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The Starting 5: The End of NBA Free Agency

Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports

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

1. Time for Philadelphia 76ers to Flip the Switch? A Scenario – Seth Partnow, Nylon Calculus

Partnow details an interesting, and completely plausible, scenario for the 76ers. With the recent news of Joel Embiid‘s injury – which will keep him out for all of the 2015-2016 season – the team will have to wait another season before seeing him do anything productive for them. However, with Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel and the pieces that the Sacramento Kings were so confusingly willing to surrender, there’s still hope in Sam Hinkie’s plan.

2. Did the quiet Grizzlies beat the star-studded Spurs in free agency? – Tom Ziller, SB Nation

Although it’s a self-proclaimed imperfect measure, Win Shares is becoming a more widely used NBA statistic. The Spurs signed the second-best player (according to Win Shares) from a 51-win team, which would figure to boost their net improvement, but losing four players who each played more than 1000 minutes for the team hurts more than signing LaMarcus Aldridge (again, according to Win Shares). What can be measured without Win Shares is Aldridge could fill a part of the void when Duncan leaves and keep the Spurs competitive for the foreseeable future.

3. This is the year the Orlando Magic start winning – Kevin O’Connor, SB Nation

With the recent run of lottery picks for the Magic, things may finally be turning around for them, especially in the weakened Eastern Conference. The Magic should be a stronger team defensively with Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo in the backcourt and Aaron Gordon‘s versatility in the frontcourt. The Magic should have some of the same defensive capabilities as the Golden State Warriors; they can switch or trap ball-screens with any number of athletes receiving the majority of the minutes and a possible lockdown defender at every position (minus the rim protection). Fortunately for the Magic, Skiles might be the coach to help them take the next step.

4. Summer League Notebook: Emmanuel Mudiay Shines for the Nuggets – Sam Vecenie, CBS Sports

I haven’t been able to watch as much Summer League as I’d like to (something about being an adult and having to work during the day), so Vecenie’s Summer League Notebook has been a must-read for me since the Orlando Summer League started. His latest piece discusses Mudiay’s debut in the Las Vegas Summer League. Mudiay showed some of the ability that made him one of the best prospects in this year’s draft. Unfortunately, Vecenie also had to give the details on Hasheem Thabeet‘s dismissal from a Summer League game. He then had to remain in the locker room which was a section of the gym the players placed their belongings. It would be a funny story in a movie or TV show, but for this to happen to a player with an immense amount of potential is depressing.

5. Breaking Down the Enes Kanter Signing – David Ramil, Thunderous Intentions

In yesterday’s Starting 5, Holly Hutto’s piece was featured at Thunder Intentions, which discussed the need for Kanter on the Thunder. Now we have Ramil’s thoughts on how the signing will impact the team. The Thunder faced a difficult decision with Kanter having to consider the financial implications, the playing time and what happens if Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook decide to leave at the end of their contracts and they’re stuck with Kanter as the team’s highest paid player. I’ve said it many times and I’ll repeat myself here: if Kanter doesn’t play a minute all season and Durant decides to re-sign anyway, it was worth it.

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