The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the Internet
There were plenty of rumors the past few years of dysfunction and in-fighting with the Denver Nuggets. George Karl had a nasty exit before Brian Shaw was hired and then fired, Ty Lawson dealt with some off-the-court issues and Kenneth Faried somewhat disappointed with his on-the-court performance after a contract extension. But things seem to be moving in the right direction now. Lawson is gone, the Emmanuel Mudiay era has begun and solid veterans such as Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Will Barton and Faried round out the young roster under new head coach Mike Malone.
Recently, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak went on SiriusXM NBA radio to discuss his young, budding backcourt. That includes the second overall pick from this years draft, D’Angelo Russell, and 2014 second-round draft pick Jordan Clarkson. Kupchak sees these two as being the backcourt for the Lakers for the next decade, which is a bold statement for a tandem that’s played exactly 59 total games in an NBA uniform (all from Clarkson last season). Russell certainly looks like he could be a promising player, even a potential star. But the jury is still out on just how good Clarkson will be, and Kupchak would be wise to wait on statements like that.
The trade for David Lee and signings of Jae Crowder, Terry Rozier and R.J. Hunter haven’t become official just yet, and because of that the Celtics still technically have some cap space. Could the Celtics take advantage and make a move to get Kenneth Faried from the Nuggets? Faried makes $11.2 million next season, and the Celtics’ space is only about $5.7 million, so they’d need to send out a deal like Jared Sullinger and Evan Turner. Are the Nuggets interested in doing something like that? It doesn’t seem likely, and it seems as though Faried is just an example rather than an idea, but a case can be made that the Celtics should try to do more before they make the rest of their offseason moves official.
The Miami Heat believe that they’re contenders in a weak Eastern Conference coming into the 2015-2016 season. With Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Goran Dragic, Luol Deng and others returning, as well as Justise Winslow falling to the Heat in the draft, there’s a lot of room for optimism for a team that missed the playoffs last season. Joseph Zapata looks at who the real competition will be for the Heat in the East, and making a judgment on the likelihood of each team being able to make a legitimate run to the NBA Finals.
Carlos Murillo pens an open letter to Jim Barnett, the voice of the Golden State Warriors for 30 years. He thanks Barnett for making him a Warriors fan, through the intelligent way that he views the game and special way that he seems to connect with fans. He called the Klay Thompson 37-point quarter, and he reacted as a fan watching something magical happen for his favorite team. He’s informative, but in a way that makes you feel like he’s a friend who’s by your side watching the game with you. The #KeepJim campaign on Twitter is indicative of how Warriors fans feel about their play-by-play man, and this letter sums it all up nicely.