The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the Internet
1. The Stifle Tower: Rudy Gobert’s Ascension Unlike Any We’ve Ever Seen Before” — Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report
Rudy Gobert‘s one-season (more like half-season) rise from long-limbed benchwarmer to arguably the NBA’s best interior defender was awesome to watch. He’ll have a hard act to follow during the 2015-16 season, but I don’t think he’ll have any trouble doing so.
Hughes recaps Gobert’s spectacular 2014-15 campaign and speculates some on the 7’2″ Frenchman’s future in the league.
2. “The Chicago Sky’s Hidden Defense – Rebounding” — Howard Megdal of Nylon Calculus
I don’t claim to be a WNBA expert, and I probably don’t follow the league as closely as it deserves to be followed by a die-hard basketball fan, but this piece by Megdal was excellent.
He touches on rebounding as an important aspect of defense, an aspect that usually goes under the radar. For example, if you were to look at a post player’s defensive ability, you might check his (or her) blocks, opponent’s field goal percentage and defensive rating. But what about his or her defensive rebound rate? That tells you a lot about a player’s ability to end opponents’ possessions.
The Chicago Sky have kept a mediocre defense in check with excellent rebounding, led by MVP favorite Elena Delle Donne, Jessica Breland and Erika de Souza. Look for NBA and WNBA fans and writers to become increasingly aware of the importance of defensive rebounding.
3. “An early extension makes no sense for Bradley Beal or the Wizards” — Jake Whitacre of Bullets Forever
Does Bradley Beal deserve a max contract next summer? Maybe, but there’s no reason for the Wizards to give it to him now, except maybe to make the 22-year-old shooting guard a little bit happier with the organization.
Whitacre brings up some important points about why Washington would be best served to wait until next summer when Beal hits restricted free agency. You can read more of the reasoning in the article, but the situation is quite similar to what the San Antonio Spurs faced with Kawhi Leonard a year ago.
4. “Random NBA Player: John “Hot Rod” Williams” — Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie
For those of us who are younger NBA fans, it’s always fun to learn about players we never (or barely) got the chance to watch during their careers.
Dwyer is doing all of us a favor by highlighting one random player from the past 20 or 30 years (hence the title of the series) every Wednesday. He’s now on No. 4.
Hot Rod Williams has a fascinating story, one that involves him being the second-highest paid player of all the major sports in America at one point. So you should definitely check this piece out.
5. “Roundtable: What rule change would you like to see adopted by the NBA?” — The NBA staff of Sports Illustrated
The NBA is a great league, but it’s not perfect. Several things can still be done to make it a more profitable and better operation overall.
Sports Illustrated asked six of its NBA experts about which rule they most want to see changed, and it got six different answers. Every expert had solid reasoning behind his answer, but I only agreed with four of the rule changes (Chris Ballard’s, Phil Taylor’s, Michael Rosenberg’s and Ben Golliver’s).
What are your opinions on their answers? Click the above link to find out.