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The Starting 5: What’s Next for the Greek Freak?

Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports

The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the Internet 

1. “Giannis Antetokounmpo and playing up the positional scale” — Ian Levy of Hardwood Paroxysm

It’s rare to have a player who can survive in the NBA almost solely on his physical gifts, but Giannis Antetokounmpo has done that for the past two years, especially during his rookie campaign.

That’s not to say the Greek Freak doesn’t have skills — he does, but if you put his skill set on, say, teammate Greivis Vasquez‘s body, that player wouldn’t be in the league.

Levy looks at the Greek Freak’s somewhat confusing NBA future (at least positionally) and what things need to happen before he takes the leap to stardom.

2. “Ranking All 30 NBA Point Guards” — Michael Pina of Sports on Earth

Point guard is the deepest position in the NBA, so when you rank the guys who play that position, you can’t just go with five. 10 isn’t enough, either.

You might as well go the entire 30, making sure to include every starter, as Pina did here.

He breaks up the list neatly into eight tiers, grouping players by like characteristics and then discussing them individually. It’s extremely well-researched and well-written overall, but maybe Jeff Teague was a little under-ranked? The 2014-15 All-Star is too good to be in the same tier as Deron Williams, Reggie Jackson and George Hill, and I definitely wouldn’t put him in a tier below Derrick Rose and Tony Parker, two players who’ve fallen off significantly from their primes due to injuries.

Take a look at the list yourself and see what you agree or disagree with Pina on.

3. The rise, fall and revival of Kobe Bryant: Meet the NBA All-2000s team — Tom Ziller of SB Nation

Ziller has been going through his All-Decade teams for the past few weeks, and this week it’s the 2000s’ turn.

He focuses most on the polarizing Kobe Bryant‘s career between the years of 2000 and 2009, and how it was a roller coaster ride of emotions. He had the dominant three-peat with Shaquille O’Neal, a few years in there where his Lakers were mediocre and then a return to glory at the end of the decade.

Basically, however you feel about Kobe personally, the ace scorer is undoubtedly the shooting guard on the 2000 All-Decade squad.

Enjoy Ziller’s list for the nostalgia factor it’ll definitely provide if you followed the NBA before five years ago.

4.NBA: Top 25 Players Under 25 Years Old” — Maxwell Ogden of Hoops Habit

You’ve probably read dozens of player-ranking articles this offseason already (like the one I linked to above), and maybe you’re tired of them. The break from NBA action does seem to bring out a sports writer’s obsession to rank everything.

Maybe it’s just me, but I love the excess of rankings floating around right about now. It’s fun to read when others agree with me on certain players and teams, but it’s also cool to disagree with people; the writer’s justification for his or her opinion may not change yours, but it can help educate you as a student of the game.

Ogden looks specifically at the NBA’s young talent here and eloquently highlights some prominent pieces of the league’s future

5. “Surprising On/Off Court Stats from 2014-15” — Mika Honkasalo of Nylon Calculus

Confession time: when I played high school basketball, I was sometimes happy when my team faltered after I headed to the bench. I just loved being on the court so much, and if my coach saw that my absence was a possible contributor to the squad’s poor play, he might put me back in sooner.

Hopefully, NBA players are more mature than that, but there were plenty of guys in the league last year who saw their team’s play dip significantly when they left the court. Not all of them were the big stars, either.

Honkasalo does some digging here to find some under-the-radar players who had excellent on-off splits in 2014-15. The on-off differential stat isn’t perfect, because it’s largely reliant on which other four guys are also on the court, but it can be helpful if used in context.

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