Drawing inspiration from The Athletic’s John Hollinger, I made a variant of his BORG statistic. I’m calling it NET, because it is meant to measure a player’s net contribution to his team over the course of a game. Here are a few definitions to lay the groundwork:

  • NET: Tells us how many points a player is worth per 100 possessions. In the image below, we can see that Giannis Antetokounmpo was worth 10.10 points every night for the Bucks throughout the regular season (pre-bubble).
  • Adjusted NET: Modified version corrects for players whose small sample size boosts their NET rating.
  • Estimated…

With enough bad going on in our country, let’s focus on the good in the NBA this week.

Courtesy: Arizona Sports

The Suns are awesome.

  • While the first clip is a master class in the pick-and-roll by Chris Paul, the second clip demonstrates Phoenix’s simple efficiency. Paul draws two defenders and kicks to Jae Crowder, who has a better angle to find Deandre Ayton for an and-one.
  • It’s a simple yet effective play; 3-on-3 in the middle of the court as shooters in each corner hold the help defenders hostage.
  • Phoenix is 6–2 and sits atop the Western Conference. The success…

Let’s begin the new year with a fresh set of observations from the new NBA season.

Courtesy: The Athletic
  • The Nets have the highest ceiling of any team in the East.
  • Brooklyn opened the season about as convincingly as possible, becoming the first team since the ’09 Lakers to win its first two games by 20+ points. Kevin Durant is averaging 28–6–5 on 52/58/88 shooting splits and looks every bit as good as he did pre-Achilles tear, when he was neck-and-neck with LeBron for the best player in the world title.
  • If they stay healthy (a big “if” considering Durant’s and Kyrie Irving’s…

I saw a thread on Reddit last week hypothesizing how many Shaquille O’Neals it would take to win a fight against a silverback gorilla. The correct answer is four; one Shaq for each gorilla appendage.

Quadrant 3

(1) 1997 Chicago Bulls vs. (9) 1990 Detroit Pistons

Outside of Michael Jordan, buckets were hard to come by for the Bulls. Scottie Pippen averaged 19.2 points per game on a below-average 41.7 percent shooting clip; Toni Kukoc ranked third on the team with 7.9 PPG on 36.0 percent shooting, and he shrunk significantly in the playoffs; Ron Harper averaged…

The goal is to beef up the analysis of each matchup as we advance deeper into the tournament, so I won’t waste time with a lengthy intro. Click here for Part 1 of this series, click here for Part 2 and click here to view the full bracket.

Quadrant 1

(1) 1996 Chicago Bulls vs. (8) 1963 Boston Celtics

If you’ve read the first two parts of this series, you know how this turns out. Even if you haven’t read the first two parts of this series, you still know how this turns out.

’96 Bulls win, 4–0.

(12) 2010 Los Angeles Lakers vs. (13) 2001 Los Angeles Lakers

Courtesy: Sports Illustrated

Kobe peaked from ‘08-’10 with a herculean three-year run that spanned 304 games…

A quick refresher in case you’re new here or you already forgot how this works:

  • The Tournament of Champions is a 64-team bracket of NBA champions to determine the best team of all-time.
  • Teams play by the rules of the higher seed’s era. This affects the existence of a 3-point line, the width of the lane and even the way the game is officiated.
  • All outcomes are decided on the premise that the lower-seeded team is put in a time machine and transported to the higher seed’s era. …

Something I don’t understand: the “we need to stop comparing players and teams to each other and just appreciate them” line of thinking. My counter: can’t we do both?

It’s fun to debate MJ vs. LeBron and argue about the ’96 Bulls vs. the ’17 Warriors, and we can do it in a way that is appreciative of the unique talents of everyone involved. Besides, determining the best players and teams is the fundamental purpose of sports. That’s why we crown champions.

Enter the Tournament of Champions. It’s a 64-team bracket of NBA champions to determine the best team of…

LeBron James is the captain of the 2010s All-Decade team.

What better way to ring in the new decade than by looking back at the last one?

First, let’s lay down some ground rules:

  1. This isn’t just an All-Star team or a roster you’d slap together on 2K. We have to consider fit, chemistry, personalities, play styles, all of the intangible uniqueness that makes basketball so great.
  2. I’m outfitting this 10-man team to compete in the Universal Cup. What is that, you ask? It’s an event I made up 30 seconds ago where aliens descend on earth and challenge humans to a best-of-seven series for control of the universe.
  3. It’s…

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Case

The argument for Giannis being the best player in basketball is simple: he is better now than he was last season when he won MVP.

Giannis is averaging more points, rebounds, assists and steals per game than he did last season, and he is posting higher 2-point and 3-point percentages than he did in his MVP campaign. The Bucks won 60 games last year and are on pace for 67 wins this season.

Giannis’s nightly production is historically unprecedented. He is averaging 29.9 points, 13.9 rebounds, and 6.4 …

Carmelo Anthony is an easy scapegoat for the Rockets’ sluggish start, but Houston’s problems run much deeper than him.

Credit: The Ringer

Carmelo is the most convenient fall-guy for the Rockets’ puzzling start to the season. They went 65–17 without him last year and were 6–7 when they ended the Carmelo Experience this season. But it’s not that simple.

To be clear, Anthony is not the solution. The Rockets are minus-10.9 per 100 possessions with Anthony on the court and plus-3.9 when he’s on the bench.

The idea of “Olympic Melo” — a spot up specialist who mixes it up on the glass — is a myth. Anthony is hitting at a 31.4 percent clip in catch-and-shoot situations this season, and Houston’s…

Jack Brandsgard

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store