The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the Internet
1. “Dolph Schayes, a Bridge to Modern Basketball, Is Dead at 87” – Richard Goldstein of the New York Times
NBA legend Dolph Schayes passed away from cancer Thursday at the age of 87.
When people think of the NBA in the 1950s, the first names that come to mind are usually Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Bob Pettit and George Mikan . But Schayes, who averaged 18.5 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists during the career, deserves a spot in that hallowed group of legends.
He could handle the ball well for a power forward and had a strong outside game. Goldstein explains why Schayes’s game was a bridge to modern basketball.
2. “The Scott Skiles Cycle” – Matthew Brannon of The Sports Quotient
The Orlando Magic, despite losing their last two games, are a surprising 12-11. New head coach Scott Skiles has his team, which always had the personnel to lock down opponents, tied for No. 8 in defensive efficiency after a No. 25 finish last season.
Is this a definite sign of things to come? Not so fast, says Brannon.
He details Skiles’s predictable endings to his first three coaching gigs, which saw him quickly turn his squads into a playoff-caliber units. However, when the franchise wanted him to take it to the next level, he couldn’t do it. Orlando has some great prospects, so it would be great to see if Skiles could end keep them on an upward trajectory for longer than usual.
3. “The NBA’s Best Out-of-Bounds Sets and Coaches“- Ben Dowsett at Basketball Insiders
If you’re into the Xs and Os of NBA basketball, this piece by Dowsett is for you.
Many coaches in the NBA have elaborate plays they like to run on side and baseline out-of-bounds to get easy points. Obviously, no one has a play that works 100 percent of the time, but the best strategists can get draw up sets that result in a basket probably around 60 or 70 percent of the time.
A really good out-of-bounds play can be demoralizing to a defense and boost the confidence of the team executing it. This is an underrated aspect of NBA basketball, and Dowsett does a good job highlighting it.
4. “Warriors Gain Through the Pain” – Erik Malinowski of Sports on Earth
Pain is a very literal term here, as the 24-0 Warriors haven’t gone through much figurative pain this season at all. Harrison Barnes and now Klay Thompson are dealing with injuries, and Golden State had to play without them both Friday night against the Boston Celtics.
For the Warriors, it was a grueling double-overtime win without their third- and fifth-most important players, but a win nonetheless. Stephen Curry and Draymond Green had to carry even more of the load, which could get exhausting over a whole season. However, in the short term, those two can only get better by facing increased usage and more defensive attention.
As long as those two stay healthy, the Warriors have enough to play like a title contender, as Malinowski writes here.
5. “Joel Wright is the D-League’s Most Underrated Player” – Chris Reichert of Upside and Motor
If you’re like me, the only people you really know in the D-League are players who’ve previously played in the NBA or guys who were big names in the NCAA who never found a spot in the big leagues.
Since Joel Wright (formerly of Texas State University) fits neither category, he naturally gets overlooked.
Reichert gives the 6’7″ Wright his proper due here as one of the best 3s in the D-League. With his knack for finishing at the rim and quickness on defense, we could see the 25-year-old crack an NBA roster sometime soon.