Tuesday, February 14, 2023

NBA23 Update

I'm still watching Innsbruck 1976, but, now that NFL22 is over, I'm getting excited about paying attention to NBA23. I'm trying to remember who won NBA22. I'm going to look it up and confirm, but I think it was the Golden State Warriors. I'm pretty sure they are good again, but I will find out as I go through Zach Harper's "Power Rankings" for The Athletic, which I am thankful to get to read.

OK, I just checked, and I was right that the Warriors are good again, according to phenomenal Basketball Reference ...

You have to finish in your conference's top 10 to continue playing after the regular season. The NBA makes a big distinction between the "Play-In Tournament," which involves the seventh- through 10th-place regular-season finishers, and the "Playoffs," which involves the first- through sixth-place finishers plus the two Play-In survivors per conference. That's fine. I mean, it's all postseason/playoff stuff to me, but I'm fine with calling them whatever they want to be called.

Anyway, chase is that you want to be in the top 10 in your conference. The Warriors, at the moment, are. Even more importantly, the Wizards, at the moment, are! So I'm excited. If the Wizards fall out of the top 10, I probably will lose interest, but, for now, I'm excited.

Comments flow!


  1. Yes, confirmed: The Warriors won NBA22.

  2. Despite shooting 60 percent from the field, the Wizards lost last night, 135-126, to the defending champs. Bradley Beal lost a tooth in a collision with another player.

  3. Washington’s starters last night were shooting guard Beal, point guard Monte Morris, small forward Corey Kispert and centers Daniel Gafford and Kristaps Porziņģis. Porziņģis played almost 36 minutes; Beal, almost 35; Gafford and Morris about 28 minutes apiece, and Kispert, 21 minutes and 43 seconds. The busiest backup was point guard Kendrick Nunn (29 minutes flat). Each of those guys were underwater for “plus/minus.” Small forward Deni Avdija, however, played 27:13 and was plus-13 against the Warriors.

    So, here’s my suggestion for Coach Unseld Jr.: Play Avdija more.

  4. He didn’t play at all last night, but power forward Kyle Kuzma is averaging a team-leading 34.9 minutes per game. He also averages 21.3 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game, as well as a team-high 2.9 turnovers per. He’s 27, and Zach Harper writes that keeping Kuzma in free agency will be the Wizards’ big offseason priority.

  5. The only other Wizards on the roster who average at least 15 minutes per game are guards Delon Wright, Will Barton and Jordan Goodwin. Wright, for example, got just short of 20 minutes against the Warriors, and he had 10 points on four-of-six shooting. He was plus-1 for the game.

    Maybe Coach Unseld Jr. should play Delon Wright more, too.

  6. So with the trade deadline passed, that appears to be my team. My favorite Wizard player is Porziņģis, with whom, as previously reported, I share a birthday.

  7. They had a pretty long discussion about the Wizards on the Sports Junkies this morning. Their conclusion is that the owner, Ted Leonsis, does not want to tank. But that means the Wizards will never get the lottery picks they would need to be a significant contender for the Eastern Title.

  8. Last 10 seasons for the Wizards:

    Randy Wittman coaching:
    2012-13: 29-53 (12th in the East)
    2013-14: 44-38 (5th) (lost in Conference Semi-Finals)
    2014-15: 46-36 (5th) (lost in Conference Semi-Finals)
    2015-16: 41-41 (10th)

    Scott Brooks coaching:
    2016-17: 49-33 (4th) (lost in Conference Semi-Finals)
    2017-18: 43-39 (8th) (lost in First Round)
    2018-19: 32-50 (11th)
    2019-20: 25-47 (9th)
    2020-21: 34-38 (8th) (lost in First Round)

    Wes Unseld, Jr. coaching:
    2021-22: 35-47 (12th)

  9. Wes Unseld and Wes Unseld, Jr. both coached the Wizards. John Thompson, Jr. and John Thompson III both coached Georgetown. People in Washington truly love this sort of thing.

  10. Athletic Harper's top-ranked team in NBA23 is the Milwaukee Bucks. Here are the opening paragraphs of super Wikipedia's Bucks page:

    The Milwaukee Bucks are an American professional basketball team based in Milwaukee. The Bucks compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Central Division. The team was founded in 1968 as an expansion team, and play at Fiserv Forum. Former U.S. Senator Herb Kohl was the long-time owner of the team, but on April 16, 2014, a group led by billionaire hedge fund managers Wes Edens and Marc Lasry agreed to purchase a majority interest in the team from Kohl, a sale which was approved by the owners of the NBA and its Board of Governors one month later on May 16.[11] The team is managed by Jon Horst the team's former director of basketball operations, who took over from John Hammond.

    The Bucks have won two league championships (1971, 2021), three conference titles (Western: 1971, 1974, Eastern: 2021), and 17 division titles (1971–1974, 1976, 1980–1986, 2001, 2019–2022). They have featured such notable players as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson, Bob Dandridge, Sidney Moncrief, Bob Lanier, Terry Cummings, Glenn Robinson, Ray Allen, Michael Redd, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday among others. Abdul-Jabbar and Antetokounmpo have been named the NBA's Most Valuable Player while playing for the Bucks, for a total of five MVP awards. They both are also the only players to win Finals MVP for the franchise. The Bucks are the only team to have won a championship in both the Eastern and Western conference.

    1. All-Time Top 12 Bucks, per Basketball Reference:

      1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 114.7 WSs
      2. Giannis Antetokounmpo 94.0
      3. Sidney Moncrief 88.5
      4. Marques Johnson 71.1
      5. Bob Dandridge 62.6
      6. Michael Redd 55.1
      7. Ray Allen 54.1
      8. Khris Middleton 50.1
      9. Paul Pressey 45.5
      10. Jon McGlocklin 43.3
      11. Terry Cummings 42.7
      12. Junior Bridgeman of Louisville 41.1

  11. Back to the Bucks … Milwaukee’s head coach is Mike Budenholzer, and the team has a strength-and-conditioning coach, an associate head coach (Charles Lee) and seven other assistant coaches.

    The NBA23 Bucks’ most frequent starters have been power forward Antetokounmpo (plus-4.8), shooting guard Grayson Allen (plus-2.8), point guard Jevon Carter (plus-0.4), point guard Jrue Holliday (plus-5.8) and center Brook Lopez (plus-3.0). Power forward Bobby Portis (plus-0.6), shooting guard Pat Connaughton (plus-1.8), small forward Joe Ingles (plus-1.9) and small forward Khris Middleton (plus 3.2) are the other Bucks averaging at least 20 minutes per game. Antetokounmpo averages team highs of 32.4 points and 12.3 rebounds per game; Holiday, 7.4 assists. Portis is injured and not playing. Forward Jae Crowder, who averaged 9.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game for Phoenix last season, just joined the team at the trade deadline but has not started playing with the Bucks.

  12. This also was a good idea. Here are the season plus/minus of Wizards who play a good bit: Nunn plus-2.3, Beal plus-1.6, Kuzma plus-1.3, Porzingis plus-1.0, Morris plus-0.9, Wright plus-0.4, Gafford plus-0.3, Avdija minus-0.1, Kispert minus-0.7, Goodwin minus-1.6 and Barton minus-3.4.

    On second thought to Coach Unseld Jr.: Maybe stay the course on Avdija.

  13. Athletic Harper's No. 2 is the Boston Celtics. Wikipedia:

    The Boston Celtics (/ˈsɛltɪks/ SEL-tiks) are an American professional basketball team based in Boston. The Celtics compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Atlantic Division. Founded in 1946 as one of the league's original eight teams, the Celtics play their home games at TD Garden, which is also the home of the National Hockey League's Boston Bruins. The Celtics are one of the most successful basketball teams in NBA history. The franchise is one of two teams with 17 NBA Championships, the other franchise being the Los Angeles Lakers. The Celtics currently hold the record for the most recorded wins of any NBA team.[10][11]

    The Celtics have a notable rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers, which was heavily highlighted throughout the 1960s and 1980s. During the two teams' many match-ups in the 1980s, the Celtics' star, Larry Bird, and the Lakers' star, Magic Johnson, had an ongoing feud. The franchise has played the Lakers a record 12 times in the NBA Finals (including recent appearances in 2008 and 2010), of which the Celtics have won nine.[12] Four Celtics players (Bob Cousy, Bill Russell, Dave Cowens and Larry Bird) have won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award for an NBA record total of 10 MVP awards.[13] Both the nickname "Celtics" and their mascot "Lucky the Leprechaun" are a nod to Boston's historically large Irish population, and also to the Original Celtics, a marquee team prior to the NBA.[14]

    The Celtics' rise to dominance began in the late 1950s, after the team, led by coach Red Auerbach, acquired center Bill Russell, who would become the cornerstone of the Celtics dynasty, in a draft-day trade in 1956. Led by Russell and point guard Bob Cousy, the Celtics won their first NBA championship in 1957. Russell, along with a talented supporting cast of future Hall of Famers including John Havlicek, Tom Heinsohn, K. C. Jones, Sam Jones, Satch Sanders, and Bill Sharman, would usher the Celtics into the greatest period in franchise history, winning eight consecutive NBA championships from 1959 to 1966. After Russell retired in 1969, the team entered a period of rebuilding. In the mid-1970s, the Celtics became contenders once again, winning two championships in 1974 and 1976 under the leadership of center Dave Cowens, forward John Havlicek, and point guard Jo Jo White.

    In the 1980s, the Celtics returned to dominance, as well as renewed competition with the "Showtime" Lakers, who were led by Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Anchored by the "Big Three" of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish, the Celtics won championships in 1981, 1984, and 1986. The team defeated the Lakers in the 1984 Finals, but lost to Los Angeles in 1985 and 1987. After the departure of Parish as a free agent, the retirement of both Bird and McHale, as well as the untimely death of star player Reggie Lewis, the team struggled through the 1990s and much of the early 2000s. It was not until the Celtics assembled a new "Big Three" of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen that they found success once again. Under the leadership of head coach Doc Rivers, the team beat the Lakers to win a championship in 2008, but lost to Los Angeles in a seven-game series in 2010, the latest Finals matchup between the two ancient rivals.

    By the start of the 2013–14 season, none of the new "Big Three" were still with the team. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were traded away to the Brooklyn Nets, while Allen left as a free agent. After a period of rebuilding, the Celtics became a force again under head coach Brad Stevens. During the 2016–17 season, the Celtics clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but were eliminated in the Conference Finals. Led by Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, the team returned to the Conference Finals in 2018 and 2020, and broke through to the NBA Finals in 2022, losing to the Golden State Warriors.

    1. All-Time Top 12 Celtics, per Basketball Reference:

      1. Bill Russell 163.5 WSs
      2. Larry Bird 145.8
      3. Paul Pierce 138.4
      4. John Havlicek 131.7
      5. Robert Parish 122.4
      6. Kevin McHale 113.0
      7. Sam Jones 92.3
      8. Bob Cousy 91.0
      9. Dave Cowens 83.7
      10. Bill Sharman 80.9
      11. Ed Macauley 75.5
      12. Don Nelson 69.7

  14. The coach is Joe Mazzulla, and he has four assistant coaches, a strength-and-conditioning coach, a “performance” coach and a “coaching associate.”

    1. Boston converted Mazzulla from interim to permanent head coach, and coverage of that yesterday reminded me who that dude is--he's that old West Virginia guard who helped wreck the Wall/Cousins/Patterson team. It's good that my lifelong Celtics hate doesn't have to be complicated with their being coached by some guy I wasn't already mad at.

  15. In their last game, the Celtics won at home on Feb. 12, 119-109, over the Memphis Grizzlies. The Boston starters were power forward Sam Hauser (plus-1.9 on the season), center Al Horford (4.8), power forward Jayson Tatum (7.4), shooting guard Derrick White (5.3) and center Robert Williams III (5.9). The other Celtics who average at least 15 minutes per game on the season are point guard Malcolm Brogden (1.8), small forward Jaylen Brown (3.6), center Mike Muscala (3.5), point guard Marcus Smart (4.3) and power forward Grant Williams (2.4). The team leaders are Tatum in scoring (30.5 per game), Williams in rebounding (9.1) and Smart in assists (7.2). Both Brown and Smart are probably still going to be out for a while.

  16. The Denver Nuggets are Harper’s No. 3. Wikipedia:

    The Denver Nuggets are an American professional basketball team based in Denver. The Nuggets compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Western Conference Northwest Division. The team was founded as the Denver Larks in 1967 as a charter franchise of the American Basketball Association (ABA), but changed their name to Rockets before the first season.[13] The Rockets then changed their name again to the Nuggets in 1974.[14] After the name change, the Nuggets played for the final ABA Championship title in 1976, losing to the New York Nets.

    The team has had some periods of success, qualifying for the ABA Playoffs for all seasons from 1967 to the 1976 ABA playoffs where they lost in the finals.[15] The team joined the NBA in 1976 after the ABA–NBA merger and qualified for the NBA playoffs in nine consecutive seasons in the 1980s and ten consecutive seasons from 2004 to 2013.[15] However, they have not made an appearance in the NBA Finals since their last year in the ABA; as such, they are also the only one of the four surviving former ABA teams to have never reached the NBA Finals.[16][15] The Nuggets play their home games at Ball Arena,[3] which they share with the Colorado Avalanche of the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League (NLL).

    Alex English (21,645)
    Dan Issel (16,589)
    Carmelo Anthony (13,970)
    David Thompson (11,992)
    Nikola Jokić (10,364)
    Ralph Simpson (10,130)
    Byron Beck (8,602)
    Fat Lever (8,081)
    Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (7,029)
    Nene Hilario (6,868)

    1. All-Time Top 12 Nuggets, per Basketball Reference:

      1. Dan Issel 94.8 WSs
      2. Nikola Jokić 91.2
      3. Alex English 84.2
      4. David Thompson 56.8
      5. Byron Beck 55.0
      6. Carmelo Anthony 53.5
      7. Nenê 51.1
      8. Lafayette Lever 47.9
      9. Bobby Jones 40.3
      10. Dikembe Mutombo 39.3
      11. Ty Lawson 38.0
      12. David Robisch 37.4

  17. The coach is Michael Malone, and Denver has seven assistant coaches, plus a strength-and-conditioning coach. One of the assistants is Popeye Jones of Murray State!

