Ranking the Nike “Statement” jerseys for every NBA team

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Nike is the new uniform sponsor of the NBA, and this week they released the new “Statement” jerseys for every NBA team. Marketing gibberish aside, what that really means is this is the third alternate for most teams.

We’ve now had a few days to process what the new jerseys look like for these squads, and it’s time to figure out which teams got a good deal and which are going to look ridiculous next year.

Yes, it’s time to rank the best Statement jerseys for every NBA team. However, it would be hard to put them in a strict numerical ranking, so instead I’ve decided to put each in one of three different categories.

The first are teams with a patently dope colorway or uniform combination. These are the good ones. The second are the openly awful, which seems to have forsaken a large swath of franchises this season, even after Nike took over for adidas. Finally, we have the boring. These teams sit in the middle of the pack, with no real impact. Some teams also landed there because they didn’t debut new alternates with Nike.

So without further ado, here are how the new Statement jerseys shook out for every NBA team. If you don’t like these, you still have the fourth colorway yet to be released here this year.

The Patently Dope

Boston Celtics: The Celtics went with a cool black and green colorway here instead of going with some of the weirder combinations that were similar to this jersey in years past. Teams either go with too much black or not enough black, and this is just the right amount with some green still on it.

Charlotte Hornets: Look, the Hornets have had a new purple uniform for a few years but just how dope this rebrand has been from top to bottom is enough to put it in this category. Plus, how do you not love a jersey with the Jumpman logo on it?

Chicago Bulls: These black joints came back like Jordan wearing the 45.

Denver Nuggets: Let this be a notice to teams with cities whose skylines are not interesting. That is, make the whole thing a scene and not just some squares that nobody outside your market will recognize. This means you with your water stain/skyline floor, Cleveland.

Houston Rockets: Just about anything is an improvement for Houston, who have had some of the worst jerseys in the league since the Bobcats turned back into the Hornets. If Portland is any indication, having a black and red jersey will always be timeless.

Milwaukee Bucks: This is similar to jersey designs of years past for Milwaukee, but this is just too fresh to dismiss. That black, cream, and forest green colorway is incredible.

Philadelphia 76ers: Do I even have to explain this one? That script is legit.

The Boring

Brooklyn Bkyln Nets: They’re black and white and have letters missing. Not exactly inspiring design work.

Cleveland Cavaliers: This one looked better as a concept than it did in person. The number and logo being the same size looks a little awkward, but the nod to the sponsor (and history) in Goodyear is cool.

Golden State Warriors: The tree logo is nice and of course it has its roots in the city. However, it doesn’t really look like it belongs on the front of a jersey. This is a cool t-shirt design.

Indiana Pacers: Indiana’s kit here is sort of hard to call but it is at least a move in the right direction for the Pacers, who have had a terrible streak of design missteps over the last two decades.

Memphis: Abolish the sports bra / shoulder pad thing. It looks weird. This goes for Washington, too.

Miami Heat: Same ‘ol, same ‘ol. Give me black, orange, and pink already.

LA Lakers: It’s purple.

New Orleans Pelicans: The Pelicans don’t have good colors. They need to go full French Quarter and stop coming up short. This one is also similar to jerseys from years past.

Toronto Raptors: Repeat. Pretty cool, but again black-and-red really only belongs to one team in this league.

Washington Wizards: I know everyone loves these jerseys but I think they are pretty boring. It’s fine, it’s grown on me.

The Openly Awful

Atlanta Hawks: Atlanta’s rebrand continues to be hilariously terrible. This is Steve Nash Phoenix Suns bad.

Dallas Mavericks: The Dallas skyline isn’t nationally recognizable and we have to stop putting city outlines on courts and jerseys. These have a strong Team Blue From A Detergent Commercial vibe to them.

Detroit Pistons: Have you ever seen something this aggressively gray?

LA Clippers: The Clippers need to go back to their old script immediately.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Say it with me: Go Seahawks. Did Minnesota learn nothing from Atlanta rebranding with bright, neon colors? We might have to rethink watching a lot of Timberwolves games this year like we all planned.

New York Knicks: For as much as orange and blue is an “uncool” colorway, the Knicks have typically done their uniforms pretty well. This one misses the mark so bad it looks like I designed it.

Oklahoma City Thunder: These have to be gone after next year right? They are so hilariously bad it really gives Minnesota a run for their money. The schism in the front contrasted with the WordArt-style gradient on the back is a huge clash in design language. Not a great showing for the team who might already have the worst uniforms in the league.

