Hoops Rumors Polls

Poll: Will James Harden Average 40 PPG?

James Harden might make NBA history this season, the kind of history that only one all-time luminary has ever achieved before. James Harden might average at least 40 points a game.

The 30 year-old Rockets guard may scale a height only heretofore reached by the Big Dipper himself, Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt the Stilt averaged 50.4 PPG in 1961/62 for the then-Philadelphia Warriors. He reached a similarly insane 44.8 PPG the next season, after the team had relocated and rebranded itself the San Francisco Warriors. Keep in mind, the three-point line did not exist in the NBA until the 1979/80 season.

Harden is currently averaging an eyeball-popping 39.5 PPG in 2019/20, to go along with 7.8 APG and 5.6 RPG. Yes, it might just be a scorching hot start, just 13 games into this young season. But the reason Harden might really hit the big 4-0 is fairly simple: he actually is not shooting that well yet.

His 39.5 PPG tally is being achieved while he shoots 41.7% from the field and 33.2% from behind the three-point line. He is shooting 14.6 long-range attempts a night. For his career, Harden is connecting on 44.2% of his field goals and 36.4% of his three-point tries. That efficiency was not abetted by the 49 points Harden scored when the Rockets beat the Timberwolves 125-105 on November 15th. He connected on just 16 of a career-high 41 field goal attempts.

Harden was named his conference’s Player of the Week for his phenomenal offensive work last week (he received the same honor the week prior). His highest scoring average prior to this season was a league-leading 36.1 PPG, achieved last year.

Outside of the obvious big personnel change this season, why is Harden scoring so much? As was mentioned in today’s edition of the Brian Windhorst and the Hoop Collective Podcast on ESPN, a pace change has been key. In replacing half-court specialist Chris Paul with speed demon Russell Westbrook, the Rockets ramped up their pace, which has translated into more possessions, and thus more opportunities for Harden to score. Houston has transitioned from the 26th-fastest team in the NBA last season to the third-fastest so far this year.

Harden’s scoring has helped his Rockets keep pace in the chippy Western Conference as they battle through injuries to several core pieces. The team has won its last seven games in a row after starting out the season 3-3. They currently sit second in the West. Houston will try to strengthen its record when the Trail Blazers come to town tonight.

So will The Beard average 40 points a game in a season? Will he at least come close to that lofty number? Weigh in with our poll, then head to the comment section below to share your thoughts!

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Poll: Will Dion Waiters Play For Heat This Season?

Dion Waiters will serve the second game of his 10-game suspension on Tuesday night as the Heat host the Pistons, and the team wasn’t saying much about his situation on Monday, as Khobi Price of The South Florida Sun Sentinel details. With Waiters ineligible to return until December 1, we’ll have to wait and see what the next step is for the franchise and the 27-year-old guard, who has yet to play a single minute this season.

Assuming Miami isn’t hit hard by the injury bug during the rest of November, it’s probably safe to assume the club’s rotation will be relatively set by the end of the month, meaning there won’t be minutes waiting for Waiters when his suspension ends, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. If that’s the case, it will be interesting to see how Waiters responds, since his one-game suspension to open the season was related to expressing displeasure with his role.

According to Shams Charania of Stadium (video link), the Heat have made it clear to Waiters that they want him to earn a role, but he’ll have to get back in the team’s good graces before that happens. Even then, there’s no guarantee the former No. 4 overall pick would play regular minutes for Miami.

If there’s no path to a rotation spot for Waiters, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Heat could pay him to stay home. In fact, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel estimates there’s a 50-50 chance that it plays out that way, suggesting that the over/under for Waiters appearances this season might have to be set at zero.

Even if Waiters remains away from the Heat though, there’s “zero chance” the team will release him at this point, Winderman writes in a separate Sun Sentinel article. Waiters still has two years remaining on his contract, with a guaranteed $12.65MM cap hit for the 2020/21 season, so unless he agrees to give up some of his guaranteed salary in a buyout agreement – which he has no incentive to do – it makes more sense to keep him around. In theory, he could be used as a salary-matching chip in a trade at some point.

For now though, the plan is ostensibly for Waiters to serve his time, rejoin the Heat, and work to earn minutes. In today’s poll, we want to know if that’s how you think this saga plays out. Will Waiters play another game for the Heat or not?

Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section below to share your thoughts!

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Poll: Will The Magic Make The Playoffs?

The Magic were one of the NBA’s best teams during the last two months of the 2018/19 regular season, finishing the year on a 23-9 run and earning the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference. However, that second-half success hasn’t carried over to the 2019/20 season so far.