    The Nuggets won last night at Miami, 112-108. Shooting guard Bruce Brown (plus-1.1), shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (plus-8.1), power forward Vlatko Čančar (minus-0.6), center Nikola Jokić (plus-10.4) and small forward Michael Porter Jr. (plus-7.8) were their starters. The other Nuggets who are averaging at least 20 minutes per game are point guard Jamal Murray of Kentucky (plus-5.4), power forward Aaron Gordon (plus-8.7), power forward Jeff Green (minus-3.8) and shooting guard Christian Braun (minus-1.5).

    Jokic, the two-time-defending NBA MVP, leads the Nuggets in points (24.9 per game), rebounds (11.4) and assists (10.1) per game. Neither Gordon nor Murray played last night; both are listed as “day to day.”

  18. The Phoenix Suns are No. 4 in Zach Harper's NBA power rankings for The Athletic this week. Here's the opening to the Wikipedia page devoted to the Suns:

    The Phoenix Suns are an American professional basketball team based in Phoenix, Arizona. They compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA), as a member of the league's Western Conference Pacific Division. The Suns are the only team in their division not to be based in California, and play their home games at the Footprint Center. The Suns are one of four major league sports teams based in the Phoenix area, but are the only one to bill themselves as representing the city (the other teams - the Cardinals, Coyotes, and Diamondbacks - all bill themselves as representing the state of Arizona).

    The franchise began play in 1968 as an expansion team, and their early years were mired in mediocrity, but their fortunes changed in the 1970s after partnering Dick Van Arsdale and Alvan Adams with Paul Westphal; the team reached the 1976 NBA Finals, in what is considered to be one of the biggest upsets in NBA history. However, after failing to capture a championship, the Suns would rebuild around Walter Davis for a majority of the 1980s, until the acquisition of Kevin Johnson in 1988.

    Under Johnson, and after trading for perennial NBA All-Star Charles Barkley, and combined with the output of Tom Chambers and Dan Majerle, the Suns reached the playoffs for a franchise-record thirteen consecutive appearances and remained a regular title contender throughout the 1990s, and reached the 1993 NBA Finals. However, the team would again fail to win a championship, and entered into another period of mediocrity until the early part of the 2000s.

    In 2004, the Suns signed free agent Steve Nash (who had blossomed for the Dallas Mavericks after being traded from Phoenix six years earlier), and returned into playoff contention. With Nash, Shawn Marion, and Amar'e Stoudemire, and under head coach Mike D'Antoni, the Suns became renowned worldwide for their quick, dynamic offense, which led them to tie a franchise record in wins in the 2004–05 season. Two more top two Conference placements followed, but the Suns again failed to attain an NBA championship, and were forced into another rebuild. After ten consecutive seasons without a playoff berth, the Suns reached the 2021 NBA Finals after acquiring Chris Paul, forming a quartet with their young core of Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges.

    The Suns own the NBA's fifth-best all-time winning percentage, and have the second highest winning percentage of any team to have never won an NBA championship.[9][10] 11 Hall of Famers have played for Phoenix, while two — Barkley and Nash — won NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) while playing for the team. Additionally, their Hall of Fame radio announcer Al McCoy is the longest-tenured broadcaster in NBA history.[11]

    1. All-Time Top 12 Suns, per Basketball Reference:

      1. Shawn Marion 93.2 WSs
      2. Kevin Johnson 90.9
      3. Steve Nash 82.7
      4. Alvan Adams 73.5
      5. Amar'e Stoudemire 67.9
      6. Walter Davis 66.4
      7. Dick Van Arsdale 63.6
      8. Larry Nance 53.6
      9. Dan Majerle 52.0
      10. Paul Westphal 51.5
      11. Charles Barkley 44.4
      12. Jeff Hornacek 43.8

  19. The Suns’ head coach is Monty Williams, and the team employs an associate head coach (Kevin Young) seven assistant coaches and a strength-and-conditioning coach.

  20. It was a happy Valentine’s Day in Phoenix, as the Suns beat the Sacramento Kings last night, 120-109, in the Footprint Center. Phoenix’s starters were shooting guard Booker of Kentucky (plus-4.7 on the season), point guard Paul (plus-0.7), center DeAndre Ayton (minus-1.1), small forward Torrey Craig (minus-3.1) and shooting guard Josh Okogie (plus-1.4). The other players on the Suns’ roster who average at least 15 minutes per game are shooting guard Damion Lee of Louisville and Drexel (plus-1.6), point guard Saben Lee (minus-0.2), point guard Cameron Payne of Murray State (plus-1.3), shooting guard Landry Shamet (plus-0.1) and small forward Ish Wainwright (plus-1.6). Payne and Shamet are both injured and out for a while. Also on the Suns’ injury report: forward Kevin Durant, who was acquired at the trading deadline.

    The Suns’ team leaders are Booker in scoring (26.8 points per game), Ayton in rebounding (10.2) and Paul in assists (9.0). Durant averaged 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists for the Nets before the trade; he was plus-4.8 on the season.

  21. Happy Valentine’s in Chinatown, too: Wizards 126, Blazers 101. Kuzma was back.

    6. Heat 32-26 9.5 games back of East-leading Celtics
    7. Knicks 32-27 10.0
    8. Hawks 29-29 12.5
    9. Raptors 27-31 14.5
    10. Wizards 26-30 14.5
    11. Bulls 26-31 15.0
    12. Pacers 25-34 17.0
    13. Magic 24-34 17.5

    My wife and I had Chinese for Valentine's supper, and it was delicious.

  22. Harper's No. 5 is Cleveland. Wikipedia:

    The Cleveland Cavaliers (often referred to as the Cavs) are an American professional basketball team based in Cleveland. The Cavaliers compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Central Division. The team began play as an expansion team in 1970, along with the Portland Trail Blazers and Buffalo Braves. Home games were first held at Cleveland Arena from 1970 to 1974, followed by the Richfield Coliseum from 1974 to 1994. Since 1994, the Cavs have played home games at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in downtown Cleveland, which is shared with the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League. Dan Gilbert has owned the team since March 2005.

    The Cavaliers opened their inaugural season by losing their first 15 games and struggled in their early years, placing no better than sixth in the Eastern Conference during their first five seasons. The team won their first Central Division title in 1976, which also marked the first winning season and playoff appearance in franchise history, where they advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. The franchise was purchased by Ted Stepien in 1980. Stepien's tenure as owner was marked by six coaching changes, questionable trades and draft decisions, and poor attendance, leading to $15 million in financial losses. The Cavs went 66–180 over the course of those three seasons and endured a 24-game losing streak spanning the 1981–82 and 1982–83 seasons.

    George and Gordon Gund purchased the franchise in 1983. During the latter half of the 1980s and through much of the 1990s, the Cavs were a regular playoff contender – led by players such as Mark Price and Brad Daugherty – and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals in 1992. After the team's playoff appearance in the 1997–98 season, however, the Cavs had six consecutive losing seasons with no playoff action. Cleveland was awarded with the top overall pick in the 2003 draft, and they selected LeBron James. Behind James and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, the Cavaliers again became a regular playoff contender by 2005. They made their first appearance in the NBA Finals in 2007 after winning the first Eastern Conference championship in franchise history. After failing to return to the NBA Finals in the ensuing three seasons, James joined the Miami Heat in 2010. As a result, the Cavaliers finished the 2010–11 season last in the conference, enduring a 26-game losing streak, the second-longest in NBA history. Between 2010 and 2014, however, the team won the top pick in the NBA draft lottery three times – first in 2011 where they selected Kyrie Irving, and again in 2013 and 2014.

    After four seasons with the Heat and having won back-to-back titles in the 2011–12 and 2012–13 seasons, James returned to the Cavs in 2014 and led the team to four straight NBA Finals appearances. In 2016, the Cavaliers won their first NBA Championship, marking Cleveland's first major sports title since 1964. The 2016 NBA Finals victory over the Golden State Warriors marked the first time in Finals history a team had come back to win the series after trailing, 3–1. The Cavaliers have 22 playoff appearances and have won seven Central Division titles, five Eastern Conference titles and one NBA title.

    1. All-Time Top 12 Cavaliers, per Basketball Reference:

      1. LeBron James 154.1 WSs
      2. Mark Price 65.4
      3. Brad Daugherty 65.2
      4. Zydrunas Ilgauskas 63.4
      5. John “Hot Rod” Williams 58.3
      6. Larry Nance 56.0
      7. Anderson Varejão 45.7
      8. Kevin Love 43.6
      9. Tristan Thompson 43.1
      10. Kyrie Irving 40.4
      11. Terrell Brandon 36.9
      12. Austin Carr 33.3

  23. The head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers is John-Blair “J.B.” Bickerstaff, the son of the great former Washington Bullets assistant coach, Bernie Bickerstaff of Denham, Kentucky. I love it that the sons of both Bernie Bickerstaff and Wes Unseld are head coaches in the NBA. The Cavaliers have an associate head coach (Greg Buckner), four assistants and a strength-and-conditioning coach.

  24. In their most recent game, in Cleveland on Monday, the Cavs beat the San Antonio Spurs, 117-109. The Cleveland starters were center Jarrett Allen (plus-5.5 for the season), point guard Darius Garland (plus-5.9), shooting guard Donovan Mitchell of Louisville (plus-5.4), power forward Evan Mobley (plus-3.7) and small forward Isaac Okoro (plus-2.2). The other Cavs who average at least 20 minutes per game are shooting guard Caris LeVert (plus-2.2), power forward Dean Wade (plus-3.9), small forward Cedi Osman (plus-3.3) and power forward Kevin Love (plus-2.0). The team leaders are Mitchell in scoring (27.2 points per game) and assists (8.8) and Allen in rebounding (9.9). Cleveland's injury list appears to be empty.

  25. The Cavaliers are reportedly ditching Love, the last roster remnant from their NBA16 championship.

  26. Replies
    1. Josh Robbins @JoshuaBRobbins
      Sometimes the way a team wins a game is just as important as getting the win itself. This comeback victory may be one of those occasions for the Wizards.

  27. Replies
    1. All-Time Top 12 Grizzlies, per Basketball Reference:

      1. Marc Gasol 77.4
      2. Mike Conley 71.4
      3. Pau Gasol 53.8
      4. Zach Randolph 51.2
      5. Shane Battier 34.9
      6. Mike Miller 33.1
      7. Shareef Abdur-Rahim 31.7
      8. Rudy Gay 29.2
      9. Tony Allen 26.3
      10. Brandon Clarke 19.8
      11. Ja Morant of Murray State 18.9
      12. Stromile Swift 18.5

  28. Head coach of the Grizz is Taylor Jenkins. He has seven assistant coaches.

    Memphis’s last game was Wednesday at the FedEx Forum: Grizzlies 117, Utah Jazz 111. Starting Grizz were shooting guard Desmond Bane (plus-5.8 for the season), shooting forward Dillon Brooks (plus-4.0), power forward Brandon Clarke (minus-0.5), center Jaren Jackson Sr. (plus-7.2) and point guard Ja Morant of Murray State (plus-4.9). Center Steven Adams (plus-5.8), power forward Santi Aldama (plus-22.1), point guard Tyus Jones (plus-1.1), shooting guard Luke Kennard (minus-8.5) and shooting guard John Konchar (plus-3.9) also average at least 20 minutes per game for Memphis. Kennard’s statistics there are based on only two appearances with the Grizzlies. He played 35 games this season with the Los Angeles Clippers before coming to Memphis in a deadline-beating trade, and he was plus-2.7 with them.

    Morant leads Memphis in points (27.3) and assists (8.3) per game; Adams, in rebounds (11.5), but he’s injured and out of action for another month or so, at least.

  29. The Philadelphia 76ers are No. 7. Wikipedia:

    The Philadelphia 76ers, colloquially known as the Sixers, are an American professional basketball team based in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.[a] The 76ers compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Atlantic Division and play at the Wells Fargo Center located in the South Philadelphia Sports Complex. Founded in 1946 and originally known as the Syracuse Nationals, they are one of the oldest franchises in the NBA and one of only eight (out of 23) to survive the league's first decade.

    The 76ers have had a prominent history, with many Hall of Fame players having played for the organization, including Dolph Schayes, Hal Greer, Wilt Chamberlain, Chet Walker, Billy Cunningham, Julius Erving, Maurice Cheeks, Bobby Jones, Moses Malone, Charles Barkley, George McGinnis, and Allen Iverson. They have won three NBA championships, with their first coming under their previous name, the Syracuse Nationals, in 1955. The second title came in 1967, a team which was led by Chamberlain. The third title came in 1983, won by a team led by Erving and Malone. The 76ers have only been back to the NBA Finals once since then: in 2001, where they were led by Iverson and lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games. Chamberlain, Erving, Malone and Iverson have been named the NBA's Most Valuable Player while playing for the 76ers, for a total of six MVP awards.

