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The Starting 5: Is the NBA in Good Shape for the Future?

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry (30) reacts after hitting a 3-point basket during the second half of Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the New Orleans Pelicans in New Orleans, Saturday, April 25, 2015. The Warriors won 109-98 to sweep the series. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

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

1. “The NBA’s perfect past and scary future” – Adam Mares of FanSided

Mark Jackson’s comments about Stephen Curry “hurting the game” may have been blown out of proportion by many, but they do remind us that there a lot of people in the basketball sphere who hate the current NBA game and where it’s heading.

Mares is not one of those people.

He eloquently breaks down why so many are bemoaning the NBA’s so-called problem and ultimately concludes that it’s important to appreciate a rapidly-evolving league.

2. “International players bring soccer’s flair, creativity to Spurs and the NBA” – Mark Travis of The Caller Times

I’m sure those of you reading this have a wide variety of opinions on the game of soccer/football. But there’s no denying the aesthetic pleasure of a soccer highlight made by unselfish, sweet-passing teammates.

The Spurs, with all their foreign players from football-playing countries, have had no trouble embracing a ball movement-heavy offense in the past few years. Travis gets some quotes from players and coaches around the NBA on how the beauty of soccer has influenced the game.

3. “DeMarcus Cousins keeps Kings one step from success, one from disaster” – Matt Moore of CBS Sports 

DeMarcus Cousins is polarizing, but he really shouldn’t be. As the Kings’ loss against the Warriors Monday night confirmed, it’s pretty obvious that he’s both a supremely talented player and a huge wild card because of his volatility on the court. If you think he’s only one of those things (or neither), sorry, you’re wrong.

Moore points out how Cousins simultaneously buoys the King to show flashes that they can be a good team. But when Sacramento looks bad and/or incohesive, Boogie is at the forefront then as well.

With the new year coming up, Cousins should make a resolution to become the Kings’ steady rock.

4. “Will Barton set to return to Portland during breakout season with Denver Nuggets” – Mike Richman of The Oregonian

Interestingly enough, arguably the top two candidates for this season’s Most Improved Player award (Will Barton and C.J. McCollum) loved playing together in Trail Blazers practice a year ago and beating up on the starters.

McCollum stayed in Portland and was rewarded with a starting role, which he’s fulfilling admirably. Barton has come off the bench for the Nuggets, but he’s playing more than 29 minutes per game and might be Denver’s MVP thus far.

Richman catches up with some of Barton’s former teammates to hear their thoughts on his development.

5. “Bjelica works to translate his game with Wolves” – Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune

For the first few weeks of the season, 27-year-old Nemanja Bjelica looked like a dark horse Rookie of the Year candidate. He was shooting the three, passing and defending at a high level for a surprisingly decent Timberwolves squad.

Then, he injured his knee in mid-November and was out five games. Ever since he’s been back, though, his minutes and impact have been reduced in favor of guys like Gorgui Dieng and Tayshaun Prince.

Zgoda gets some good quotes from the talented rookie and Wolves interim head coach Sam Mitchell as they try to work through a rough patch in his season.

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