The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the Internet
1. “Paul George at power forward: Pacers’ crazy plan can work” — Ian Levy of Sporting News
The Indiana Pacers lost both of their starting big men (David West and Roy Hibbert) this summer and are left with a core of Paul George, George Hill, Monta Ellis and whichever big man steps up.
Not surprisingly, team president Larry Bird says Indiana is looking to play more uptempo now that its two plodding veteran posts have headed West.
The plan apparently involves Paul George at power forward, a position the star wing has never played. Levy tries to visualize what this might look like on both ends of the floor and concludes that it could be a very successful move for Frank Vogel’s Pacers.
2. “The Bucks Will (Not) Regress Defensively Next Season” — Eric Nehm of Brew Hoop
The Milwaukee Bucks are one of the more difficult teams to predict this season. They concluded last year’s regular season with a sputtering 10-18 record over the final 28 games, and I assume some of that has to do with fresh point guard Michael Carter-Williams not adequately filling the shoes of Brandon Knight, who was an All-Star candidate. The team had little spacing in their starting lineup and struggled to score at many points.
One area where the team did thrive in all season was on the defensive end. The Bucks were No. 4 in defensive efficiency last season with lanky, athletic guys playing a lot of minutes at every position.
Now, they’ve acquired Greg Monroe and are getting Jabari Parker back from injury. Both are offensive-minded players who should fix part of the scoring problem, but Nehm has some reasons to believe the team might take a step back in terms of stopping its opponents.
3. “What should the Knicks do with the backcourt?” — Quentin Haynes of Daily Knicks
It’s not looking too good for the New York Knicks, even though their offseason wasn’t as terrible as it could’ve been. Plus, they’re getting star small forward Carmelo Anthony back from injury. But in a league so dependent on your guard play, you need quality little guys to score, set their teammates up and contain their counterparts on the other end.
Unfortunately, the Knicks don’t have many options that do any of those
Haynes explores some ways to get the most out of an underwhelming group, highlighted by a couple of past-their-prime guys (Jose Calderon and Arron Afflalo) and a bunch of unproven youngsters (Langston Galloway, Jerian Grant, Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Cleanthony Early).
4. “Toronto Raptors have huge expectations for DeMarre Carroll this season” — Kevin Nimmock of Raptors Rapture
Opinions on DeMarre Carroll’s four-year, $60 million contract with the Raptors will vary. The fact is, however, he was the Atlanta Hawks’ No. 5 offensive option and will be depended on to play a bigger role for Toronto.
He’ll probably settle in as the No. 4 guy offensively (after Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas), but his defensive responsibilities will increase. He was very good, but not quite elite, on that end last year and will have to pick up the slack for a team that was 25th in defensive rating during the 2014-15 season.
Nimmock doesn’t have all the answers on how this will go for Carroll and Toronto (none of us do, honestly), but he explains the veteran small forward’s skill set and what will be expected of him with the Raptors.
5. “Not the same Mo Williams you remember” — William Bohl of Fear the Sword
32-year-old Mo Williams is back with the Cleveland Cavaliers, this time in a smaller role than what he had with the squad from 2008 to 2011.
However, with Kyrie Irving’s injury status for the beginning portion of the season uncertain, Williams may be pushed into starting point guard duties for a stretch.
The veteran spark plug is still effective in stretches (he scored 52 points in a game last season, for goodness’ sake!), but he’s not the player he was during his last go-round in Cleveland.
Read the rest of the piece to figure out why that might not be the worst thing for the Cavs.