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The Starting 5 – The Brains Behind Steve Kerr’s Lineup Change

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

1. Meet Nick U’Ren: The Warriors staffer with the idea to start Andre Iguodala – Lee Jenkins, Sports Illustrated

How cool is it that the idea of starting Iguodala over Bogut was suggested by a video guy? Jenkins details the entire process, and it only makes me respect the organization that much more. Not only did Kerr take the advice of an assistant, but also the fact that everyone in the organization is doing whatever is possible to win the series. The video guy was up late watching old footage of the Spurs-Heat final from last year, trying to see what adjustments the Spurs made in order to defeat the James-led Heat. This article goes hand in hand with the ESPN article discussing the majesty of the 2014 Spurs championship team, and I won’t ruin too much of the article, other than saying that it’s interesting and that whatever you’d call Kerr’s move to not announce the true starting lineup change (bush, savvy, anything in between), it might be the turning point of the series.

2. How Spurs’ majestic 2014 Finals performance changed the NBA – Jackie MacMullan, ESPN

This was an incredible article detailing the anguish of the Spurs losing in the 2013 Finals to the Miami Heat, and the redemption they found a year later and the process the entire team took to overcome what could’ve been a franchise crippling loss. There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes of the NBA, and having sources inside organizations to see and hear what goes on is invaluable to a basketball junkie like me. Understanding the obstacles that the Spurs had to overcome, the objectives they reached and the plan they took to figure out how to defeat the Heat made me appreciate that incredible Finals performance that much more.

3. How to Be a Big Shot – Robert Horry, The Players’ Tribune

The Players’ Tribune consistently comes out with great content, mainly due to the fact that we as casual fans get to see a direct insight into the mind o the athletes who play the game. In this piece, Robert Horry writes about how to be clutch and what it takes to be a winner, but the piece goes so much more into the stuff I like; the behind-the-scenes things you never read about in sports articles. Horry says that he and Phil Jackson had only one conversation outside of the locker room in their entire tenure together, and he discusses Kobe’s incredible work ethic and his career-defining moment slumped, drunk, in an owner’s box. “I’m a guy who is constantly seeking motivation. That’s how you get ice water in your veins.” Incredible piece.

4. A game ball’s road to the NBA Finals – Baxter Holmes, ESPN

A post that fanatics of basketball will love, this piece by ESPN follows the journey of a game ball in basketball from production to being tossed for tip-off. I knew that game balls had a tiny, special marking on it to differentiate them from others and that captains usually choose out of three balls to find the ones to their preference, but I didn’t know that entire teams took game balls in the locker room and made sure it was up to standard. Any shooter will tell you they prefer a broken-in ball, because you can really feel every pebble on the soft leather and feel like you’re in total control of your shot. Baseball is strongly regarded as the most superstitious sport, and having played all major sports when I was young, I never had traditions on the basketball court other than many hours of practice and the same pregame meal. But it’s cool to find out the little idiosyncrasies that players go through at the highest level.

5. Welcome to the Delly Dome: Matthew Dellavedova’s hometown to rename arena after him – Dan Devine, Yahoo! Sports’ Ball Don’t Lie

Matthew Dellavedova will have an arena in his hometown named after him, which I think is just ridiculous. Yes, he’s been playing well and making a name for himself, but he hasn’t done anything incredibly memorable to warrant an arena named after him. For those that made it to the NBA from a specific high school, it’s traditional to have their numbers retired, and those are for the good players in the league. Not sure where the smart money is on how long Dellavedova will last in the league, but it would’ve been more prudent to wait on naming an arena after him after a couple of good performances in the NBA Finals.

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