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The Starting 5: Warriors vs. Thunder is a Matchup Masterpiece

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

1. Warriors vs. Thunder: The Ultimate Matchup Masterpiece – Jonathan Tjarks, RealGM 

Since the Finals ended in June, we’ve all heard and read about the Warriors getting “lucky” to win the 2016 Finals. Through good health and favorable matchups, people seem to be giving a lot of excuses for a team that was dominant throughout the regular season and living in hypotheticals where the Warriors didn’t win the NBA Finals. The Cavs were a shell of a team, but it can’t take away from everything the Warriors achieved last season. In this coming season, the Warriors are favored to win the West but have much to overcome. One of those roadblocks (and the toughest in my opinion) is the Oklahoma City Thunder. Read this excellent article by Jonathan Tjarks detailing why this is a matchup made in heaven for basketball fans.

2. First-round NBA Draft picks are about to be the most underpaid players in the league – Daniel Leroux, Sporting News

The new national TV deal is beneficial to the NBA – from the players to the coaches and owners, everybody prospers. More money for everyone. The NBA is a global, money-making market, and the game is getting more popular by the year. One side effect of the new national TV deal is the inadvertent value of rookie contracts. Bound by the CBA rules, rookie contracts are one of the most valued contracts in the league. Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes were both on their rookie contracts last season, providing incredible value for the Golden State Warriors, who already had a bargain in the league MVP Stephen Curry. The rookie contract scale will remain unaffected by the new boost via the new national TV deal, making the 2016 draft picks incredibly valuable.

3. The Pacers have moved on but perhaps not up – Paul Flannery and Tom Ziller, SB Nation 

It seems almost like yesterday that the Pacers were going toe-to-toe with the Miami Heat juggernaut. At the same time, it almost seems like a lifetime ago that the Pacers were in yearly contention for the Eastern Conference crown. Paul George, Roy Hibbert, David West…all great in their own way who came together to bring Indiana into true title contention. This 2015-16 edition of the Pacers are much different than the one that almost beat the seemingly unbeatable Heat – Hibbert, West and Lance Stephenson are all gone, and George is coming back from a horrific leg injury with a completely new number. Paul Flannery and Tom Ziller take a look at what to expect from the Pacers this season.

4. Exploring Lineups and Fit – Andrew Johnson, Nylon Calculus 

Especially in the offseason/preseason, it’s captivating to imagine how certain lineups will work together. It’s almost never about putting the best five players on the court, but the five best who will complement each other and the style of the coach. Look at the Boston Celtics. Isaiah Thomas is the best scorer on the team and will finish most games. Yet he’s relegated to the bench during the starting lineups. Take a look at this article discussing the lineups and fit of the teams in the NBA.

5. NBA PM: Amir Johnson Developing Offensive Repertoire – Moke Hamilton, Basketball Insiders

The Celtics had a sneakily good offseason. Still not a true contender, the Celtics made plenty of moves that’ll help supplement their team and continue the growth into a championship contending team. Adding new rookies Terry Rozier and R.J. Hunter along with David Lee and Amir Johnson, the Celtics really only lost Gerald Wallace (who, let’s be honest, wasn’t really a loss at all) and made strides in their development. Read why and how the Johnson signing will help the Celtics contend against some of the best teams in the East.

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