The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the Internet
We may not be giving the Spurs enough credit. They’re celebrated as visionaries for predicting so many of the major trends shaping the league, but perhaps the most impressive thing Gregg Popovich has done as a coach is hiring Becky Hammon, the first female full-time coaching staffer in NBA history. Now, she’s been sent to coach their Summer League team, another obvious first that lets the NBA world see first hand just how good she is. It’s a shame that merely giving a woman a well-deserved opportunity seems deserving of accolades, but in a world as male-dominated and competitive as professional sports, it’s a cool thing to do. Bonus: This Q&A with Hammon on her first year, with Jeff McDonald
For fans and media, Summer League is mostly about getting a first look at the top picks in the draft and feeling the stirring of excitement about the coming season. We tend to overlook the rest of the rosters, the players on the margins of the league fighting for another shot, or for their first shot, to be noticed. Maloney profiles one of those players, an undrafted 6’11 rebounding machine named Jarrid Famous who’s playing for the Wizards. He’s been around the world trying to make it in the league, and hasn’t given up four years after graduating. The quotes are platitudes about hard work and learning, but it’s a part of the league we don’t think about often enough.
From SB Nation’s Warriors blog comes…a story about the Lakers? It’s either a clear sign that Golden State no longer feels anything but pity for LA, or a writer making the best of his time in Vegas to go beyond his beat and write something pretty great. The piece gives you the sense of Parham, killing time until the Dubs play, being transfixed by D’Angelo Russell’s play, and feeling compelled to write about him. His point is a good one; Summer League isn’t about complete games, not really. It’s about seeing flashes, skills that’ll translate to the NBA tomorrow even if the results aren’t there today. Russell’s incredible passing might be easier to execute against a Summer League defense, but being able to see the pass in the first place transcends competition.
The Thunder probably had to keep Enes Kanter. Sure, there’s an episode of Jeopardy’s worth of questions about his defense, and his skills might be a bit redundant on that team. But Kevin Durant’s contract is up next season. Whether Kanter is the best fit for their team – and lets remember that Presti is a smart dude who knows a lot about basketball, and far more about Billy Donovan’s plans for next year than any of us – this is probably not the best time to plead broke. Also, with Roy Hibbert in 2012 and now Kanter, Portland is really making a name for themselves as the dicks that will make you pay your RFA center who can only play one side of the ball. Weirdly specific niche.
As Moore rightly points out, the battle lines have already been drawn over the Sixers and the Joel Embiid pick. No ones opinion is likely to change – you either think they’re running a logically sound rebuilding project or a capitalistic abuse of the CBA that treats players as less than human and has no interest in doing anything but optimizing profits. Moore skips that conversation and just talks about the basketball side of another year without Embiid, and the value of the players the Sixers could have had instead last year. In the end it doesn’t matter much. A kid is hurt and probably scared that his dream of playing in the NBA will never come true, and the Sixers will be bad again. The rest, as is often the case with this team, remains to be seen.