The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the Internet
People have discussed for a few months, without any confirmation from any source, whether or not this is going to be Kobe Bryant‘s final season. This upcoming year will be the 37-year-old Bryant’s 20th in the league, and it’ll also be the final year of his current contract (in which he’ll be the highest-paid player in the league at $25 million). Jim Buss was asked about the topic, however, and his answers lend credence to the idea that the Lakers are preparing to move forward without Bryant after the season.
ESPN recently released their predictions for team wins in the Eastern Conference. Not surprisingly, the Wizards landed at 46-36 — the exact same record as last year — and fifth place in the East behind Cleveland, Chicago, Atlanta and Miami. The Wizards didn’t make any big offseason moves, as most believe they’re biding their time until Kevin Durant can hit the free-agent market next season. Barring a massive breakout by Bradley Beal and Otto Porter, the Wizards will probably continue to be a “close to 50-win” type of team this upcoming season.
Canada has never been a hotbed of basketball talent. Guys like Steve Nash, Jamaal Magloire and more recently Andrew Wiggins have come to the NBA from Canada, but that’s a pretty small list considering the proximity to the worldwide basketball powerhouse that is the United States. But Vince Carter‘s early 2000s Raptors took the city of Toronto by storm, with the fans falling in love with basketball and Carter’s athletic dunks. Now, the Raptors have signed Canadian point guard Cory Joseph to a four-year, $30 million deal, which is a big deal. Joseph grew up rooting for the Raptors, and now he gets to play for not only his hometown team, but the only team in his home country.
Jarrett Jack has been a journeyman point guard in his nine-year career. He’s had stops where he’s been a starter and others where he’s backed up guys like Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving. This season in Brooklyn, he’ll be the starting point guard again. And while many are skeptical of the Nets’ roster in general, forward Thaddeus Young believes in Jack. He’s not Deron Williams, but Jack is a smart point guard who won’t turn the ball over a ton. At this point, that’s probably the best the Nets can hope for with this team.
The Knicks were awful last season and, despite some offseason movement, they look pretty bad again this year. ESPN’s rankings put the Knicks as a 25-win team, and to most that seems fairly reasonable. Keith Schlosser, however, wants to make an argument that the Knicks could be better than what people may think. The Knicks’ roster has lost a lot of the dead weight from the terrible, 17-win roster of last season and brought in veteran (but unspectacular) players such as Robin Lopez and Arron Afflalo. Can the Knicks exceed expectations and win enough games to make a push for the eighth seed in the East?