The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the Internet
1. Clippers Send for the Cavalry – Jesse Blanchard, BBALLBREAKDOWN
Blake Griffin did everything he could last postseason to try to carry the Clippers to the conference finals for the first time in team history. However, after a grueling 7-game series with the champions from the season before, the team didn’t have the energy to defeat the Rockets despite having a 3-1 series lead. The Clippers reloaded this summer to add depth behind their already incredible starting lineup to avoid a similar situation in this year’s playoffs, but are the pieces they added enough to carry the team farther than it’s gone before?
2. Does the Clippers’ new depth make any sense together? – Ian Levy, Sporting News
Basketball-reference.com’s box score plus minus stat states that this Clippers’ roster is the deepest that Doc Rivers has had, but there are questions about the functionality of the depth. Signing Paul Pierce and Josh Smith at their contracts seem like good values in a vacuum, but both players played better when they weren’t asked to play the wing (and even a small-ball center in Smith’s case). With the departure of Matt Barnes, the wings left to take his place are Wes Johnson and Lance Stephenson, neither had impressive performances last season. The Clippers could be a very good team this year, but there are questions as to just how good they’ll be.
3. Sixers Sign Former UNLV Standout Christian Wood – Jake Pavorsky, Liberty Ballers
Christian Wood was one of the most interesting prospects in the 2015 draft. He has the size, skill and athletic ability to be a lottery selection, but went undrafted instead. Questions surrounded Wood about his work ethic, attitude and chemistry while at UNLV. Despite having one of the most talented teams in the country, UNLV underwhelmed for most of the season. Although he’s not surrounded by the most talented team in Philadelphia, Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid (if he is able to see the court) should be enough to push the young big man to the best of his abilities.
4. In defense of the Brooklyn Nets’ mediocrity – Philip Rossman-Reich, Hardwood Paroxysm
The Brooklyn Nets have been relatively disappointing for the past two seasons after mortgaging their future for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. However, the article is written from the viewpoint that it’s unimportant for the Nets to be championship contenders, but only relevant to draw interest from new fans. It’s possible that the Nets could be trying to build interest in a team that had no shot to win a championship to begin with by being a team that draws interest because of what it does off the court – the ludicrous luxury tax bill, the pathetic excuse for a mascot and an owner that treats the team much like a toddler’s toy that the child doesn’t care for.
5. The Rockets have a rebounding problem – Tzu Chao, The Dream Shake
A flaw that isn’t normally associated with the Rockets is their rebounding due to Dwight Howard’s incredible ability to clean the glass. But with Howard injured for most of last season, the Rockets realized that there was no player to provide a reasonable facsimile to what Howard provided in rebounding, much less in other areas of the game. With Clint Capela developing into a useful (and potentially very good) player, the Rockets could have a fix for their rebounding woes, but Howard and Capela can’t play together for extended minutes. There is a chance that rookie Montrezl Harrell could help the team’s rebounding, but few teams with the expectations of the Rockets can afford to give significant minutes to rookies.