234 episodes

Sam Vecenie, a Senior NBA Writer at The Athletic, talks all about basketball. From the NBA, to the NBA Draft, to college hoops and even some high school, Vecenie is has you covered in this show. And some thoughts on movies, too.

Game Theory Podcast The Athletic

    • Sports
    • 4.7 • 583 Ratings

Sam Vecenie, a Senior NBA Writer at The Athletic, talks all about basketball. From the NBA, to the NBA Draft, to college hoops and even some high school, Vecenie is has you covered in this show. And some thoughts on movies, too.

    The Trail Blazers are a mess, just like the West; Western Conference Buy/Sell w/ Danny Leroux

    The Trail Blazers are a mess, just like the West; Western Conference Buy/Sell w/ Danny Leroux

    In this episode, Danny Leroux and I dive deep into the Portland Trail Blazers, discussing what in the world that organization is doing following what has undeniably been a messy start to the season. Do they try to shake things up with some moves, or do they stick with the status quo given that the Western Conference is a mess and Damian Lillard hasn't even gotten going yet?
    Then, Danny and I chat about the rest of the Western Conference, with special focus on the middle teams. We play a little game of Buy/Sell/Hold teams in the West, including the Lakers, Nuggets, Timberwolves, Mavericks, Clippers, Grizzlies, Spurs, and Trail Blazers
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    • 1 hr 12 min
    Michael Porter Jr. Surgery; Warriors and Suns are DOMINANT; I love the Timberwolves w/ Anthony Slater

    Michael Porter Jr. Surgery; Warriors and Suns are DOMINANT; I love the Timberwolves w/ Anthony Slater

    A full episode of the Game Theory Podcast! Anthony Slater from The Athletic joins, and we break down Michael Porter Jr.'s third back surgery and how it affects the Nuggets. Brook Lopez' back surgery and how it affects the Bucks. Bam Adebayo's thumb surgery and whether or not the Heat should be worried about the play-in.

    Then, we get into the meat of the episode, and break down the two best teams in the NBA, the Warriors and Suns. We spend time waxing poetically about Deandre Ayton and the Suns' defense. Then, we chat about the Warriors, the impending return of Klay Thompson, the weird situation surrounding James Wiseman, and more. We also close on the Timberwolves, where I make a bold prediction regarding the team.
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    • 1 hr 18 min
    Is Scoot Henderson the best prospect in the world? Emoni Bates/Memphis early struggles; Gonzaga-Duke; more

    Is Scoot Henderson the best prospect in the world? Emoni Bates/Memphis early struggles; Gonzaga-Duke; more

    Matt Pennie joins Sam to run through some important questions about prospects, including the Scoot Henderson breakout; the Gonzaga-Duke game from over the long weekend; and Emoni Bates' struggles early in the season. We also run through the other G League Ignite prospects, including Jaden Hardy, Dyson Daniels, MarJon Beacuhamp, and Michael Foster.
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    • 1 hr 30 min
    NBA Draft Fact or Fiction with Matt Pennie; Kendall Brown, Jaden Ivey, No. 1 overall pick contenders, and more

    NBA Draft Fact or Fiction with Matt Pennie; Kendall Brown, Jaden Ivey, No. 1 overall pick contenders, and more

    Matt Pennie is here with Sam to talk a little NBA Draft. We each pose four Fact or Fiction-style questions to each other without any prep, and dive deep into the NBA Draft. Your eight statements that are decided upon in terms of fact/fiction
    -This is the best start to a college basketball season in the last decade
    -Jaden Ivey has solidified himself as a top-five pick in the 2022 NBA Draft
    -Kendall Brown has solidified himself as a top-8 guy in the 2022 NBA Draft
    -Max Christie is the first Michigan prospect taken in the 2022 NBA Draft
    -Tyrese Hunter is a better prospect than Kennedy Chandler
    -The 2022 NBA Draft Class has the worst lead guard crop since the 2015 NBA Draft
    -Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren are the only two players that have a real shot to go No 1 overall
    -Chet Holmgren is not the only 2022 first round pick on the Gonzaga Bulldogs
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    • 1 hr 27 min
    21 Questions with Dave DuFour, including the Warriors, Nets, Suns, Wizards, first-time All-NBA guys, and Maxey

    21 Questions with Dave DuFour, including the Warriors, Nets, Suns, Wizards, first-time All-NBA guys, and Maxey

    The 21 Questions Covered:

    Are the Golden State Warriors the NBA title favorites? 

