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The Starting 5: How Every Team Can Make the NBA Finals

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

1. Road Map to the 2016 NBA Finals for All 30 NBA Teams – Zach Buckley, Bleacher Report

Buckley gives the reader a map for how each NBA team can make the Finals. From bottom-feeders like the Philadelphia 76ers (Jahlil Okafor dominates smaller opponents, Nerlens Noel has a completely rebuilt jump shot, and Robert Covington and Nik Stauskas become the league’s most prolific three-point shooting tandem) to heavy favorites like the San Antonio Spurs (Keep everyone healthy and hope that Tony Parker has enough in his tank to compete against the top point guards in the league), read more about what each team needs to focus on if they want to win the title. 

2. Anthony Davis’ next task is to make the Pelicans contenders – Paul Flannery and Tom Ziller, SB Nation 

What’s the next step for Anthony Davis? After rising to the expectations set coming in as a rookie, Davis has done nothing but improve year after year and looks like his potential is limitless. With everything he did on the court last year, AD led the Pelicans to a surprising playoff berth and kept them more competitive against the eventual NBA champions than the sweep would indicate. What does AD need to do to push the Pelicans towards actual contenders? Read more in the link above. 

3. 30 reasons Kevin Durant could sign with 30 teams – Derek James, Hardwood Paroxysm 

James writes on the impending free agency of Kevin Durant. Durant will be the most coveted free agent since LeBron James in 2010, and the ambiguous answers of KD make his free agency even more exciting. Some say that he’ll stay in OKC, some say that he’ll move to back to his home and play in D.C., but no one knows what goes on in his mind. Sometimes I wonder if even he knows what his plans are. Honestly, Durant is playing it day-by-day and won’t make his decision anytime soon, but it’s always fun to hypothesize a situation where one of the best players in the league decides to play for your favorite team.

4. How Can the Portland Trail Blazers Help Damian Lillard? – Dave Deckard, Blazer’s Edge 

Deckard answers his mailbag and discusses what the Portland Trail Blazers can do to stay relevant in the NBA. Once LaMarcus Aldridge left for the Spurs, Portland’s hope to be competitive in the Western Conference plummeted. Add in the fact the rest of the starting lineup minus Damian Lillard took off for other teams, and now the big concern for the Blazers is how to pick up the pieces. The good thing is the Blazers have a nice young core that could be a force in the future. In Olshey we trust.

5. NBA Utopia Project mailbag: Should there be more than one championship? – Daniel Leroux – Sporting News 

Leroux began the NBA Utopia Project this offseason to try to look at ways the league could be improved. He’s presented several excellent ideas himself, and his latest piece looks at some reader submissions for the project. It even includes an idea presented here at Today’s Fastbreak by Jacob Bikshorn.

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