The Starting 5 features some of the best NBA content from around the internet
The Sacramento Kings hired Nancy Lieberman as an assistant coach last week and Jeff Zillgitt got an in-depth one-on-one with the NBA’s newest female coach. They discussed how she found out she was getting the job as well as the long path she traveled to earn it. Lieberman has some great anecdotes about other coaches and executives who have mentored her and seems destined to succeed in the NBA.
When Stan Van Gundy assumed coaching and GM duties over the Pistons, he took on a Detroit roster that had hints of potential but was mostly ill-fitted and bad. After his first full season on the job, Satchel Price writes that the Pistons are shaping up to look like a Van Gundy outfit after all. SVG’s offense is at its best with a cog at center and lots of shooting to surround him (like Dwight Howard had in Orlando). When Van Gundy got to Detroit, they had Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe, and Josh Smith. It’s finally been whittled down to just Drummond as Van Gundy’s gone to work filling out the rest of the roster. Toss in a fat new contract for Reggie Jackson, and you can see what Stan’s envisioning. The Pistons may not be great next year, but they’ll surely play the way Stan Van Gundy wants to.
When Josh Huestis agreed to play his entire first season in the D-League after being drafted by Oklahoma City at the end of last year’s first, outrage spilled out across the league. The Thunder’s critics loudly pointed to this as another instance of a billion dollar organization pinching pennies. In reality, as R.K. Anthony wonderfully details, the parameters of the unique agreement were pitched by Huestis and his team. Knowing he was a marginal NBA draft talent, Huestis proposed the favorable deal to only OKC and San Antonio with the hopes of increasing his draft outlook. The Thunder rolled with it and have signed Huestis to a guaranteed deal after a successful season in the D-League. His gamble paid off in a big way.
The Bucks are a sexy pick as a breakout Eastern Conference team for next season, but their core is still absurdly young and inexperienced. Tim Cato writes that while the Bucks are ready to compete immediately, their main priority is still long-term development. Chris Copeland is the only Buck older than 28 and he’s just 31. The Greg Monroe signing is the clearest indiciation that winning matters now, but players like Michael-Carter Williams, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Jabari Parker are still years away from hitting their primes. It should be a fun season in Milwaukee as Jason Kidd tries to balance the present and the future.
Zach Harper with a #LongRead on recent number one pick Anthony Bennett, who thus far has yet to show any signs of real NBA stardom–or even much usefulness. The two biggest factors holding Bennett back thus far have been an inability to stay healthy and a notable lack of confidence in his game. You can have all the talent in the world and it doesn’t mean much without those two attributes. Harper goes deep on the situation Bennett finds himself in with the Wolves, why the odds are against him, and how he can find a way to beat them. A great read for any fans of Anthony Bennett, the Timberwolves, or the general process of trying to make it in this crazy league.