    1. All-Time Top 12 76ers, per Basketball Reference:

      1. Dolph Schayes 142.4 WSs
      2. Julius Erving 106.2
      3. Charles Barkley 106.1
      4. Hal Greer 102.7
      5. Maurice Cheeks 87.7
      6. Allen Iverson 79.7
      7. Wilt Chamberlain 71.2
      8. Billy Cunningham 63.2
      9. Andre Iguodala 61.2
      10. Larry Costello 59.1
      11. Red Kerr 58.7
      12. Steve Mix 53.9

  30. Doc Rivers is the 76ers’ head coach. He has seven assistants and a strength-and-conditioning coach.

    The 76ers won at home against the Cavaliers on Wednesday night, 118-112. Their starters were center Joel Embiid (plus-6.7 on the season), point guard James Harden (plus-5.0), power forward Tobais Harris (plus-3.8), point guard De’Anthony Melton (plus-1.0) and power forward P.J. Tucker (plus-2.0). Shooting guard Tyrese Maxey of Kentucky (plus-3.6) and shooting guard Shake Milton (plus-1.1) are the only other 76ers who average at least 20 minutes per game. Embiid leads Philadelphia in points (33.1) and rebounds (10.2) per game; Harden, in assists (10.8). Center Montrezi Harrell of Louisville is also on the roster.

  31. No. 8 is the Sacramento Kings. Wikipedia:

    The Sacramento Kings are an American professional basketball team based in Sacramento, California. The Kings compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the Western Conference Pacific Division. The Kings are the oldest team in the NBA, and the first and only team in the major professional North American sports leagues located in Sacramento. The team plays its home games at the Golden 1 Center. Their best seasons to date in the city were in the early 2000s, including a very successful 2001–02 season when they had the best record in the NBA at 61–21 (a winning percentage of .744).[10][11][12][13][14]

    The franchise began with the Rochester Seagrams (a semi-professional team) from Rochester, New York, that formed in 1923 and hosted a number of teams there over the next 20 years. They joined the National Basketball League in 1945 as the renamed Rochester Royals,[1] winning that league's championship in their first season, 1945–46. They later jumped with three other NBL teams to the Basketball Association of America, forerunner of the NBA, in 1948. As the Royals, the team was often successful on the court, winning the NBA championship in 1951. The team, however, found it increasingly difficult to turn a profit in the comparatively small market of Rochester and relocated to Cincinnati in 1957, becoming the Cincinnati Royals.

    In 1972, the team relocated again, this time to Kansas City, Missouri, and renamed the Kansas City–Omaha Kings because it initially split its home games between Kansas City and Omaha, Nebraska; the nickname was changed to avoid confusion with the baseball team dubbed the Kansas City Royals. After three seasons, the team truncated to Kansas City Kings, but continued to play several home games per season in Omaha, through March 1978.[15][16][17]

    The franchise again failed to find success in its market and moved after the 1984–85 season to Sacramento, where they presently reside. Since 2006, the Kings have had sixteen consecutive losing seasons, the most in NBA history.[18] They also currently have the longest active postseason drought in the four major North American sports.

    1. All-Time Top 12 Royals/Kings, per Basketball Reference:

      1. Oscar Robertson 154.2 WSs
      2. Jack Twyman 75.0
      3. Bobby Wanzer 63.9
      4. Peja Stojaković 59.8
      5. Jerry Lucas 57.8
      6. Nate Archibald 53.7
      7. Mitch Richmond 50.4
      8. Sam Lacey 50.4
      9. Bob Davies 49.7
      10. Arnie Risen 48.9
      11. Chris Webber 45.5
      12. Scott Wedman 43.8

  32. The Kings are coached by Mike Brown and employ seven regular assistant coaches and one “assistant coach for player development.”

    Sacramento lost, 120-109, in Phoenix, when their starting five were power forward Harrison Barnes (plus-2.4), point guard De’Aaron Fox of Kentucky (plus-2.4), shooting guard Kevin Huerter (plus-2.9), small forward Keegan Murray (plus-1.4) and center Domantas Sabonis (plus-3.0). The only other King who averages at least 20 minutes per game is shooting guard Malik Monk of Kentucky (minus-0.1). Power forward Trey Lyles of Kentucky (plus-0.6) plays 15.9 minutes per game.

    Fox leads the Kings in points (24.8); Sabonis, in rebounds (12.3) and assists (6.9).

  33. Harper had the Clippers at No. 9 in his league power rankings last week. I'm cuckoo for Kawhi Leonard, so I kind of think the Clippers are going to win it all.

  34. Here's the intro of Wikipedia's Clippers page:

    The Los Angeles Clippers are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles. The Clippers compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the Pacific Division in the league's Western Conference. The Clippers play their home games at Crypto.com Arena, which they share with NBA team Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Sparks of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), and the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Clippers plan to move into their own arena, the Intuit Dome, in nearby Inglewood by 2024.

    The franchise was founded as the Buffalo Braves in 1970 as an expansion team. Led by Hall of Famer Bob McAdoo, the Braves reached the NBA playoffs three times during their eight seasons in Buffalo. Conflicts with the Canisius Golden Griffins over the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium and the sale of the franchise led to their relocation from Buffalo to San Diego, California in 1978 and subsequent rebranding as the San Diego Clippers, in reference to the sailing ships seen in San Diego Bay.[9] The team saw little success on the court and missed the playoffs during all six of their years in San Diego.

    In 1984, owner Donald Sterling controversially relocated the franchise to Los Angeles without NBA approval, which was permitted following legal action between the league and Sterling. Over the course of their first 27 seasons in Los Angeles, the Clippers qualified for the postseason only four times and won a single playoff round. They were frequently considered a perennial loser in American professional sports, drawing unfavorable comparisons to the historically successful Lakers.

    The Clippers' reputation improved during the 2010s, which saw them transform into consistent postseason contenders. Aided by the "Lob City" lineup of Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and Chris Paul, the team qualified for the playoffs in six consecutive seasons from 2012 to 2017 and won two consecutive division titles in 2013 and 2014, both firsts for the franchise. Despite this success, the Clippers struggled in the postseason and were frequently eliminated in the Conference Semifinals; the team reached the Conference Finals for the first time in 2021. To date, they are the league's oldest franchise to have never played in the NBA Finals.

    1. All-Time Top 12 Clippers/Braves, per Basketball Reference:

      1. Chris Paul 78.2 WSs
      2. DeAndre Jordan 76.3
      3. Elton Brand 68.3
      4. Blake Griffin 65.4
      5. Bob McAdoo 50.9
      6. Randy Smith 50.0
      7. Corey Maggette 45.8
      8. Loy Vaught 34.1
      9. Danny Manning 31.0
      10. Swen Nater 28.9
      11. Eric Piatkowski 27.6
      12. Ivica Zubac 27.2

  35. On Thursday night, right after Zach Harper’s new story appeared at The Athletic that day, Los Angeles won, 116-107, at Phoenix. I was so happy for Zach Harper!

    The Clippers’ starters in that game were small forward Leonard (plus-5.6 for the season), shooting guard Paul George (plus-3.2), shooting guard Terance Mann (minus-0.2), power forward Marcus Morris Sr. (minus-0.2) and center Ivica Zubac (minus-1.4). The others on the roster who average at least 20 minutes per game are shooting guard Norman Powell (minus-2.1), shooting guard Eric Gordon (plus-3.5) and power forward Nicolas Batum (plus-1.8).

    George leads Los Angeles in points (23.3) and assists (5.3) per game; Zubac, in rebounds (10.1).

  36. The Clippers also have a 21-year-old shooting guard from Norcross, Georgia, on their roster named Brandon Boston Jr. He averages 6.8 points in 11.7 minutes per game. Wikipedia reports Brandon Boston Jr. played college basketball at the University of …


    "In his college debut on November 25, 2020, Boston posted 15 points and seven rebounds in an 81–45 win over Morehead State.[7] He scored 21 points in the season finale win against South Carolina. As a freshman, he averaged 11.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. On March 20, 2021, Boston declared for the 2021 NBA draft, forgoing his remaining college eligibility."

    I don't remember Brandon Boston Jr. with UK at all. Not at all! That's weird.

  37. The Clippers are coached by Tyronn Lue, and I totally remember that dude--he played a couple of seasons for the Wizards! In Los Angeles, Lue has a strength-and-conditioning coach and eight assistant coaches, one of whom is also "vice president of player performance” (Todd Wright).

  38. Replies
    1. Zach and Shams are back today that former Wizards great Russell Westbrook is joining the Clippers. The point guard was a minus-0.9 with the Lakers this season.

  39. There have been movements among the group, but last week's top nine remain the top nine as the All-Star Game break winds down:

    1. Bucks
    2. Nuggets
    3. Celtics
    4. 76ers
    5. Suns
    6. Grizzlies
    7. Clippers
    8. Cavaliers
    9. Kings

  40. This makes me very happy because No. 10 was up next in my learning, and that was going to be the Miami Heat. But I really, really dislike the Miami Heat, and No. 10 is no longer the Miami Heat! You'll just have to wait to see who the new No. 10 is because it's Friday in 1976, and that means the new Paducah Sun-Democrat "Channel Selector" is out--I want to go look at that. I'll get back to NBA23 later.

  41. One more NBA thing for this morning, however: I just discovered that Basketball Reference has all-time top 12 players based on a statistic called “WS” on its team-by-team “franchise index” pages. I’m excited to learn what WS is, but here are the top 12 Wizards/Bullets:

    1. Wes Unseld
    2. Elvin Hayes
    3. Walt Bellamy
    4. Bradley Beal
    5. Greg Ballard
    6. John Wall
    7. Gilbert Arenas
    8. Antawn Jamison
    9. Jack Marin
    10. Phil Chenier
    11. Gus Johnson
    12. Brendan Haywood

    And it’s not even close! No. 3 Bellamy has 57 WSs; No. 4 Brad, 51.8; … No. 12 Haywood, 35.8. So that gives you an idea of the fairly tight range of numbers we’re talking about, OK?

    No. 2 “Big E” … 80.0 WSs! Huge leap.

    But get this … No. 1 Wes of Louisville Seneca? 110.8! That’s more WSs than Nos. 3 and 4 combined!

    No wonder Unseld had a job for life with this team. No wonder his son is now the coach!

    And no wonder I fell in love with this team. I start dialing in to the NBA in 1975 and stay nutso for it for about the next five seasons. It’s absolutely the far-far-and-away peak period in the history of the franchise. Their Topps cards make them look like the U.S. Olympic team. They’ve got a “Big E,” and I’m an E. Jump, jump, slam, slam, man--no wonder I’m a Bullets fan.

  42. Wikipedia:

    The New York Knickerbockers,[3][7] shortened and more commonly referred to as the New York Knicks, are an American professional basketball team based in the New York City borough of Manhattan. The Knicks compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. The team plays its home games at Madison Square Garden, an arena they share with the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League (NHL). They are one of two NBA teams located in New York City; the other team is the Brooklyn Nets. Alongside the Boston Celtics, the Knicks are one of two original NBA teams still located in its original city.

    The team, established by Ned Irish in 1946, was one of the founding members of the Basketball Association of America (BAA), which became the NBA after merging with the rival National Basketball League (NBL) in 1949. The Knicks were successful during their early years and were constant playoff contenders under the franchise's first head coach Joe Lapchick. Beginning in 1950, the Knicks made three consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals, all of which were losing efforts. Lapchick resigned in 1956 and the team subsequently began to falter.

    It was not until the late 1960s when Red Holzman became the head coach that the Knicks began to regain their former dominance. Holzman successfully guided the Knicks to two NBA championships, in 1970 and 1973. The Knicks of the 1980s had mixed success that included six playoff appearances; however, they failed to participate in the NBA Finals.

    The playoff-level Knicks of the 1990s were led by future Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing; this era was marked by passionate rivalries with the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, and Miami Heat. During this time, they were known for playing tough defense under head coaches Pat Riley and Jeff Van Gundy, making NBA Finals appearances in 1994 and 1999. However, they were unable to win an NBA championship during this era.

    Since 2000, the Knicks have struggled to regain their former successes, but won their first division title in 19 years in 2012–13, led by a core of forwards Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire. They were eventually eliminated in the Eastern Conference semifinals by the Indiana Pacers, and had failed to make the playoffs for eight years until 2020–21 when they were led by forward Julius Randle and sophomore RJ Barrett, who was selected third overall in the 2019 NBA draft.

    1. All-Time Top 12 Knickerbockers per Basketball Reference:

      1. Patrick Ewing 123.0 WSs
      2. Walt Frazier 108.8
      3. Willis Reid 74.9
      4. Harry Gallatin 72.3
      5. Charles Oakley 67.5
      6. Carl Braun 63.8
      7. Bill Cartwright 56.8
      8. Kenny Sears 51.1
      9. Richie Guerin 46.0
      10. Allan Houston 45.5
      11. John Starks 44.3
      12. Earl Monroe 43.9

      Wow. I tend to think of myself of the person who knows the most about sports. But I'm going to have to look up Harry Gallatin, Carl Braun and Kenny Sears.

    2. Bill Bradley had 38.8 Win Shares in 10 seasons for the Knicks. Dave DeBusschere had 60.8 Win Shares in 13 seasons, but he only played six seasons with the Knicks. He had 34.9 Win Shares for the Knicks in those six seasons. Jerry Lucas had 98.4 Win Shares in 12 Seasons, but he only played three seasons for the Knicks. He had 22.4 Win Shares in those three seasons.

  43. In their last game before the All-Star break, the visiting Knicks whipped the Hawks, 122-101. The New York starters were shooting guard Barrett (minus-1.2 on the season), power forward Randle of Kentucky (plus-1.9), point guard Jalen Brunson (plus-1.5), shooting guard Quentin Grimes (plus-2.0) and center Jericho Sims (minus-1.7). The other Knicks who average at least 20 minutes per game are point guard Immanuel Quickley of Kentucky (plus-3.4), center Mitchell Robinson of Western Kentucky (plus-3.6) and shooting guard Josh Hart (plus-13.7 in three games with New York). Randle is the leading scorer (24.8 points per game) and rebounder (10.8); Brunson leads in assists (6.2).

    The head coach is Tom Thibodeau. Johnnie Bryant is associate head coach. There are also five other assistant coaches, one of whom is over player development and one of whom is an advance scout.


