The Staring 5 brings you some of the best hoops content from around the internet
The only real news that comes from preseason action are injuries that will affect how teams look when the real games start. Unfortunately, for the Washington Wizards, they’re the latest team to lose a key player. Ian Mahinmi, the prize addition of the Wizards offseason, will miss four-to-six weeks after partially tearing his meniscus in his left knee. The Wizards have one of the best backup centers in the league with last year’s starter Marcin Gortat, but the absence of Mahinmi is a huge blow to begin the season. For a team that seems snakebitten when it comes to injury luck, the injury seems to sting a bit worse.
The wait is finally over. On Friday, the reigning champion Cleveland Cavaliers officially re-signed starting shooting guard J.R. Smith. Smith’s deal will push the Cavaliers to a league-record payroll of $125 million. The Cavaliers released veteran Toney Douglas just weeks after signing him. One of the more exciting tidbits from Stein’s reporting is that the Philadelphia 76ers made a push to sign Smith, forcing the Cavs to make Smith an offer. We can all finally let exhale now that we can put to rest the fear that the season would start without J.R.
While the NBA season is less than two weeks away, the WNBA season is reaching its conclusion. The Los Angeles Sparks lead the Minnesota Lynx 2-1 in the WNBA Finals, in large part due to the play of Candace Parker, who went for 24 points and 9 rebounds in a Game 3 win. For Parker, a title would validate the opinions of those who thought she was wronged when she was left off of the USA Basketball roster for the 2016 Rio Olympics. On Sunday, Parker gets a chance to clinch her first WNBA Championship at 8:30 p.m ET, which will be aired on ESPN.
I may have said that the only real news that comes in preseason are injury news, but that doesn’t mean the preseason is useless. For some teams, rotations aren’t set, new players are given a chance to mesh with their new teammates, or roles aren’t completely set in stone. Luckily, Adam Fromal of Bleacher Report takes a look at each and every team’s most important question that can be answered during preseason action.
The Charlotte Hornets surprised many last season by winning 48 games a season after winning just 33. Many key members, including Al Jefferson, Jeremy Lin, and Courtney Lee are gone and Nicolas Batum and Marvin Williams were rewarded with fat contracts after a great contract year performance. In an Eastern Conference that’s wide open outside of the Cavaliers, the Hornets could go anywhere in the standings. The Hornets haven’t been particularly exciting under head coach Steve Clifford, but the results have been solid. With Clifford and Kemba Walker on their side, the Hornets’ have a low floor, but the question must be asked as to what their ceiling is.