The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the internet
With all eyes on the Golden State Warriors as the 2016-17 NBA season approaches, one of the biggest storylines surrounding the team has to be how will offensive juggernauts like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and the newly added Kevin Durant share the ball? Durant addressed this issue on Thursday, and told reporters that Draymond Green has told him he needs to be more aggressive to get his own shots. The 6-foot-11 silky scorer also said there are going to be some games where he shoots a lot, and some where he doesn’t, so it’ll be interesting to see what his teammates do to ensure that he’s in a position to display his scoring prowess.
It’s been a little over a week since Kevin Garnett announced his retirement after 21 seasons in the NBA, but to no one’s surprise, “The Big Ticket’s” struggling to stay away from the game he poured his soul into. Garnett made an appearance at the Los Angeles Clippers’ training camp on Thursday, working extensively with All-Star power forward Blake Griffin. Both Doc Rivers and Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue have stated they’d love to bring Garnett on board as an assistant coach.
While many expect the Clippers to be the second-best team out West this season, the Toronto Raptors are in a similar position in their conference, with aspirations to take over the Cavs and the top of the East. Despite losing Bismack Biyombo in free agency, Toronto returns the bulk of its core that took the franchise to its first ever Eastern Conference Finals, and appears poised to have another successful season. Sports Illustrated’s Rob Mahoney previews the Raptors’ upcoming season and discusses the team’s ceiling.
Speaking of teams with lofty goals for the 2016-17 season, the new-look New York Knicks “super team” is learning how to play together, but apparently they’re also learning a new offensive system. “New” is relative here, as even though first-year head coach Jeff Hornacek has been granted the freedom to run his own offense, president Phil Jackson is still imposing the triangle on his team, and it isn’t going so smoothly for some players. Point guard Derrick Rose complained about the process of learning the triangle, and even referred to Jackson as “grumpy” on Thursday, which certainly doesn’t bode well for a Knicks team looking to make the playoffs for the first time in three years.
As excited as basketball fans are to see what a rookie class featuring players like Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram and Kris Dunn is capable of doing, there’s still a magnifying class on the prolific 2015 draft class and who will take a big step forward in their second seasons. As excited as we all are for big men like Karl Anthony Towns, Kristaps Porzingis, Myles Turner and even Jahlil Okafor, Sacramento Kings big man Willie Cauley Stein had an under-the-radar rookie season and could be poised for a big role in year two. Cole Zwicker writes about unlocking his potential and showcases some of the amazing things the athletic 7-footer is capable of doing.