Orlando Magic: There are two problems with the Orlando black alternate. First, there aren’t enough stripes on it. Just go back and look at some photos of what these are mimicking from the mid-90s. That’s why these look so weird, they have half the striping. Second, the jerseys are too wide at the shoulder and neck, making them look like a sweater vest. They say black is slimming but weird shoulders and wide set stripes actually make Orlando players look fatter somehow. These have to go, they are so close to getting it right.

Phoenix Suns: Right Click > Blending Options > Bevel & Emboss > Inner Bevel > Chisel Hard > OK.

Portland Trail Blazers: It’s pretty hard to find a way to mess up a red and black jersey, but the Blazers did it this year. It’s a double whammy given that Portland took the best alternate jersey in the league from last season and turned it into the worst. This uniform literally has tire tracks on the side of it. Hard pass.

Sacramento Kings: I am all for the Kings really leaning into their mascot and namesake, but loose weave chainmail isn’t doing it for me here.

San Antonio Spurs: Everyone likes to make Boring Spurs jokes but it is time somebody said it: we have to get rid of gray jerseys. They look like someone forgot to design anything. We can’t stand for this in the best sports league on Earth.

Utah Jazz: Two blues and one purple will forever be the best Utah Jazz color combination. You can’t tell me otherwise. Yellow and green is great, but you can’t stick navy blue in there and expect me not to point to a color wheel, eyebrows up and mouth agape. I’ve got no nostalgia for the old school Jazz colors, they need to ditch ’em ASAP.

Five players poised to make first NBA All-Star game this season

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Who is ready to make the leap?

Every season there are players on the cusp of becoming an All-Star — not only has their game improved to be one of the top 24 players in the league, but their stature has risen to the point fans (voting for the starters) or coaches (voting for the reserves) want to see them in the game.

Here are five players on the cusp of making that leap and getting the chance to suit up in Salt Lake City this February for their first All-Star Game.

1. Tyrese Haliburton (Pacers)

He was the centerpiece headed to Indiana in the trade that sent Domantas Sabonis to Sacramento — and a lot of executives around the league were shocked the Kings gave him up. After the trade, Haliburton averaged 17.5 points and 9.6 assists a game with a 62.9 true shooting percentage — and this season he’s going to be asked to do even more on a team that is rebuilding (but still has Myles Turner and Buddy Hield on the roster… what exactly is Indiana doing?).

The Pacers will take a step back this season (which doesn’t help his All-Star chances) but Haliburton himself will be unleashed. He will draw the attention of fans and opposing defenses — coaches know and like his game, which is why he stands a good chance to be an East All-Star reserve this season.

2. Anthony Edwards (Timberwolves)

Edwards has made the leap in popularity and stature — he is trash-talking Kermit in Adam Sandler’s Hustle — and he probably should have been an All-Star last season averaging 21.3 points a game.

Edwards has the explosive, highlight-factory game and has the big personality fans love (although his homophobic social media post over the summer does not help his cause). He will be in the spotlight more on an improved Timberwolves team — he will be the outside to Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert inside — that should be in the mix for the playoffs in the West. Anthony Edwards has a lot of All-Star Games in his future, this season should be his first.

3. Evan Mobley (Cavaliers)

As a rookie, Mobley was already a top-flight defensive big man who averaged 15 points and 8.3 rebounds a game — and he came back this season stronger and ready to make a leap on the offensive end. He finished a close second in the Rookie of the Year voting and took that personally, hitting the gym hard and coming out with a chip on his shoulder this season. He flashed potential last season with the ball in his hands, a guy who could beat his man and be a playmaker. Expect to see more of that, more of Mobley out on the perimeter as a creator this season (maybe even grabbing the board and bringing the ball up in transition himself).

He’s going to get noticed on a Cavaliers team with an All-Star backcourt of Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell, and if he has added to his game this year it’s Mobley’s turn.

4. Tyrese Maxey (76ers)

Maxey got thrust into the starting point guard role last season when Ben Simmons never suited up for the 76ers (and played like the guy the 76ers hoped Markelle Fultz would be). Then he thrived after the trade, working a little more off-ball and being a secondary shot creator off James Harden. Maxey averaged 17.5 points and 4.5 assists a game last season, and he is in a position to have those numbers jump again this season.

Maxey is quick with the ball and can get downhill, with the skill set to finish at the rim or pull up and nail the jumper. He shot 42% from 3 last season, although that may be unsustainable (he can shoot, but over 40% every year may be a big ask). Maxey is adding to that game on the court, but it’s his maturity and decision-making — this is his third year in the league — where the biggest leaps are coming.

The 76ers are going to be in the spotlight a lot and should win a lot of regular season games, and with Maxey shining in that light, the All-Star game is a real possibility.

