBA’s best teams throughout the 1970s, making four NBA Finals in nine years between 1971 and ’79. Trouble was, three of those Finals appearances resulted in losing to teams that peaked at the right time—two of those opponents, the 1971 Bucks and 1979 SuperSonics, had their best seasons in franchise history. …

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Russell Westbrook Keeps Breaking Advanced Stats

Remember 2017? When Russell Westbrook snookered everyone into thinking he was historically great by averaging a triple-double over the course of a season for the first time since Oscar Robertson did it 55 years before? And remember when those of us in the media lost our minds and gave him the MVP award? Well, he’s spent the past four years making us all look like idiots, and in 2021, he is once again averaging a triple-double—this will be the fourth time in his career he’s managed the feat if he keeps it up—and making the kind of people who still …

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Achtung Panzer! #7: The Tanking Washington Wizards

The Washington Wizards, losers of 11 of 14 and 9-21 on the season overall, look set to claim another lottery pick in the 2020 draft to go along with Rui Hachimura, the ninth pick in 2019. The Wizards are still a capped-out, injury-riddled nightmare, hence the 9-21 record, as Bradley Beal, once expected to be part of a Big Three with John Wall and Otto Porter, is now just a 26-year-old star without the supporting cast to help him claim his place on the national stage. Speaking of Beal, his stats have fallen off a cliff without quality teammates. His …

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Are the 2019-20 Washington Wizards Good?

The Washington Wizards finally parted ways with executive and head idiot Ernie Grunfeld last season, and that by itself is enough to preface this entire piece with optimism that the Wizards will be better both on and off the floor as a franchise, so let’s go ahead and lead with that, Wizards fans. Brighter times are ahead. But man, that product on the floor last year was putrid. 32 wins, a salary cap nightmare draining any hope for the future, John Wall‘s albatross of a contract destined to soak up cash while Wall watches games in street clothes…yikes. Wall played …

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NBA Best And Worst Contracts Part III: Southeast Division

In the previous two editions of this series, we took a look at the best and worst contracts in the Atlantic and Central Divisions, and we finish our look at the Eastern Conference today with the Dumpster fire that is the Southeast Division—a division Orlando won with a 42-40 record and sent no other teams to the playoffs. Which, in turn, points to the wisdom of the NBA making its playoff standards division agnostic. In the old days, the 4 seed Magic would’ve hosted the 5 seed Celtics in Game 1 of the first round, a Celtics team that won …

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Should the Indiana Pacers Trade Victor Oladipo for Bradley Beal?

The Indiana Pacers badly need to shake things up this offseason. They’ve got millions in cap space, millions more under the luxury tax, plenty of expiring contracts, and one superstar whose injury sealed their fate fully three months before the Boston Celtics finally made it official and swept the Pacers out of the playoffs. Now, the Pacers could go the sensible route. They could ride with Victor Oladipo, re-sign Thaddeus Young (the glue that holds the team together) and Bojan Bogdanovic, fire Nate McMillan and bring in a legitimate head coach who can actually run a modern NBA offense, and …

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Breakfast Special: RIP, My Favorite Weird Stat Story

The Charlotte Hornets got absolutely pantsed by the Golden State Warriors Sunday, losing 137-90 in the third-biggest margin of defeat by any team all year—Boston beat Chicago 133-77 on December 8, while the Mavericks beat the Jazz 118-68 on November 14. It was Golden State’s fifth win of the season by at least 30 points, while Charlotte has now lost five games by at least that margin. It also busted Charlotte’s net point differential to minus-1.6 per game, pretty much assuring once and for all that the Hornets will surrender more points than they score this season. And with that …

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Breakfast Special: Devin Booker, You Poor, Poor Fool

Devin Booker just had his third 50-point game of his career and his second in as many games Wednesday night in Phoenix. The Suns lost 124-121 to the Washington Wizards, dropping Booker to 0-3 in his career when he scores at least 50. Because Booker’s teammates are such a dumpster fire that we get yet another insane box score to gawk at the morning after. At least this time the Suns got five guys into double figures, but Booker was 19-of-29 shooting…and the rest of the team was 24-of-58 (41,4 percent.) The only reason this game was even as close …

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