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Starting 5: Debating if DeMarcus Cousins Is a Franchise Player

Jose Luis Villegas/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire

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

1. Pick And Roll: DeMarcus Cousins – James Holas and Kelly Scalleta, BBALLBREAKDOWN

James Holas and our own Kelly Scaletta have it out over DeMarcus Cousins. The argument isn’t centred around whether or not Cousins is a productive player — there isn’t a good argument that he isn’t a very good player — but rather whether he should be considered a franchise cornerstone. On one hand, the raw numbers that Cousins produces on a nightly basis are astounding considering his teammates. However, the fact that he doesn’t do it at the level of some of those that are considered elite (Curry, James, Harden among others) is cause for concern.

2. As promised by LeBron James, Kevin Love is the Cavaliers’ centerpiece – Ben Dowsett, The Cauldron

Kevin Love was a relative disappointment last season. He still averaged almost 16 points and 10 rebounds last season, but the general impact he was supposed to have on the Cavaliers was missing. Although his efficiency is lacking, Love has looked more like the player he was in Minnesota so for this season. After being put in situations where he was often the third option last year, Love is frequently the first option on the court for the Cavaliers, despite sharing the court with James. While Kyrie Irving’s injury has certainly helped the process, the Cavaliers have to be delighted with what Love has done so far this season.

3. Philadelphia 76ers are the team no one wants to lose to – Derek James, Hardwood Paroxysm

After watching some of the 76ers’ game last night, I had many of the same thoughts that James did about the team. Philadelphia seems to play fast and loose almost as if they don’t have anything to lose, which is convenient considering their 0-10 record. However, the teams that play the 76ers have long periods in which they seem to be too tight trying not to make a critical mistake instead of playing how they normally play. This prompted James to call the team from Philadelphia the Human Sixerpedes, which I can’t even begin to explain.

4. Russell Westbrook and Passing Efficiency – Positive Residual, Nylon Calculus

Russell Westbrook is either loved or hated with nothing in between. One of the reasons those who don’t love him feel as they do is due to his propensity to hijack an offense with mid-range jumper after mid-range jumper. This is one instance where the “eye test” fails and analytics tell a better story. While Westbrook takes his fair share of shots, he is also one of the most efficient passers in the league in terms of both volume and efficiency. Some of this can be contributed to his incredibly high usage for the Thunder offense, but some of this is undeniably because he’s a gifted distributor.

5. 5 charts that show how much better Stephen Curry is than everyone else – Tom Ziller, SBNation

In your weekly reminder that Steph Curry is really good, Steph Curry is really good. PER isn’t a perfect stat, but it does a good enough job to show that Curry is having a historic start to the season. To illustrate how well Curry has played, Ziller shows that Curry has made as many threes as Memphis and San Antonio, and more than Minnesota and Brooklyn. No player combines the usage and efficiency of Steph Curry, as Curry’s true shooting percentage is an incredible 68.7 percent. Finally, Curry has taken more shots between 25 and 29 feet in the league than any other player, and somehow maintains a 53 percentage from that area.

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