  44. WKU’s Robinson has a thumb injury and is apparently close to returning to action. It’s pretty clear from the plus/minus that, once Robinson is healthy, if Coach Thibodeau puts him in the starting lineup in place of Sims and UK’s Quickley ahead of Brunson, that we're looking at the Knicks winning the Eastern Conference.

  45. The Wizards today waived guard Will Barton, who was minus-3.4 on the season. So Washington’s two big moves heading into the after-All-Star-break part of the season were getting rid of the worst and second-worst plus/minus guys on their team (Barton and forward Rui Hachimura, who was minus-2.3). The fella they picked up in the trade of Hachimura to the Lakers, guard Kendrick Nunn, has been a plus-3.5 in his 11 games as a Wizard.

    1. Hachimura, meanwhile, has been a plus-1.1 in 11 games in Los Angeles, so good for him and them, too. As President Biden said in his state of the union, "There is no reason we can’t work together."

  46. I've never liked the Miami Heat (Zach Harper's No. 11 this week in The Athletic), and it's silly. It's because they're in Miami, and they've been more successful than the Dolphins. It's also because the Heat comes about exactly when the Bullets quit being perennial playoff qualifiers. From the time the Chicago Zephyrs turned in to the Baltimore Bullets in 1963 until the Heat came into being in 1988, the Bullets missed the playoffs only five times.

    Washington then went to the playoffs once in the next 16 seasons--including six years when I was actually living in Washington, D.C. Here was this team that had won a championship, advanced to the finals two other times and been steady and solid throughout my childhood. Then I get to follow them every day as my hometown team, and it feels like an organization that gets about as much attention as might a company recreational team. I used to say that it felt like those Bullets/Wizards were the best basketball players among the employees of a rental-car agency that was generous enough to purchase uniforms for them to field a team in their off hours.

  47. Very little of that has to do with the Miami Heat, of course, but, for some reason, they became the receptacle for my bitterness. Wikipedia:

    The Miami Heat are an American professional basketball team based in Miami. The Heat compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Southeast Division. The club plays its home games at Miami-Dade Arena, and has won three NBA championships.

    The franchise began play in the 1988–89 season as an expansion team. After a period of mediocrity, the Heat gained relevance in the mid-1990s when Pat Riley became team president and head coach. Riley constructed the trades for Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway, which propelled the team into playoff contention. Mourning and Hardaway led the Heat to four consecutive division titles prior to their departures in 2001 and 2002, respectively. The team also experienced success after drafting Dwyane Wade in 2003.

    Led by Wade and, following a trade for former NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) Shaquille O'Neal, the Heat won their first NBA title in 2006, after Riley named himself head coach for a second stint. After the departure of O'Neal two years later, the team struggled for the remainder of the 2000s. Riley remained team president, but was replaced as head coach by Erik Spoelstra. In 2010, the Heat signed reigning league MVP LeBron James and NBA All-Star Chris Bosh, creating the "Big Three" along with Wade. During their four years together, Spoelstra, James, Wade, and Bosh led the Heat to the NBA Finals in every season, culminating in back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013. All three departed by 2016, and the team entered a period of rebuilding. After acquiring All-Star Jimmy Butler in 2019, the Heat returned to the NBA Finals in 2020. The Heat acquired six-time NBA All-Star Kyle Lowry in 2021.

    The Heat hold the record for the NBA's third-longest winning streak, 27 straight games, set during the 2012–13 season. Six Hall of Famers have played for Miami, and James won two consecutive NBA MVP Awards while playing for the team.

    1. All-Time Top 12 Heat, per Basketball Reference:

      1. Dwyane Wade 116.1 WSs
      2. LeBron James 65.3
      3. Alonzo Mourning 64.9
      4. Udonis Haslem 50.8
      5. Eddie Jones 44.5
      6. Chris Bosh 44.2
      7. Tim Hardaway 44.1
      8. Bam Adebayo 41.6
      9. Glen Rice 40.2
      10. Hassan Whiteside 36.6
      11. Jimmy Butler 34.9
      12. Grant Long 31.6

  48. The Heat lost, 116-105, in Brooklyn in its last game before the All-Star break. Miami’s starters were center Bam Adebayo of Kentucky (plus-2.7 on the season), small forward Jimmy Butler (plus-1.3), power forward Caleb Martin (0.0), small forward Max Strus (minus-0.9) and point guard Gabe Vincent (plus-1.2). Shooting guard Tyler Herro of Kentucky (plus-2.5) and point guard Kyle Lowry (minus-0.3) typically start in front of Strus and Vincent, but both were out with knee injuries. Shooting guard Victor Oladipo (minus-0.1) is the only other person on the roster who averages at least 20 minutes per game.

    The team leaders are Butler in points per game (21.7), Adebayo in rebounds (10.0) and Lowry in assists (5.3).

    The head coach is Erik Spoelstra, and he has six people listed as assistant coaches—one of whom is director of player development and two others who are also in player development. Then there’s another guy listed as “shooting coach./player development coach,” plus a strength-and-conditioning person.

  49. The reason I'm looking at these staff positions that Basketball Reference lists for each team also goes back to the Bullets/Wizards. In the 1990s, The Washington Post had an eye-opening story about the scouting operation of some successful NBA team--it might've even been the Heat. Anyway, the writer pointed out that basically all of these jobs that somewhere between 10 and 20 people were doing for the successful team were being shouldered by Wes Unseld alone for the Bullets/Wizards.

    That's when I started wondering if Abe Pollin had gotten interested in some business or activity other than his pro basketball team.

  50. I got pretty serious about trying to be a Pelicans fan a few years ago. It was when they had Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Darius Miller, and I actually had the New Orleans schedule populated into my Outlook calendar. In fact, it’s still in there—I just toggle it out of view. It never took for me to be a Pelicans fan; I’m just not any good at changing my favorites. And now Davis is a Laker; I hope Cousins is a future Wizard, and I’m pretty sure Miller, my main man from Maysville, is done playing pro basketball. He joined Coach Calipari on one of his trips to Dawson Springs in the last year.

  51. All-Time Top 12 Pelicans, per Basketball Reference:

    1. Chris Paul 76.4 WSs
    2. Anthony Davis 72.0
    3. David West 47.0
    4. P.J. Brown 29.6
    5. Jrue Holiday 28.5
    6. Tyson Chandler 21.3
    7. Ryan Anderson 16.2
    8. Peja Stojaković 15.8
    9. Brandon Ingram 15.4
    10. Emeka Okafor 14.7
    11. Jamaal Magloire 14.6
    12. Zion Williamson 14.2

  52. When the Pelicans last played, a 120-102 loss at the Lakers before the break, their starting lineup was small forward Ingram (plus-1.6 for the season), small forward Herbert Jones (plus-0.4), shooting guard C.J. McCollum (plus-0.3), small forward Trey Murphy III (minus-1.1) and center Jonas Valančiūnas (minus-1.4). The others Pelicans who average at least 20 minutes per game are power forward Williamson (plus-5.1), shooting guard Josh Richardson (plus-0.5), small forward Naji Marshall (plus-0.5), power forward Larry Nance Jr. (plus-3.3) and point guard Jose Alvarado (plus-2.2). Williamson, of course, started all 29 games he played this season, but now he’s out with a hamstring injury “for several more weeks,” per a Feb. 12 report from NOLA.com. He was averaging 26.0 points, which was the team high. Valančiūnas leads in rebounds (9.7 per); McCollum, in assists (5.9).

  53. The head coach is Willie Green. New Orleans has four people listed as “assistant coach for player development,” and then they have four other people listed as just plain “assistant coach.” One of those is Teresa Weatherspoon, who was among my five or six favorite WNBA players of the league’s first five or six seasons, so maybe I'll root for the Pelicans yet. They also have a strength-and-conditioning person.

  54. Brian Windhorst's NBA conversations with Tony Kornheiser on the latter's podcast are fantastic--Joe Morgan-with-Tony-level fantastic. Wednesday's about Victor Wembanyama is superhighly recommended.

  55. The biggest fan of the Dallas Mavericks I know--the Mavs are Athletic Harper's No. 13 this week--is 25 or 26 years old. He was born in Kentucky to parents who were at UK with Jamal Mashburn, and they spent most of his childhood in the Dallas metro after the dad went to work managing shipping stuff for Frito-Lay. As it coincided with my being mostly mad at the the Wizards, I pretty much missed the brilliance of Dirk Nowitzki's career. That boy (now a young man) lavished in it.

  56. Wikipedia:

    The Dallas Mavericks (often referred to as the Mavs) are an American professional basketball team based in Dallas. The Mavericks compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the Western Conference Southwest Division. The team plays its home games at the American Airlines Center, which it shares with the National Hockey League's Dallas Stars.

    Throughout the 1980s, the Mavericks were a perennial playoff team, led by All-Stars Rolando Blackman and Mark Aguirre. The team struggled during the 1990s, entering into a period of rebuilding. In 1998, the franchise's fortunes would change drastically with the acquisition of Dirk Nowitzki, who would become the cornerstone of the most successful period in franchise history, leading the team to its first and only NBA championship in 2011. The Mavericks later entered a rebuilding phase in the tail end of Nowitzki's storied career. They missed the playoffs in three consecutive years from 2017 to 2019, after which Nowitzki retired following his record-breaking 21st season with Dallas. Led by 2019 Rookie of the Year Luka Dončić, the Mavericks returned to the playoffs in 2020 and reached the Western Conference Finals in 2022 for the first time since their 2011 championship.

    In February 2020, the Mavericks sold out their NBA-record 815th consecutive game, dating back to December 15, 2001. The sellout streak, which includes 67 playoff games, is the longest currently running in North American major league sports.[6]

    Currently, the Dallas Mavericks are owned by investor Mark Cuban. Since the Mavericks' inaugural 1980–81 season, the Mavericks have won four division titles (1987, 2007, 2010, 2021), two conference championships (2006, 2011), and one NBA championship (2011).

  57. Basketball Reference’s All-time Top 12 Mavs:

    1. Dirk Nowitzki 206.3 WSs
    2. Rolando Blackman 70.3
    3. Derek Harper 65.8
    4. Jason Terry 60.5
    5. Michael Finley 58.4
    6. Brad Davis 52.1
    7. Mark Aguirre 49.0
    8. Steve Nash 42.7
    9. Dwight Powell 41.8
    10. Sam Perkins 41.8
    11. Jason Kidd 39.0
    12. Luka Dončić 37.6

  58. We are finishing six days of no NBA games other than the All-Star thing. Way back Wednesday before last, the Mavs went to Denver and lost, 118-109, to the Nuggets. Their starters then were point guard Dončić (plus-2.4 on the season), center Powell (plus-2.1), small forward Reggie Bullock (minus-0.5), shooting guard Josh Green (plus-1.8) and point guard Frank Ntilikina (minus-0.2). Point guard Kyrie Irving (plus-6.5) had been starting for them since coming over from Brooklyn, but he was out of action Feb. 15 with a back injury. Shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (plus-2.4) also has been a frequent starter for Dallas, but he also didn’t play that game (hamstring). The other Mavericks who average more than 20 minutes per game are centers Christian Wood (0.0) and Maxi KIeber (plus-1.1).

    It sure looks to me like Irving could decide he’s going to play great for the next three or four months and the Mavs could go very, very deep. It sure also looks to me like the Mavs have too many guys who must have the ball in their hands to excel and Dallas could turn out to be a fantasy-league mirage that never quite gets it together in real life.

  59. But that's Jason Kidd's problem to figure out. In addition to being all-time No. 11 Mav player, he's the head coach. He has seven assistants and a strength-and-conditioning dude to help him crack the Dallas nut.

  60. Wikipedia:

    The Golden State Warriors are an American professional basketball team based in San Francisco. The Warriors compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA), as a member of the league's Western Conference Pacific Division. Founded in 1946 in Philadelphia, the Warriors moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1962 and took the city's name, before changing its geographic moniker to Golden State in 1971.[a][b] The club plays its home games at the Chase Center.

    The Warriors won the inaugural Basketball Association of America (BAA) championship in 1947,[c] and won again in 1956, led by Hall of Fame trio Paul Arizin, Tom Gola, and Neil Johnston. After the trade of star Wilt Chamberlain in January 1965, the team finished the 1964–65 season with the NBA's worst record (17–63). Their rebuilding period was brief due in large part to the Warriors' drafting of Rick Barry four months after the trade. In 1975, star players Barry and Jamaal Wilkes powered the Warriors to their third championship, widely considered one of the biggest upsets in NBA history.

    The team struggled in the 1980s, then became playoff regulars at the turn of the decade with stars Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, and Chris Mullin, nicknamed "Run TMC". Led by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, the team returned to championship glory in 2015, with defensive swingman Andre Iguodala being named Finals MVP. In 2016, the Warriors set the record for best regular season record at 73-9 before losing the Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers (against whom they played a record four straight finals against) and becoming the first team to blow a 3–1 lead in the Finals. After signing former MVP Kevin Durant, the team won back-to-back championships in 2017 and 2018 (Durant winning both Finals MVPs). They lost the 2019 Finals to the Toronto Raptors, a series which saw Durant and Thompson suffer serious Achilles and ACL injuries, respectively; Durant left that off-season. After missing the playoffs the previous two seasons, the Warriors returned to the playoffs with a healthy Thompson and a new supporting cast that included All-Star Andrew Wiggins and key scorer Jordan Poole; they defeated the Boston Celtics in the 2022 Finals, where Curry won his first Finals MVP. The Warriors' dynasty has seen the team win 4 titles in 8 seasons, as well as reach five consecutive Finals from 2015 to 2019 (6 Finals in 8 years); Curry, Green, Thompson, and Iguodala were on all four 21st century championship teams, Shaun Livingston and Kevon Looney were on three each.

