The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the Internet
The Mavs signing Jordan doesn’t necessarily mean they will crack the top half of the Western Conference. While he provides more athleticism than Tyson Chandler, Jordan has been unable to anchor an elite defense the way Chandler has. At only 27 for all of next season, Jordan can potentially improve on both ends of the floor. However, in order for the Mavericks to reach the levels that Mark Cuban desires, he’ll need to reach higher levels than he ever has before.
Admittedly, I had no idea who Koponen was before reading the piece, but I’m always intrigued by international players and how they develop in the NBA. While teams are trying to avoid the next Andrea Bargnani in the draft, they take flyers on unpolished college players that haven’t proven themselves despite being in an easier league than some prospects outside of the NBA. Based on information from the article, Koponen is a fantastic shooter, a good passer in the pick-and-roll and has decent enough athleticism to guard his position. He may not be a major contributor for the Mavericks, but considering their point guard troubles of late, he is probably the best option they have right now.
Hibbert is far from one of the more aesthetically pleasing players in the league, but he is one of the better defenders in the league. Levy – a Pacers’ fan – points out that what Hibbert excels at is more difficult to see than what he struggles with. Hibbert’s strengths are discouraging opponents from taking shots at the rim and affecting shots that are taken around the rim, but his weaknesses – lack of spacing, inefficient post-ups and few offensive skills – are easier to see.
Omer Asik might be slightly underrated at this point in his career. He’s a fantastic screen setter and has the ability to protect the rim at an above average level. He has the ability to be a great center for an NBA team, but the Pelicans aren’t the best fit for his skills. With Anthony Davis, Alexis Ajinca and Ryan Anderson having to play either the four or the five on offense, paying Asik $60 million might be an overpay considering what they already have on the roster.
Aaron Gordon’s rookie season was unproductive for a player selected fourth overall. An injury prevented him from playing a large chunk of the season and Orlando’s lack of shooting prevented him from having the necessary space to show off some of his ball skills. But this summer could be the step in the right direction for Gordon’s development with the team. Gordon seems to have reworked a shot that contributed to his 42 percent average at the free throw line in college. Another year of development for Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon and the acquisition of Mario Hezonja could help the Magic make the playoffs for the first time since 2012.