The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content around the Internet
1. “No hyperbole: LeBron James on brink of greatest Finals performance ever” — Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated
Sports superstars receive far too much scrutiny from fans today, and LeBron James might be the biggest victim. LeChoke. LeFlop. LeCramp—if a person uses any of these words, it’s a dead giveaway that he or she is a “hater” of the best basketball player in the world.
But those haters have absolutely no room to throw shade at James with his Finals performance so far.
LeBron has dragged a motley crew of role players to a 2-1 lead against the best team in the NBA (at least during the regular season) with video game-like statistics and excellent leadership. If Cleveland finishes the deal, James will have completed arguably the best playoff performance in league history, a position Mannix argues for in this piece.
2. “Stephen Curry, Warriors think they’ve found something to build on in fourth quarter” — Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk
If you’re a Golden State Warriors fan, keep your chin up—your team ended Game 3 on a high note and the MVP is hopeful. Helin shares quotes from Curry about his optimism heading into Game 4 regarding the Warriors’ pick-and-roll offense and includes insightful words from Andre Iguodala and head coach Steve Kerr in the piece.
Helin also brings up David Lee, a surprise contributor in Game 3. Lee has only played 81 postseason minutes, but probably should’ve seen more court time throughout the postseason. He made the Western Conference All-Star team just two years ago, has plenty of experience and is crafty inside the lane. I’d even venture to say he’s Golden State’s best offensive big man right now, with Draymond Green struggling.
Kerr says Lee will get more burn in Game 4. Good move.
3. “Matthew Dellavedova? Australia Hasn’t Heard of Him Either” — Rob Taylor of The Wall Street Journal
You’re probably tired of hearing about the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Matthew Dellavedova this postseason. The Finals X-factor (not the MVP, Skip!) has come through for Cleveland with excellent defense, tireless hustle and timely buckets despite unimpressive basketball talents.
However, it’s interesting to find out that Delly is barely known in his home country of Australia. Taylor explains Aussies’ relative apathy toward the game of basketball and also reports an interview he had with Delly’s high school hoops coach.
Although Taylor’s target audience seems to be casual NBA fans, the piece is fascinating and sheds some light on how much America cares about basketball compared to the rest of the world.
4. “Steve Kerr is defined as a person by much more than basketball” — Bill Dwyre of the Los Angeles Times
Looking at Kerr on the Warriors’ sidelines with his fresh haircut and well-tailored suit, you might peg him an All-American kid who had everything going for him growing up.
Kerr spent much of his childhood in the Middle East due to his father, Malcolm’s, expertise on Arab affairs. That upbringing would later have serious implications for Kerr and his family, which Dwyre’s well-written piece will tell you more about.
5. “Uni Watch: Nike-NBA Deal FAQ” — Paul Lukas of ESPN
If you didn’t know already, the NBA signed a deal with Nike for the sports brand to be the league’s official apparel provider starting in the 2017-18 season.
What were the reasons behind the deal? What are the implications of the deal? Lukas, ESPN’s uniform guru, answers everything you need to know. Some highlights from the article include: whether advertisements will appear on jerseys, why the contract was signed so far ahead of time and the future of sleeved jerseys in the NBA.
If any of the above topics interest you, this article is a must-read.