    Fact or fiction? From the mid-point of last year onward, Stephen Curry has been the best player in the NBA

    It seems like there is a consistent outrage economy right now surrounding the Brooklyn Nets. The Brooklyn Nets are also 11-5, and currently tied for the first place in the Eastern Conference. How do we feel about the Nets right now, and do we think something is off or that they're fine?

    The Phoenix Suns are on a 10-game winning streak and look like a buzzsaw again because of Chris Paul. Are we ever going to see someone like Paul again? A small point who lasts into his late 30s and dominates games in this way. 

    How are the Washington Wizards doing this? 

    Which team of the following are you most panicked about? Milwaukee, Boston, Atlanta

    We're about one-fifth of the way through the season. Who is the team that decides at the deadline that it's time to break up some of their core and make a big trade that acts more as a "seller."

    Okay, the obligatory three minutes that every podcast must do on Ben Simmons. It feels like this thing goes through cycles of pressure, and that the pressure has been ratcheted down again. A deal isn't close now, but do we think Simmons finishes the season as a Sixer, and what is a potential move that actually makes sense?

    But speaking of Simmons, the 76ers have a burgeoning star right now in Tyrese Maxey. How has Maxey gone about making this leap into looking like the point guard of the future for the 76ers?

    The closest team to you for the last couple of years has been San Antonio, so you've gotten a close look at DeMar DeRozan when everyone seemed to tune the Spurs out. Do we think that like, people just weren't watching how good he was last year? Why do people seem to be surprised that he's been as great as he's been in Chicago?

    The hardest team for me to figure out in the NBA right now is the Dallas Mavericks. They are 9-5. Ostensibly, they're winning games. They are also below the league average in both offense and defense, have a negative point differential, and Luka Doncic hasn't quite worked his way back into the peak of his powers. Are you buying or selling the Mavericks long-term?

    The Clippers are 9-6 and holding steady without Kawhi. Is there a more important player to his team in the NBA right now than Paul George?

    Who is the most fun team in the NBA, and why is it the Memphis Grizzlies?

    Who is the least fun team in the NBA right now, and why is it the New Orleans Pelicans? 

    Every season since 1991, there have been at least two players who have never made the All-NBA team make the team for the first time. Who are your picks for those two players this year?

    Every year since 2006, there has been at least one new player to make the All-Defense team int he NBA. Who is your pick among players that have never made All-Defense? 

    The Lakers are 25th in offensive rating, and are only 8-8 despite playing the fifth-easiest schedule thus far in the league. Do we think the problems expand beyond "no LeBron James" for the Lakers, or is it just a matter of getting him back and starting to roll?

    The Nuggets have no Michael Porter Jr. and no Jamal Murray. They are shooting 30 percent from 3. How in the world does this team still have a winning record? 

    How do we think the Neil Olshey inquiry ends following the "fair and independent review" of the workplace environment that he has fostered since running the Trail Blazers?

    The Cavs are starting to come back down to earth with losses to Boston, Brooklyn and Golden State. Do you believe it's important for them to compete this year, or is it fine if they are still a year away given that they seem to have found the actual organizational centerpiece in Evan Mobley? 

    Have you accepted Pokuism, the belief that Aleksej Pokusevski is your basketball lord and savior?


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    • 1 hr 24 min
    2022 NBA Mock Draft Back-and-Forth, 1.0 with Matt Pennie: The Week One Podcast that will make us look real dumb!

    2022 NBA Mock Draft Back-and-Forth, 1.0 with Matt Pennie: The Week One Podcast that will make us look real dumb!

    It's back! Pennie and Vecenie go back and forth, doing a deep dive on the 2022 NBA Draft, Mock Draft style, making picks out to No. 30 back and forth in an exercise that will almost assuredly make us look dumb as soon as next week, given this draft class.
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    • 1 hr 51 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
583 Ratings

583 Ratings

eddycoro01 ,

Love the show

Love the show

65Jim ,

Best pod on NBA Draft

Great listen for SUPER BIG NBA Fans. Especially, if you are a big draft fan!

iskjdkkdnndd ,

Good pod

A lot of good stuff, the guys are really knowledgeable, but out of all the episodes I’ve listened to so far, it seems Sam has never gotten a take or prediction wrong lol. I don’t really think I can trust him as an analyst because apparently he’s never wrong lol

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