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The Starting 5: The absurd, definitive guide to NBA free throws

Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond prepares to shoot a free throw during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Bobcats at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Mich., Friday, April 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

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

1. The completely absurd and definitive guide to NBA free throws – Shea Serrano, The Ringer

The NBA season is fast approaching, which means previews will be coming out over the next few weeks. In a manner only he can, Shea Serrano looks at one of the most important shots in the game, the free throw. All the stats one could want on free throws are in the piece, including some you may not want to know (like the dorkiest player to have made the clutchest clutch free throws). There’s also a significant amount of hate toward Dwight Howard, if you’re into that sort of thing.

2. Fixing the Pistons’ defense – Matthew Way, Piston Powered

The Pistons are one of the darlings currently in the NBA, as many are picking them to be a surprise finisher in the top half of the Eastern Conference playoff race. In order to finish there, though, the Pistons will need a stingier defense than they had last season, where their offense hampered their defense, at times. Playing a small-ball 4 worked with Stan Van Gundy in Orlando because Dwight Howard was arguably the league’s best defender. Andre Drummond isn’t near Dwight’s level on defense, and the Pistons don’t surround him with much defensive talent, outside of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The Pistons may rely on newly acquired Jon Leuer to help fix the defense, while still providing the spacing the offense requires.

3. NBA season preview: 5 best pure shooters – Rory Masterson, FanSided

What a player needs to do to earn the honor of a “pure shooter” might be unknown, but there is no doubt that the five players listed are among the very best. Unfortunately for the rest of the league, three of them reside on the same team, as Kevin Durant (5), Klay Thompson (3) and Stephen Curry (1) will look to shoot early and often, leaving opponents struggling when deciding what adjustments to make.

4. One team, one stat: Three years of bad defense for Lakers – John Schuhmann, NBA.com

It isn’t difficult to find a stat that will show how bad the Lakers were last season, specifically on defense. In fact, the Lakers have allowed the most points per 100 possessions (also known as defensive efficiency) in the past three seasons, with a 108.4 number (the next closest is Minnesota at 106.9). The Lakers allowed 58 percent shooting in the restricted area (highest in the league) and gave up the second-most points in the restricted area in the league, a bad combination for any Lakers fan. The Lakers will probably struggle again this season, but there is hope that new coach Luke Walton and company can help what has been a struggling defense in the recent seasons.

5. Watch: D’Angelo Russell scores 33 points in Lakers win – Darius Soriano, Forum Blue and Gold

The Lakers’ defense was certainly bad last year, but they have something to look forward to this year. D’Angelo Russell looks to be one of the best players from a loaded 2015 draft class, as he has dominated opponents since the conclusion of the 2016 season. From Summer League to the beginning of the 2016-2017 preseason, Russell looks to be in control of the game, scoring in a variety of ways and making passes that few have the ability to make. The Lakers may not win many more games than they did last season, but early signs are pointing to them being far more entertaining to watch than in the past few seasons.

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