    Nicknamed the "Dubs" as a shortening of "W's",[7][8] the Warriors hold several NBA records: best regular season, most wins in a season (regular season and postseason combined), and best postseason run. Curry and Thompson are generally considered among the greatest backcourts of all time.[9][10] The Warriors have the third most NBA championships and have the third most Finals appearances; only the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics have more. Wilt Chamberlain and Stephen Curry have been named the NBA's MVPs while playing for the Warriors, for a total of three MVP awards.

  61. Basketball Reference All-Time Top 12 Warriors:

    1. Steph Curry 125.7 WSs
    2. Wilt Chamberlain 112.4
    3. Paul Arizin 108.8
    4. Neil Johnston 92.0
    5. Rick Barry 85.9
    6. Chris Mullin 79.6
    7. Nate Thurmond 68.6
    8. Jeff Mullins 62.2
    9. Draymond Green 56.1
    10. Klay Thompson 50.0
    11. Tom Gola 43.4
    12. Purvis Short 42.1

    1. When I was at Western, Jeff Mullins (of Lexington Lafayette) coached UNC Charlotte, which was in the Sun Belt with WKU. I can still remember being in the college-newspaper office interviewing Mullins over the WATS line. I had Jeff Mullins basketball cards. He was a former U.S. Olympian and NBA champion. I just couldn't believe I was talking to him.

      Twenty years later, I went to a church with a fella in Raleigh who had a retirement home out in the eastern North Carolina mountains. One of his neighbor friends out there was Jeff Mullins!

      In spite of these mitigating facts, I've never forgiven Mullins and the Warriors for beating the Bullets in four games in NBA75.

  62. The Warriors lost, 134-124, at the Clippers on Feb. 14. Their starters were power forward Green (plus-3.0 on the season), shooting guard Thompson (plus-2.1), shooting guard Donte DiVincenzo (plus-0.4), center Kevon Looney (plus-1.3) and point guard Jordan Poole (minus-1.2). Curry (plus-4.3) and Wiggins (plus-3.2) typically start in front of DiVincenzo and Poole. Those are the only Warriors who average at least 20 minutes per game. Curry is the team’s leading scorer (29.4 points per game); Looney, rebounder (8.8), and Green, in assists (6.9). Curry and Iguodala are out with injuries.

  63. Oh, so is point guard Gary Payton II. He recently rejoined the Warriors after playing 15 games with Portland earlier this season. He was.a plus-1.5 in those games.

  64. I bet the Warriors rediscover their championship resolve and understanding of how to win in the clutch when/if all of their good players start playing together again.

  65. Oh, yeah ... Coach Steve Kerr has eight assistant coaches, two with special player-development designations.

  66. Basketball Reference All-Time Top 12 Timberwolves:

    1. Kevin Garnett 139.8 WSs
    2. Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky 68.2
    3. Kevin Love 47.0
    4. Wally Szczerzebiak 41.0
    5. Sam Mitchell 32.9
    6. Gorgui Dieng 26.5
    7. Ricky Rubio 26.4
    8. Terrell Brandon 23.1
    9. Tom Gugliotta 19.0
    10. Christian Laettner 19.0
    11. Nikola Peković 18.8
    12. Joe Smith 17.6

  67. Back on Feb. 16, the Timberwolves lost at home to the Wizards, 114-106, and their starters were power forward Kyle Anderson (plus-1.7 on the season), point guard Mike Conley (minus-2.7), shooting guard Anthony Edwards (plus-0.9), center Rudy Gobert (minus-0.3) and power forward Jaden McDaniels (plus-1.3). The other Timberwolves who average at least 20 minutes per game are power forward Towns (minus-0.8), who is hurt; small forward Taurean Prince (minus-0.2) and shooting guard Austin Rivers (minus-2.6). Edwards leads Minnesota in points per game (24.9); Gobert, in rebounds (11.6), and Conley, in assists (6.0).

  68. The Minnesota coach is Chris Finch, and he has five assistant coaches and a strength-and-conditioning guy.

  69. One of the interesting things that Brian Windhorst talked about with Tony Kornheiser the other day is how France is making a big push to have Joel Embiid play for their Olympic team at Paris 2024. Embiid has both American and French citizenship. His joint the French nationals would set up a daunting front line, potentially along with Victor Wembanyama and Rudy Gobert. And it could be a long-term problem for Team USA because, once you commit to one national team, that's whom you play for the remainder of your Olympic career. I did not know that! Karl-Anthony Towns joined the Dominican Republic national team as a 16-year-old, and now he's a member of the Dominican Republic Olympic basketball team (coached by John Calipari in 2011 and 2012) or no Olympic basketball team forever.

  70. Wikipedia:

    The Brooklyn Nets are an American professional basketball team based in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. The Nets compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. The team plays its home games at Barclays Center. They are one of two NBA teams located in New York City; the other is the New York Knicks. The club was established in 1967 as a charter franchise of the NBA's rival league, the American Basketball Association (ABA). They played in New Jersey as the New Jersey Americans during their first season, before relocating to Long Island, New York, in 1968 and changing their name to the New York Nets. During this time, the Nets won two ABA championships (in 1974 and 1976). In 1976, the ABA merged with the NBA, and the Nets were absorbed into the NBA along with three other ABA teams (the San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers, and Denver Nuggets), all of whom remain in the league to this day.

    In 1977, the team returned to New Jersey and played as the New Jersey Nets from 1977 to 2012. Led by star point guard Jason Kidd, the Nets reached the NBA Finals in two consecutive NBA seasons (2001–02 and 2002–03), but failed to win a championship.[11] In the summer of 2012, the team moved to Barclays Center in Brooklyn,[12] becoming the first major sports franchise in the borough since the departure of the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team in 1957.[13] Since moving to Brooklyn, the Nets have qualified for the playoffs on seven occasions, including trips to the Conference Semifinals in 2014 and 2021.

  71. With no KD, with no Kyrie, the Nets hosted the Heat on Feb. 15 and won, 116-105. Their starters were small forward Mikal Bridges (minus-0.7 in three games this season with Brooklyn), center Nic Claxton (plus-2.3), point guard Spencer Dinwiddie (plus-7.3 in four), power forward Dorian Finney-Smith (plus-4.5 in four) and power forward Cameron Johnson (plus-4.3 in three).

  72. Simmons, the 6-foot-10 fourth-year point guard from Louisiana State, has started 33 times for the Nets this season. He came off the bench in the Nets’ last game, and it’s dicey whether he’ll play as they get back to action tonight, against the Chicago Bulls, because of a knee injury. Simmons is averaging 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists in 26.3 minutes per game this season. He’s a plus-1.0.

  73. The other current Nets averaging at least 20 minutes per game are small forward Royce O’Neale (plus-0.5), shooting guard Joe Harris (minus-0.2) and shooting guard Seth Curry (minus-0.7).

    Jacque Vaughn is the Nets’ second head coach of the season. (Steve Nash was done after a 2-5 start.) There are seven assistant coaches, including one focused on player development, and there’s a strength-and-conditioning coach.

  74. I’m hopeful that the Nets get all jazzed about their rebuild for future seasons and slide way, way down from their No. 5 position in the Eastern Conference. Washington is currently No. 10 and six games behind Brooklyn.

  75. The Oklahoma City Thunder are No. 18. Wikipedia:

    The Oklahoma City Thunder are an American professional basketball team based in Oklahoma City. The Thunder compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Western Conference Northwest Division.[8][9] The team plays its home games at Paycom Center.[10]

    The Thunder's NBA G League affiliate is the Oklahoma City Blue, which it owns.[11] The Thunder are the only team in the major professional North American sports leagues based in the state of Oklahoma.[12] Oklahoma City previously hosted the New Orleans Hornets for two seasons following devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.[13][14]

    The team was originally established as the Seattle SuperSonics, an expansion team that joined the NBA for the 1967–68 season. The SuperSonics relocated from Seattle, Washington to Oklahoma City in 2008 after a settlement was reached between the ownership group led by Clay Bennett and lawmakers in Seattle following a lawsuit. In Seattle, the SuperSonics qualified for the NBA playoffs 22 times, won their division six times, advanced to three NBA Finals, and won the 1979 NBA Championship.

    In Oklahoma City, the Thunder qualified for their first playoff berth during the 2009–10 season. They won their first division title as the Thunder in the 2010–11 season and their first Western Conference championship as the Thunder in the 2011–12 season, appearing in the NBA Finals for the fourth time in franchise history and first time since 1996, when the team was based in Seattle. The team has yet to win a championship since moving to Oklahoma City.

  76. All-Time Top 12 SuperSonics/Thunder, per Baskeball Reference:

    1. Gary Payton 123.8 WSs
    2. Kevin Durant 107.9
    3. Russell Westbrook 96.9
    4. Jack Sikma 79.0
    5. Shawn Kemp 67.6
    6. Fred Brown 63.2
    7. Rashard Lewis 58.9
    8. Detlef Schrempf 53.7
    9. Gus Williams 52.1
    10. Nate McMillan 50.2
    11. Serge Ibaka 47.6
    12. Dale Ellis 45.5

  77. Jack Sikma was at least acquaintances (if not dorm roommates) with #khsfb86 Class A-champion West Paducah Heath High School Pirates football coach Rodney Bushong at Illinois Wesleyan!

  78. Daigneault has five assistant coaches, two of whom concentrate on player development. One of the assistants is Dave Bliss.

  79. The Thunder lost, 120-119, at Utah last night. Their starters were shooting guard Luguentz Dort (plus-1.5 on the season), shooting guard Josh Giddey (minus-1.2), point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of Kentucky (plus-2.7), shooting guard Jalen Williams (minus-0.8) and power forward Jaylin Williams (minus-0.1). Power forward Kenrich Williams, power forward Aleksej Pokusevski and power forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl each average more than 20 minutes per game. Gilgeous-Alexander leads the Thunder in points per game (31.0); Giddey in rebounds (7.8) and assists (5.8).

  80. 5:18 to go in Washington … Wizards 100, Knicks 99 … Brad Beal hits a 16-footer after a steal and being fouled by Immanuel Quickley … but now Julius Randle hits a 3! Ouch. 102-100, Knicks … Mitchell Robinson fouls Beal … headed to free-throw line … good … good … 4:33, 102-10 … INTENSE, BABY!

    1. ANOTHER Randle 3, 105-102 … Kuzma missed three; Quickley rebound … heck … 3:56 ...

    2. Timeout, Knicks … 2:58 … still 105-102, New York ...

    3. Need this one. Knicks are 33-27 and sixth in the East; Wizards, 28-30 and 10th.

    4. Quickley driving jumper … 107-102 … Kuzma missed 3 … Porziņģis fouled on rebound … make and make … 107-104 … Brunson miss … Robinson miss … Quickley miss … AVDIJA REBOUND … 2 minutes! …

    5. Porziņģis fouled … make … make … 107-106 … CLUTCH! … 1:49 ...

    6. Randle missed 3 … Quickley rebound … Porziņģis fouls Randle … make … make … dang … 109-106 … 1:16 ...


    8. AARGH! Brunson layup … 111-109, 42.1 seconds … Porziņģis missed 3 … Robinson rebound … 23.7 seconds … Robinson layup on the assist from Randle … 113-109 … timeout, Coach Unseld Jr. … 11.2 seconds … DANG!

    9. Final from Washington: Knicks 115, Wizards 109.

  81. East:
    1. Celtics 43-17

    5. Nets 34-25 8.5 games back
    6. Knicks 34-27 9.5
    7. Heat 32-28 11
    8. Hawks 30-30 13
    9. Raptors 29-31 14
    10. Wizards 28-31 14.5
    11. Bulls 27-33 16
    12. Pacers 26-35 17.5
    13. Magic 25-35 18.0

  82. The Toronto Raptors are a problem. They won five of six before the All-Star break, and they beat the New Orleans Pelicans, 115-110, upon coming back to work Thursday. They are Athletic Harper's No. 18.

  83. Wikipedia:

    The Toronto Raptors are a Canadian professional basketball team based in Toronto. The Raptors compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Atlantic Division. They play their home games at Scotiabank Arena, which they share with the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League (NHL). The team was founded in 1995 as part of the NBA's expansion into Canada, along with the Vancouver Grizzlies. Since the 2001–02 season, the Raptors have been the only Canadian-based team in the league, as the Grizzlies relocated from Vancouver to Memphis, Tennessee.

    As with most expansion teams, the Raptors struggled in their early years, but after the acquisition of Vince Carter through a draft-day trade in 1998, the franchise set league-attendance records and made the NBA playoffs in 2000, 2001, and 2002. Carter was instrumental in leading the team to their first playoff series win in 2001, where they advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals. During the 2002–03 and 2003–04 seasons, they failed to make significant progress, and Carter was traded in 2004 to the New Jersey Nets.

    After Carter left, Chris Bosh emerged as the team leader. For the 2006–07 season, Bryan Colangelo was appointed as general manager, and through a combination of Bosh, 2006 first overall draft pick Andrea Bargnani, and a revamp of the roster, the Raptors qualified for their first playoff berth in five years, capturing the Atlantic Division title. In the 2007–08 season, they also advanced to the playoffs but failed to reach the postseason in each of the next five seasons. Colangelo overhauled the team's roster for the 2009–10 season in a bid to persuade pending free agent Bosh to stay, but Bosh departed to sign with the Miami Heat in July 2010, ushering in yet another era of rebuilding for the Raptors.

    Masai Ujiri replaced Colangelo in 2013 and helped herald a new era of success, led by a backcourt duo of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. The Raptors returned to the playoffs the following year and became a consistent playoff team in every year of Ujiri's tenure. Under Ujiri, the team also won five Division titles and registered their most successful regular season in 2018. However, the team's failure to reach the NBA Finals prompted Ujiri to fire head coach Dwane Casey after the 2018 playoffs concluded and to trade DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green later that summer, as well as to acquire Marc Gasol before the trade deadline. Toronto also saw the breakout of Pascal Siakam, the 27th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft, who won the NBA Most Improved Player that year. In the 2019 playoffs, the Raptors won their first Eastern Conference title and advanced to their first NBA Finals, where they won their first NBA championship.

