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The Starting 5: Godzingis or Three 6 Latvia?

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

1. 7 Feet, 7 Blocks: Kristaps Porzingis Looms Larger Than Ever — Benjamin Hoffman, New York Times

Lustily booed on draft night, Kristaps Porzingis has quickly become the love of millions of Knicks fans’ lives. After blocking seven shots to go along with 24 points and 14 rebounds against the Houston Rockets last night, Benjamin Hoffman took a nice look at the Latvian phenomenon. Now believed to be a towering 7’3″, Porzingis has taken New York — and the NBA — by storm with his combination of thunderous putback dunks, silky jumpers and all-around energetic game. Kristaps is quickly surpassing nearly everyone’s expectations for his ceiling; the Knicks got a good one.

2. Beating the Warriors 2.0 — Jonathan Tjarks, The Pattern of Basketball

Luke Walton may be reluctant to rely on Golden State’s super small lineup of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green, but it’s blitzed the league in short stints this season. In 74 total minutes, the Warriors have outscored opponents by 54 points with those five playing together. Because Green is so adept at playing center, the Warriors can switch on any screen and recover lightning-fast when they need to double team. Jonathan Tjarks takes a very insightful dive into which teams around the league have lineups capable of trying to counter the Warriors. This may not surprise you, but no one is truly equipped to feel comfortable with the matchup.

3. Twilight of the Dirk — Paul Flannery, SB Nation

Dirk Nowitzki is 37 years old and has spent basically half of his life playing for the Dallas Mavericks. With Mark Cuban unable to secure DeAndre Jordan’s services, nearly everyone had written off both Nowitzki and the Mavericks for the 2015-16 season. Working as hard as ever to stay in game condition, Nowitzki is having a phenomenal season. Paul Flannery goes deep with Dirk and the Mavericks and gives us a telling snapshot into the wonderful twilight of the future Hall of Famer. It’s a treat that we still get to watch Dirk hit big shots for the Mavericks.

4. Kevin McHale’s Dismissal More Surprising Than Rockets Slow Start — Brett Koremenos, RealGM

Brett Koremons breaks down the many problems plaguing the start of the Houston Rockets’ season and how Kevin McHale factored into them. Their primary issue has been injuries, forcing several key contributors to miss significant minutes and pushing unproven players into bigger roles. While Clint Capela has stepped up in Dwight Howard’s absences, Montrezl Harrell isn’t ready to take a significant role in Houston’s frontcourt. Furthermore, the Ty Lawson-James Harden backcourt has been atrocious defensively and somehow equally bad on the offensive end as well. While it’s hard to blame McHale for these problems specifically, his apparent loss of the locker room made the decision necessary for Houston.

5. Nylon Calculos 101: The List — Seth Partnow, Nylon Calculus

If you’re reading this, you’re likely a big NBA fan who also enjoys digging into all sorts of statistics when you’re bored. Nylon Calculus is one of the best sites out there for cutting edge analytics, and here Seth Partnow compiled a very helpful Q&A regarding the best ways to do your own statistical research or time-killing. Now more than ever, there are a number of resources to break down different aspects of the game and it can be overwhelming not knowing where to look for a seemingly simple answer. Seth and Nylon Calculus are trying to simplify that process.

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