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The Starting 5: We’re Rooting for You, Lamar

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

1. “SI Vault: The odyssey of Lamar Odom” – Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated

All Wednesday, we saw tributes fly up all over the Internet in response to the news that Lamar Odom was found unconscious on the floor of a brothel in Nevada, and is in critical condition.

Sports Illustrated took a different route, republishing a detail-paced feature on Odom written by Jenkins from March 2009. The versatile forward was in the midst of his first season as the Los Angeles Lakers’ sixth man, and the move obviously worked, because Los Angeles won the NBA Finals that season and the following one.

Odom’s past has been a roller coaster ride, but Jenkins helps us relive a brighter time in his life. The guy was clearly a difference-maker on the court and a popular personality in the Lakers’ locker room.

Be sure to keep Odom in your thoughts or prayers as doctors try to keep him alive.

2. “It’s time to hate the Warriors. They want it.” — Seth Rosenthal of SB Nation

If you thought the Warriors might be a San Antonio Spurs-esque champion, a squad that cares little about media attention and rarely offers up an interesting sound bite, you’re wrong.

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut have all teed off on criticisms from fans and media members that Golden State’s run was lucky. They’ve legitimately taken exception to what their “haters” have said and are out to make them look silly.

They may or may not do so, but Rosenthal is right — the Golden State team is starting down the path to villainhood, and that’s how they want it.

3. “Shaq’s Next Act: Behind the Turntables” — Ian Frisch of Vice Sports

Frisch focuses his in-depth feature on Shaquille O’Neal’s lifelong love for DJing, but there’s so much more to glean from this. You learn about his financial aspirations, his feelings toward his hobbies, his thoughts at various points in his NBA career and other off-the-court stories.

One thing is very clear: there’s a lot more to Shaq than just the dominance he asserted on NBA courts.

4. “A slimmer Kyle Lowry showing glimpses of improvement this season” — Alec J Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today

NBA players aren’t usually transforming their bodies at age 29. That’s the end of the prime, and guys are usually worried about how to adjust their games to counteract their physical decline, as if said decline is inevitable.

But as Kyle Lowry has shown us this offseason, it’s possible to become even more fit despite approaching the big 3-0.

The Raptors point guard has always been somewhat of a 205-pound bowling ball, and that seems like it worked for him. But after dropping weight over the summer, he’s quicker than ever and is putting up insane stats (30.3 points per game on 68.3 percent from the field and 64.7 percent from three) in a trio of preseason games.

I had Toronto falling a few spots in the East this year, but I might have to rethink that with how Lowry’s been looking.

5. “Why Everyone (Including Paul George) Should Be Patient With Pacers’ Move to Small Ball” — Andrew Perna of RealGM

The Pacers’ small-ball approach has received a bunch of coverage already, but that kind of makes Perna’s point here: we’re all freaking out about how it might work with Paul George not being “comfortable” playing the 4, but it’s still very, very early.

In fact, how many times have you felt uncomfortable when doing something new? Many, I’m sure.

George was just being honest, which was refreshing. It’s still the preseason, and plenty of time remains for him to get used to his new role.

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