The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the internet
1. “Who will teams be tanking for in 2017?” — Kevin O’Connor, Jonathan Tjarks, Danny Chau, The Ringer
We’re a bit over a month away from the start of the 2016-17 season, and it seems like every year there are one or two teams that give up and lose as many games as possible in order to garner a high draft pick. Which future NBA studs will entice teams to tank for them? The Ringer had three draft experts analyze three of the biggest names in the upcoming draft. The first prospect is Markelle Fultz, whose game is comparable to that of Brandon Roy’s — a big guard with a natural ability to score and sneaky athleticism. Second, we have Josh Jackson. With freakish athleticism and a 6’8″ stature, Jackson has the speed to keep up with point guards and the strength to bang with big men in the post. He’ll have to develop his game further in the pros, however. Last but not least is Harry Giles. He’s an athletic 6’11” big man with a 7’3″ wingspan, but his highlights on YouTube make him look like a shooting guard that can score in an infinite number of ways. The fact that he’s still a top-two prospect despite multiple severe injuries speaks volumes about his talent.
2. “B/R NBA 200: Ranking the best overall players heading into 2016-17” — Adam Fromal, Bleacher Report
Bleacher Report ranked 200 NBA players, from role players to superstars, based solely on how they fared last season. These rankings aren’t to predict how well they will play in the upcoming season, but to assess where they currently stand. Potential, playoff performance and reputation aren’t taken into consideration. Different criteria were used to assess each player depending on their position, including scoring, off-ball offense/facilitating, defense (on-ball, off-ball and rim protection), rebounding and durability. It’s interesting to see if Curry remains at the top after winning unanimous MVP, or if another superstar such as LeBron or Durant reclaimed that mantle.
3. “Victor Oladipo: ‘No question’ anthem protests will happen in NBA” — ESPN.com news services
Colin Kaepernick has drawn a ton of attention toward racial inequality and police brutality by choosing to sit during the national anthem. Victor Oladipo believes NBA players will join Kaepernick and protest during the anthem when the NBA season starts. While Stephen Curry has voiced his support for Kaepernick’s cause, the MVP said he will likely stand during the anthem. Curry also said that Kaepernick’s intention isn’t to disrespect veterans but to “create a conversation for more social justice.” This isn’t the first time a player sat down during the national anthem. Back in 1996, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf was suspended one game when he refused to stand during the anthem. He said the flag was a symbol of oppression and that it conflicts with his Muslim beliefs.
4. “She accused NBA star Derrick Rose of gang rape. This is her story in her own words” — Lindsay Gibbs, ThinkProgress
A woman going by the alias “Jane Doe” to protect her anonymity accused Derrick Rose of gang raping her while she was unconscious in her apartment, and she spoke with ThinkProgress on the phone about the situation. She alleges that Rose, whom she dated for two years, and two of his friends trespassed into her apartment and gang raped her. Doe is suing for $21.5 million. Rose’s lawyers, of course, believe this is an attempt to tarnish Rose’s image and extract a large sum of money from the NBA star. Doe met and got close to Rose during the lockout. She felt they had many similarities and had a “non-exclusive” relationship from 2011-2013. When the lockout ended and Rose had to go back to work, they started to Skype. Doe says that Rose pressured her into doing things she was uncomfortable with during their video chats and that she decided to stop returning his video calls. Doe then goes into some detail about the night in question.
5. “Shaquille O’Neal’s story should be better” — J.M. Poulard, BBALLBREAKDOWN
Just like his Hall of Fame speech, there are plenty of questions surrounding O’Neal’s career. The 7’1″, 325-pound behemoth is considered the most dominant force the league has ever seen, yet he isn’t the greatest player ever. During his prime, no defender was able to deal with Shaq’s combination of size, athleticism, agility and skill with the basketball. But he also isn’t the greatest scorer the NBA has ever seen, as he’s certainly not on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s level. Kobe Bryant is usually placed higher than Shaq on all-time lists, and much of that has to do with people’s respect for Bryant’s unheard of work ethic. A huge part of the reason why Bryant feuded with Shaq for many years is due to Shaq not being nearly as driven as Bryant. Shaq certainly worked hard enough to unlock his fullest potential during the 1999-00 title run, but a case could be made that Shaq didn’t work hard enough to sustain that level of brilliance. O’Neal regressed every year after his first championship and got out of shape. Given the number of superstars Shaq has played with in Kobe, Wade, LeBron, Garnett, Pierce, Allen, Steve Nash, Stoudemire, etc., it’s possible that Shaq slightly underachieved by not winning more than four championships and one MVP. For a player so uniquely dominant, his career doesn’t quite stack up with the likes of Jordan, Kareem, Magic and LeBron.