Through eight games, the Magic are just 2-6, with their only two wins coming at home against Eastern lottery teams Cleveland and New York.

The defense that keyed the Magic’s late-season run in the spring is still the team’s strength. Orlando’s 101.0 defensive rating ranks fifth in the NBA, and Jonathan Isaac is emerging as one of the league’s most impactful players on that side of the ball — in the early going, he’s averaging 1.6 steals per game to go along with a league-high 3.0 blocks per game.

However, the Magic’s offense has been dismal this season, as ESPN’s Zach Lowe writes. Orlando’s 96.6 offensive rating is easily the worst in the NBA, well behind the 100.1 mark posted by the 29th-ranked Knicks.

While Lowe acknowledges that the team’s 27% conversion rate on three-point shots figures to improve, he points to several other red flags, such as a lack of corner threes and free throw attempts. As Lowe notes, the Magic have too many power forwards and not enough shooters or play-makers, especially with D.J. Augustin regressing after a career year and Markelle Fultz still not a reliable shot-maker.

The Magic could experiment with some different lineups and hope that their excellent defense helps create a few more fast-break opportunities and easy baskets. But barring a trade, there doesn’t appear to be a quick fix for their offense. And if that’s the case, the club’s ceiling will be limited.

Still, being dominant on one side of the ball could be enough to earn a playoff spot in the East, where average teams like the Hornets (4-4) and Pistons (4-5) currently rank in the top eight. The Magic and the 3-4 Nets are among last year’s playoff teams looking to make their way back into that postseason mix.

What do you think? Will the Magic make the postseason again in 2019/20, or will they be unable to repeat even last year’s modest success?

Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section below to share your thoughts!

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Poll: Is Phoenix For Real?

The injury-depleted Warriors’ shocking stumble (2-5 and fading fast) out of the gate isn’t the only Western Conference development to stun many in the early throes of this NBA season. A positive surprise has been the remarkable early run by the Suns (5-2). Phoenix’s management and ownership groups in recent years have been notoriously dysfunctional (shout-out to Kevin Arnovitz), but suddenly, the team’s production may be catching up to their promise.

Heading into the season, expectations for Phoenix were low. The team has won 24 or fewer games in each of the last four seasons (i.e. every prior year of Devin Booker’s NBA career). The Suns’ talented young core of Booker and 2018 No. 1 draft pick Deandre Ayton (currently serving a 25-game suspension after violating the league’s drug policy) underwhelmed together last season. But that was last season.

Now, under the stabilizing stewardship of new head coach Monty Williams, and with the Suns’ solid offseason veteran additions in point guard Ricky Rubio and center Aron Baynes exceeding expectations, things are finally looking sunny in Phoenix.

Phoenix currently stands at second place in the Western Conference and could move into a tie for first if the Lakers lose tonight. The Suns have racked up quality wins against the Clippers and Sixers (still formidable, even sans a suspended Joel Embiid).

As The Ringer’s  noted today, Phoenix has been impressive on both ends of the floor. The Suns are among just two teams (the other being the 5-1 Miami Heat) currently occupying the top 10 in both offensive and defensive rating. Their plus-8.6 point differential ranks fourth in the league. Booker, perpetual All-Star-in-waiting, appears to have taken another leap. New young forwards Dario Saric (acquired in a summer trade) and Kelly Oubre (added in a trade last season) have offered other competent scoring options.

Baynes, though, has been a particular revelation, as Cody Cunningham details on Suns.com. The Australian center’s three-point shooting has taken an astronomical leap. He is currently connecting on 48.4% on his looks from deep across 4.4 attempts per game, far eclipsing his career averages of 33.3% from long distance on 0.3 tries per contest. His scoring, rebounding, assists and blocks are all at career marks. His numbers will come back down to earth once he returns to the bench, but his terrific start makes him look a steal for Phoenix nevertheless.

What do you think? Can Phoenix make the playoffs this season?

Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section below to share your prediction.

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Poll: How Long Will Sixers Remain Undefeated?

Six days ago, we asked which of the NBA’s four undefeated teams would be the last to lose. One after another, over the next three nights, the Nuggets, Timberwolves, and Spurs removed themselves from that conversation, suffering their first losses of the young season and leaving the Sixers as the last undefeated team standing.

With a one-point win over Portland on Saturday night, the 76ers kept that streak alive, and will enter tonight’s action with a 5-0 record. Buoyed by the NBA’s best rebounding rate and a defense that leads the league in steals, Philadelphia has put together its streak while still finding its way on offense. Now we’ll see how just much longer the club can stay out of the loss column.

