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The Rockets Are About to Begin the NBA’s Most Unconventional Rebuild

The Rockets Are About to Begin the NBA’s Most Unconventional Rebuild

Filed under:After 11 straight losses, Houston is looking at a lost season. With the trade deadline looming, it’s time to start shipping out almost anyone with value—including Victor Oladipo.The clock has struck midnight in Houston. The Rockets started out strong in the aftermath of the James Harden trade, but have now lost 11 straight games and plummeted to the no. 14 seed in the West at 11-21. Injuries have been their biggest problem. Christian Wood has missed all 11 losses with a sprained ankle, while Victor Oladipo has been in and out of the lineup due to minor ailments. But it might end...

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Jonathan Tjarks
7h ago
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The Hornets’ Misfit Toys Can Play

The Hornets’ Misfit Toys Can Play

Filed under:Little was expected of Charlotte’s patchwork roster, but the disparate parts have all fit together, altering the team’s trajectory this season and changing the perceptions of its maligned players along the wayNot many items on were actually defective. OK, so maybe there aren’t many kids who’d be psyched to play with a boat that can’t float or an airplane that can’t fly. But a spotted elephant isn’t broken; it’s chic. A bear with wings isn’t faulty; it’s magic. A is, objectively, dope as hell.That’s the lesson of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: That which is different is not in...

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Dan Devine
4d ago
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Ranking the No. 1 Picks From the Last 20 Years

Ranking the No. 1 Picks From the Last 20 Years

Filed under:Danny Kelly, Danny Heifetz, and Nora Princiotti also discus the Russell Wilson trade rumors and break down former Clemson quarterback and likely no. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence’s skills and college careerare joined by Nora Princiotti, and they start by discussing the Russell Wilson rumors. Then they break down former Clemson quarterback and likely no. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence’s skills and college career. After that they discuss Heifetz’s rankings of the no. 1 picks from the last 20 years.Subscribe: / / /Kate Halliwell and Rodger Sherman talk about ‘Ginny & Georgia,’ a Netflix show that...

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Danny Kelly
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4d ago
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It’s Time for the Knicks to Unleash Immanuel Quickley

It’s Time for the Knicks to Unleash Immanuel Quickley

Filed under:The no. 25 pick already looks like a steal, but he’s still coming off the bench. Lineup numbers indicate he’s a perfect fit in New York—and the rest of the NBA should take note.The most impressive thing about Immanuel Quickley is how quickly he scores. (Sorry.) The Knicks guard is tied for fourth among rookies in points per game (12.2) despite being 18th in minutes (18.8 per game). The no. 25 pick already looks like a steal, and his success is a good example of how valuable shooting has become in the modern NBA. The knock on him before the draft was that he was a 6-foot-3...

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Jonathan Tjarks
3d ago
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How Much Are Fans—or a Lack Thereof—Affecting NBA Games This Season?

How Much Are Fans—or a Lack Thereof—Affecting NBA Games This Season?

Filed under:Fourteen NBA teams are currently allowing fans to attend games, and some evidence suggests that it’s having an impact on home-court advantage. Yet as some focus on the competitive aspect of bringing fans in, others remain wary of the health risks.Deandre Ayton hates fake crowd noise. It does nothing for him. And so, after Ayton finished off a lob from Chris Paul in the second quarter of Monday night’s game against the Blazers, the noise he heard was music to his ears. The pumped-in cheers still hummed throughout Phoenix Suns Arena, but so did the sound of just over 3,000 real...

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Paolo Uggetti
4d ago
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How Can the Steelers Fix Their Ben Roethlisberger Problem?

How Can the Steelers Fix Their Ben Roethlisberger Problem?

Filed under:Pittsburgh owner Art Rooney said Wednesday that he hopes to have Roethlisberger back in the fold for 2021. But it’s clear the team can’t move forward with the QB’s massive current deal. How can the Steelers massage the books? And if they can’t, what are their other options?“As we sit here today, Ben [Roethlisberger] is a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert told reporters last week. “He reiterated to us that he wants to continue to play. We told him we have to look at this current situation.”Yikes. That’s some pretty big it’s not me, it’s...

