The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the internet
1. “The Draymond rule: NBA to focus more on hits to groin area” — Matt Moore, CBS Sports
Apparently, Draymond Green’s inability to keep his hands and feet to himself during last season’s playoffs has forced the NBA to make hits to the groin a point of emphasis for referees heading into next season. Usually, flopping and flagrant fouls are the focus heading into a new season, but Draymond has done enough damage to change that this year. Green isn’t the only Warrior to inspire change, however. The league will also focus on allowing players to move freely off the ball. Stephen Curry was routinely held and bumped while playing off the ball in the Finals against the Cavs. Lastly, after coaches took issue with the lack of traveling calls, the league will make traveling another point of emphasis for next season.
2. “Five NBA teams that should speed up, five that should slow down” — Zach Harper, CBS Sports
While run-and-gun teams are generally more visually pleasing, not every team has the personnel to push the pace. Some teams have slow, plodding big men who prefer to slow the game down, while other teams have fleet-footed athletes who can run the floor and shoot threes. Fast-paced teams can look bad defensively because of the number of points they give up, but advanced stats that adjust for pace has allowed us to gauge how well uptempo teams perform on defense. Some teams may play at a fast paced mainly because they turn the ball over too much and don’t play defense. Efficiency in transition is important for fast-paced teams. Zach Harper identified five teams who should play fast next season, and five teams that shouldn’t.
3. “Scheduled to sit: when resting is serious business” — Tom Haberstroh, ESPN
Back in the old days, NBA players would push through minor injuries and sometimes even play 48 minutes in a game. However, new science shows that isn’t smart. Medically cleared players are increasingly sitting out games for rest. According to ProSportsTransactions, the first “DNP-Rest” label came in 2006 for Steve Nash and Raja Bell. From 2005-2011, there were 124 total instances of players sitting out due to rest. However, there were 146 such cases last season alone. In 2012, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was fined $250,000 by then-commissioner David Stern for resting his starters in a nationally televised game. Nonetheless, Stern’s successor, Adam Silver, has taken a different approach, as he understands the logic behind managing minutes and resting players. With 46 NBA players participating in the Olympics in Rio this past summer, many expect the number of healthy scratches to rise even more this season.
4. “Steve Kerr defends Colin Kaepernick, expects ‘similar’ protests in the NBA” — Marissa Payne, Washington Post
Steve Kerr is all for Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful protest, as he said, “this is what our country is about.” He also believes NBA players will protest similarly during the national anthem. Kerr understands why people would be offended by the protest, but he also said he hopes Americans are “disgusted with what’s going on around the country.” Kerr references the police killing of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black father who was shot to death despite having both hands in the air. Kerr said he spoke to his players about the recent tragedies and that he plans to support them if they wish to protest. The NFL and other sports leagues don’t have rules against kneeling or sitting during the national anthem, but the NBA and WNBA do. Still, the entire Indiana Fever team knelt during the national anthem, and they could now be facing fines. They’re the first entire team in any professional sport to take a knee during the anthem.
5. “Timberwolves preparing for life without Kevin Garnett” — Jon Krawczynski, The Associated Press
It seems like there may be friction between Kevin Garnett and the Wolves’ front office. Less than a week before training camp, Minnesota is still waiting on a decision from the team’s greatest franchise player. Garnett once had aspirations of taking over the Timberwolves, but now the team might have to prepare for life without “The Big Ticket.” The two sides are likely to agree on a buyout of the final year of Garnett’s contract. Part of the reason Garnett returned to Minnesota was to eventually become an owner, but he was also signed to mentor the team’s promising young core. Flip Saunders, who had a close relationship with Garnett before he died prior to last season, was the salesman who would’ve helped Garnett put together a group to buy the Wolves. It’ll be interesting to see what the Wolves and Garnett decide to do as the season approaches.