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The Starting 5: Analyzing the Trail Blazers’ Plan

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

1. The Trail Blazers are bottoming out without tanking – Jesus Gomez, SB Nation

Gomez writes on the immediate future of the Blazers. With a franchise player in LaMarcus Aldridge leaving for greener pastures to go along with the exodus of three other starters, Portland is going to struggle next year. But while some teams may resign themselves to tanking and going for a shot at the lottery, the Blazers took a different approach by signing a ton of young talent and seeing if any of them can develop to become worthy starters in the NBA. A lot of credit is given to the Blazers organization, as they’re clearly trying to improve their fortunes without purposefully losing games.

2. In Accepting His Fate, Melo Shows Jackson’s Lessons May Be Rubbing Off On Him – Kevin Ding, Bleacher Report

Ding comments on the effect that Phil Jackson has had on the New York superstar. Jackson, well known for his “Zen Master” moniker, is famous for employing a zen-like state to his two most famous disciples, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. Catching up with Carmelo Anthony during the USA minicamp has brought to light Anthony’s new mindset of changing what he can change, and living in the moment.

3. Offseason Review: Brooklyn Nets – Keith Smith, RealGM

Smith writes on the moves that the Brooklyn Nets have made this offseason. It’s incredible how fast things change and how far things can stray from an expected course. It was only two seasons ago that the Brooklyn Nets seemed like they’d formed a new superpower; remember the core of Deron Williams, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Joe Johnson? The only remaining player is Johnson, who must step his game up to another level to make the Nets competitive in the East. Read more on what the Nets future is looking like.

4. Potential vs. Production: NBA Teams Face Big Challenge In Making The Call – Grant Hughes, Bleacher Report

Hughes writes on what it’s like signing and keeping a rookie for a team. Most rookies need a couple of seasons for the team to know what they can realistically expect from them, which gives them the problem of extending the contract of said player, or letting that player walk and fearing that decision will haunt them when said player brings back more production than expected. Read more on the players who are facing contract years and what the teams can realistically expect.

5. Willie Cauley-Stein’s true potential unlocking every day, and it’s scary – James Herbert, CBS Sports

Herbert has a great story on Sacramento Kings rookie big man Willie Cauley-Stein that hooks you in by talking about his posterization of a poor Cincinnati player in the NCAA Tournament, and then talks about his Kentucky career and transition to the NBA. A good chunk of the story is told through the eyes of Tod Lanter, a walk-on who was Cauley-Stein’s roommate on the road, and the kicker at the end is great. Well worth the long read.

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