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Danny Heifetz
5d ago
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The Spurs Have One of the NBA’s Best Lineups—on the Bench

The Spurs Have One of the NBA’s Best Lineups—on the Bench

Filed under:San Antonio’s second unit is absolutely crushing opponents, fueling an unlikely playoff push in the West and offering a glimpse of what the next iteration of the Spurs will look likeThe list of often maps fairly neatly to the top of the standings. These carefully curated five-man units represent the cream of the league’s crop—all marquee names and central-casting role players anchoring teams with a real shot of hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy. This season, for example, the lineups that have outscored opponents by the largest number of points are the preferred starting fives of...

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Dan Devine
6d ago
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Is Mike Conley the Best Player to Never Make an All-Star Team?

Is Mike Conley the Best Player to Never Make an All-Star Team?

Filed under:Unless he’s added as an injury replacement, the 14-year guard will miss out yet again. If he never makes it, would he be the biggest snub in NBA history? Let’s investigate.Mike Conley is not on the All-Star roster, yet again. Despite unspectacular counting stats and two missed weeks due to injury, advanced metrics say the point guard for the NBA’s best team this season should be on that list: Among Western Conference players, Conley ranks fifth in , seventh in , and seventh in , all of which try to measure a player’s holistic impact on his team’s performance.Of course, those...

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Zach Kram
6d ago
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Video Games Used to Copy Movies. Now They’re Influencing Modern Action.

Video Games Used to Copy Movies. Now They’re Influencing Modern Action.

This week on The Ringer, we’re hosting the Best Video Game Character Bracket—an expansive competition between the greatest heroes, sidekicks, and villains of the gaming world. And along with delving into some of those iconic figures, we’ll also explore and celebrate the gaming industry as a whole. Welcome to .About 30 minutes into Extraction, Tyler Rake’s covert mission goes haywire. The black-market mercenary has been tasked with rescuing Ovi, a drug lord’s teenage son, but a compromised getaway plan leaves them exposed in a Bangladeshi forest. As a rival hit man and local authorities...

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Jake Kring-Schreifels
Feb 22
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James Harden Is Making the Nets’ Superteam Experiment Work

James Harden Is Making the Nets’ Superteam Experiment Work

Filed under:Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were voted All-Star starters, but it’s Brooklyn’s new third wheel that has the Nets looking like an unstoppable offensive forceBasketball has never been this easy for James Harden. He’s flourishing as part of a superteam in Brooklyn, averaging 24.2 points per game with career highs in assists (11.7), rebounds (8.2), field-goal percentage (50.0), and 3-point percentage (40.8). He doesn’t have to carry his team on his back anymore. Harden can play within the flow of the Nets’ offense, attacking off the dribble and taking what the defense gives him....

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Jonathan Tjarks
Feb 19
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Zach LaVine Is More Than Ready to Be an All-Star

Zach LaVine Is More Than Ready to Be an All-Star

Filed under:The Bulls guard may not have made the starting lineup on Thursday, but based on the season he’s having and the leap he’s taken, this may finally be the year he gets his shotThad Young and Zach LaVine go all the way back to 2014. That year, a 19-year-old LaVine was drafted 13th by the Timberwolves, and a couple of months later, Young was traded to Minnesota ahead of his eighth season in the league. Young became a mentor to LaVine almost immediately, and five years later, they became teammates again in Chicago.The two have enjoyed playing together for the past two seasons, with...

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Paolo Uggetti
Feb 19
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The Biggest Winner of the Carson Wentz Trade Is Carson Wentz

The Biggest Winner of the Carson Wentz Trade Is Carson Wentz

Filed under:If anyone can fix the former no. 2 pick, it’s Colts head coach Frank ReichFinally, Carson Wentz got exactly what he wanted. It might even be exactly what he needed. On Thursday, the Eagles traded Wentz to the Colts, reuniting the 28-year-old quarterback with Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich, who was Philadelphia’s offensive coordinator during Wentz’s dazzling 2017 campaign. The move represents the life raft Wentz desperately needs to buoy his sinking career.The Colts Wentz in exchange for a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick—the second-rounder can...

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Kaelen Jones
Feb 18
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There’s No Show Like Dame Time, but It Does Have a Ceiling

There’s No Show Like Dame Time, but It Does Have a Ceiling

Filed under:Damian Lillard has taken his crunch-time brilliance to new heights this season, but the one-man band, as breathtaking as it may be, can take the Blazers only so farDamian Lillard is doing it again. The Blazers star is on another historic tear similar to his run in the bubble, averaging 31.9 points on 45.9 percent shooting and 8.6 assists over his past 14 games. He has taken his game to new heights since CJ McCollum broke his foot in mid-January, carrying Portland to a 10-5 record in that span and the no. 4 seed in the Western Conference. Dame puts so much pressure on defenses...

