The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the Internet
Some people scratched their heads when the Knicks gave guaranteed money to Sasha Vujacic, as his best (using that term loosely) playing days seem to be behind him. But there was an ulterior motivation beyond whether or not Vujacic can help the Knicks win basketball games: mentoring rookie Kristaps Porzingis. Vujacic played in Europe for the last four years, and in the same league as Porzingis last season. He knows the kid relatively well, and it seems as though they have a good relationship, according to head coach Derek Fisher. Even if Vujacic never makes a single positive play on the court, it may be worth having him around just to help Porzingis acclimate to America.
There has been much said about a supposed riff between Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose, dating all the way back to game six of their playoff series with the Cavaliers last season. The theory is that Rose resents the fact that Butler feels like this is “his team,” and Butler wants Rose to accept him being “the man.” Both players have denied these reports, but then sometimes make statements that lead you to believe something is wrong. That’s the case here, with Butler mentioning that the team needs someone that is going to play hard every night and back up what he’s talking about. That couldn’t be pointed at Rose, could it?
The Warriors are getting their share of haters lately, mostly because of the arrogant way that they’ve been carrying themselves following their NBA Championship last summer. Jesse Taylor of Warriors World makes a strong case that we should celebrate the attitude of the Warriors, rather than decry it. The Warriors put up with decades of bad basketball, from trading Mitch Richmond and Chris Webber on through the Sprewell years, drafting Todd Fuller ahead of Kobe Bryant, Larry Hughes, Antawn Jamison, and on and on. Allowing them a little cockiness doesn’t seem like too much to ask.
Chandler Parsons took an active role in the courtship of free-agent center DeAndre Jordan, going out to dinner and movies in the weeks prior to his fateful decision. According to Parsons, the Mavs had new gear shipped to Jordan’s home, picked out his locker, his jersey number, and even gone over a few homes in the Dallas area for Jordan to look into purchasing. Given what happened, you wouldn’t fault Parsons for being upset about the result. But they still have Dirk Nowitzki and Parsons himself, plus additions such as Deron Williams and JaVale McGee. Shams Charania of Yahoo! Sports looks into how Chandler Parsons feels about the team going into the year, and his overall positive outlook.
Grizzlies blogger Rob Stukenborg had taken a look at the rivalry between the Grizz and Thunder, and in this follow-up piece he looked at the view from some Thunder writers on the same topic. The range of the discussion goes from the pace of play, the unfinished business from the postseason, the matchup of Mike Conley versus Russell Westbrook, and the addition of Matt Barnes to the Grizzlies. It’s a fun response to his own piece from Stukenborg, giving the reader a full range of views on the budding Western Conference rivalry between the two talented Midwestern teams.