The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the Internet
1. Statistical Spotlight: Rajon Rondo is doing Rajon Rondo things in Sacramento – Jacob Rosen, Nylon Calculus
In the shadow of Golden State’s perfect beginning, the Clippers’ confusing beginning and the Lakers’ expected beginning lays Sacramento’s somewhat surprising beginning. The Kings haven’t been good — as their 7-12 record indicates — but there are still bright spots on the roster, and Rajon Rondo is one of the brightest. Rondo has always been a gifted ball-handler and is currently averaging just shy of 11 assists per game compared to 3.6 turnovers per game. But even more impressive is Rondo’s shooting numbers. While he’s never been the most efficient shooter, Rondo is currently connecting on over 35 percent of his 2.5 three-point attempts per game. Even more impressive is Rondo’s 59.3 percent average on shots that he takes on drives, as described by NBA.com. Rondo’s never going to be confused with an efficient offensive player, but a full season with this production could mean a big payday for Rondo next summer.
2. The Pocket Pass: Five things the San Antonio Spurs do better than anyone – Adam Mares, Hardwood Paroxysm
In what is becoming a must read, Mares highlights the Spurs in his Pocket Pass column. The Spurs are always thought of as a team without a superstar, despite Kawhi Leonard clearly being one of the best players in the NBA. There are a number of reasons for this. The team is the best (as of this post) defensive rebounding team in terms of percentage despite not having a player ranked in the top 20 of defensive rebound percentage in the league. They have the 5th-highest effective field goal percentage, but the fourth-lowest three-point rate. They put arguably the most pressure on opposing defenses, although Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan have gotten older, despite all evidence to the contrary. That and more interesting pieces of information can be found in Mares’ piece.
3. NBA Future Power Rankings: Every Team’s Spot In 5 Years – Ti Windisch, Hoops Habit
When you get as many preseason predictions wrong as I do, you always have to look to the future to see what I can miss out on next. Predicting the best teams in the next five years isn’t an easy task, and is almost impossible to do considering the number of draft picks that will inevitably surprise late in the lottery, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun. Among some of the most interesting are Minnesota at #1, Indiana at #5, San Antonio at #9 and Brooklyn coming in at dead last.
4. Ranking the Warriors’ assets, part 11: Shaun Livingston’s guide to universal domination – Basketball Jonez, Golden State of Mind
Shaun Livingston is one of the many cogs that makes the Warriors as unstoppable as they are. While, by definition, he’s simply a backup point guard relieving Steph Curry of his duties, in reality he’s a 6-foot-7 player, capable of guarding multiple positions on the court and with the ability to keep the offense humming along if need be. While the most valuable asset on the roster isn’t up for debate, it’s clear that the Warriors wouldn’t be the team they are without Livingston.
5. Sunday Musings: Is Rudy Gay a #2 Option? – Drew Runberg, Cowbell Kingdom
The short answer to the title of the post is “no” but a sufficient explanation is provided. Rudy Gay’s most interesting fact might be that both the Grizzlies and Raptors became significantly better after trading the swingman, but Gay quietly put up a very good statistical year last season. Twenty-one points, almost six rebounds and four assists on a true shooting percentage of 55.6 percent are numbers that few players surpassed last season, but there is a question to whether Gay is a looter in a riot, also known as a player that is only capable of putting up good numbers on a bad team. Gay is clearly a player worth having on a roster, and his three-year contract is looking like good value, but whether or not he is the second option on a good team seems to have been answered.