The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content around the Internet
1. “How Scouts Would View Frank Kaminsky Differently If He Was European” — Jim Weber of Lost Letterman
“He’s the next Dirk Nowitzki!”
Several mobile, shooting European big men have been cursed with this comparison ever since the German superstar started making his mark in the NBA around 15 years ago. Nikoloz Tskitishvilli, Darko Milicic, Vladimir Radmanovic, Yaroslav Korolev, Andrea Bargnani and Jan Vesely—these lottery picks have all disappointed in the NBA after being lauded for their similarities to Nowitzki.
But, let’s face it—no one will ever be quite like Dirk.
In his piece from Monday, Weber ponders a hypothetical situation regarding probable lottery pick Frank Kaminsky: would the Wisconsin standout be projected higher in mock drafts if he were European and inevitably received the Dirk comparisons?
Weber believes so, but you can make up your own mind after reading his piece.
2. “The Inherent Futility of Draft Prospect Comparisons” — Chris Manning of Hardwood Paroxysm
Speaking of draft comparisons, Manning penned a fabulous piece on the topic Tuesday.
Ultimately, his conclusion was that draft comparisons don’t really mean much. Many prospects entering the draft are just 19 years old, and their skill sets are bound to change drastically before they hit their prime.
He’s right—while it’s fair to say something like “Emmanuel Mudiay possesses a John Wall-like burst in the open floor,” is it really fair to pigeonhole Mudiay’s overall pro comparison as Wall? Players can be similar in certain areas of the game, but every individual brings a different set of abilities to the court with them.
3. “The NBA’s Inequality Problem: Defense Earns 60 Cents on the Dollar” — Mika Honkasalo of Nylon Calculus
Player A is an excellent offensive player, but a total mess on defense. Player B is just the opposite. Who would you rather have?
If you’re anything like most NBA general managers, you’d take Player A.
Honkasalo dives into ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus data from the 2014-15 season and comes to some interesting, but not surprising conclusions about the state of the league. Basically, guys who are helping their team at a certain level on offense are earning more money than guys who help their team at said level defensively.
As advanced stats continue to gain steam, look for defensive-minded players to start earning bigger bucks in free agency.
4. “Everything you need to know about Satnam Singh, the NBA Draft’s most fascinating prospect” — Rodger Sherman of SB Nation
Sim Bhullar became the first player of Indian descent to play in the NBA last season, but the first Indian-born player in the world’s top basketball league could be Satnam Singh.
Sherman looks at the 7’2″, 290-pound 19-year-old’s journey toward declaring for this year’s draft and details his game. Surprisingly enough, Singh is actually pretty skilled.
Who’s to say if anyone picks him up tonight, or if he ever plays an NBA minute, but he’s an intriguing prospect nonetheless.
5. “NBA Draft: Who is Kristaps Porzingis?” —Ben Cohen of The Wall Street Journal
You probably know Porzingis as the European big man who’s flown up draft boards in the past few weeks after some good workouts. The power forward is Latvian, and he played three professional seasons in Spain.
But, the truth is, the athletic Porzingis has a lot of America in him.
Cohen talks to the versatile big man about his transition from the Spanish league to the NBA, as well as his career aspirations. It’s an interesting look into a prospect who you probably don’t know as much about compared to many of his fellow projected lottery picks.