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Starting 5: Restricted Free Agency is a Tricky Business

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

1. Why Bradley Beal and Andre Drummond followed Kawhi Leonard’s path to free agency – Danny Leroux, Sporting News

The deadline to extend players that will be restricted free agents passed yesterday, and big name players such as Bradley Beal and Andre Drummond watched it pass with no extension. It seems ignorant for teams to allow players that will certainly demand maximum-level contracts next summer play a season with no contract (the maximum for Beal and Drummond would be 25 percent of the projected $89 million salary cap, with a few exceptions). However, after a deeper dive into the NBA’s extensive salary cap rules, the Pistons and Wizards would have more cap room by waiting until next summer to extend a contract to their stars. And since they have the right to match any offer extended to the players (that is the difference between restricted and unrestricted free agency ) there is little to no risk for teams that employ this strategy.

2. Raptors sign Terrence Ross to 3-year extension worth reported $33M – Blake Murphy, Raptors Republic

One team that decided to extend their soon-to-be restricted free agent was the Toronto Raptors with Terrence Ross. The team inked Ross to a three-year contract that will pay him an average of $11 million annually, which seems like an overpay for a bench player who struggled mightily last season. But it’s important to remember that Ross making $11 million next season isn’t the same as paying him that money this season. This probably isn’t the first, nor will it be the last, time you’ll hear this in the upcoming months, but the salary cap is set to explode, and the average starter will probably make around $15 million. Ross has at least one NBA skill: He is a career 37.4 percent three-point shooter in his career. And he has the size and athleticism to potentially guard threats on the wing.

3. Deep Dives: Matchups and Sub Patterns Continued – Seth Partnow, Nylon Calculus

Partnow continues his look at starters and bench players, and this time looks at the substitution patterns for all teams in the NBA. All teams begin with five starters on the floor, and those are usually the same five players who begin the 3rd quarter. The times with the fewest starters on the court are usually at the beginning of the 2nd quarter (an average of 1.08 starters) and the beginning of the 4th quarter (1.36). At first glance, one of the most interesting points in the graph is at the end of the 4th quarter, an average of 2.5 starters are on the court. However, as Partnow points out, when the margin is within 10 points, the number of starters increases to 3.5.

4. Charlotte bets on Jeremy Lamb – David Vertsberger, Hardwood Paroxysm

After watching Jeremy Lamb for the entirety of his NBA life, I was initially shocked by the three-year, $21 million extension he signed earlier this week, as reported by Marc Stein of ESPN. I’ve watched every minute of Lamb’s shoot-first mentality on offense, matador-like defense. His reputation as a shooter far surpasses any production he has shown. However, gambling on a 23-year old to improve isn’t a bad move, and offering him less than half of the expected starter salary could end up being one of the better extensions of this year’s candidates. If Lamb ends up being a complete bust by the end of the third year of the extension, he’ll take up a relatively small percentage of the salary cap making him the very definition of a low-risk gamble.

5. Nikola Vucevic and the Modern Post-Up – Seth Partnow, BBALLBREAKDOWN

The post-up has been looked down on recently with the buzz words “pace” and “space” becoming more prominent. While it’s true that the post-up is a more inefficient shot than some of its alternatives, there are ways to utilize it effectively with the right personnel. Nikola Vucevic gave the Thunder headaches on Friday night as the Magic used cuts and misdirection in an attempt to give the big man more room to operate. With the lack of shooting on the roster, the Magic may have to rely on misdirection to help improve an offense that finished below average last season.

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