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The Starting 5: Most Valuable Contracts

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

1. “The Most Valuable Contracts Per Team For 2015-16 Season” — Jacob Noble of HoopsCritic

The impending boom in the NBA salary cap has caused some craziness with contracts, and that makes long-term deals signed before the increase becomes public much more valuable.

Case in point: Stephen Curry will make approximately $11.4 million during the 2015-16 season, more than $2 million less than DeMarre Carroll, who signed with the Toronto Raptors this summer.

Noble goes through each team’s payroll and pinpoints the best contract for the squad. His list shows just how badly some teams use their money (*cough* Brooklyn *cough) and how wisely others spend (good job, San Antonio).

2. “It’s time for the NBA to end its arena scam” — Tom Ziller of SB Nation

The Milwaukee Bucks are all set to stay in Milwaukee for a long time. The Wisconsin State Assembly has passed a financing deal for a new arena, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will sign the deal next week. Construction will be underway soon and Bucks fans are happy.

But while this is all well and good, Ziller points out how the building of this new arena, like all other new arenas, is a scam because of the use of public dollars to fund the majority of these projects.

It’s an issue across all professional sports, but Ziller focuses on the NBA and talks about how it essentially blackmails these cities into using public funding for the stadiums. If the city doesn’t play ball, the team goes elsewhere.

Ziller argues that the NBA has the resources to fix this, but that would take money out of the owners’ pockets, so it’s unlikely to happen unless they have a change of heart or there’s a big public revolt.

3. “The Magic Beans: Big Minute, Zero Usage Performances” — Matt Femrite of Nylon Calculus

I like fun pieces.

Femrite does a bunch of research here on an interesting statistic, the “Magic Bean.” Seth Partnow, also of Nylon Calculus, coined this term after Andris Biedrins‘s amazingly low-usage season of 2012-13.

You’ll have to read the piece to find out exactly what a Magic Bean entails, but it’s fun to see exactly which players qualified for the statistic.

4. “Adapt or Die: Why Today’s NBA Bigs Must Be Like Towns or Porzingis” — Dan Favale of Bleacher Report

If you’ve been following the NBA for awhile, you’ve probably noticed the gradual drifting of big men away from the paint.

You could say Dirk Nowitzki started the trend, but now it’s become extremely widespread. As Favale mentions, post players Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Bosh and Serge Ibaka have all extended their range to the three-point line throughout their career to become more valuable to their teams.

The trend also had a profound impact on this summer’s draft.

Jahlil Okafor used excellent post moves to post a better freshman season than Karl-Anthony Towns did, but Towns showed a better outside touch (and better defensive chops, to be fair) to eventually become the No. 1 overall pick.

5. “NBA: 50 Greatest Players of the 1990s” — Phil Watson of FanSided

If you’re like me (and a huge chunk of basketball fans), you were too young to truly appreciate the NBA during the 1990s. Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls ruled the decade, but it was still an era of deep talent and great improvement in the league’s quality.

Watson delineates the most accomplished players from the 10-year period, highlighted by a somewhat surprising order in the top four.

Then again, I barely saw any NBA action during the ’90s, so what do I know?

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