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The Starting 5: Breaking down Billy Donovan’s Thunder

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The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the Internet 

1. Scouting the Oklahoma City Thunder under Billy Donovan — Sam Amick, USA Today

Much was made about how different the Thunder would look with Billy Donovan at the helm, but the early returns have been surprisingly similar to Scott Brooks’s teams. Sam Amick got an anonymous scout’s thoughts on the early season Thunder and he offered some solid insight. The offense still consists of a large quantity of isolations while the team’s defense has slipped for reasons far beyond the maligned Enes Kanter. Donovan and the team have plenty of time to put things together, though.

2. Mavs vs. Pelicans — Jonathan Tjarks, The Pattern of Basketball

At first glance, this is just a recap of an eminently forgettable matchup between two struggling teams. Yet Jonathan Tjarks has a way of striking at the core of a team’s identity and issues and giving you the full picture on what you should be paying attention to. These game notes are a great look into the myriad problems engrossing New Orleans and the foreboding sense around the ultra-thin Mavericks.

3. McHale and the Millennials — Travis Hale, BBALLBREAKDOWN 

Once an all-time great player in his own right, Kevin McHale is mostly known as Houston’s coach to a generation of younger NBA fans. The Houston Rockets are a young team themselves, and Travis Hale takes a fascinating look into how McHale is able to connect with his millennial stars in meaningful and successful ways. The Rockets have built something special, and McHale’s role as coach is a big part of that.

4. Uni Watch: LeBron James shreds notion that sleeved jerseys have a future in NBA — Paul Lukas, ESPN

LeBron James — who, like many, has never been a fan of sleeved jerseys — dramatically ripped his sleeves off this week after badly missing another jumper. Many other players share James’s frustrations, and large swaths of fans feel the sleeves look moderately ridiculous. Paul Lukas, forever the authority on sports uniforms, is convinced that LeBron’s teardown will spell the end for this NBA trend. I hope he’s right.

5. The Warriors make us believe the impossible is possible — Tom Ziller, SB Nation

The Warriors have been unbelievably dominant so far this season, and no one is really sure how they can be beat. Tom Ziller digs into what makes Golden State so ridiculous and why it’s not so crazy to think they could win 73 games – -or at least talk yourself into the possibility. This Warriors team is dominating in a manner that the NBA has never seen before. Let’s enjoy the ride.

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