Although Saturday’s win over the Trail Blazers was a good one, it was just the start of a challening road trip for the Sixers, who will play in Phoenix tonight, in Utah on Wednesday, and in Denver on Friday.

If Philadelphia can make it through that gauntlet unscathed, the team will be rewarded with winnable home games against the Hornets (November 10) and Cavaliers (Nov. 12) before going back on the road to face Orlando (Nov. 13), Oklahoma City (Nov. 15), and Cleveland again (Nov. 17).

The most likely scenario for the Sixers is dropping one of this week’s road games — the Jazz and Nuggets are expected to be among the West’s best teams, while the Suns are off to a good start and won’t have to face Joel Embiid, who is serving the final game of his two-game suspension tonight.

Plus, over the last few years, the NBA’s last undefeated team typically hasn’t gotten much further than this point without losing. The Bucks started 7-0 in 2018; the Clippers and Spurs went 4-0 in 2017; and the Cavaliers went 6-0 to open the 2016/17 season.

Of course, it wouldn’t be unprecedented for Philadelphia to continue its season-opening win streak into the double digits. In fact, the Warriors did much better than that in the fall of 2015 when they opened the season with an incredible 24-game winning streak. That Golden State squad was also the NBA’s best regular season team of all-time though, finishing the year with a 73-9 record. It seems safe to say the Sixers aren’t on that level.

What do you think? Will the 76ers’ run as the league’s last undefeated team end soon, or can they keep this streak going for at least few more games?

Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section below to share your prediction.

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Poll: Which Team Will Stay Winless Longest?

On Tuesday, we published a poll asking which of the NBA’s four remaining undefeated teams would be the last to lose. The Nuggets received nearly 40% of the vote, making them the top choice, then promptly lost their first game about 12 hours later.

Today, we’ll shift our focus to the NBA’s three winless teams and see if we have more success forecasting their short-term futures. After eight days, there are three teams around the league that have yet to win a game. The Pelicans and Kings each have 0-4 records while the Pacers are 0-3.

The Pelicans were a popular dark horse playoff pick during the preseason, but they’ve been hit with injuries early on this year — they’re playing without star rookie Zion Williamson, and key veterans Jrue Holiday and Derrick Favors have missed time as well. Still, it’s not as if they’ve been blown off the floor in the first week. Despite a pretty tough schedule, New Orleans hasn’t lost by more than 11 points.

The same can’t be said of the Kings, who have been disastrous on the road so far, losing by 29 points in Phoenix and 32 in Utah. They’ve also dropped home games to the Blazers and Nuggets, digging an early hole for themselves as they look to improve upon last year’s 39-43 record and compete for a postseason spot.

De’Aaron Fox (.392 FG%), Buddy Hield (.351), and Bogdan Bogdanovic (.275) haven’t been making shots so far, and the team has missed Marvin Bagley III, who suffered a thumb fracture on opening night. The Kings have too much talent to be this bad, but so far they have the NBA’s worst net rating by a substantial margin, ranking in the bottom five on both offense and defense.

The Pacers, meanwhile, are trying to adjust to having four new players in their starting lineup and are without star guard Victor Oladipo. They can’t blame their schedule for their slow start, as they’ve dropped two games to a Pistons squad without Blake Griffin and one to the Cavaliers. Indiana also hasn’t shown yet that it has the firepower necessary to fight back from a defect, ranking 29th in the NBA in pace and dead last in made three-pointers per game.

These three teams have the following games on tap as they look to get in the win column:

  • Pelicans: vs. Den (10/31), @ OKC (11/2), @ Bkn (11/4), vs. Tor (11/8), @ Cha (11/9)
  • Kings: vs. Cha (10/30), vs. Utah (11/1), @ NYK (11/3), @ Tor (11/6), @ Atl (11/8)
  • Pacers: @ Bkn (10/30), vs. Cle (11/1), vs. Chi (11/3), @ Cha (11/5), vs. Wsh (11/6)

New Orleans probably has the most challenging short-term schedule, and would become this season’s last winless team by default if Sacramento and Indiana both win tonight. But the Pels have arguably looked the best of the three teams so far, and Holiday and Favors appear close to returning.

What do you think? Which of the NBA’s three winless teams will be the last to earn a victory?

Vote in our poll, then head to comment section below to weigh in!

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Poll: Which Team Will Stay Undefeated Longest?

