The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the internet
Shaquille O’Neal will probably be most remembered, in relation to his time in Orlando, for the way that he left the Magic after the 1995-96 season. There are a lot of issues at play here, and depending on which side you speak to there’s several different individuals at fault. But Zach Oliver of Orlando Pinstriped Post looks back at the importance of Shaq’s time with the Magic, helping take the team to their first NBA Finals and putting the city on the map as far as great basketball towns go.
When you have so many candidates for ‘Most Overrated Player’ on the roster, it can be hard to find the most underrated player. But CBS Sports came out with newly acquired backup point guard Jerian Grant as the Bulls’ most underrated player, with plenty of potential to turn into a quality role player, and not having had a lot of time on the court to prove it, yet. Among the things we could blame his sub-par rookie season with the New York Knicks on? The team running the triangle offense, which is notoriously unkind to point guards.
While Carmelo Anthony flies to Puerto Rico for his annual “A Very Melo Weekend”, a bunch of other Knicks players spent their time working out with Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook–including rising star Kristaps Porzingis. The Knicks were once believed to have had intentions of going after Westbrook in free agency, and the acquisition of Derrick Rose–and his big, expiring contract–was a strong indication of that plan. Westbrook re-signed in OKC, but with a player option that allows him to become a free agent after the 2017-18 season, there’s still reason for Knicks fans to hope.
Mason Plumlee had a rough season, both on the court and in the eyes of fans, in 2015-16. Dan Marang of Blazer’s Edge wants to be the first to come out with an apology for the young big man, with the realization that so many of the team’s failings on the defensive side were less on Plumlee than they were on the team’s wing players. Allen Crabbe, Al-Farouq Aminu, and others were at least as culpable for the team shortcomings on the defensive end, if not more, than Plumlee. Marang lays it all out in this open apology note to Plumlee.
Doc Rivers, now the coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, still keeps in close contact with many of his former players. One of those players, Kevin Garnett, played under Rivers with the Boston Celtics–winning a championship in 2008. Rivers spoke out recently and mentioned Garnett, and although he stopped short of stating whether he thinks Garnett will play this upcoming season, he said that Garnett seemed to enjoy the mentoring aspect of his time last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, which allowed him to give something back to the organization that drafted him. Garnett is reportedly still considering a return for one more season in Minnesota.