The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the internet
As much as NBA Twitter likes to lambaste coaching decisions every night during the season, and despite the rampant turnover on NBA sidelines, I think the league is actually in pretty good shape with smart, competent head coaches around the league. Honkasalo’s bottom third ranked coaches are mostly new and unproven guys like David Fizdale (28) and Kenny Atkinson (22), with some more standard “retread” veterans like Alvin Gentry (25) and Scott Brooks (23) sprinkled in. Of the names at the bottom of the list, I think Nate McMillan (27) has the best shot at rising as the season unfolds, considering his moderate past success and above-average roster in Indiana.
The National Basketball Players Assocation is gearing up for a renegotiating of the league’s CBA (and hopefully avoiding a lockout), but they’re also doing work on another front: the health of retired players. Buha covers a screening event paid for by the NBPA as a service to those retirees. The NBA doesn’t have the horror stories of post-career ailments that the NFL does, but early deaths from former pros still have men like Michael Cage (former player and current Thunder broadcaster) on notice and thankful that his health isn’t an afterthought for today’s players.
Ben Simmons’ injury is a bummer for the Sixers, but it isn’t quite the harbinger of an uncompetitive, boring season like the injuries to Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid (twice) were before him. We’re further along in the process, so those two bigs, Jahlil Okafor and Dario Saric are on the roster — Philadelphia won’t be good, but Simmons’ absence doesn’t erase all the interesting developments on the team. O’Connor speculates on how the roles and potential trade fates of Saric and the other bigs could shape up while Simmons is out.
The Mavericks became the Warriors-lite (or Warriors sloppy seconds) by picking up Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut in the scramble to make room for Kevin Durant. Bogut wasn’t always effective when the stakes were highest for Golden State, but he was an integral part of their daily success for the last few seasons. Aside from the injury concerns that are well documented with the Australian, Const looks at the best- and worst-case scenarios for Bogut’s fit in Dallas. He could be the best complement to Dirk Nowitzki since Tyson Chandler in the 2011 Finals, and he may even pick up some of the scoring burden in his new surroundings. Or he could be exposed as a fading, limited player who needs supreme perimeter talent (that Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson provided) around him to be useful.
Speaking of Indiana, one of the league’s better two-way guards, C.J. Miles, reveals to Taylor some of his offseason motivation and focus. Most offseason stories boil down to bad shooters fixing their form, or post players visiting Hakeem, or the standard “best shape of his life” fitness check-in. Miles explains a more detailed summer regiment he designed around an opponent’s scouting report of his limitations.