The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops stories from around the Internet
1. 2015-2016 Memphis Grizzlies Player Previews: Mike Conley – Joe Mullinax, Grizzly Bear Blues
Mike Conley is the king of the underappreciated. From never making an All-Star Team to always being the forgotten point guard when discussing the top of his position, Conley’s name always draws a head tilt along with a declarative “Oh yeah!” But his time for recognition has come, and the Memphis Grizzlies will have to decide what he’s worth to the team in money. Conley’s contract is up at the end of the season and just in time for the salary cap explosion. He’ll be 28 at the start of the season, putting the end of his next contract in line with the end of his prime (assuming he signs a four or five-year contract), leaving the Grizzlies with a decision at the end of this year.
2. Golden State Warriors: Harrison Barnes Isn’t Asking For Too Much – Gerald Bourguet, Hoops Habit
Harrison Barnes is up for an extension on his rookie contract, and he’s already turned down a four-year, $64 million offer. Barnes is doing the right thing in maximizing his value – he won’t receive less from another team as a restricted free agent but could receive more with another strong season. The Warriors have to make the decision as to whether Barnes is worth the possible maximum offer he could receive – which would be around $22.5 million with a salary cap projection of $90 million – or if they can do better with the money that would free up from losing a young, established player.
3. BBALLBREAKDOWN’s Top 50 NBA Players: 20-16 – BBALLBREAKDOWN staff
The staff at BBALLBREAKDOWN continue their player rankings by cracking the top 20, and 39-year old Tim Duncan makes the list at #18. Duncan put up another season that, on a per-minute basis, was on par with the rest of his career. Duncan played all but five games last season and helped anchor one of the best defenses in the league. His field goal percentage was as high as it’s been in five seasons, and he averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds on 59 percent shooting in the seven-game series against the Clippers last season. Along with Duncan are Damian Lillard, Paul George, Kevin Love and Jimmy Butler in this version of the rankings.
4. Why you don’t want to be the No. 57 Draft Pick – David Murphy, Hardwood Paroxysm
The summer is long when waiting for the NBA to pick back up. Instead of finding a different hobby to enjoy the sun, some spend the time agonizing over the draft, Summer League and basketball that features few actual NBA players. What also comes from the summer is fantastic satire on the misfortune of being drafted at the end of the second round, specifically the 57th pick.
5. Shot Blocking Details: Mining 19 Years of Play-by-Play Data – Justin W, Nylon Calculus
Using a combination of different sources, we can begin to discover some of the best shot blockers in the past two decades. “Russells” (blocking the shot to a teammate), “lost grenades” (shots blocked at the end of the shot clock), shooting fouls and the distance from the rim that the block occurred are just a few of the factors considered. In addition to the history of blocks, a history of Dirk Nowitzki‘s famous one legged-fadeaways that were blocked is presented. Spoiler alert: it’s really hard to block.