5. Jalen Brunson (Knicks)

Brunson burst out of Luka Doncic’s shadow last season in Dallas and averaged 16.3 points and 4.8 assists a game last season — now he’s going to have the ball in his hands every night on the biggest stage in the NBA. Tom Thibodeau will hand Brunson the keys to the Knicks offense, which means the guard’s counting stats should climb — and with that his All-Star chances go up.

There are questions about how the Knicks’ offense will fit together with Brunson, RJ Barrett and Julius Randle, but Brunson is going to get the chance to prove he can be a No.1 guard. In that spotlight, a trip to Salt Lake City is in the offing.

Steve Nash on Ben Simmons: ‘I don’t care if he ever shoots a jump shot’

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The last season he played, Ben Simmons took just 9% of his shots from beyond 10 feet — he did not space the floor at all, which meant Joel Embiid had to at times. That lack of a jumper he trusted has always been one of the knocks on Ben Simmons’ game.

Steve Nash doesn’t care. Via Nick Friedell of ESPN:

“That’s why I don’t care if he ever shoots a jump shot for the Brooklyn Nets. He’s welcome to, but that is not what makes him special and not what we need. He’s a great complement to our team, and he’s an incredible basketball player because of his versatility.”

In an offense with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving setting the table — particularly in the halfcourt — Simmons is going to be asked to play more of a role: Be an elite defender, push the ball in transition, work in some dribble-handoff situations where he can drive the lane as an option, be a cutter off the ball, and be a distributor in the halfcourt. It’s why Simmons’ ideal role with the Nets often gets compared to Draymond Green — it’s a Draymond-lite role. There will be far less of him as lead guard running pick-and-roll.

Will Simmons settle into that role? Also, it should be noted that peak Green (2016 for example) shot better than 30% from 3 and had to be respected out there (last season 29.6% on 1.2 3s per game) — he had to be covered at the arc. Simmons does not. Also, Green did not avoid getting fouled and getting to the line.

Nash has the task of meshing Simmons into the system and figuring out the rotations — can he play Simmons and Nic Claxton together, or is having two non-jump shooters on the floor at once clog the offense? Is Simmons going to play center at points? There is championship-level talent on the Nets roster, but so many questions about fit, defense, and grit.

There’s no question about Simmons taking jumpers, but Nash doesn’t care.

Pelican’s Green says Zion ‘dominated the scrimmage pretty much’

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The Zion hype train keeps right on rolling. First were the reports he was in the best shape of his life, then he walked into media day and it looked like he is.

Now Zion has his own hype man in Pelicans coach Willie Green, who said he dominated the first day of team scrimmages. Via Andre Lopez of ESPN.

“Z looked amazing,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said on Wednesday afternoon. “His strength, his speed. He dominated the scrimmage pretty much.”

“What stood out was his force more than anything,” Green said. “He got down the floor quickly. When he caught the ball, he made quick decisions. Whether it was scoring, finding a teammate. It was really impressive to see.”

Reach for the salt shaker to take all this with — it’s training camp scrimmages. Maybe Zion is playing that well right now — he’s fully capable, he was almost an All-NBA player in 2020-21 (eighth in forward voting) before his foot injury — but we need to see it against other teams. In games that matter. Then we’ll need to see it over a stretch of time.

If Zion can stay healthy this season, if his conditioning is where everyone says it is, he could be in for a monster season. Combine that with CJ McCollum, Brandon Ingram and a strong supporting cast in New Orleans, and the Pelicans could surprise a lot of people — and be fun to watch.

 

PBT Podcast: What’s next for Celtics, Suns? Should NBA end one-and-done?

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NBA training camps just opened and teams have yet to play a preseason game, but already two contenders are dealing with problems.

The Celtics have the suspension of coach Ime Udoka as a distraction, plus defensive anchor center Robert Williams will miss at least the start of the season following another knee surgery.

The Suns have the distraction of a suspended owner who is selling the team, plus Jae Crowder is out and demanding a trade, and Deandre Ayton does not seem happy.

Corey Robinson of NBC Sports and myself go through all the training camp news, including the wilder ones with the Lakers and Nets, breaking down what to take away from all that — plus how good Zion Williamson and James Harden look physically.

Then the pair discusses the potential of the NBA doing away with the one-and-done role and letting 18-year-olds back in the game — is that good for the NBA?

You can always watch the video of some of the podcast above, or listen to the entire podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google Play, or anywhere else you get your podcasts.

We want your questions for future podcasts, and your comments, so please feel free to email us at PBTpodcast@gmail.com.