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Jonathan Tjarks
Feb 18
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Q&A: Jeremy Lin on Finding Peace Back in the G League

Q&A: Jeremy Lin on Finding Peace Back in the G League

Filed under:The veteran guard is back where he started, fighting for an NBA roster spot with the Santa Cruz Warriors. But, as he explains, he’s never felt more comfortable in his career.Jeremy Lin is back where he started. Nearly a decade after beginning his pro career fighting for the final roster spot on the Golden State Warriors, he spurned millions of dollars overseas for one last chance at prolonging an NBA career, signing with the G League’s Santa Cruz Warriors. Through four games in the G League bubble, Lin, 32, is averaging 17.8 points and 7.3 assists.His current circumstance is a...

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Logan Murdock
Feb 17
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Deandre Ayton Is Stuck in the Middle

Deandre Ayton Is Stuck in the Middle

Filed under:The former no. 1 pick has shown promise, but he’s still a ways away from All-Star consideration—in large part because of his avoidance of both the 3-point line and the free throw lineSportswriters like outliers. It’s easier to craft a narrative (or a spicy, scorching take) around a player at the bottom or top of a leaderboard than in the middle of the pack; the slim ends offer more room for exploration than the wide middle of the bell curve.When the same player is an outlier year after year, our pencils perk up. And when that same player is also a recent no. 1 draft pick,...

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Zach Kram
Feb 16
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Celtics Panic and All-Star Arguments Galore With Kevin O’Connor

Celtics Panic and All-Star Arguments Galore With Kevin O’Connor

Filed under:Bill and Kevin talk the underwhelming Celtics, NBA All-Star ballots, and moreThe Ringer’s Bill Simmons is joined by Kevin O’Connor to discuss the Celtics’ underwhelming 13-13 season and what Boston can do to turn it around (2:30) before discussing their NBA All-Star ballots for the East (29:00) and West (1:06:00).Subscribe: / / /Bill and Van revisit the 1991 film starring Julia Roberts, Patrick Bergin, and Kevin AndersonJuliet and Amelia discuss Chris Harrison’s announcement that he will temporarily step away as the host of ‘The Bachelor,’ and moreMatt James made a bunch of cuts...

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Kevin O'Connor
Feb 15
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Marcus Mariota Is the Wild Card of the Offseason QB Carousel

Marcus Mariota Is the Wild Card of the Offseason QB Carousel

Filed under:The Raiders’ backup showed competence and upside in his one game this season. He could have earned a shot as a starter for another team.The 2021 offseason hasn’t officially started yet, but the Las Vegas Raiders are once again rumored to be receiving trade inquiries for one of their quarterbacks—not for the quarterback you’re thinking of, though.Marcus Mariota is the wild card in the offseason QB market. The Raiders signed the former Titans signal-caller to a two-year, $17.6 million contract last year to back up—and perhaps compete with—starter Derek Carr. Last offseason, there...

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Kaelen Jones
Feb 15
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Casting a Ballot for NBA All-Star Starters and Reserves

Casting a Ballot for NBA All-Star Starters and Reserves

Filed under:The game is still on, apparently. KOC makes his picks for the 12 roster spots in the East and the West.It never gets old seeing an NBA email address pop up in my inbox asking if I want to vote for the All-Star starters. Heck yeah, I do. It’s an absolute honor.Media members only vote for the five All-Star starters in each conference, which includes two guards and three frontcourt players. Collectively, the media vote counts for 25 percent of the final selections. Player votes also count for 25 percent, and fans make up the remaining 50 percent.The starters weren’t all that...

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Kevin O'Connor
Feb 15
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The NBA Is Literally Becoming a Make-or-Miss League

The NBA Is Literally Becoming a Make-or-Miss League

Filed under:Three-point shooting is dictating outcomes more than ever before, and there isn’t much defenses can do to stop itThe Utah Jazz strode confidently into Denver on the last day of January. They boasted an 11-game win streak and the best record in the NBA; they’d recently beaten the Bucks, the Warriors, and the very Nuggets they were set to play that day.Little did they know they were walking into a flood. The Nuggets deluged the scorching Jazz with triple after triple, taking a 25-point lead into halftime thanks to 15-for-17 shooting on 3-pointers. Their first-half shot chart is...

