The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content around the Internet
1. Eight dumb things that definitely are going to happen this NBA season – Adi Joseph, Sporting News
There are officially no more nights without basketball for the foreseeable future. With all the good that comes from the NBA season, there are a few tired narratives that will make an appearance this season, as told by Joseph. Kobe Bryant will probably enter the MVP discussion at the beginning of the season due to their early season schedule. One of the top draft picks from last year will be labeled as a bust far too early in the season (my money is on D’Angelo Russell). And one of the major stars in the league will miss the playoffs for one reason or another, and the rest of the league will question whether that player is actually good or not.
2. Five Best: Players who won’t play a damn minute – Philip Rossman-Reich, Hardwood Paroxysm
Every fan loves the bench player designated to be the towel waver, but not every bench player aspires to be the towel waver. K.J. McDaniels was one of the lone bright spots for the 76ers last season but was traded in the middle of the season to the loaded Rockets. After an offseason in which many are claiming the Rockets are the deepest team in the league, it’s unlikely that McDaniels will find a spot in the rotation this season. Shelvin Mack finds himself as the third point guard on a team where point guards aren’t asked to do as much. The Hawks’ system uses ball and player movement to find open shots instead of the traditional drive and kick systems used by other teams. This puts less pressure on point guards and makes third point guards less valuable than in other systems.
3. Serge Ibaka embodies the modern NBA – Seth Partnow, Washington Post’s Fancy Stats Blog
Serge Ibaka is the third best player on the Thunder, but there’s an argument he’s the most important player (albeit, a weak argument). No player combines rim protection and three-point shooting quite like Ibaka does. He’s arguably the best rim protector in the league, and while his overall shooting numbers dipped a little last season, he shot 37.6 percent from three on over three attempts per game. Ibaka is the most logical choice when deciding who a particular player should be paired with (as Partnow points out), and his ability to finish at the rim and in the mid-range makes him one of the unique players in the league.
4. The great gift of Flip Saunders: He tried to make you believe – Michael Lee, Yahoo! Sports
We covered this in yesterday’s Starting 5, but Lee’s piece deserves all of the recognition it gets. Saunders was one of the better basketball minds of recent memory, but by all accounts, was an even better person. The bond he formed with almost all of his former players was evident by the emotion displayed after his untimely death, and his ability to make friends out of even the harshest critics was unmatched.
5. NBA: 5 Things To Watch Opening Night – Colby Giacubeno, Hoops Habit
I can’t stress this enough: The NBA is finally here. One of the things Giacubeno is looking for is the wear and tear on LeBron James’ body after 11 seasons. James has made the playoffs in almost every season he’s played and has countless minutes on his body including Olympic play. Also, the Warriors will raise a banner tonight after one of the most impressive seasons in history last year. They have to do so while playing one of the most intimidating players in the NBA, Anthony Davis. Davis will try to improve upon a season in which he put up historic numbers for a 21-year old by possibly adding a three-point shot,—the one thing missing from his already impressive game.