No NBA team has played more than four games in the first seven days of the 2019/20 regular season, but only four clubs didn’t lose during that stretch. The Sixers, Nuggets, Spurs, and Timberwolves are all 3-0.

It’s no surprise that Philadelphia and Denver are off to strong starts. Both teams are expected to finish near the top of their respective conferences this season — I had them as the No. 1 seeds in my preseason predictions.

However, the early three-game winning streaks from San Antonio and Minnesota are a little more unexpected. Neither team has had a brutal schedule to start the season, with the Spurs picking up home wins vs. the Knicks, Wizards, and Trail Blazers, while the Wolves won in Brooklyn, in Charlotte, and at home against the Heat.

Still, their hot starts have been promising. Karl-Anthony Towns is putting up MVP-caliber numbers in the early going for the Wolves (32.0 PPG, 13.3 RPG). The Spurs have had a more balanced attack, led by DeMar DeRozan (22.0 PPG) and LaMarcus Aldridge (21.3 PPG, 8.0 RPG) and complemented by players like now-healthy guard Dejounte Murray (14.7 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 6.0 APG).

The four undefeated teams have the following games on tap as they look to extend their winning streaks to start the season:

  • Sixers: vs. Min (10/30), @ Por (11/2), @ Phx (11/4), @ Utah (11/6), @ Den (11/8)
  • Nuggets: vs. Dal (10/29), @ NO (10/31), @ Orl (11/2), vs. Mia (11/5), vs. Phi (11/8)
  • Spurs: @ LAC (10/31), @ GSW (11/1), vs. LAL (11/3), @ Atl (11/5), vs. OKC (11/7)
  • Timberwolves: @ Phi (10/30), @ Wash (11/2), vs. Mil (11/4), @ Mem (11/6), vs. GSW (11/8)

The Spurs have a brutal three-game stretch on tap beginning on Thursday, though at least one of the Sixers or Wolves will have lost a game by that point, as those two teams are set to face one another on Wednesday. Even if the 76ers beat Minnesota, they have a tough Western road trip up next, with games in Portland, Phoenix, and Utah before they’d get a chance to face Denver. Of course, the Nuggets’ schedule isn’t exactly a cakewalk up until that point either, starting tonight vs. Luka Doncic and the Mavs.

What do you think? Which of this season’s undefeated teams will keep its streak going the longest and be the last to lose in 2019/20?

Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section below to share your two cents!

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

2019/20 Over/Unders: Southwest Division

The 2019/20 NBA regular season will get underway in just four days, which means it’s time to get serious about predictions for the upcoming campaign.

With the help of the lines from a handful of sports betting sites, including Bovada and BetOnline, we’re running through the predicted win totals for each of the NBA’s 30 teams, by division. In a series of team-by-team polls, you’ll get the chance to weigh in on whether you think those forecasts are too optimistic or too pessimistic.

Having already looked at the other five divisions, we’re moving onto the Southwest today…


Houston Rockets

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Rockets poll.


San Antonio Spurs

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Spurs poll.


Dallas Mavericks

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Mavericks poll.


New Orleans Pelicans

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Pelicans poll.


Memphis Grizzlies

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Grizzlies poll.


Previous voting results:

Atlantic:

  • Philadelphia 76ers (54.5 wins): Over (54.9%)
  • Boston Celtics (49.5 wins): Under (57.0%)
  • Toronto Raptors (46.5 wins): Under (59.1%)
  • Brooklyn Nets (43.5 wins): Over (58.3%)
  • New York Knicks (27.5 wins): Under (54.9%)

Central:

  • Milwaukee Bucks (57.5 wins): Over (63.5%)
  • Indiana Pacers (46.5 wins): Over (56.6%)
  • Detroit Pistons (37.5 wins): Over (69.8%)
  • Chicago Bulls (33.5 wins): Under (56.2%)
  • Cleveland Cavaliers (24.5 wins): Under (70.0%)

Southeast:

  • Miami Heat (43.5 wins): Over (61.8%)
  • Orlando Magic (41.5 wins): Over (52.0%)
  • Atlanta Hawks (33.5 wins): Over (60.2%)
  • Washington Wizards (26.5 wins): Under (65.5%)
  • Charlotte Hornets (23.5 wins): Under (71.2%)

Northwest:

  • Denver Nuggets (53.5 wins): Over (51.8%)
  • Utah Jazz (53.5 wins): Under (50.8%)
  • Portland Trail Blazers (46.5 wins): Over (78.7%)
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (35.5 wins): Under (57.5%)
  • Oklahoma City Thunder (32.5 wins): Under (55.1%)

Pacific:

  • Los Angeles Clippers (54.5 wins): Over (53.9%)
  • Los Angeles Lakers (51.5 wins): Over (50.3%)
  • Golden State Warriors (48.5 wins): Over (54.3%)
  • Sacramento Kings (38.5 wins): Over (66.2%)
  • Phoenix Suns (29.5 wins): Under (61.8%)

2019/20 Over/Unders: Southeast Division

The 2019/20 NBA regular season will get underway in just six days, which means it’s time to get serious about predictions for the upcoming campaign.

