The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the Internet
18 months into the Adam Silver era things are still rolling along pretty smoothly. He handled Donald Sterling with decisiveness and grace, everyone’s getting rich(er), and the 2015 Finals, featuring two historically insignificant teams, drew the highest TV ratings since the Jordan era. If we add in the attempt at lottery reform and the planned playoff reform, it’s easy to see why David Stern had such glowing things to say about Silver when Hamilton interviewed him back in February. Then again, while reforming playoff seeding is a necessity at this point, I don’t know if anyone but a Spurs fan would want to give up that Los Angeles/San Antonio series. And for all the good Silver’s done, he still trotted out the “some teams are still losing money” line at his recent state of the Association speech. The coming labor dispute is going to be the first time Silver will likely be in opposition to the players’ wishes, and many of the media’s opinions. We should postpone judgement till then.
This is almost the platonic form of an NBA offseason feature. It’s an in-depth look at the relationship between former D-League champions, competing for the $1,000,000 in The Basketball Tournament. The Ants Alumni came together not for the money, not for the glory, but so they could spend some time hooping with their friends, win or lose. The story really has it all: the tenuous connection to the NBA, the normally unconsidered subject, the heartwarming friendship. At the point in the offseason when Andre Miller signing with the Wolves or Jason Thompson getting traded to the Warriors is big news, this kind of story is the best way to satisfy that hoops hunger.
Speaking of the Wolves, does it ever seem like a weirdly large number of NBA Internet writers are Minnesota fans? Myles Brown, Zach Harper, today’s featured writer Steve McPherson…it’s weird how many heavyweights have hanged their hats in the North Star State. It’s a great thing for Wolves fans, who get to enjoy articles like this breakdown of Flip Saunders’s history with three-point shooting, with impressive regularity. McPherson is basically asking Saunders to put his money where his mouth is, and considering both Saunders’s track record and recent comments to Zach Lowe, it’s fair to be both skeptical and optimistic.
Way back in 2013, Spike Friedman made up a Roy Hibbert quote for Grantland’s About Last Night feature after the Pacers evened up the ECF at 2-2. Somehow, fake Hibbert saying, “They put out guys who are shorter than we are on the court, and then they try to go around us. It’s like they have no idea that height is an advantage in basketball. It makes no sense. It’s some crazy sort of tiny orb strategy,” managed to stick with me as the defining feature of the Indiana Pacers, so it’s with some sadness that I watch Larry Bird and Co. chase the league trend and go small. Whether you’re enthusiastic about the change or not, you can learn a lot about where the Pacers stand from this SB Nation article. Sure, it seems strange to ask if Paul George can be the guy when he was being touted as perhaps the third-best player in the Association a couple years ago, and Boylan-Pett probably should’ve mentioned rookie big man Myles Turner when talking about the team’s future. But he makes a great case for the team, both positive and negative, that should whet your appetite for the coming season.
Okay so first of all, the writers featured in The Starting 5 today have some spectacular names, top to bottom, and that’s deserving of recognition. Also deserving of recognition is this in-depth breakdown of the Orlando Magic, which starts all the way back in the Dwight Howard era, then works its way up to the present. Along the way, you get the details of Orlando’s recent seasons, each draft pick over the last three years and descriptions of their play so far, and a recap of new coach Scott Skiles’s history. All this serves as background for Schmidt’s analysis of the team’s potential in the coming seasons, with detailed explorations of potential offensive and defensive strategies. Whether you’re a Magic fan trying to get back into the game or just a big ol’ NBA nerd, you don’t want to miss this.