The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the Internet
Becky Hammon, the first female assistant coach in NBA history, was handed the clipboard and the keys to the San Antonio Spurs’ Summer League team. The result is that they’ve run the table, winning the Summer League championship after winning their sixth game in a row. Hammon has been earning the respect of her players through bringing a high level of energy to a team that played nine games in two weeks. Those players don’t view her as “Becky Hammon, female coach,” but simply their coach.
In five games in the Las Vegas Summer League, the Bulls’ Doug McDermott averaged 18.8 points on 48.8 percent shooting, earning himself a spot on the All-NBA Summer League First Team. Next season is extremely important for McDermott, who the Bulls traded for at the 2014 draft. He was the 11th overall pick, but spent most of this last season sitting on the bench for Tom Thibodeau. This was a source of angst for the organization, who wanted to see him play more often. He should get every opportunity to earn a spot under Fred Hoiberg.
The Knicks were extra careful with Kristaps Porzingis in the Summer League, not playing him big minutes so he wasn’t overused. It’s going to be a common theme with Porzingis over the next year, as the Knicks plan to get him plenty of rest to ease him into his first season in the NBA. He’s a talented player, but the Knicks are coming off the worst season in franchise history and Porzingis is just 19 years old. Even still, his 10.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks he averaged in his four games in the Summer League gave Knicks fans something to believe in.
The last time the Phoenix Suns made it to the Western Conference Finals, it was 2010 and Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire were the leaders on the team. It’s been up and down in Phoenix since then, but there’s reason to hope for the future. Jim Coughenour looks at some historic statistics and analyzes the Suns’ odds to be back in the conference finals again sometime soon.
The Orlando Magic and their young budding star Tobias Harris agreed to a four-year, $64 million contract earlier in free agency. The interesting thing about his contract is the structure, which reportedly is done in an interesting way to allow the Magic some cap flexibility. Harris will receive $16 million in his first year, $17.2 million in the second, $16 million in the third and $14.4 million in the last year of his contract. Considering the rise in the salary cap that’s scheduled to come in the next few seasons, the numbers on the books for the 23-year-old Harris will be a massive strength for the Magic as they attempt to attract top talent in free agency.