The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the internet
With NBA Media Day came our first look at the 2016-17 season, which of course is centered around the Golden State Warriors. While the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead and lost in the NBA Finals, they still managed to set the all-time single-season wins record last season (73), and after bringing in Kevin Durant in the offseason, all eyes are on them going after their second championship in three seasons. Several players echoed that sentiment on Monday, making it clear that they’re far less consumed with winning 74 games than they are with winning a championship this season.
Speaking of super teams (fart noise), we also got our first look at the newly constructed New York Knicks yesterday, who featured a happy and excited Carmelo Anthony. After winning a combined 47 games over the last two seasons, Anthony’s looking forward to turning the Knicks fortunes around with the additions of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, and Courtney Lee to name a few players that Phil Jackson brought to the Big Apple this summer.
While there should be optimism and the feeling of a fresh start for the vast majority of the 30 teams in the NBA on launching day for the upcoming season, there was a bit of frustration in Philadelphia, where Sixers’ big man Nerlens Noel made it clear that he’s uncomfortable with the logjam of frontcourt players on his team’s roster. Noel, who has single-handedly made the Sixers defense less of a joke over the last two seasons, is entering his fourth season with the team, and will be splitting minutes with rookies Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, and Ben Simmons, not to mention Jahlil Okafor this season. Sixers’ GM Bryan Colangelo thinks everything’s fine.
As NBA training camps open up, one of the biggest things to look out for is #MuscleWatch, which is essentially when we find out which players spent their offseason hitting the weights. One of the first players who has reportedly beefed up is New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis, who’s not only up to 250 pounds but is also now being measured at 6-foot-11 (he was 6-10 last season). Per Basketball Reference, Davis played a career-high 54-percent of his minutes at the center position last season, so you have to wonder if he bulked up in anticipation of playing even more minutes at the 5 this year.
There wasn’t a whole lot of breaking news on Monday, but one of the noteworthy stories was the retirement of Mo Williams, who after 13 seasons decided at the last minute he wasn’t going to be returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers. With Williams no longer factoring into the Cavs equation as they attempt to win back-to-back NBA Championships, the team reportedly has reached out to free agent point guards Norris Cole, Mario Chalmers, and Kirk Hinrich to fill Williams’ roster spot. Could we wind up seeing LeBron reunited with one of his former point guards? For what it’s worth, J.R. Smith is still unsigned.