With the help of the lines from a handful of sports betting sites, including Bovada and BetOnline, we’re running through the predicted win totals for each of the NBA’s 30 teams, by division. In a series of team-by-team polls, you’ll get the chance to weigh in on whether you think those forecasts are too optimistic or too pessimistic.

Having already looked at the Atlantic, Northwest, Central, and Pacific, we’re moving onto the Southeast today…


Miami Heat

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Heat poll.


Orlando Magic

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Magic poll.


Atlanta Hawks

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Hawks poll.


Washington Wizards

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Wizards poll.


Charlotte Hornets

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Hornets poll.


Previous voting results:

Atlantic:

  • Philadelphia 76ers (54.5 wins): Over (54.9%)
  • Boston Celtics (49.5 wins): Under (57.0%)
  • Toronto Raptors (46.5 wins): Under (59.1%)
  • Brooklyn Nets (43.5 wins): Over (58.3%)
  • New York Knicks (27.5 wins): Under (54.9%)

Northwest:

  • Denver Nuggets (53.5 wins): Over (51.8%)
  • Utah Jazz (53.5 wins): Under (50.8%)
  • Portland Trail Blazers (46.5 wins): Over (78.7%)
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (35.5 wins): Under (57.5%)
  • Oklahoma City Thunder (32.5 wins): Under (55.1%)

Central:

  • Milwaukee Bucks (57.5 wins): Over (63.5%)
  • Indiana Pacers (46.5 wins): Over (56.6%)
  • Detroit Pistons (37.5 wins): Over (69.8%)
  • Chicago Bulls (33.5 wins): Under (56.2%)
  • Cleveland Cavaliers (24.5 wins): Under (70.0%)

Pacific:

  • Los Angeles Clippers (54.5 wins): Over (53.9%)
  • Los Angeles Lakers (51.5 wins): Over (50.3%)
  • Golden State Warriors (48.5 wins): Over (54.3%)
  • Sacramento Kings (38.5 wins): Over (66.2%)
  • Phoenix Suns (29.5 wins): Under (61.8%)

2019/20 Over/Unders: Pacific Division

The 2019/20 NBA regular season will get underway in just eight days, which means it’s time to get serious about predictions for the upcoming campaign.

With the help of the lines from a handful of sports betting sites, including Bovada and BetOnline, we’re running through the predicted win totals for each of the NBA’s 30 teams, by division. In a series of team-by-team polls, you’ll get the chance to weigh in on whether you think those forecasts are too optimistic or too pessimistic.

Having already looked at the Atlantic, Northwest, and Central, we’re moving onto the Pacific today…


Los Angeles Clippers

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Clippers poll.


Los Angeles Lakers

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Lakers poll.


Golden State Warriors

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Warriors poll.


Sacramento Kings

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Kings poll.


Phoenix Suns

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Suns poll.


Previous voting results:

Atlantic:

  • Philadelphia 76ers (54.5 wins): Over (54.9%)
  • Boston Celtics (49.5 wins): Under (57.0%)
  • Toronto Raptors (46.5 wins): Under (59.1%)
  • Brooklyn Nets (43.5 wins): Over (58.3%)
  • New York Knicks (27.5 wins): Under (54.9%)

Northwest:

  • Denver Nuggets (53.5 wins): Over (51.8%)
  • Utah Jazz (53.5 wins): Under (50.8%)
  • Portland Trail Blazers (46.5 wins): Over (78.7%)
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (35.5 wins): Under (57.5%)
  • Oklahoma City Thunder (32.5 wins): Under (55.1%)

Central:

  • Milwaukee Bucks (57.5 wins): Over (63.5%)
  • Indiana Pacers (46.5 wins): Over (56.6%)
  • Detroit Pistons (37.5 wins): Over (69.8%)
  • Chicago Bulls (33.5 wins): Under (56.2%)
  • Cleveland Cavaliers (24.5 wins): Under (70.0%)