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The Starting 5: The Era of Point Guards and 3s

Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY Sports

The Starting 5 features some of the best NBA content from around the Internet

1. “The Future of the NBA Point Guard is Already Here” — Josh Martin of Bleacher Report

If the 1990s was the decade of dominant big men and the 2000s was the era of hyperathletic do-it-all wings, then the 2010s is the point guards’ turn.

You probably already knew that, but Martin pens a nice piece here about how the future of the 1 position is in extremely capable hands. There are plenty of young, dynamic floor generals who can dribble, shoot, pass and score at the rim.

If you love good point-guard play, soak up this great era in NBA basketball.

2. “How to Fix Pickup Basketball Games With Analytics” — Kirk Goldsberry of Grantland

Have you ever wondered why people keep score with 1s and 2s in pickup basketball games? Yeah, me too.

Goldsberry touches on one of the greatest mysteries of the modern world, pointing out how absurd it is that long-distance shots are worth twice as much as attempts inside the arc in any non-organized basketball setting. In the NBA, teams are realizing it’s totally worth it to shoot more threes because they’re worth 1.5 times as many points as twos — and pickup ballers all across the world are making that disparity even bigger!

It’s annoying to see guys who can’t shoot fire away from three out on the playground. So let’s discourage them a little bit and start going by 2s and 3s.

3. “Deep Dives: Open Shooters” — Seth Partnow of Nylon Calculus

Speaking of long-distance shots, threes are an increasingly focal point of most NBA teams’ offenses nowadays. It’s imperative that teams have at least two (but preferably more) capable three-point shooters on the floor at all times to preserve offensive spacing.

So we need to start getting better ways to evaluate players’ shooting abilities beyond their basic percentage and volume stats.

(Shameless plug alert) I came up with my own four-pronged three-point shooting metric, but Partnow champions the importance of a factor I didn’t include: shot openness. If two players are shooting 40 percent from three, but one usually has a defender draped over him and the other usually has nobody within 10 feet, the first shooter is obviously more impressive.

4. “Stephen Curry’s Prime: How Good Can He Be?” — Carlos Murillo of Blue Man Hoop

Many who saw what Stephen Curry did this past season will label it the pinnacle of his career. Winning MVP, leading his team to 67 regular-season wins and taking home a championship will be tough to top.

However, Curry is still 27 and has improved quickly thus far, so he probably has some more more room to grow, as Murillo postulates.

Curry’s potential may not be off-the-charts like Anthony Davis‘s or LeBron James‘s, but he’ll be fun to watch as he tries to add new wrinkles to an already fantastic skill set.

5. “Nene can still help the Wizards’ offense as a power forward?” — Jake Whitacre of Bullets Forever

All NBA power forwards in 2015 need an elite skill or a decent three-point stroke, or else they’ll probably be glued to the bench. I realize that’s a sweeping statement to make, but if you look down NBA rosters, that’s becoming the trend.

Nene is one of those guys whose skill set is becoming more and more obsolete. He a solid low-post threat and a decent defender, but he doesn’t space the floor (not to mention his disappointing rebounding ability), basically nullifying the positives he does provide.

Next to Marcin Gortat, who’s a slightly better scorer around the rim and also a better basket protector on the other end, Nene’s not super helpful.

So what’s the Brazilian big man’s solution? Develop a three-point shot. He’s only made four in his career, but he’s got a nice shooting stroke, as Whitacre mentions.

If Nene can successfully develop this long-distance acumen, he helps the Wizards a bunch and probably also extends his career a year or two.

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