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The Starting 5: Kobe’s Last Stand?

The Starting 5 features some of the best NBA content from around the internet

1. Kobe Gets Clean Bill of Health, Setting Stage for What May Be His Final Season — Kevin Ding, Bleacher Report

Kobe Bryant has been officially cleared to return from a torn rotator cuff and will once again try to make it through a season intact. Kobe has been long-buried nearly everywhere outside of LA and is ready to prove his doubters wrong once again. Kevin Ding digs in on Kobe’s last hurrah, and how he’s been diligently preparing for the grind of another season. Whether or not Kobe can regain any semblance of his former dominance, he’ll be fascinating to watch.

2. Kobe Bryant takes on what could be the last of his many battles — Eric Freeman, Ball Don’t Lie

Eric Freeman attacks the dichotomy between the 2015-16 Lakers’ realistic potential and Kobe Bryant’s undeniable competitive edge. Kobe is clearly coming back with something to prove this season, but how can he really do that? The Lakers are wildly overmatched in a stacked Western Conference; not even peak-Kobe could guarantee them postseason success. The mental battle could be nearly as big as the physical for Kobe this season.

3. BBALLBREAKDOWN’s Top 50 NBA Players, 25-21 — James Holas, BBALLBREAKDOWN

James Holas continues BBALLBREAKDOWN’s Top 50 player rankings with breakdowns of those in the 25-21 group: Klay Thompson, Mike Conley, Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard, and Al Horford. Holas does a nice job digging into what makes each of these players one of the best at his craft. He also examines what is perhaps holding back these stars from coveted top 10 or 20 player status.

4. Deron Williams’ curious demise, and where he goes from here — Ken Berger, CBS Sports

Five years ago, Deron Williams was considered an elite point guard that could challenge Chris Paul for the title of best in the NBA–depending on who you asked. The Jazz moved him to Brooklyn–snagging Derrick Favors in the process–where Williams has never been the same player. Ken Berger goes deep on how Williams has gone from top three at his position to barely being replacement level. Can he regain the old magic in Dallas? Some believe so, but I tend to believe leg injuries have robbed Deron of the explosiveness he once had.

5. CBA Corner – Renegotiate and Extend Scenarios — Nate Duncan, Nylon Calculus

After explaining how teams could renegotiate and extend players that they currently have under contract, Nate Duncan is back at Nylon Calculus to look at some of the situations where a veteran extension makes sense. Underpaid stars (given the new cap landscape) are obvious candidates, like DeMarcus Cousins, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Duncan also highlights some less obvious examples where teams and players could benefit from negotiating early, like Tiago Splitter, Avery Bradley, and Taj Gibson.

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