  84. Basketball Reference All-Time Top 12 Raptors:

    1. Kyle Lowry 74.5 WSs
    2. Chris Bosh 61.8
    3. DeMar DeRozan 54.0
    4. Vince Carter 47.7
    5. Jonas Valančiūnas 43.8
    6. José Calderón 41.5
    7. Pascal Siakam 38.9
    8. Amir Johnson 32.8
    9. Fred VanVleet 30.6
    10. Morris Peterson 30.5
    11. Antonio Davis 22.8
    12. Doug Christie 21.1

  85. When the Raptors beat the Pelicans the other night, their starters were center Siakam (plus-2.1 on the season), small forward O.G. Anunoby (plus-0.9), power forward Scottie Barnes (plus-1.7), center Jakob Poeltl (plus-8.3 in four games with Toronto) and shooting guard Gary Trent Jr. (minus-0.1). Point guard VanVleet (plus-1.2) typically starts, but he’s out of action for some non-injury/personal reason. The two other Raptors who play at least 20 minutes per game are center Precious Achiuwa (minus-0.1) and power forward Chris Boucher (minus-0.1).

    Siakam averages a team-high 25.3 points per game (plus 7.7 rebounds and 6.1 assists). How amazing it must be to have a 27th overall pick turn in to such a stud! The team leader in rebounds per game is now Poeltl (9.0); in assists, VanVleet (6.6).

    Toronto’s head coach is Kornheiser-favorite Nick Nurse. He has 10 (!) assistant coaches, which I think is the high so far.

  86. The Portland Trail Blazers are No. 2. Wikipedia:

    The Portland Trail Blazers (colloquially known as the Blazers) are an American professional basketball team based in Portland, Oregon. The Trail Blazers compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Western Conference Northwest Division. The team played its home games in the Memorial Coliseum before moving to the Moda Center in 1995 (called the Rose Garden until 2013). The franchise entered the league as an expansion team in 1970, and has enjoyed a strong following: from 1977 through 1995, the team sold out 814 consecutive home games, the longest such streak in American major professional sports at the time, and only since surpassed by the Boston Red Sox.[10] The Trail Blazers are the only NBA team based in the Pacific Northwest, after the Vancouver Grizzlies relocated to Memphis and became the Memphis Grizzlies in 2001 and the Seattle SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma City and became the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008.

    The team has advanced to the NBA Finals three times, winning the NBA championship once in 1977. Their other NBA Finals appearances were in 1990 and 1992.[11][12] The team has qualified for the playoffs in 37 seasons of their 51-season existence, including a streak of 21 straight appearances from 1983 through 2003, tied for the second longest streak in NBA history.[13][14] The Trail Blazers' 34 playoff appearances rank third in the NBA only behind the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs since the team's inception in 1970.[15] Six Hall of Fame players have played for the Trail Blazers (Lenny Wilkens, Bill Walton, Clyde Drexler, Dražen Petrović, Arvydas Sabonis, and Scottie Pippen).[16] Bill Walton is the franchise's most decorated player; he was the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player in 1977, and the regular season MVP the following year.[11][17] Four Blazers' rookies (Geoff Petrie, Sidney Wicks, Brandon Roy and Damian Lillard) have won the NBA Rookie of the Year award. Three players have earned the Most Improved Player award: Kevin Duckworth (1988), Zach Randolph (2004), and CJ McCollum (2016). Three Hall of Fame coaches – Lenny Wilkens, Jack Ramsay, and Rick Adelman – have patrolled the sidelines for the Blazers, and two others, Mike Schuler and Mike Dunleavy, have won the NBA Coach of the Year Award with the team.

  87. All-Tim Top 12 Trail Blazers, per Basketball Reference:

    1. Clyde Drexler 108.7 WSs
    2. Damian Lillard 101.8
    3. Terry Porter 79.3
    4. LaMarcus Aldridge 69.4
    5. Rasheed Wallace 61.3
    6. Jerome Kersey 59.0
    7. Buck Williams 50.4
    8. John Paxson 50.0
    9. Arvydas Sabonis 47.3
    10. Clifford Robinson 46.8
    11. Mychal Thompson 39.9
    12. Damon Stoudamire 37.7

    1. Well, this is the first of these lists to make me regret taking the time to type them in here. I mean, I understand that the numbers are what the numbers are, but Bill Walton and Maurice Lucas are the top two Trail Blazers of all time.

  88. The Blazers lost to the Kings Thursday night, 133-116, and their starters were point guard Ryan Arcidiancono (minus-8.3 in three games as a Blazer), center Drew Eubanks (plus-0.2), small forward Nassir Little (minus-0.7), small forward Cam Reddish (minus-6.8 in four games) and shooting guard Matisse Thybulle (plus-2.0 in three games). Point guard Lillard (plus-2.4), power forward Jerami Grant (plus-0.1), center Jusuf Nurkić (plus-1.0) and shooting guard Anfernee Simons (minus-0.7) are all on the Blazers’ current roster and have all been more frequent starters than any of the five from Thursday night. None of the four even played against the Kings. Nurkić and Simons are both hurt; I don’t know what’s up with Lillard or Grant.

    Small forward Justice Winslow (minus-1.3), also hurt, and shooting guard Shaedon Sharpe of Kentucky (minus-1.4) are the two other Blazers who average more than 20 minutes per game. Small forward Kevin Knox II of Kentucky is also on the roster.

  89. The Blazers' head coach is Chauncey Billups. Among his seven assistant coaches is Scott Brooks, the former Wizards head coach.

  90. I've found an amazing radio app for my phone--it's called RadioApp--and, at this very moment, I'm listening to the Washington Wizards leading the Chicago Bulls, 9-8, on WSCR 670 AM "The Score." The Internet Is Amazing!™

    1. Wikipedia:

      On April 12, 1922, the station first signed on as WGU.[6][7] A joint venture between The Fair Department Store and the Chicago Daily News, WGU's first transmitter sat atop the department store.[6][8][9] At the time, the station was broadcasting on 833 kilocycles with a transmitter power of about 100 watts.[7]

      Just weeks before its inaugural broadcast Walter A. Strong, then business manager of the Daily News, realized the station would need a manager. Strong knew a young woman with some ad agency experience named Judith C. Waller. He called her and said, “I’ve just bought a radio station; come down and run it.” Waller protested that she didn't know anything about running a station. Strong replied “neither do I, but come down and we’ll find out.”[10] Waller was hired in February 1922. She went on to have a long and distinguished career in broadcasting.

      There are questions as to whether anyone actually heard the station's initial half-hour broadcast, as technical problems forced WGU to shut down the following day. It remained off the air while a new transmitter was ordered. One of the problems with reception of the station was the interference of tall buildings in the area and that it had only about 100 watts of power.[2][11][12]

      The City of Chicago also operated its own radio station with similar call letters, WBU, sharing a frequency with Westinghouse's KYW, which began in Chicago the year before.[13][14][15] In an attempt to avoid confusion with the city's station, WGU was assigned the new call letters WMAQ, and to improve reception, its power was increased to 500 watts and it was assigned the clear channel frequency of 750 kilocycles.[16][2][17] WMAQ's call letters were first broadcast October 2, 1922, with the inaugural show featuring comedian Ed Wynn.[2][17] The station's longtime motto "We Must Answer Questions," was derived from this call sign.[18]

    2. Through three quarters: Bulls 74, Wizards 67.

    3. Beal misses three free throws, and Chicago answers with a layup: 76-67.

  91. Tony Kornheiser on his podcast today: "The Wizards are never going to win. They are never going to win."

    You're right. You're right. I know you're right.

  92. Here's Zach Harper in The Athletic with his Feb. 27 NBA power rankings (sorry I missed them until this morning): "I continue to hold strong on the Wizards being a better team than their record indicates."

    He had Washington at No. 20 (down from No. 19). After losing two in a row since the All-Star break, the Wizards came back to win, 119-116, in Atlanta last night as Bradley Beal scored 37. He was a plus-3 for the game. Starting forward Kyle Kuzma, and reserve guard Jordan Goodwin were both plus-5 for the game--best among the Wizards.

  93. Harper's top 15 this week:

    1. Bucks
    2. Celtics
    3. Nuggets
    4. 76ers
    5. Suns
    6. Grizzlies
    7. Kings
    8. Clippers
    9. Cavaliers
    10. Knicks
    11. Mavericks
    12. Heat
    13. Raptors
    14. Warriors
    15. Pelicans

  94. Did I mention that the No. 20 Wizards came in to Atlanta last night and shocked the No. 16 Hawks, 119-116?

  95. The Hawks’ starters in the game (which the Wizards won) last night were center Clint Capela (plus-0.3 on the season), power forward John Collins (plus-0.6), small forward De’Andre Hunter, shooting guard Dejounte Murray (0.0) and point guard Trae Young (plus-1.6). (It’s always so satisfying when one of the teams starts five guys whom Basketball Reference lists at the five different positions.) The other Hawks who average at least 20 minutes per game are shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic (minus-0.1), small forward Saddiq Bey (plus-5.2 in five games with Atlanta), center Onykea Okongwu (minus-0.4)and small forward A.J. Griffin (0.0).

  96. The Hawks just changed head coaches. Nate McMillan was 29-30 this season but was let go a little bit ago. "Making the conference finals in 2021 probably screwed this team up because it made them think they’re further along than they are. Since then, it’s been a mountain of disappointment,” Harper wrote. McMillan took over the Hawks during NBA21, and they closed 27-11 with him as the head coach that season. Then they went 43-39 last season.

    Joe Prunty was 2-0 as interim head coach after McMillan’s firing, and then the Wizards beat the Hawks in Quin Snyder’s debut as permanent head coach last night. Basketball Reference lists four assistant coaches and a strength-and-conditioning guy for Atlanta. But one of the assistants listed is Jamelle McMillan, son of the former head coach, so I imagine that list is not yet re-up to snuff.

  97. Wikipedia:

    The Atlanta Hawks are an American professional basketball team based in Atlanta. The Hawks compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Southeast Division. The team plays its home games at State Farm Arena.

    The team's origins can be traced to the establishment of the Buffalo Bisons in 1946 in Buffalo, New York, a member of the National Basketball League (NBL) owned by Ben Kerner and Leo Ferris.[8] After 38 days in Buffalo, the team moved to Moline, Illinois, where they were renamed the Tri-Cities Blackhawks.[9] In 1949, they joined the NBA as part of the merger between the NBL and the Basketball Association of America (BAA), and briefly had Red Auerbach as coach. In 1951, Kerner moved the team to Milwaukee, where they changed their name to the Milwaukee Hawks. Kerner and the team moved again in 1955 to St. Louis, where they won their only NBA Championship in 1958 and qualified to play in the NBA Finals in 1957, 1960 and 1961. The Hawks played the Boston Celtics in all four of their trips to the NBA Finals. The St. Louis Hawks moved to Atlanta in 1968, when Kerner sold the franchise to Thomas Cousins and former Georgia Governor Carl Sanders.[10][11]

    The Hawks currently own the second-longest drought (behind the Sacramento Kings) of not winning an NBA championship at 63 seasons. The franchise's lone NBA championship, as well as all four NBA Finals appearances, occurred when the team was based in St. Louis. Meanwhile, they went 48 years without advancing past the second round of the playoffs in any format, until finally breaking through in 2015. However, the Hawks are one of only four NBA teams that have qualified to play in the NBA playoffs in 10 consecutive seasons in the 21st century. They achieved this feat between 2008 and 2017.

  98. Basketball Reference All-Time Top 12 Hawks:

    1. Bob Petit 136.0 WSs
    2. Dominique Wilkins 107.4
    3. Cliff Hagan of UK 75.1
    4. Lou Hudson 73.5
    5. Al Horford 64.2
    6. John Drew 60.7
    7. Wayne “Tree” Rollins 58.8
    8. Daron “Mookie" Blaylock 58.4
    9. Zelmo Beaty 55.9
    10. Kevin Willis 54.2
    11. Glenn “Doc” Rivers 52.0
    12. Lenny Wilkens 47.6

  99. We've already discussed the Timberwolves. They're Harper's No. 17 this week.

  100. No. 18 is the Los Angeles Lakers. Wikipedia:

    The Los Angeles Lakers are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles. The Lakers compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Western Conference Pacific Division. The Lakers play their home games at Crypto.com Arena, an arena shared with the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers, the Los Angeles Sparks of the Women's National Basketball Association, and the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League.[9] The Lakers are one of the most successful teams in the history of the NBA, and have won 17 NBA championships, tied with the Boston Celtics for the most in NBA history.[10]

    The franchise began with the 1947 purchase of a disbanded team, the Detroit Gems of the National Basketball League (NBL). The new team began playing in Minneapolis, Minnesota, calling themselves the Minneapolis Lakers.[11] Initially a member of the NBL, the Lakers won the 1948 NBL championship before joining the rival Basketball Association of America, where they would win five of the next six championships, led by star George Mikan.[12] After struggling financially in the late 1950s following Mikan's retirement, they relocated to Los Angeles before the 1960–61 season.

    Led by Hall of Famers Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, Los Angeles made the NBA Finals six times in the 1960s, but lost every series to the Celtics, beginning their long and storied rivalry. In 1968, the Lakers acquired four-time NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) Wilt Chamberlain, and won their sixth NBA title—and first in Los Angeles—in 1972, led by new head coach Bill Sharman. After the retirement of West and Chamberlain, the team traded for superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who would win three MVP awards as a Laker. While the team was unable to advance to the Finals in the late 1970s, two momentous changes came in 1979 that would inaugurate a new golden era for the franchise. First, Jerry Buss purchased the Lakers, and as the team's owner, pioneered a vision of basketball games as entertainment spectacles as well as sporting events.[13] Second, the Lakers drafted Magic Johnson first overall in the 1979 NBA draft. ...

