The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the Internet
1. “Rockets’ Firing of Kevin McHale Brings More Questions Than Answers” – Kevin Berger of CBS Sports
I think I speak for most people when I say that the Rockets’ firing of Kevin McHale Wednesday was surprising. Yes, Houston has been playing far, far below expectations this season, but the season was just 11 games in and McHale had just led the team to the Western Conference Finals in May. I still think the Rockets probably would’ve carved out a top six seed in a difficult conference.
Berger breaks down the complicated situation that remains on the court and on the sidelines in Houston.
2. “The Delightful, Liberated, Totally Fun Anti-Relevance of the Portland Trail Blazers” – Evan Hall of VICE Sports
The Portland Trail Blazers have lost seven games in a row after a 4-2 start. But who in the NBA sphere is giving them serious grief for it? Aside from maybe Portland fans and writers, I doubt anyone is really putting this young team under the microscope to analyze what’s going wrong and why.
And that’s what makes this Blazers squad so fun. Led by Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, Portland has no expectations to live up to and can just play. Hall does an excellent job describing the team and its present situation.
3. “Explain One Play: Curry and Green’s Favorite Play” – Eric Apricot of Golden State of Mind
Stephen Curry and Draymond Green is a match made in heaven on offense. Curry is the best shooter in the history of the game, and can pull-up from 30 feet just as easily as he spots up from 25. He’s also the NBA’s best ball-handler right now and is a great decision-maker and passer.
Green, on the other hand, is a wide-bodied and skilled screener who has enough spot-up shooting ability, basketball IQ and passing ability to keep the Warriors’ offense running at full capacity.
Apricot uses video evidence to break down one of the “meat and potatoes” plays (as he calls it) in Golden State.
4. “Metta World Peace laments what he feels could have been a Hall of Fame career” – Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie
Before Kawhi Leonard in the spring, Metta World Peace (then Ron Artest) was the last non-post player to win Defensive Player of the Year. In his prime, he was basically Kawhi in Draymond Green’s body on that end of the floor. Artest was also aggressive, skilled and just a bully on offense.
Of course, a whole lot of crazy derailed his career and ruined his legacy, as Dwyer notes. But now, he’s back with the Lakers, playing well and looking to end his career on a positive note.
5. “Porzingis Owns the Garden” – Will Leitch of Sports on Earth
If Knicks fans were trying to motivate Kristaps Porzingis by booing him on draft night, it seems to be working. Otherwise, it’s still just so mind-boggling to me that a huge chunk of a fan base would boo a player before he’s played a single NBA minute. If booing is your thing, just wait until he sucks on the court to do so.
As Leitch writes, the early returns from the Porzingis pick have been amazing. At 20 years old, he’s already a definite difference-maker as a rebounder, defender and scorer from inside and out. It’s crazy to think how good he can become with experience and a little bit more muscle.