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The Starting 5: Luol Deng Builds a Court in Sudan

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

1. Luol Deng: South Sudan court among ‘most memorable’ accomplishments – Cory Collins, Sporting News

Luol Deng is widely regarded as one of the single best human beings in the NBA, so it’s not shocking to see another headline about his humanitarian efforts. And sure, the entire article is basically a dude writing semi-poorly about a single post on Instagram, filling in the context to fill space, but honestly? Building a basketball court for the children of South Sudan is a pretty amazing thing to do. The fact that he built it to honor Manute Bol, the man who brought basketball to Deng and his family, makes it easy to see why Deng considers it one of his most memorable accomplishments.

2. Star Tribune’s Amelia Rayno adds her own story to Teague scandal – Amelia Rayno, Minneapolis Star Tribune

If, ultimately, this column is as much about the media and writing as it is about basketball itself, it would be remiss to exclude Amelia Rayno’s piece. Her account of being sexually harassed by former University of Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague is a must read for anyone interested in sports, journalism or just how to be a human being in this country. This is the other side of all the upbeat stories about how ready Becky Hammon is to be an NBA coach and a reminder of just what makes sports so inhospitable to women. Rayno tells the story clearly, bravely and with purpose. We should all pay attention.

3. Kings’ Karl on Cousins: ‘We have a lot of time to get back on the same page’ and George Karl compares Rajon Rondo to Iverson, Payton, Billups – James Herbert, CBS Sports

This is simply a masterclass in blogging and content creation, and everyone should appreciate and admire what Herbert has accomplished. Drawing from one Gary Washburn piece in The Boston Globe, Herbert managed to put together two posts, one on George Karl/Rajon Rondo and one on George Karl/DeMarcus Cousins. Aside from looking like a content description from an NBA slashfiction site, that means Herbert got twice as much content out of that piece than Washburn himself. And the best part is they’re both good! And in the process of outing himself as a Rondo optimist and a Boogie pessimist, he doesn’t mention that he’s cited the same article twice in two separate pieces! If you want to teach your interns how to blog, show them these posts.

4. Houston Rockets: Is James Harden On The Melo Path? – Will Reeve, Hoops Habit

James Harden would be the least popular superstar in the NBA if it weren’t for his teammate and fellow swag-champion Dwight Howard, so seeing a negative article about him isn’t that shocking. And to be fair, Reeve’s piece isn’t actually negative; he’s simply positing that the true essence of The Beard isn’t to be a leader, and speculating on the career that could result. But damn, how delicious would it be for all the haters if Harden ended up being “just a scorer?” How gratifying if all his flopping and lazy defense led him to individual accolades and embarrassing ESPN magazine cover stories? For a certain type of fan, the only thing better would be marching him naked through the streets, as the assembled fans of the other 29 teams chanted “Shame, Shame,” but without David Stern as commissioner, this is probably the most they can hope for.

5. #AskBBall Stats Mailbag – Seth Partnow, BBALLBREAKDOWN

Partnow is basically the Matthew Dellavedova of the basketblogosphere right now – it’s frankly staggering how much he’s hustling and how much high quality content is coming out of it. This is the second edition of his new Stats Mailbag for BBALLBREAKDOWN, and it’s as good as the last one. He’s covering everything from how to read advanced stats out of what’s easily available to the cumulative effect of technical fouls over an entire season. It’s admittedly a little dry at times, but if you’re like me and have a total inferiority complex about the entire analytics movement, these mailbags are invaluable.

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