  101. ... The combination of Johnson, a passing prodigy point guard, and a dominant center in Abdul-Jabbar provided the Lakers with two superstars to anchor their roster. The promotion of head coach Pat Riley in 1981 and the addition of forward James Worthy through the 1982 draft established the Lakers as an NBA powerhouse throughout the 1980s. The team was nicknamed the "Showtime Lakers" due to its fast break, transition offense facilitated by Johnson. The franchise won five championships in a nine-year span, including winning two out of three marquee Finals matchups against the Celtics. The Lakers were defeated by their Boston archrivals in the 1984 Finals, but triumphed over the Celtics in 1985 and 1987.

    After Riley departed and Abdul-Jabbar, Johnson, and Worthy all retired, the Lakers struggled in the early 1990s. It was not until 1996 when the team traded with the Charlotte Hornets for the draft rights to Kobe Bryant and signed star center Shaquille O'Neal that the Lakers returned to dominance during the early 2000s. The superstar duo of Bryant and O'Neal, along with Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson, led the Lakers to three consecutive championships between 2000 to 2002, securing the franchise's second "three-peat."[14] The dynamic but tumultuous "Shaq-and-Kobe" era ended when the Lakers traded away O'Neal after the team lost to the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 Finals. It was not until after the Lakers traded for Pau Gasol that Bryant and Jackson returned to the NBA Finals, losing to the Celtics in 2008 but winning two more championships in 2009 and 2010. The 2010 Finals marked the latest matchup of the Lakers and Celtics, with Los Angeles winning its 16th title against its ancient rival in a seven-game series.

    Jackson retired from coaching in 2011, and after a string of tumultuous playoff exits, the Lakers endured their longest playoff drought in franchise history. Gasol departed as a free agent in 2014, and Bryant retired in 2016 after twenty years as a Laker. After multiple rebuilding seasons with young, highly rated prospects, the Lakers signed superstar LeBron James in 2018.[15] In 2019, the team traded several of those prospects for star big man Anthony Davis.[16] The Lakers—led by James, Davis, and head coach Frank Vogel—won the team's 17th championship in 2020, tying the Celtics for the most titles in NBA history.[17]

    The Lakers hold the record for NBA's longest winning streak, 33 straight games, set during the 1971–72 season.[18] Twenty-six Hall of Famers have played for Los Angeles, while four have coached the team. Four players—Abdul-Jabbar, Johnson, O'Neal, and Bryant—have won a combined eight NBA MVP awards with the Lakers.[19]

  102. All-Time Top 12 Lakers, per Basketball Reference:

    1. Kobe Bryant 172.7 WSs
    2. Jerry West 162.6
    3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 158.7
    4. Earvin “Magic” Johnson 155.8
    5. George Mikan 108.7
    6. Elgin Baylor 104.2
    7. Shaquille O’Neal 97.0
    8. Vern Mikkelsen 83.4
    9. James Worthy 81.2
    10. Byron Scott 65.8
    11. A.C. Green 64.4
    12. Wilt Chamberlain 63.6

  103. The Lakers won at Oklahoma City last night, 123-117. Their starters were center Mo Bamba (minus-1.6 in five games as a Laker this season), shooting guard Malik Beasley (plus-6.7 in seven games as a Laker), small forward (and former Wizard) Troy Brown Jr. (minus-0.5), point guard Dennis Schröder (plus-0.9) and power forward Jarred Vanderbilt of Kentucky (minus-0.7 in seven games as a Laker). Power forward LeBron James (plus-3.1), point guard D’Angelo Russell (plus-6.8 in four games as a Laker) and center Anthony Davis of Kentucky (plus-1.8) typically start but are all out because of injuries. The other Lakers who average at least 20 minutes per game are shooting guard Austin Reaves (plus-0.4), shooting guard Lonnie Walker IV (minus-3.7) and power forward (and former Wizard) Rui Hachimura (minus-0.4). Power forward Wenyan Gabriel of Kentucky also is on the roster and is a minus-1.8 on the season, playing 15.3 minutes per game.

  104. James leads in points (29.5) and assists (6.9) per game, and his foot injury is expected to keep him out at least two weeks. The Lakers are 11th in the West, and 10 teams advance to the postseason.

    Davis is the leading rebounder at 12.6 per.

  105. And that brings us to my second-favorite NBA team, the Chicago Bulls. On our most recent vacation to Chicago two or three years ago, I decided to lock in on the Chicago teams as my second-favorite in all of the major sports leagues:

    -- C. Bulls to No. 1 Washington Wizards in NBA
    -- C. White Sox and C. Cubs (T2) to No. 1 Oakland A's in MLB
    -- C. Sky to No. 1 Washington Mystics in WNBA
    -- C. Bears to No. 1 Miami Dolphins in NFL
    -- C. Blackhawks to No. 1 Washington Capitals in NHL

    I'm still growing into this reality, but I'm getting there and stand by the plan. We plan to visit Chicago again in a month, and I might try to get a ticket on StubHub and see a Bulls game like a regular Mr. Fancypants.

  106. Wikipedia:

    The Chicago Bulls are an American professional basketball team based in Chicago. The Bulls compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Central Division.[9] The team was founded on January 16, 1966, and played its first game during the 1966–67 NBA season.[1] The Bulls play their home games at the United Center, an arena on Chicago's West Side.

    The Bulls saw their greatest success during the 1990s when they played a major part in popularizing the NBA worldwide. They are known for having one of the NBA's greatest dynasties, winning six NBA championships between 1991 and 1998 with two three-peats. All six of their championship teams were led by Hall of Famers Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and coach Phil Jackson. The Bulls are the only NBA franchise to win multiple championships while never losing an NBA Finals series in their history.[10]

    The Bulls won 72 games during the 1995–96 season, setting an NBA record that stood until the Golden State Warriors won 73 games during the 2015–16 season. The Bulls were the first team in NBA history to win 70 games or more in a single season, and the only NBA franchise to do so until the 2015–16 Warriors.[11]

    Since 1998, the Bulls have failed to regain their former success. The franchise struggled throughout the 2000s, but showed promise in the early 2010s led by Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, culminating in back-to-back seasons above .732 in 2010–11 and 2011–12. The injury to Rose and subsequent trades of key players triggered a rebuild, culminating in the current lineup built around all-stars Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic.

    Jordan and Rose have won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award while playing for the Bulls, for a total of six MVP awards. The Bulls share rivalries with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, and the New York Knicks. The Bulls' rivalry with the Pistons was highlighted heavily during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Outside of basketball, the Chicago Bulls are also known for their community work through their charity department which provides youth and non-for-profit organizations with tickets to games and merchandise.

  107. All-Time Top 12 Bulls, per Basketball Reference:

    1. Michael Jordan 204.5 WSs
    2. Scottie Pippen 99.7
    3. Chet Walker 67.0
    4. Artis Gilmore 66.5
    5. Horace Grant 62.4
    6. Luol Deng 58.4
    7. Joakim Noah 57.3
    8. Jimmy Butler 49.3
    9. Bob Love 48.2
    10. Jerry Sloan 48.1
    11. Kirk Hinrich 47.6
    12. Toni Kukoč 41.2

  108. Billy Donovan is joined by six assistants and a strength-and-conditioning person in coaching the Bulls.

  109. When the Bulls beat the Pistons, 117-115, in Detroit last night, their starters were point guard Patrick Beverley (plus-12.8 in four games with the Bulls this season), point guard Alex Caruso (plus-3.1), small forward DeMar DeRozan (plus-1.9), shooting guard Zach LaVine (plus-0.1) and center Nikola Vučević (minus-0.4). The others on Chicago’s roster who average at least 20 minutes per game are power forward Patrick Williams (minus-2.5), shooting guard Ayo Dosunmu (minus-1.9) and shooting guard Coby White (plus-2.0). DeRozan leads in points (25.0) and assists (5.1) per game; Vučević, in rebounds (11.3).

  110. Next his rankings go …

    20. Lakers
    21. Thunder
    22. Trail Blazers
    23. Pacers, whom we haven't yet discussed ...

  111. Basketball Reference All-Time Top 12 Pacers:

    1. Reggie Miller 174.4 WSs
    2. Roger Brown 63.5
    3. Dale Davis 58.4
    4. Rik Smits 56.6
    5. Mel Daniels 53.4
    6. Billy Knight 53.4
    7. Vern Fleming 50.4
    8. Danny Granger 47.6
    9. Jeff Foster 47.5
    10. Jermaine O’Neal 46.5
    11. Paul George 44.5
    12. Freddie Lewis 43.2

  112. Indiana won at Chicago on Sunday afternoon, 125-122, and the Pacers’ starters were point guard Tyrese Haliburton (minus-0.7 on the season), small forward Buddy Hield (minus-0.1), shooting guard Andrew Nembhard (minus-2.5), small forward Jordan Nwora of Louisville (minus-2.3) and center Myles Turner (plus-0.1). The other Pacers who average at least 20 minutes per game are Bennedict Mathurin (minus-1.3) and Aaron Nesmith (minus-1.4).

    Haliburton leads in points (20.3) and assists per game (10.2); Turner, in rebounds (7.8) Center Isaiah Jackson of Kentucky (minus-1.6) chips in averages of 6.7 points and 4.0 rebounds in 15.5 minutes per game, and I don’t remember that guy at UK at all.

  113. The head coach is Rick Carlisle, who coached the Dallas Mavericks to the NBA11 championship. Shame on me—I could’ve sworn that Carlisle once served as an assistant coach or played with the Bullets or Wizards, but I was wrong. Anyway, in Indiana, he has a lead assistant coach (Lloyd Pierce), five assistant coaches (including Calbert Cheaney of Evansville, Indiana, who did play for the Wizards) and a strength-and-conditioning dude.

  114. Top 12 All-Time Magic, per Basketball Reference:

    1. Dwight Howard 87.5 WSs
    2. Nick Anderson 52.9
    3. Nikola Vučević 50.1
    4. Shaquille O’Neal 48.3
    5. Tracy McGrady 48.2
    6. Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway 46.3
    7. Jameer Nelson 43.0
    8. Horace Grant 42.2
    9. Darrell Armstrong 40.2
    10. Hedo Türkoğlu 39.6
    11. Dennis Scott 28.3
    12. Rashard Lewis 27.4

  115. The Magic lost at home to the Blazers a couple of nights ago, 122-119. Orlando’s starters were power forward Paolo Banchero (minus-3.3 for the season), point guard Markelle Fultz (minus-2.7), point guard Jalen Suggs (minus-1.4), small forward Franz Wagner (plus-0.5) and center Moritz Wagner (minus-0.8). Center Wendell Carter Jr. (minus-1.3) and shooting guard Gary Harris (minus-1.5) both have started a bunch of games for the Magic but are injured. Point guard Cole Anthony (minus-1.7), small forward Chuma Okeke (minus-3.9) and power forward Bol Bol (minus-2.0) also each average more than 20 minutes per game.

    Orlando’s head coach is Jamal Mosley, and the Magic employ an associate coach for player development (Lionel Chalmers), five assistant coaches and two strength-and-conditioning coaches.

  116. Wikipedia:

    The Utah Stars were an American Basketball Association (ABA) team based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Under head coach Bill Sharman the Stars were the first major professional basketball team to use a pre-game shootaround. ...

    The team was founded as the Anaheim Amigos, a charter member of the ABA based in Anaheim, California. ...

    In March 1970, (Jim) Kirst sold the team to Colorado cable TV pioneer Bill Daniels, who moved the team in June to Salt Lake City as the Utah Stars for the 1970–71 season.[2] Zelmo Beaty suited up for the team and they finished second in the Western Division with their best record yet at 57–27 (.679), one game behind the Indiana Pacers. ...

    In the Western Division Semifinals, the Stars would go on to sweep the Texas Chaparrals and then stunned the Pacers in game 7 of the Western Division Finals, earning a spot in the ABA Championship.

    The Stars would face the Kentucky Colonels in the ABA Championship. In game one a near-capacity crowd filed into the Salt Palace to watch the Stars defeat Kentucky 136-117. The Stars set an ABA Playoff record by scoring 50 points in the 2nd quarter. In game 2, the series continued its high scoring with the Stars beating Kentucky 138-125. The series shifted to Louisville and Kentucky took games 3 and 4, tying the series up at 2-2. The series then returned to Salt Lake City, where the Stars beat Kentucky 137-127, taking a 3-2 series lead. The Stars looked to wrap up the ABA Championship with a game 6 victory in Louisville. However Kentucky clawed their way to a 7th game, barely beating the Stars 105-102, sending the series to a decisive 7th game back in Salt Lake City.

    With the ABA Championship on the line, an ABA record crowd of 13,260 packed into the Salt Palace[11] to watch game 7 of the 1971 ABA Championship. The game remained close throughout, however the Stars pulled away late, winning the 1971 ABA Championship 131-121. [12] As the game ended, hundreds of Stars fans rushed the court, lifting players onto their shoulders in a jubilant celebration. The actions were a total surprise to Stars officials, as they had not anticipated such a reaction from the fans. ...

    To date, this is Utah's only pro basketball championship.

  117. With a terrific history like that, how in the heck did the New Orleans Jazz not become the Utah Stars (or even the Utah "Starzz") when they moved to Salt Lake City in 1979? It bothered me then; it bothered me again in 2002 when the Hornets moved to New Orleans and couldn't become the Jazz, and it still bothers me to this day. People don't consult with me enough before they do things.

  118. The Utah Jazz are an American professional basketball team based in Salt Lake City. The Jazz compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Western Conference Northwest Division. Since the 1991–92 season, the team has played its home games at Vivint Arena.

