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The Starting 5: It is Not Time to Stop Talking About Thabo Sefolosha’s Trial

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

1. The Ugly Truths Revealed In Thabo Sefolosha’s Trial – Dan O’Sullivan, Vice Sports

A jury of his peers found Thabo Sefolosha not guilty on Friday after only 45 minutes of deliberation. This is not a shocking result; video of the incident, along with the NYPD’s long history of brutality, convinced many of those paying attention to the story of Sefolosha’s innocence. With the full details of the incident now laid bare, O’Sullivan highlights the inconsistencies in the officers’ stories, pointing out the obvious injustice while bringing the scene to life. As mentioned, the victory in court opens the NYPD up to a civil suit from Sefolosha, one that could be quite expensive for New York taxpayers who are all to used to paying this kind of settlement. Hopefully the lawsuit is filed swiftly, and the trial is high profile enough to keep this story in the spotlight. It has been discussed far too little considering the visibility of the victim and the impact it had on the league last year. The Hawks wing hopes to play his first minutes Wednesday since the police attacked him in April.

2. San Antonio Spurs: LaMarcus Aldridge Subtraction By Addition? – Aaron Mah, Hoops Habit

Even among the smartest basketball writers, there seems to be little consensus on how the LaMarcus Aldridge situation will work out in San Antonio. It’s an enjoyable deviation from the normal state of affairs, where the general agreement at the highest level of analytical examination casts a shadow over an entire season’s worth of arguing and speculating. Making the case for Spurs skepticism, Mah examines the fit issues that inspire much of the concern.

It is hard to deny that LaMarcus doesn’t play “Spursian” basketball, but it is also hard to ignore coach Gregg Popovich’s historical ability to adapt to the players on his team. And while the departure of key reserves like Cory Joseph and Tiago Splitter thinned the bench a little, the rising star of Kyle “Slowmo” Anderson promises to provide the internal reinforcement San Antonio needs. There are still a lot of balls in the air, as well as the flaming chainsaw that is potential decline in Tony Parker’s game, but Pop has proved an adept juggler in the past. It will be fun to see how this next trick works out.

3. Heat’s Dynamic Duo At Guard Know They Must Be In Sync, Play Off Each Other’s Strengths – Ethan J. Skolnick, The Miami Herald

The Heat are the Eastern Conference comparison for the Spurs, with a much wider range of potential outcomes than anyone expects in San Antonio. They could make the conference finals if it all breaks right for them, and perhaps the NBA Finals if things break wrong for their opponents. They could also find themselves hovering around the edge of the lottery if health and chemistry slow them down. If the quotes in Skolnick’s piece are any indication, the latter factor won’t be an issue. Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic sound like fast friends in the article, and have made clear strides in how to understand and complement each other’s game. It sounds as if the adjustment may be a little tricky for Wade, whose penchant for arguing calls and balky knees aren’t the best fit with a partner who never stops running. But it also sounds like Dragic will do everything he can to keep Wade happy and healthy this season. If there is space for Chris Bosh, both on the floor and within the buddy-cop banter the two guards are developing, things are looking very fun in South Beach.

4. Robert Upshaw is focused on reaching his defensive potential with the Lakers – Drew Garrison, Silver Screen and Roll

Clinging to the fringes of the NBA while also playing for one of its most storied franchises is a peculiar place to find yourself, but Robert Upshaw seems to be figuring it out. Given his comments after his first game with the Lakers, he knows what he needs to do to make a lasting enough impression to stick with the team, and understands how narrow his margin of error is. The quotes Garrison uses as foundations for the piece show a player with a strong work ethic and a good sense of his own limitations. It’s hard to ask for much more from the 15th roster spot, although it might be a hard sell to fans if Upshaw’s upside comes at the expense of Robert Sacre’s celebrations.

5. Five Things To Watch: Portland Trail Blazers – Mike Acker, Sheridan Hoops

In the NBA, teams can be bad without being boring. It is one of the best things about the league; even a team losing every game by 15+ can show you spectacular things, especially if they’re giving young, developing players heavy minutes. As a result, the Portland Trail Blazers are low-key one of the most exciting teams in the Association this year. Their mélange of likeable young players, a genuine superstar, a couple savvy veterans and FIBA World Cup gold medalist Mason Plumlee is unlike anything in the league, so it is actually pretty interesting to ask five questions about them! That is likely why Acker returns every year, to write this article and only this article for Sheridan Hoops. There are a few exceptions, sure – in 2013 he wrote both Acker: 10 Reasons Why The Blazers Are For Real and Five Things To Watch: Portland Trail Blazers – but the man knows where his bread is buttered, and that’s in well-written previews of an exciting basketball team. He captures clearly the chaotic mix of hope and disappointment this season holds for Portland.

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