The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the Internet
Talk about an eye-catching article title. Even better? The author of the article is David Nurse, a professional shooting coach for NBA players. Shall I divulge his reasons why NBA players can’t shoot free throws? Of course not, that would defeat the purpose of linking this excellent article. I’ll give a spoiler though; it’s not due to the size of Dwight’s shoulders. Being muscular does sometimes hurt the finesse of a player, but come on, that’s such a weak excuse. Look at Russell Westbrook (mentioned in the article), one of the most explosive athletes in the league. Bundled up with fast muscle fibers and a muscular frame, he still manages to shoot a respectable 81.9 percent from the stripe. I still have no sympathy for professionals paid millions of dollars to play basketball. If you can’t play 35-40 minutes without getting fatigued or if you shoot below 70 percent from the stripe, that’s unacceptable. Get it together, get conditioned, get in the gym.
Conn follows the story of Jon Solomon, a player on the fringe of the basketball world but still looking to make his impact. This tale really hammers home just how many people there are in the world trying to make basketball their living. It’s intense to realize how many leagues there are, from the Spanish ACB league, to the Euroleague, Chinese Basketball Association and Puerto Rican League, to name a few. There are so many leagues, and even more aspiring professionals. For one thing, it really makes you appreciate the talent in the NBA, far and away the best of the best. Secondly, it helps bring focus to the countless individuals who dream and dream of making it to the pros, only to have their dreams materialize into maybe playing somewhere overseas and making around $500 a month.
Scaletta has come up with a new visual to contextualize how players score their points. It reminds me a bit of a video game “DNA” model for a player, where different parts of the chart grow based on what part of the character you decide to focus and improve on. It’s pretty cool to see the graph (split into five parts – Drive, Close, Catch&Shoot, Pull-Up and Free Throw) and how some players are one-dimensional and how others are so versatile. In the NBA, players tend to have one elite skill they’re known for (Korver on the catch and shoot, Tyreke on the drive, etc.), but it’s very cool to see how some elite players are multi-dimensional. Without giving anything away, go ahead and check out the visuals.
Smith takes a look at what the Boston Celtics will be dealing with in the upcoming season. There are a ton of question marks and a lot to be desired, but things in Boston look somewhat promising. The biggest thing I give to the Celtics is respect. It’s obvious to everyone that they needed/still need to do some serious rebuilding to become a legitimate contender. With that said, THEY DO NOT TANK. I get so fired up whenever that term is mentioned to me, or when I get reminded of the atrocious season the Sixers had last year, just to get the third pick and snag Jahlil Okafor (Perfect, actually…you guys definitely needed another big man. With Okafor’s inability to play defense, Noel’s ability to convert mid-range jumpers at a 12 percent clip and Embiid’s allergic reaction to playing on an NBA court, the trio makes for one formidable big man). Sorry about the tangent, I just find it disgraceful to be paid millions and millions and have fans come pay to see the greatest talent in the world, only to show up and have their team not try at all. Back to the point, the Celtics have added some pieces and have started the rebuilding process. While they still lack a franchise player, talent is starting to form and they have a good coach at the helm.
Hughes dives into why he thinks that Crawford’s minutes will drastically drop next season and will be used as a last resort. With the new additions of Lance, Pierce and Josh Smith, there may not be enough touches for Crawford to come in and launch heat checks off the bench. This is the best lineup the Clippers have had in a long, long time, and the leash may be very short for an inefficient chucker like Crawford.