    The franchise began play as an expansion team in the 1974–75 season as the New Orleans Jazz (as a tribute to New Orleans' history of originating jazz music). The Jazz relocated from New Orleans to Salt Lake City on June 8, 1979.[10]

    The Jazz were one of the least successful teams in the league in their early years. Although 10 seasons elapsed before the Jazz qualified for their first playoff appearance in 1984, they did not miss the playoffs again until 2004. During the late 1980s, John Stockton and Karl Malone arose as the franchise players for the team and formed one of the most famed pick and roll duos in NBA history. Led by coach Jerry Sloan, who took over from Frank Layden in 1988, they became one of the powerhouse teams of the 1990s, culminating in two NBA Finals appearances in 1997 and 1998, where they lost both times to the Chicago Bulls, led by Michael Jordan.

    Both Stockton and Malone moved on in 2003. After missing the playoffs for three consecutive seasons the Jazz returned to prominence under the on-court leadership of point guard Deron Williams. However, partway through the 2010–11 season, the Jazz began restructuring after Sloan's retirement and Williams' trade to the New Jersey Nets. Quin Snyder was hired as head coach in June 2014. With the development of Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell into All-Stars, the Jazz launched themselves back into title contention, eventually earning the league's best regular season record in the 2020–21 season. However, following disappointing early playoff exits in both 2021 and 2022, the Jazz traded Mitchell and Gobert to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves, respectively, in the 2022 offseason and entered a new era of rebuilding centered around Lauri Markkanen, who became an All-Star in his first season with the Jazz after being acquired in the Mitchell trade.

  119. Basketball Reference All-Time Top 12 Jazz:

    1. Karl Malone 230 WSs
    2. John Stockton 207.7
    3. Rudy Gobert 86.6
    4. Adrian Dantley 76.3
    5. Andrei Kirilenko 68.2
    6. Jeff Hornacek 55.0
    7. Derrick Favors 52.7
    8. Paul Millsap 48.1
    9. Deron Williams 46.7
    10. Mehmet Okur 45.0
    11. Marc Eaton 44.8
    12. Gordon Hayward 43.0

  120. When the Jazz lost, 129-119, in Oklahoma City on Sunday, Utah’s starters were shooting guard Ochai Agbaji (0.0 on the season), shooting guard Jordan Clarkson (plus-0.6), shooting guard Talen Horton-Tucker (plus-0.9), center Walker Kessler (plus-0.7) and center Kelly Olynyk (plus-0.3). Small forward Markkanen (plus-2.5)—the team leader in points (25.2) and rebounds (8.6) per game—typically starts. Shooting guard Collin Sexton (minus-0.6) and point guard Kris Dunn (minus-10.2 in five games with the Jazz) also each average at least 20 minutes per game. Small forward Johnny Juzang, who played at UK before starring at UCLA, is also now in the mix after going undrafted, signing with Utah's summer-league team and then joining the big Jazz three games ago. He’s averaging 5.3 points in 10.6 minutes per game so far. He’s a minus-11.3 in the NBA.

    Utah’s head coach is Will Hardy. The staff list also includes three plain-old "assistant coaches," two “assistant coaches/player development,” an “assistant coach/director of basketball operations,” an “assistant coach/director of integrated player development” and then a strength-and-conditioning person. I haven’t heard of any of them.

  121. And that brings us to four teams Harper lists as on "Victor Wembanyama Watch."

  122. My favorite part of this little NBA activity has become trying to guess a team’s Basketball Reference top 12 all-time players based on their little thumbnail pictures. I almost always get the first two or three players without hovering over the pictures for the names, but I’m struggling with the Hornets:

    1. Kemba Walker 48.5 WSs (I guessed wrong)
    2. Gerald Wallace 45.9 (I guessed wrong)
    3. Muggsy” Bogues 44.8 (I guessed right! This is who I thought would be No. 1)
    4. Larry Johnson 41.1 (I guessed right! This is who I thought would be No. 2)
    5. Dell Curry 31.0 (I’m disappointed I guessed wrong and didn’t think of him)
    6. Cody Zeller 31.0 (I guessed wrong)
    7. Anthony Mason 29.5 (I guessed right, though I was surprised to see him so high)
    8. Glen Rice 28.4 (I guess wrong, but I actually was thinking about him and guessed the wrong name—partial credit)
    9. Marvin Williams 27.5 (I don’t remember ever hearing o him)
    10. David Wesley 26.9 (I guessed wrong)
    11. Emeka Okafor 26.2 (I guessed wrong)
    12. Alonzo Mourning 23.9 (I guessed right!)

  123. The Hornets lost yesterday to the Jazz, 119-111, and here was their starting lineup: small forward Gordon Hayward, small forward and former Wizard Kelly Oubre Jr. (minus-5.6 for the season), center Nick Richards of Kentucky (minus-1.4), shooting guard Terry Rozier of Louisville (minus-4.3) and power forward P.J. Washington of Kentucky (minus-5.3). Point guard Dennis Smith Jr. (minus-0.7) also averages more than 20 minutes per game. Charlotte also has point guard LaMelo Ball (minus-4.2 through 36 games), but he’s out for the season with an ankle injury. Among the current Hornets on the roster, Ball was the team leader in points (23.3), rebounds (6.4) and assists per game (8.4).

    Charlotte’s head coach is Steve Clifford, and he has eight assistant coaches, in addition to a strength-and-conditioning coach.

  124. Zach Harper's No. 28 last week:

    The Houston Rockets are an American professional basketball team based in Houston. The Rockets compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member team of the league's Western Conference Southwest Division. The team plays its home games at the Toyota Center, located in Downtown Houston. Throughout its history, Houston has won two NBA championships and four Western Conference titles. It was established in 1967 as the San Diego Rockets, an expansion team originally based in San Diego. In 1971, the Rockets relocated to Houston.

    The Rockets won only 15 games in their debut season as a franchise in 1967. In the 1968 NBA draft, the Rockets were awarded the first overall pick and selected power forward Elvin Hayes, who would lead the team to its first playoff appearance in his rookie season. The Rockets did not finish a season with a winning record for almost a decade until the 1976–77 season, when they traded for All-Star center Moses Malone. Malone went on to win the NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) award twice while playing with the Rockets and led Houston to the Eastern Conference Finals in his first year with the team. During the 1980–81 season, the Rockets finished the regular season with a 40–42 record but still made the playoffs. Led by Malone, the Rockets reached their first NBA Finals in 1981, becoming only the second team in NBA history to do so with a losing record. They would lose in six games to the 62–20 Boston Celtics, led by Larry Bird, Robert Parish, and future Rockets head coach Kevin McHale. As of 2021, the 1980–81 Rockets are the last team since the 1954–55 Minneapolis Lakers to make it all the way to the NBA Finals with a losing record.

    In the 1984 NBA draft, once again with the first overall pick, the Rockets drafted center Hakeem Olajuwon, who would become the cornerstone of the most successful period in franchise history. Paired with 7-foot-4-inch (2.24 m) Ralph Sampson, they formed one of the tallest front courts in the NBA. Nicknamed the "Twin Towers", they led the team to the 1986 NBA Finals—the second NBA Finals appearance in franchise history—where Houston was again defeated by Larry Bird and the 67-win Boston Celtics. The Rockets continued to reach the playoffs throughout the 1980s, but failed to advance past the first round for several years following a second-round defeat to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1987. Rudy Tomjanovich took over as head coach midway through the 1991–92 season, ushering in the most successful period in franchise history. Led by Olajuwon, the Rockets dominated the 1993–94 season, setting a then-franchise record 58 wins and went to the 1994 NBA Finals—the third NBA Finals appearance in franchise history—and won the franchise's first championship against Patrick Ewing and the New York Knicks. During the following season, reinforced by another All-Star, Clyde Drexler, the Rockets—in their fourth NBA Finals appearance in franchise history—repeated as champions with a four-game sweep of the Orlando Magic, which was led by a young Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway. Houston, which finished the season with a 47–35 record and was seeded sixth in the Western Conference during the 1995 playoffs, became the lowest-seeded team in NBA history to win the title. ...

    1. ... The Rockets acquired all-star power forward Charles Barkley in 1996, but the presence of three of the NBA's 50 greatest players of all-time (Olajuwon, Drexler, and Barkley) was not enough to propel Houston past the Western Conference Finals. Each one of the aging trio had left the team by 2001. The Rockets of the early 2000s, led by superstars Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, followed the trend of consistent regular-season respectability followed by playoff underachievement as both players struggled with injuries. After Yao's early retirement in 2011, the Rockets entered a period of rebuilding, completely dismantling and retooling their roster.

      The acquisition of franchise player James Harden in 2012 launched the Rockets back into perennial championship contention throughout the rest of the 2010s, with no losing seasons in Harden's nine-season tenure with the team. Harden broke countless franchise and NBA records while on the team, winning three consecutive scoring titles between 2018 and 2020, and leading the team to two Western Conference Finals appearances (both times losing to the Golden State Warriors). Prior to the 2020–21 season, head coach Mike D'Antoni and general manager Daryl Morey left the organization, prompting Harden to seek a trade. He was traded to the Brooklyn Nets[A] which started a rebuilding period.

      Moses Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, and James Harden have been named the NBA's MVPs while playing for the Rockets, for a total of four MVP awards. The Rockets, when piloted by Morey, were renowned for popularizing the use of advanced statistical analytics (similar to sabermetrics in baseball) in player acquisitions and style of play.

  125. All-Time Top 12 Rockets, per Basketball Reference:

    1. Hakeem Olajuwon 160.6 WSs
    2. James Harden 115.0
    3. Calvin Murphy 84.1
    4. Rudy Tomjanovich 70.4
    5. Moses Malone 70.0
    6. Yao Ming 65.9
    8. Stevie Francis 41.4
    9. Robert Reid 40.9
    10. Elvin Hayes 40.8
    11. Kenny Smith 37.3
    12. Clint Capela 36.4

  126. The Rockets lost to the Bulls yesterday, 119-111, and their starters were shooting guard Jalen Green (minus-6.5 on the season), small forward Kenyon Martin Jr. (minus-4.0), point guard Kevin Porter Jr. (minus-5.9), center Alperen Sengun (minus-3.9) and power forward Jabari Smith Jr. (minus-7.4). Small forward Jae’Sean Tate (minus-3.7) and power forward Tari Eason (minus-2.1) also each average 20 minutes per game. Green leads the team in points per game (21.7); Sengun, in rebounds (8.7), and Porter, in assists (5.7).

    Point guard TyTy Washington Jr. of Kentucky (minus-1.9) is also on the roster, and he averages 4.7 points in 13.8 minutes per game. TyTy didn’t play against Chicago yesterday.

  127. The head coach is Stephen Silas, and he has seven assistant coaches.

  128. All-Time Top 12 Spurs:

    1. Tim Duncan 206.4 WSs
    2. David Robinson 178.7
    3. Tony Parker 110.4
    4. George Gervin 107.4
    5. Manu Ginobili 106.4
    6. James Silas 57.9
    7. Kawhi Leonard 56.3
    8. Sean Elliott 54.3
    9. Avery Johnson 47.3
    10. LaMarcus Aldridge 42.8
    11. Artis Gilmore 40.2
    12. Larry Kenon 37.4

  129. The Spurs beat the Nuggets on Friday, 128-120, and their starters were small forward Malaki Branham (minus-5.7 on the season), center Zach Collins (minus-4.4), small forward Keldon Johnson of Kentucky (minus-8.6), power forward Jeremy Sochan (minus-4.4) and shooting guard Devin Vassell (minus-7.7). Other Spurs averaging at least 20 minutes per game are point guard Tre Jones (minus-5.1), point guard Devonte Graham (minus-11.4), small forward Keita Bates-Diop (minus-4.4), small forward Doug McDermott (minus-2.9) and shooting guard Romeo Langford (minus-3.7). Johnson leads the Rockets in points per game (21.6); Collins, in rebounds (6.2), and Jones, in assists (6.2). Center Charles Bassey of Western Kentucky (minus-1.1 and 5.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 14.7 minutes per game) and center Gorgui Dieng of Louisville (minus-2.8 in 9.7) also are on the roster.

    Greg Popovich is the head coach, and he has four assistants.

  130. I hope the Wizards trade for Charles Bassey.

  131. Basketball Reference’s All-Time Top 12 Pistons:

    1. Bill Laimbeer 98.4 WSs
    2. Bob Lanier 91.6 (it’s amazing to me that “Bill Laimbeer” and “Bob Lanier” make such an excellent rhyme)
    3. Joe Dumars 86.2
    4. Isiah Thomas 80.7
    5. Chauncey Billups 73.6
    6. Ben Wallace 65.9
    7. Andre Drummond 60.4
    8. Grant Hill 60.0
    9. Tayshaun Prince of Kentucky 57.6
    10. Larry Foust 57.5
    11. Dave Bing 56.0
    12. Richard Hamilton 54.0

  132. When the Pistons lost to Indiana, , on Saturday, their starters were center Marvin Bagley III (minus-5.2 on the season), point guard Killlian Hayes (minus-5.9), power forward Isaiah Livers (minus-3.8), shooting guard Rodney McGruder (minus-0.1) and center James Wiseman (minus-5.1). Power forward Bojan Bogdanovic (minus-5.6), shooting guard Jaden Ivey (minus-7.9), center Isaiah Stewart (minus-4.5), center Jalen Duren (minus-4.7) and shootging guard Alec Burks (minus-0.1) each average at least 20 minutes per game. Bogdanovic, Ivey, Stewart and Duren also typically start, but each was out Saturday. Cade Cunningham was starting early in the season, but he’s out for the rest of the year. Bogdanovic is the team leader in points per game (21.6); Duren, in rebounds (8.8), and Hayes, in assists (6.0).

    Shooting guard Hamidou Dialllo (minus-0.3) also is on the Detroit roster, and he’s averaging 9.3 points in 17.8 minutes per game.

  133. Dwane Casey of Union County High School and UK is the head coach, and he has five assistant coaches, plus a strength-and-conditioning guy.