The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the Internet
Five years ago, Steph Curry was a rookie, the Warriors were mired in irrelevance; today, Steph is the MVP and the Dubs are the presumptive champs. Because it is more fun to watch good basketball than bad basketball, the cost of tickets has increased substantially. It doesn’t seem like it should be a story, but as Flohr points out, the rise of the Warriors has paralleled surging wealth in the Bay Area in general, which has fans worried about their future with the team. Increases in the price of concessions or parking clearly have more to do with profit margins than team success, and that focus will likely only get worse when the team moves across the bay to San Francisco. Yes, the Warriors are a product being sold to fans, and the product is in high demand right now. The question now is if they end up, like housing or transportation, another exorbitantly priced Bay Area luxury good.
I tend to think of Ian Levy as one of the analytics cognoscenti more than anything else, but the pieces he’s been doing for Fansided are a reminder that the dude can just flat out write. Here, he’s going deep on the chaotic success of Oklahoma City, showing how the simplicity and furor they’ve been criticized for so often has become their greatest strength. It is not shocking to say that Durant and Westbrook are the keys to everything the Thunder do. It is shocking to see someone say it this eloquently.
Bonus: There were actually two really great articles on the Thunder yesterday! Levy’s is getting the nod here, but your life will be better if you read Robert O’Connell as well.
A lot of content has been farmed about Kristaps Porzingis. He is, after all, the biggest story in the NBA’s largest media market. That does not mean the story has gotten boring, however, or that there is not still a place for particularly strong work. In this Slam cover story, Figman adds depth to the narrative, fleshing it out with supporting characters and a more complex arc. The details Figman provides make it clear that ball has always been life for Young Lurch while the writerly touches and human moments keep the whole thing compelling.
Bonus: Tzvi Twersky’s wonderful interview with DeMarcus Cousins for Slam would have been a shoo in for inclusion today if this Porzingis feature wasn’t so damn good.
However you feel about The Process, you’ve gotta love its success stories. Watching players like McConnell who likely had no other shot at the NBA thrive is heartwarming, as long as you don’t think too hard about their terrible and exploitative contracts. Murphy does a great job helping you ignore the dark side of the Sixers in this piece, refocusing attention on McConnell’s unique game and how much joy he’s found in playing for Philadelphia. There’s a quote in here where Sixers’ coach Brett Brown compares McConnell to Matthew Dellavedova, and whether or not you think that’s a compliment, you can’t deny the place Delly has made for himself in this league. Let’s hope McConnell has as much success.
It’s strange how you can know the answer to a question, but still enjoy hearing it explained. It makes sense though, at least in this case. Assuming you’re one of the large cadre of fans that detests the Los Angeles Clippers, why wouldn’t you want to hear all their flaws enumerated at length? It’s like reading Ta-Nehisi Coates evisceration of a particularly inept Jonathan Chait piece, delighting as he says everything you thought with more eloquence and grace than you could have dreamed. Beck does it all here, covering the flopping, the front running, the commercials, and the complaining. The most interesting takeaway is that Doc Rivers thinks being the most hated team in the league gives his teams an edge. The most absurd thing is that Beck thinks Chris Paul’s State Farm commercials are endearing. The rest is just a generally good read.