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Starting 5: The Good and Bad Spurs

Nuccio Dinuzzo/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire

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

1. What’s Up With Danny Green’s Jumper? – Mika Honkasalo, Nylon Calculus

Danny Green is the epitome of the Spurs over the past two decades; find a player that is extremely undervalued and turn him into one of the most valuable assets in the league (much like Manu Ginobili, Boris Diaw, Kawhi Leonard and many others). But Green hasn’t been as valuable of an asset this season as he has in years past, and most of that is due to his inconsistent three-point shooting. After hitting over 42% from three the past four seasons, he’s under 30 percent this season. While Green’s three-point shooting hasn’t been necessary for the Spurs this season, it will be something the team will need it to succeed in the playoffs.

2. Steph Curry’s toilet, and Kent Bazemore’s pants | Baseline Rewind Episode 1 – Dane Carbaugh, Hardwood Paroxysm

There are several sites to satisfy your NBA appetite — including this very site that you should be checking every day — but Carbaugh does something different by posting a recap on video with entertaining graphics as well as useful information. There is something a little different about this video series, and it’s something that I’ll be checking in on frequently.

 3. Stirring Up A Hornet’s Nest – Jared Dubin, The Cauldron

One of the (if not the absolute) most surprising stories of the young NBA season is the success of the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets rank 7th in defensive efficiency (points allowed per 100 possessions), per Basketball-Reference.com, and have done so without the help of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, one of the better wing defenders in the league. However, what’s more surprising is their sudden rise to one of the better offenses in the league. The Hornets also rank seventh in offensive efficiency (one of the few teams to be in the top-10 in both offense and defense) and have done so by shifting the majority of their mid-range attempts to the three-point line. Much of their early-season success should be contributed to Steve Clifford, who spent most of his summer implementing a more modern style approach to their offense.

4. Kawhi Leonard was already great on defense. Now he’s elite on offense, too. – Yaron Weitzman- SBNation

Much was made about the off-season signing of LaMarcus Aldridge, but the real reason the Spurs will continue to be great for the foreseeable future is Kawhi Leonard. Already known for his suffocating defense, Leonard’s offense has become a weapon opposing defenses can no longer ignore. He lacks the highlight plays of Steph Curry and Russell Westbrook but is currently leading the league in three-point percentage among qualified candidates. Leonard is more than just a three-point shooter, however, as his ability to create with the ball has improved significantly this season. Leonard is an NBA Finals MVP, the reigning Defensive Player of the year, the best player on one of the best teams in the league and there is still no telling just how high his ceiling is.

5. Five Reasons not to expect fireworks this NBA trade season – Danny Leroux, Sporting News

December 15th usually marks that day that the NBA trade machine begins to see a significant amount of traffic. As of today, many of the contracts that were untradeable through the first few weeks of the season become available for trade, but there are reasons to be leery of this year’s activity. Many of the teams that have desirable players are still in contention for the playoffs, and the money alone from playoff games make owners less apt to trade those players.

Also, many of the players who got traded in the past are on the last year of a contract, or “rentals.” But this year those players are less desirable for certain teams as they want to save as much money as possible for the possibility for Kevin Durant and a number of other players. Acquiring those rental players could affect the amount of money a team has for the future, due to their “cap holds.” (Or possibly not. You can get all of your salary cap questions filled  right here.)

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