The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the internet
1. “NBA PM: What It’s Like to Return After Injury” – Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders
Have you ever had a serious injury that kept you from athletic activities? I was fortunate enough to only have minor injuries during my athletic career, but especially for NBA players, it’s rare for someone to have a long career without going through a major injury that requires hard-core rehabilitation.
Kennedy talks to a skills trainer at a basketball academy, as well as a few current and former NBA players, about what it’s like physical and mentally to return to the court after an injury.
2. “The State of the the Blockbuster NBA Trade” – Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer
As NBA fans, we always love to hear trade buzz on superstars. The thought of one of the league’s best players going to a new environment creates a lot of intrigue, and so does the thought of the superstar’s former team trying to put together the right pieces after said superstar’s loss to get better as a team.
O’Connor discusses the current climate of the league for a blockbuster trade. While there haven’t been any monster deals recently, he thinks there could be something on the horizon in the next year.
3. “Are the Houston Rockets headed toward a terrible defensive season?” – Ian Levy of Nylon Calculus
The short answer to this question is yes. But Levy goes into much more detail, pointing out how some of the new additions fit and what sort of impact the returnees will make.
He also looks at what ailed Houston last season defensively and how it can improve. It’s not looking good for the Rockets on the point-preventing end of the floor, but maybe the offensive-minded D’Antoni has something cooked up that can make them better?
4. “The Joffrey Lauvergne trade sets up another move for Sam Presti” – Chris Manning of Hardwood Paroxysm
Lauvergne going to Oklahoma City for a couple of second-round picks has actually been one of the more exciting and surprising developments of the week, considering the utter wasteland the NBA news cycle is right now.
Manning conjectures as to why Sam Presti made the swap, and he thinks another move is coming. Indeed, Lauvergne is probably a fringe rotation big for many teams, but the Thunder already have two mainly center-ish guys in Steven Adams and Enes Kanter. The French bruiser may not fit the best with the roster as is.
OKC needs wing depth, so don’t be surprised if the squad gets some before the season or the trade deadline while getting rid of one of its many bigs.
5. “Milwaukee Bucks: Who Will Lead the Team in Assists?” – Ti Windisch of Behind the Buck Pass
I know what you’re thinking: the Bucks are planning to tab Giannis Antetokounmpo at point guard this season and he was an assist machine to close last season. Why wouldn’t he lead them in assists? Windisch settles on him as well, but acknowledges that some others have an argument.
Milwaukee has plenty of other good passers to consider here, especially if Jason Kidd ends up not going with Giannis as the full-time 1. Matthew Dellavedova could be a valuable passer around the perimeter or in the occasional pick-and-roll, Michael Carter-Williams has averaged 6.7 assists per game in a season before (2.4 more than Antetokounmpo’s career high) and Khris Middleton developed his playmaking nicely last season.