The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the internet
The NBA is doing better financially than it has ever before, but the recent salary cap projections have actually declined for the next two seasons. While the league is making more money than before, the recent collective bargaining agreement (CBA) saw an increase in benefits for retired players, which accounted for the $1 million drop for the 2017-18 season. The drop for the 2018-19 season was due to the spike in projected salaries, which Albert Nahmad details.
The amount of elite point guards in the league is stunning. Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Kyle Lowry, and Kyrie Irving (among others) have a claim as the best group of point guards to ever be in the league at one time. According to some all-in-one metrics (PER, BPM, Win Shares per 48 minutes, and others), the median center position tends to rank higher than the median point guard, but the crop of top point guards tend to grade better than the top centers.
The Trail Blazers haven’t had the season they intended to after their success last year. At a 35-win pace, the team will almost certainly win fewer games than last year, and they’re currently on the outside looking in of the playoff picture in the Western Conference. Steve Dewald wrote about the Blazers that made the Most Tradable or Least Tradable list, of which there were three. Both Al-Farouq Aminu and Maurice Harkless made the most tradable list, but Evan Turner, the Blazers’ most expensive offseason acquisition, made the Least Tradable list.
The Miami Heat had a better record than only the Brooklyn Nets early in January, found out Justise Winslow would miss the rest of the season, and most of the news in Miami was focused on who the team would draft rather than what would happen the rest of this season. Fast forward less than a month and the Heat have found themselves on a 10-game winning streak, passing many of the lesser teams in the conference along the way. The schedule is relatively easy over the next few games, and the Heat look like they might make a push for the playoffs, although the benefit of that is up for debate.
Andre Roberson has been a defensive-minded player since the moment he entered the league. His three-point shot is neither aesthetically pleasing nor efficient (he’s shooting 24.5 percent on the season on 2.7 attempts per game), and he also isn’t much of a creator on offense. His defensive impact was felt by one of the better guards in the league on Sunday, though, as Damian Lillard struggled when Roberson was guarding him, and the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Trail Blazers. Roberson might never be the shooter the Thunder so desperately covet, but his ability on defense is getting better by the day.