The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the Internet
Dave Deckard analyzes what went wrong for Portland, and it didn’t just happen with the implosion of the team with the LaMarcus Aldridge announcement on July 4. Dating back to two years prior, in the summer of 2013, the master plan that GM Neil Olshey conducted to bring the Blazers into contention ended up in nothing but fumes. Deckard dives into hypotheticals, like what if Aldridge replaced Kevin Love in the Minnesota deal, and the Blazers somehow got into the trade for Andrew Wiggins, Thaddeus Young and Anthony Bennett. While hypotheticals are question marks of the past, the immediate future doesn’t look too promising for the Blazers. The core of Lillard, Aldridge, Matthews, Batum and Lopez that looked so dangerous now only has one piece remaining. Buckle up for a rough season, Portland fans.
Jonathan Tjarks breaks down why the Mavericks are the perfect fit for DeAndre Jordan. An important takeaway was that DeAndre doesn’t have a game that can age gracefully like Tim Duncan. For a player like DeAndre, his biggest allure and calling card is his incredible athleticism and ability to out-jump every other center in the league. I think he realized that as well, because in situations like that, the only course of action is to make the most out of the opportunity. It’s like the old saying at casinos: when you get the perfect card, you take down the house hard. Now I may be paraphrasing, but the message is still clear: for players that may have a small window of maximum impact, you’ve got to bet all in and ring in as much money as possible. When money is no longer a concern, then you can choose the situation to play in. The Mavericks offer DeAndre a chance to be the featured center (no more sharing spotlight with Blake Griffin), while DeAndre offers the Mavericks one of the most important pieces in creating their championship contender.
Kevin Ding writes on the other side of the DeAndre/Mavericks pairing, the Los Angeles Clippers. It’s well documented how demanding Chris Paul is, and DeAndre was getting sick of Paul’s constant belittlement on and off the court. DeAndre really grew into his own after Paul got signed and would’ve never put up the numbers he did without the help of one of the best point guards of the generation. Unfortunately, the pairing simply didn’t work out, and Jordan bolted for greener pastures. The question now remains: How will Griffin handle the new workload without a true center? Blake is more of a power forward, and the Clippers will have a new problem of trying to find a center who’s capable of defending to give Griffin more energy to expend on playmaking and scoring, his two biggest assets.
Tiffany Davis from the Cauldron writes on the “hometown discount,” where veteran stars take a pay cut to help their franchise out in building a championship contending team. Think Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan. All three took significant cuts to their salary to help their team out in attracting other players to come compete for a championship, and it’s worked out for their respective teams in the past. However, Davis writes that it may be wiser to follow the route of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, those that command the most money regardless of the team’s salary, and at the end of the day, one does have to realize that it’s a business. Too many times have players been burned by their team, giving loyalty to an organization that doesn’t give it back. Again, basketball is a business, and it would be prudent to make the most out of them before they make the most out of you.
Kent Babb over at HoopsHype has an awesome piece on one of the most iconic figures in NBA history. This is only an excerpt (the full book is available here on Amazon), but still, the piece gives a look into what the book will bring. The story goes all way to the beginning, from when mother Ann Iverson met Allen Broughton, to how Allen Iverson grew up in the youth league, to meeting Rahsaan Langford, the talented freestyler, and the troubles and turmoil that came before Iverson became a household name. I cannot do anymore justice to one of the finest to ever play the game, so read more of it above or better yet, buy the book.