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The Starting 5: Rest in Peace, Flip Saunders

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

1. Minnesota Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders dies of cancer — Jon Krawcyznski, AP

Minnesota coach and president Flip Saunders tragically died of cancer today, just three months after he announced his diagnosis and stepped away from the team. Jon Krawcyznski wrote a wonderful obituary that everyone should absolutely read. Flip was an NBA-lifer and a beloved figure league-wide, so his passing is completely devastating.

2. The face of the Wizards, John Wall enters his sixth season as a man in full — Jerry Brewer, Washington Post

John Wall is poised for another fantastic season after breaking out as a true star for Washington. Jerry Brewer goes deep profiling Wall, looking at the huge impact he’s had both on and off the court for the Wizards and Washington DC. Wall bizarrely took a lot of criticism when he entered the league, but he’s proven to be one of the league’s finest men off the court and Brewer does a great job capturing his character. With a new offensive system and a prime John Wall in tow, Washington could be in for a huge season.

3. Five keys to success for Hawks — Chris Vivlamore, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

After a magical 60-win campaign last season, the Atlanta Hawks will have a lot to get right in order to reach that level in 2015-16. Chris Vivlamore looks into the biggest questions for Atlanta as the season gets underway. Undoubtedly, the top concern is filling the void that DeMarre Carroll has left behind. Thabo Sefolosha, Tim Hardaway Jr., Kent Bazemore and Justin Holiday may not be good enough. Other keys include improved rebounding with the addition of Tiago Splitter, and staying healthy.

4. Rose Looks Great in Final Preseason Game — Stephen Noh, Blog a Bull

Stephen breaks down Chicago’s last preseason game, where Derrick Rose made his long-awaited debut from a broken facial bone. Rose’s play was highly encouraging, as he took advantage of the acres of space available in Fred Hoiberg’s new offensive system. There’s also a lot to parse in how Hoiberg intends to use his big men — plus, Doug McDermott hit a game-winner.

5. Rookie Extensions: Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli — Nate Duncan, Nylon Calculus

With the Nov. 2 rookie contract extension deadline rapidly approaching, Nate Duncan is looking at some of the eligible players’ situations. Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli in particular are interesting cases both because their exact market value isn’t quite clear and because they play for the defending champion Warriors. Duncan dives deep into Golden State’s books and finds that both sides have incentive to reach a deal now if they can. He pegs Barnes at around $17 million a year and Ezeli near $10-$11 million.

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