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The Starting 5: The Bucks are Coming

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

1. The Next Eastern Conference Contender? The Milwaukee Bucks – Justin Salkin, Hoops Critic

The Milwaukee Bucks are just like, so hot right now. After their unexpected success last season and big free-agency win, they’re very much the “will they or wont they” team to watch in the Eastern Conference. While all this shine feels a little johnny-come-lately to those of us who’ve been driving the Giannis bus since he tasted his smoothie, it doesn’t make the attention any less deserved. Salkin breaks down how the Bucks got themselves here by comparing their methods to the other “team-building” processes around the league, and the Bucks unsurprisingly fare quite well. He’s also got one of the most positive assessments of the Michael Carter-Williams trade I’ve seen on the internet, and some well-deserved digs at Sam Hinkie, so kudos to him.

2. The Kings are a sleeper or a disaster, or maybe both – Tom Ziller & Tom Ziller, SB Nation

Sports fans are incredibly good at convincing themselves their team is going to be better than expected. Sports writers are incredibly good at pointing to the inconsistencies in fan logic and explaining why their favorite team is going to be bad. In the blogging era, many sportswriters are fans themselves, which leads to some great internal conflict. Andrew Sharp is big on arguing with himself about the Wizards for Grantland, but Tom Ziller today does a great job showing what an actually competent writer can do with the concept. There’s plenty of in-depth attention paid to where the Sacramento’s roster does and doesn’t work, sure. But there’s also Ziller the Kings fan dropping a cold “F*** Klay Thompson.” Great read.

3. ‘Space Jam’ Scouting Report: A Very Serious Evaluation Of Every TuneSquad Player – Martin Rickman, Uproxx

Welcome to the Basketball Internet in August, folks. In a timely piece, given the release of Blake Griffin’s new commercial with Marvin the Martian and LeBron‘s deal with Warner Bros., Rickman has given us the Space Jam scouting report we didn’t even know we wanted. It’s just wonderful, walking the line between taking itself too seriously and begging for laughs with effortless balance. He may have slightly underrated Daffy Duck, sure, but you can forgive that in the name of a fan theory about Marvin’s conflicted allegiance as a ref, comparing Elmer Fudd to Gilbert Arenas, and a solid Rick and Morty reference.

4. Seth Curry is an ideal low-risk, high-reward signing by the Kings – Scott Rafferty, Upside and Motor

Speaking of scouting reports you didn’t know you wanted, have you thought about Stephen Curry’s younger brother recently? If not, don’t worry. Seth Curry has been so invisible that State Farm gave Steph a fake brother named Seth, erasing all reasonable possibility of real Seth existing in the State Farm Universe! But leaving aside that the continuity of the State Farm commercials is more complex than the timeline in Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers, Rafferty does a great job catching us up with the younger Curry, taking us through just what he’ll be able to give the Kings. While the questions about his defense, size, and passing are valid, pairing his outside shooting with Rondo’s court vision could really help Sacramento’s spacing.

5. Kobe Bryant Talks Retirement & Much More in Interview – Darius Soriano, Forum Blue & Gold

Everyone already read the Kobe interview, right? Seeing as he’s still the most popular basketball player in the world and has turned into a staggeringly good interview as he’s aged, it’s fair to assume everyone always reads the Kobe interview. Soriano read the Kobe interview, and he’s out here helping us all see into the mind of the Black Mamba a little more clearly. His insight into Bryant’s potential retirement is probably the most valuable part of the piece; Steve Nash’s struggles really drew attention to how much work goes in to playing NBA basketball at an advanced age, and Soriano clearly lays out how much that work seems to be weighing on the Lakers star. Whether Kobe is right about the team making the playoffs or not, this should definitely be an interesting season in Los Angeles.

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