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The Starting 5: The Nuggets in Flux

USA TODAY Sports

1. “Optimism returns for Denver Nuggets fans” — Andrew Feinstein of Denver Stiffs

The fall of Ty Lawson has been sad to watch. The 27-year-old point guard was once one of the most promising young talents in the game, but has now seen his value bottom out after his second DUI of the year. The Nuggets are looking to trade Lawson for whatever they can get, which is unfortunate given his talent level.

But Denver has to feel good about its future in the hands of rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay. His Summer League stats haven’t been anything special, but he’s looked confident and showed some advanced skills so far. He’s also said he’s where he’s “supposed to be” in the Mile High City, definitely more than you could say about Lawson.

The Nuggets have some other solid young talent, too, but with Mudiay leading the charge, they have a bright future.

2. “Can’t Knock the Hustle, But Can We Measure It?” — Seth Partnow of Nylon Calculus

The NBA’s newest statistical revelation is hustle stats, which is being tracked at the Las Vegas Summer League by two representatives per game.

Partnow is an analytics junkie, so it’s always interesting to hear his opinion on certain metrics. He seems to be generally high on these ones, which charts data on five “defensive little things,” as he put it.

As the statistics continue to develop, it’ll be interesting to see which players’ hustle stats support their reputations, and how much hustle correlates to winning basketball

3. “Why Nets think Bargnani could be their next Andray Blatche” — Tim Bontemps of the New York Post

Andrea Bargnani has been the league’s biggest punchline for the past couple of days (or years) following his veteran’s minimum signing with the Brooklyn Nets. He’s a putrid defender and a complete bust as the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2006, and people around the Internet haven’t let me forget it.

However, if you ask me, it’s a little much.

Bargnani isn’t going to sniff any All-Star games in his career, but he wasn’t absolutely terrible last year. We won’t talk about his defense, but he averaged 19.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per 36 minutes with a .454/.366/.813 shooting slash line. And that was with the dumpster-fire New York Knicks.

Bontemps thinks Bargnani’s move to Brooklyn could work out, and I would tend to agree.

4. “Utah Jazz: Crashing the 2016 NBA Playoff Party” — Jay Rosales of Sir Charles in Charge

The Utah Jazz are everyone’s favorite Western Conference sleeper for next season, and Rosales gives us a nice in-depth look at why that is.

Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors is my favorite young post duo in the league. Not many people are going to score on those two with all that length and athleticism. Gordon Hayward, Dante Exum, Alec Burks, Trey Burke, Trey Lyles and Rodney Hood are all under 25 and aren’t too shabby, either.

If they were in the Eastern Conference, the Jazz would be a virtual playoff lock. But as it is, they’ll be competing for one of the last spots out West.

5. “Deron Williams signing helps Mavs cope with current circumstances” — Rob Mahoney of Sports Illustrated

Mark Cuban is easy to root against, but for everybody else involved in the Dallas Mavericks organization, I feel sorry about what happened with DeAndre Jordan.

With the athletic center not coming to Dallas, the Mavericks’ whole offseason was thrown out of whack, and they had to improvise creating the rest of their roster. Point guard and center were the two big needs.

All in all, getting former All-Star floor general Deron Williams was a solid get for the Mavs. He’ll keep the team decently competitive in the West (although they’re still a fringe playoff team) and help maintain support from a Dallas fan base that’s used to seeing a good product on the court.

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