Where Paul Millsap Should Go If He Cares About My Happiness

By: Brian Kane

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Pretty much every team could use the services of Millsap, a stretch four who fits with any scheme imaginable. (Keith Allison via Flickr)

The first tremor of NBA Trade Deadline season hit yesterday when Atlanta Hawks power forward Paul Millsap announced he plans to opt out of his contract after the season to explore free agency. This prompted the Hawks to announce that they would be fielding trade offers for Millsap, and my brother to text me frantically about the possibility of an Atlanta big man reunion in Boston.

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Shootaround: Most Poorly Constructed Team

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Did you expect such a negative article to not include the Sacramento Kings? (Mike via Wikimedia Commons)

The NBA Trade Deadline is February 23 at 12 p.m. Now begins the slow burn of NBA trade discussion. In order to best figure out which teams need to make trades, we started by debating who has the most poorly constructed roster in the league. Some of these teams should look to make a deal before the deadline … others are too far gone for it to matter.

Orlando Magic: What had happened was…

Jake Mattleman: Oh boy, where do we start with the Orlando Magic? Famous singer Aaliyah once said “If at first you don’t succeed, get yourself up and try again,” and this team has been trying and trying again every since they traded Dwight Howard.

After struggling under Jacque Vaughn and Scott Skiles, the Magic seemed to find a coaching answer in Frank Vogel: an established, even-keeled, and successful coach. Great! However, they proceeded to make a series of egregious, paradoxical personnel moves to ensure that they wouldn’t succeed for years to come. So congratulations, Magic. You’ve won the award for the worst constructed NBA team on the 2016-17 season.

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The Jaylen Brown Experience

By: Brian Kane

As I sat down to illegally stream the Celtics’ first game of the season, I elected to focus most of my attention on the play of first round draft pick, Jaylen Brown. The game was against the purportedly bad Brooklyn Nets, so I figured monitoring Brown would be worthwhile; Boston should’ve wiped the floor with them and compiled some fun garbage time minutes for Brown and some other lively bench dwellers, after all. That’s not quite what happened, as they squeaked a 124-122 overtime victory, but luckily  Brown got minutes all the same. What I saw was at once exhilarating and disheartening.

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Shootaround: Winning Without All-Stars

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He’s not technically an All-Star yet. Leave us alone. (Keith Allison via Wikimedia Commons)

What’s up, fellow DeMar DeRozan fan club members? This shootaround stemmed from Dan asking the question, “What’s the best possible team you can make without including any players who have made an All-Star team?” After much thought and a few volatile Facebook chats, we came up with our squads. Let us know which team you’d bet on. We’re all very eager to have people side with our particular team.


Dan Diez

PG – Kemba Walker

SG – Avery Bradley

SF – Giannis Antetokounmpo

PF – Karl-Anthony Towns

C – Myles Turner

Sixth Man – Bradley Beal

The two no brainers for me are Giannis (whose last name I refuse to try to spell) and Karl-Anthony Towns, who are all but guaranteed all-star spots this season.  

In filling out a team around them, there are going to be some snubs from the best players left in the lot. I like what Thibs has done by pairing KAT with a five, so I will keep him as a four.  

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Brian and Scott are Thankful

Brian Kane – Thanksgiving 2016, 8pm. I’ve gained 20 pounds in about 4 hours. The tryptophan has consumed me. I’m overcome by the lethargy. Cartoon empty dinner plates dance in a circle above my head. It’s times like these I’m thankful the Contested Long Two crew can throw together a good old-fashioned shootaround to shake off the turkey-induced rust. Fair warning: I’ll be playing matador defense and only shooting contested elbow jumpers Paul Pierce style. Here are a few other things the basketball world has blessed me with this year, that I am very thankful for:

Celtics Newbies

The Rook Jaylen Brown is playing meaningful minutes in big games and putting up efficient numbers early in his first campaign. Brown’s per-36 stat line looks like it belongs under the name of an established vet. He’s an astounding +52 in the 4th quarter so far, and while that represents a small sample size, I’m thankful a rookie is playing 4th quarter minutes for us at all.

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Luke Walton: Head Coach

By: Jake Mattleman

Pistons, Bucks, Pacers, Blazers, Wizards, Heat, Timberwolves, Pelicans…what do all these teams all have in common? Answer: They’re trailing the Los Angeles Lakers in the standings. While this group might not features the league’s top talent, each were projected for higher win totals than the Lakers, and some acquired impact players in free agency. Perhaps we’re learning that the biggest free agent acquisition not named Kevin Durant was coach Luke Walton.

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The NBA Is in a Glass Case of Emotion

By: Dan Diez

Coming into the 2016-2017 season the Golden State Warriors have set the stage for another season of repetitive clickbait headlines. Going back to the Mark Jackson days, everyone said that jump shooting teams couldn’t win a championship. 16 playoff wins later, and this happened:

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The Contested Long Twos Podcast Ep. 7 – Now We Don’t Have To Preview Stuff

Scott, Ethan and Brian join forces for another classic. This was recorded on Friday night, but still has a lot of cool stuff.

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2016-2017 Breakout Players and Bold Predictions

By: Brian Kane

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The Russell era starts now for the Lakers (Erik Drost via Flickr).

The 2016-2017 NBA Season is almost upon us, and I have a few thoughts to share. Here’s some players I think will spend this season making a name for themselves on the hardwood, and a few wild predictions I have for the upcoming season.

Breakout Stars

D’Angelo Russell

Disclaimer: This is hardly an original thought. I’m not the first, and probably won’t be the last person to claim between now and the start of the season that D’Angelo Russell is going to blow up. However, it still bears mentioning: D’Angelo Russell is going to blow up.

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The Third Coveted Big Man Skill

By: Scott Levine

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Tristan Thompson has revitalized his career by becoming a good perimeter defender. (Erik Drost via Flickr)

Two years ago, Zach Lowe wrote about how big men who could not defend the rim or space the floor – the Greg Monroes and Tristan Thompsons of the world – were going out of style.

Milwaukee is currently looking to trade Monroe and cannot find any suitors. Thompson, however, has carved out a long term role in Cleveland. He has morphed into a passable rim protector, but more importantly, has learned what has been the third commodified big man skill for the past two years – defending the perimeter.

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