The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the Internet
The continuously erupting volcano that’s the basketball Internet’s discussion of analytics flared up again this weekend, when the Sacramento Kings fired their cap-master Dean Oliver. Unlike most such events however, this particular explosion produced at least one well-done, thoughtful piece of writing. Morton’s journey is relatable, and his conclusions are sound, if uncontroversial. It’s nice to see someone who can stick up for the feel of the game without trying to drag analytics down at the same time.
It’s still a little hard to believe just how fast the Nuggets fell apart, and how complete the disaster was. One minute they’re running and gunning to 57 wins, and the next they’re completing their second straight losing season, injury ravaged and lottery bound. It’s sort of like when Buffy the Vampire Slayer followed up a series-defining Season 3 with the Initiative, demon Frankenstein and Beer Bad. Greg Chin maps the decline, landing primarily on the front office’s intercessions as the cause. As the Nugs look for a fresh start with their fourth head coach in as many years, it’s hard to disagree.
The NBA offseason is usually devoid of drama this time of year, barring a catastrophic Paul George injury or Nick Young doing something absurd at a club. Fortunately for us all, Jack Maloney is out here asking the hard questions, tracking the disappearance of former Bucks point guard Kendall Marshall’s verification check mark on Twitter. The hypothesis as of a recent update is that Marshall briefly made his account private, but there’s strong evidence pointing towards criticism of Drake’s new song “Charged Up” as the cause. Given Drake’s connection to the Raptors, it’s hard to tell how high up this goes. Stay woke, everyone.
The pressure is absolutely on for Jordan Clarkson this year, as Herbert’s profile makes clear. Some folks on Twitter have taken to referring to him as the Lakers’ third lottery pick given the high quality of his play last year, and seeing whether he can keep it up this season is the silver lining of the inevitable glut of Lakers games on national TV. He seems to have the right mentality to pull it off, a combination of determination, self-awareness and almost mythical endurance. Not to mention the requisite late-pick chip on his shoulder.
Remember that moment of excitement, right after the Heat traded for Goran Dragic and before Chris Bosh went down for the season? We’re finally going to find out if it was worth it, and what Miami can be post-Lebron. Tim Cato argues that it can be pretty darn good if everything breaks right, with a reinforced bench, healthy starters and a full offseason for the players and coach to get to know each other. Hassan Whiteside is perhaps the most intriguing variable, as a great performance from him this year could send his salary skyrocketing, perhaps even out of Miami’s price range.