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The Starting 5: So Long, Elton Brand

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

1. “Elton Brand was Bonafide” — Ian Levy of Hardwood Paroxysm

It’s sad, but I think Elton Brand‘s greatness in people’s minds has taken a hit just because he was willing to stick around as a role player for so many years after rupturing his Achilles tendon in 2007. If he’d merely retired then, people would see him as one of the best big men of the 2000s.

But after eight seasons of decent play and great locker-room presence, he’s become an afterthought.

Levy pays his proper respects here with a tribute to the great power forward, who just retired from the NBA.

2. “Stung by Doubters Again, DeMarcus Cousins Showing He’s Not the Same Old Boogie” — Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report

DeMarcus Cousins has long been known as a team-killing head case, and it was justified there for awhile.

However, the Sacramento Kings’ superstar big man has been slowly and steadily working to improve his reputation. Ding’s piece had a particularly interesting quote from Cousins’ on his public perception:

“People love negativity. They feed off of that. They’d much rather see that than something positive happen.”

For the Kings’ sake, let’s hope Cousins’s wish comes true and the team can remain mostly drama-free.

3. “The 15 Most Important Players of the 2015-16 NBA Season — Jose Cespedes of RantSports

Ranking players by importance was a new one for me.

Cespedes looks at 15 guys who have potential to turn the league on its ear with their performance, good or bad. For example, the No. 15 slot on his list is Danny Green. At his best, he continues to blossom into maybe the best 3-and-D player in the NBA and makes the Spurs’ starting lineup crazy good. On the other hand, if he declines or, even worse, gets injured, San Antonio will have to rely on Manu Ginobili for big minutes, which isn’t good.

Read on to find out the cases for the other 14 players.

4. “Tristan Thompson’s Big Decision” — Alex Wong of Yahoo! Sports

Welcome to today’s NBA, where somebody who projects as a team’s fifth-best player and its backup power forward turns down $80 million in search of a max contract.

The Tristan Thompson saga has been confusing to me from the start. He turned down a four-year, $52 million extension from the Cleveland Cavaliers last fall, which seemed really dumb at the time. He was betting on his own improvement, which happened, albeit maybe not as much as people think.

But now he’s not accepting the fruits of that improvement.

Wong explains the entire situation and its implications on Thompson and the Cavs.

5. “The 5 Greatest NBA Trios of All Time” — Joe Manganiello and Matt Zemek of The Crossover Chronicles

Manganiello and Zemek both give their picks for the top trios of all time.

I won’t give any concrete spoilers, but as a die-hard Spurs fan, I was much happier with one of the authors’ placement of San Antonio’s killer Duncan-Parker-Ginobili threesome than the others’ placement.

The All-Time Starting 5 has caused a craze, but the Big Three debate is just as fun. There are fewer hypotheticals involved here, as we know how the trios actually play together. But the debates still require discussion on the differences between eras, which is always interesting.

See if you agree with the picks over at Crossover Chronicles.

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