The most interesting thing about each of the NBA’s five worst teams


Having just passed the quarter of the 2022-23 NBA season, we’re still figuring out which teams deserve to be considered top-notch championship contenders. (Celtics, Bucks, and Suns: Sure. Everyone else? Different levels are subject to change, although we’re keeping an eye on you, Pelicans.)

We do however, you have a pretty clear picture of the have-nots – teams playing for ping-pong balls, not post-season seeding.

The Magic, Rockets, Pistons, Spurs, and Hornets own the worst players in the NBA. records as well as net ratings. This is not surprising, of course. Houston, Orlando and Detroit were the three worst teams in the league. last season, too much. After a near-respectable 34-48, San Antonio traded their only All-Star game. Charlotte’s best returning player only played three games, his second best player didn’t return, and his highly paid the player just keeps getting injured.

Whether they’re pursuing it on purpose or dragged there by fickle fate, these teams are rebuilding; in the grand scheme of running the franchise, the rest of this season is only of value to them insofar as it tells the future and mostly in terms of how it will affect their chances of drafting Victor Wembanyama, Scoot Henderson, one of the Thompson twins, or another flamboyant, young man at the top of the 2023 NBA draft.

“To a large extent,” but not quite. Season not actually eventually; even bad line-playing teams have some things to watch out for… and maybe even get a little excited about. As a dedicated journalist, let me share one such reason to stay in touch – the silver lining surrounding the leak that this torturous quintet spins around. We’ll start in Motor City, although not with Killian Hayes, despite his uplifting personality. recent surge notify.

Detroit Pistons defenseman Jayden Ivey takes the ball to the court during the first half against the Dallas Mavericks on December 1, 2022 in Detroit.  (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Detroit Pistons defenseman Jayden Ivey takes the ball to the court during the first half against the Dallas Mavericks on December 1, 2022 in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Detroit Pistons: Jayden Ivey attacks basket

The only positive thing about Cade Cunningham’s ongoing problems with a stress fracture of the tibia is that he opened the door to see what Ivey, the No. 5 pick in the 2022 draft, could do if he were given more time with the ball in his hands. . One answer? Explode.

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Ivey has averaged 14.7 drives a game since Cunningham lost. 15th in the NBA in this interval. Of course, they are not always the most productive; he only throws 37.5% on those paint forays. However, at this point in his development, results matter less than process, and the way Ivey maneuvers his way into dangerous positions gives a lot of hope for more and better in the years to come.

A quick and heartbreaking first move that terrorized opponents in the Big Ten took to the professional level. Even when opponents give him some cushioning, Ivey simply turns it into a runway, breaking off the starting line to gain an advantage and demonstrating acceleration to overtake retreating defenders towards the basket. Sometimes he deliberately presses the gas pedal to the floor, wanting to hit the body of a blocking shot in order to finish him off with a hand or just pick that thing up and try to fuck the dude. (That’s when you really see those Ja Morant pre-compositions.)

On other occasions, however, Ivey shows an ability to take his mind off the fastball a bit. He’ll pick and roll, do a couple of low dribbles, look around the floor, and make his way to the floater, the shot he’s making. at the moment the clip is only 30% but an important one to have in the bag so as not to drop the big men. He will change pace as he approaches, seamlessly transitioning to nimble one-handed throws or using footwork and flexibility to find alternate angles of attack after the first one has been disabled. First of all, he aimed to score, only 36.7% of his discs after Cunningham’s injury, but he’s not a reluctant passer, and he has the vision and touch to throw a variety of pitches – corner shots, pocket passes through two defensemen, folds to rolling big men after attracting the attention of a shot blocker, and more.

Ivey’s future will most likely be determined by his completion, especially from out of hand’s reach from the ring; he gains only 29.8% attempts outside the restricted area. But touch can be improved, and jumpers can be developed; the electricity Ivy uses can’t. The ambition that the 20-year-old demonstrates in trying to make something out of nothing using the rebound, the ability to create advantages for teammates with dribbling and, frankly, the fact that he hits the rim so often. generally on a team that lacks spacing, that is in the bottom third of the league in 3-point shooting and 3-point accuracy, those are the things you can build on.

Pair a defender like this with an orchestrator like Cunningham and surround them with a few more shooters and something pretty fun can start in Detroit.

Orlando Magic: Bol Bol gets a chance to prove he belongs

The most important highlight for the Magic was first pick Paolo Banchero, who immediately looks like a basic offensive player – almost 22-7-4 and eight free throws overnight, and he just turned 20. The most interesting one is probably Franz Wagner. established itself as a legitimate major playmaker paired with Banchero too.

And in terms of reasons to tune in? It has to be Bol — the son of the legendary Manute Bol, a former top prep prospect who hasn’t played much since joining the NBA in 2019.

Now he plays in Orlando, and when he does, it’s hard to take your eyes off him. Like the great Kelly Dwyer recently posted this, with Bol: “It’s not height. That’s all that happens after that.”

This, folks, is a 7ft 2in man who wins in close combat in an arc and pushes a stone the entire length of the floor. Shaking defenders with incredibly deep crossovers and ending with soft floats. Goes off screen and dribbles into pull-up jumpers.

Weaving through traffic, drawing two and passing the ball to the boats. Initiate the game with drive and punch by throwing left lasers at corners.

BUT wacky waving an inflatable tube with patience, poise and a dribble pack. Jack Skellingtonflowing down with sauce. Confidence, baby confidence.

And why shouldn’t Bol feel confident? The dude was averaging just under 21s and 10s on 56% of hits in Oregon before breaking his leg; the game was there, just waiting for an opportunity to prove itself. It will come in Orlando, where early-season injuries have allowed Bol to play more minutes in 2022/23 than in his first three pro campaigns combined; in response, he averaged 12.9 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 27 minutes per game.

Bol converts 84.5% of his attempts in the ringas you would expect from someone who can get a rim without jumping. But he also shoots well, shooting 55.1% from float range and 46.2% from three-pointers above break. According to Second Spectrum, the Magic are averaging 1.1 points per chance in games where Bol hits the basket – 40th out of 196 players with at least 50 strikes. They score 1.27 points per chance when he attacks in isolation – the seventh of 130 players to go head to head at least 25 times.

Bol’s Twizzler-like physique still leaves him vulnerable to being rushed inside. Opponents hit 68.5% to the ring when he’s the closest quarterback, right in front of D’Angelo Russell and Derrick White, which isn’t quite what you’re looking for in a basic protective paint job. Trainer Jamal Mosley found a great solution: don’t ask him to do it! Orlando has mainly used Bol and power forward next to Wendell Carter Jr. or Mo Bamba and he looked more comfortable assisting from the weak side, using his 7ft 7in wingspan to hit 6.7% of opposing two-point attempts – fourth highest blocking rate in the NBA.

Given the chance of real minutes and a permanent spot in the NBA rotation, Bol didn’t seem like a hoax or just a curiosity. He was a real contributor; Orlando outpaced rivals by 2.5 points for 100 minutes of WCJ-Bol. It’s a pretty good production from someone you pay just $2.2 million with a non-guaranteed deal for next season is a windfall of sorts that gives Mosley and the Magic front office more options as they put together squads filled with perpetually armed youth. After all, we hear that impossible giants who can do all this are badly needed right now.

“Everyone is talking about Victor, the dude from France,” Banchero recently said. Mike Scott of HoopsHype said. “I’m not trying to compare them, but Bol is 7ft 2in and shoots 3s, gets the ball in, passes and blocks shots. I feel like people kind of forget about him, but Bol is a freak of nature.”

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