The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the Internet
Derrick Rose came to the Bulls already a fan favorite, being a young, exciting kid from the city of Chicago. He was the thing that Bulls fans had been waiting for since the late ’90s — a true star player to lead the franchise back to glory. And he developed quickly into that star, winning the MVP at age just 22 years old. But after an ACL tear that forced him to lose one full season and two playoffs, a meniscus tear that cost him most of a season and the playoffs, and a re-tear of the same meniscus that cost him several weeks, Jeremy Karll believes it’s time to admit that Rose is just never going to be near the same kind of player ever again.
The NBA preseason kicked off last night, with the Los Angeles Clippers beating the Denver Nuggets, 103-96. Adam Mares of Denver Stiffs has a few observations from the game, including the first look at Emmanuel Mudiay in real, NBA action. Mudiay matched up with Chris Paul in his first pro game (even if it’s just preseason), and he had a rough time shaking the veteran point guard. Mudiay had five turnovers in the game and shot just 5-18 from the floor, scoring 14 points. He did play well in the fourth quarter, however, hitting a few three-pointers and leading the Nuggets comeback charge.
Kevin Durant spoke up against the rumors about him leaving the Thunder in free agency next summer, with the Lakers as his main target. Durant flat denied the rumor, which was started by ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, and went further to mention that he doesn’t speak to Smith, nor does anyone in his family or his friends. The Lakers are expected to be an attractive destination for free agents, with a young core of players including D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, as well a ton of cap space. If it’s not going to be Durant, it could be someone like Demar Derozan or Al Horford.
The Bucks signed center John Henson to a four-year, $44 million contract extension, and it’s interesting that the Bucks were willing to spend this kind of money on Henson at this time. They signed former Detroit Pistons big man Greg Monroe in the offseason, signed Kris Middleton to a five-year, $70 million contract, and will have Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker to think about in the coming seasons. The cap will be growing over the next few seasons, which allows the Bucks to spend a little more freely, but with such a logjam in the frontcourt, it’s hard to understand the logic in giving all that money to a backup center right now.
As so many NBA fans and fans of the 2K series do, Will Long ran a simulation of the 2015-16 season for the Minnesota Timberwolves, to see how the Wolves are projected to do this coming year. They started well, going 9-8 out of the gate and holding the eighth spot in the Western Conference. But a massive December slump sent the team reeling, before Kevin Martin got hot and helped them to a 14-6 record leading up to the All-Star break. Overall, the Timberwolves finished with a 34-48 record in the simulation, which isn’t awful considering the young talent on the team, such as Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.