From Opinion

James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo Define MVP Debate

The NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award has always been hard to pin down. What does “valuable” even mean? It’s oft-debated and rarely identified, in part because even the concept of “value” is transient. Google defines it as “the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.” But there you…

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Breaking Down the NBA Eastern Conference Playoff Bubble

It’s not yet time to brag about that blowout win (or feign a season-ending injury after a few demoralizing losses). That’s because six NBA Eastern Conference teams balance on the playoff bubble, but only three will see the postseason. With a few weeks left to go, who are the best bets to secure a playoff…

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This is it for the Philadelphia 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers’ long-term future—and everything The Process ever led up to—likely comes down to the next few months. With Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, JJ Redick and others all heading into unrestricted free agency this summer, an early playoff exit could result in yet another drastic shakeup. “A lot’s gonna depend on how this team…

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The Psychology of NBA Tanking, Part 2: Lose Like a Champ

Is it possible to actually go through a “tank” with a winning record, high ROI, and no piles of corpses along the sidelines? Is that even a tank at all then? As you’ll see, defining a “tank done right” might preclude the word itself, though that’s part of the whole point versus the alternatives. DRAFT…

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On the Strained Relationship Between NBA Stars and Media

One of the more difficult challenges as an NBA analyst or reporter is trying to find the right balance between reporting or commenting on “rumors.” There are two extremes: Report or comment on absolutely nothing until it actually happens. Run with every rumor that comes out, even if it’s completely unrealistic. I think most people…

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Veteran Options if L.A. Lakers Never Get Anthony Davis

The Los Angeles Lakers’ 2018-19 season is effectively over. If their loss to the then-12-win Phoenix Suns on Saturday night wasn’t the final nail in the coffin, their ensuing two losses to the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets were. Facing a 6.5–game deficit in the Western Conference standings with 17 games to play, the…

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Who Deserves NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award?

Very quietly, the Sixth Man of the Year race is pretty fun this year. The league is littered with effective reserves on good teams, making it a bit tighter than usual. By my unofficial count, there are at least 16 guys that deserve a hat tip in the award’s discussion. I won’t bore you with…

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The Psychology of Tanking, Part 1: Can Winners Survive That Much Losing?

It’s a simple equation: tanking = top draft pick = NBA championship. The math satisfies the sensibilities of franchise owners, fans and Spike Lee alike… But what about the players? How much losing can an athlete take? Can the experience of tanking turn winners into losers? This is a question rebuilding teams should be asking, because if…

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Lauri Markkanen’s Breakout Should Alter Chicago’s Plans

If the month of February is any indication of what’s to come, Lauri Markkanen should get ready to represent the city of Chicago in next year’s All-Star game. The seven-foot power forward finished the month averaging 26 points, 12.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists on a true shooting percentage of 62.0%, an absolute elite number. Markkanen’s…

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Fear the Brooklyn Nets

Prior to Victor Oladipo’s season-ending quadriceps tendon injury, the Eastern Conference appeared to be a five-team race. While the Indiana Pacers have remained surprisingly frisky sans Oladipo, a brutal upcoming stretch could send them plummeting back to earth, leaving the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics as the favorites to emerge from…

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