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Zach Kram
Feb 12
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"This Is Exhausting": How NBA Staffers Are Handling New Responsibilities Under COVID-19 Protocols

"This Is Exhausting": How NBA Staffers Are Handling New Responsibilities Under COVID-19 Protocols

Filed under:Trainers and front-office members are largely in charge of implementing the league’s COVID-19 protocols on a team level, and many say the process has been confusing, taxing, and incredibly stressfulIt’s Christmas morning, and an athletic trainer for a Western Conference NBA team is leaving his wife and children to go into work. Once he arrives at the team’s practice facility, the trainer quickly begins checking things off his to-do list. He sifts through the usual set of new emails from the league office that update teams on changes to the health and safety protocols, then helps...

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Paolo Uggetti
Feb 11
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Super Bowl Lessons and Super-duper-star Steph 2.0 With Kevin Clark and Logan Murdock

Super Bowl Lessons and Super-duper-star Steph 2.0 With Kevin Clark and Logan Murdock

Filed under:Discussing the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl victory, Tampa Bay’s coaching, Steph Curry, the Warriors’ playoff chances this year, and much moreby Kevin Clark to discuss the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl victory, Tampa Bay’s coaching, upcoming free agents, the NFL salary cap, the QB carousel, and more (3:00). Then Bill talks with The Ringer’s Logan Murdock about Steph Curry, Logan’s time covering the Kevin Durant Warriors, the Warriors’ playoff chances this year, and more (45:30). Finally, Kevin Clark rejoins the podcast to discuss boxing and MMA (1:25:30).Subscribe: / / /Mal and Jason begin...

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Bill Simmons
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Feb 10
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Who Belongs in the NBA’s Top Tier With the Lakers?

Who Belongs in the NBA’s Top Tier With the Lakers?

Filed under:Justin and Rob are joined by The Athletic’s John Hollinger to discuss which teams are contendersto discuss which teams are contenders, kicking things off with the surging Utah Jazz (01:00). Later, they look at other top teams, including the Bucks, Clippers, and more (23:00).Subscribe: / / /RelatedMal and Jason begin their deep dive into the MCU’s biggest film to date by running through its plot, discussing their overall perspective on it as a cinematic achievement, and moreSharp, Verno, and House discuss Andy Reid’s clock management, the questionable penalties, the difference in...

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Rob Mahoney
Feb 9
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Will the Wolves Give the Warriors Another Top-Five Pick?

Will the Wolves Give the Warriors Another Top-Five Pick?

Filed under:Calculating the odds of when Minnesota’s first-rounder will convey to Golden State and where the pick is most likely to land in the draft lotteryIt’s not often that the two worst teams in a conference combine for the most compelling deal at a trade deadline. But that was the case last season, when Golden State sent D’Angelo Russell to Minnesota in exchange for Andrew Wiggins and a future first-round pick.For Golden State, the move was oriented toward the future. With Klay Thompson and Steph Curry hurt, 2019-20 was a lost season, so the Warriors flipped Russell—who had been a...

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Zach Kram
Feb 9
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NBA Power Rankings: Can Anyone Catch the Lakers?

NBA Power Rankings: Can Anyone Catch the Lakers?

Filed under:Kawhi Leonard looks better than ever. Joel Embiid is making a strong MVP case. And Donovan Mitchell’s Jazz now have the NBA’s best record. But can any of them topple the champs for the no. 1 spot?Every three weeks this NBA season, I’m publishing power rankings with one thought, observation, or idea about each franchise. Let’s do it.Kyle Kuzma is doing more with less.Last Thursday, Draymond Green : “Kuz now play winning basketball. Amazing growth in that area.” Bingo! Kuzma is playing the best basketball of his career right now. Kuzma is scoring a career-low 10.1 points on 8.9...

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Kevin O'Connor
Feb 8
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Jason Pierre-Paul’s Comeback Story Was Always Leading to This Super Bowl

Jason Pierre-Paul’s Comeback Story Was Always Leading to This Super Bowl

Filed under:One of the most disruptive pass rushers of his era has built his career on beating the odds. For the Bucs to win the Super Bowl, he’ll have to do the same on Sunday.Bruce Arians had been the head coach of the Buccaneers for only a few months when he learned that his team’s best pass rusher, Jason Pierre-Paul, had crashed a Ferrari on a slick Florida road and fractured his neck. “I was hoping he was going to be able to walk,” Arians said during a Zoom conversation with reporters earlier this week. “Football was the furthest thing from my mind.” Pierre-Paul’s mind, however, worked...

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Katie Baker
Feb 5
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