The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the internet
Dante Exum was one of the most intriguing young players heading into last season before tearing his ACL in international play. Over 14 months later, the 21-year-old is back to full strength and excited to get back on the floor this coming season. Tony Jones talks with Exum about the entire process, from the injury itself to the rapidly approaching preseason. Exum feels better than ever and is ready to contribute to a dynamic young Utah team.
The crew at BBALLBREAKDOWN continues its trip through top 50 NBA player rankings. For the 40-36 countdown, James Holas breaks down an exciting group of players. Rudy Gobert comes in at 40 after a knee injury forced him to miss a chunk of last season. Nicolas Batum and Dwight Howard come next, both with fresh new contracts. Batum was a great fit in Charlotte last season, while Howard will have to establish himself in Atlanta’s system. Khris Middleton came in at 36 before unfortunately suffering a serious hamstring tear that will force him to miss most, if not all, of the season.
In the wake of Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem in protest, much has been made about how NBA players will convey their own feelings. Steve Kerr came out this week with some admirably strong thoughts about why he’ll support his players no matter what they decide to do. While Gregg Popovich is unlikely to give his thoughts so directly, Buck Harvey writes that his actions belie the coach’s true nature. Popovich has always sought to create an environment of learning and discussion within his team, so there is little doubt he will support his players’ right to express their feelings.
The deadline for fourth year player extensions is Halloween, and only C.J. McCollum and Giannis Antetokounmpo have agreed to new deals thus far. Vince Ellis reports that the Pistons are in talks with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope regarding a potential new agreement for the talented shooting guard. The NBA’s new financial reality has severely hamstrung the ability of teams to lock young players in on under-market extensions. With so much money available, players have less incentive to sign for less than their potential worth. Still, the security of an extension and avoiding the uncertainty of restricted free agency still hold real value for some players.
Kevin O’Connor writes about the changing nature of the point-guard position before profiling six potential 2017 lottery picks at the 1. In the past, NBA champions have typically had cheaper and less talented players at point guard in order to prioritize stars in other places. Of course, the last two Finals have featured stars Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry facing off. Regardless of which way you think the position is trending, young cost-controlled players are always hugely important. Teams picking at the top of next year’s draft may have some great options.