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The Starting 5: Pivotal Seasons for LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Durant

USA TODAY Sports

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

1. LaMarcus Aldridge seeking balance between aggressive and selfless with Spurs — Sam Amick, USA Today

In Portland, LaMarcus Aldridge was a legitimate star whose game often soaked up a big chunk of an offense’s actions. San Antonio has wowed the league with its motion offense designed around selfless passing. With Aldridge joining the Spurs this summer, the two clashing styles will merge. Sam Amick sat down with LaMarcus to talk about why the two will be a great fit and why he’s looking forward to the challenge.

2. Heathy Durant proves tonic to improve Thunder — John Schuhmann, NBA.com

The always enlightening John Schuhmann digs into which teams are most likely to improve offensively this season. The two biggest components of a big jump are unsurprisingly better health and better shooting. With Kevin Durant locked and loaded, Oklahoma City is a prime candidate to rocket back up to the top of the offensive efficiency rankings. Miami, Detroit, Indiana and Philadelphia are Schuhmann’s other improvement candidates.

3. Pick and Roll: DeMar DeRozan — James Holas and Jeff Feyerer, BBALLBREAKDOWN

James and Jeff kick off a new series at BBALLBREAKDOWN where a polarizing player is discussed through both an analytical and “eye-test” perspective. For the first discussion, the two dig into why a discrepancy seemingly exists between how many casual fans view DeRozan and how the advanced statistics like him. The important — and perhaps only — thing to keep in mind here is that no analysis can be complete without both perspectives. A fun exercise.

4. After the Rupture — Jonathan Abrams, Grantland

Jonathan Abrams is perhaps the NBA community’s greatest storyteller, and Wes Matthews has a better tale to tell than most. Abrams goes deep on Matthews’s tragic Achilles injury, inspiring comeback journey and impressive free agency offers. No one really knows how Wes will recover from the dreaded Achilles tear, but few players are better suited to beat near impossible odds.

5. The Fork In The Road… Leaving My First Love — Nazr Mohammed

Nazr Mohammed, longtime NBA veteran, writes a very nice essay about how he’s finding a new kind of happiness in his first season away from the Association. Mohammed played the last 17 years and developed a strong reputation as a locker-room leader and all-around good guy to be around. Being from Chicago, Nazr said it fulfilled a lifelong dream to join the Bulls and is unlikely to join another team for this season.

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