The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the internet
One of last year’s most fun developments was Aaron Gordon’s growing confidence playing power forward in Orlando. The oft-injured prospect finally had a chance to show off his jaw-dropping athleticism and surprising touch on both ends of the floor. Unfortunately, Orlando’s head-scratching offseason has left Gordon all but forced into the small forward position. Nicholas Sciria breaks down why that’s detrimental to both the Magic and Gordon’s development.
In a draft stacked with intriguing prospects, it’s easy to let a few slip under the radar. While Stanley Johnson’s rookie season in Detroit was somewhat quiet, it seems likely that more and more fans will have their eyes on the talented wing going forward. Jason Preston digs into what makes Johnson special both on and off the court. His versatility and confidence alone should blossom for Detroit, but if Johnson ever learns how to make threes, the league is in trouble.
This year’s basketball hall of fame inductions were an epic group, headlined by stars like Shaq, Allen Iverson, Yao Ming, and Sheryl Swoopes. Tom Ziller looks at the last three, in particular, examining how each of these unique superstars changed the way we view basketball in some way. Yao’s earth-shattering impact on the international appeal of the NBA is still being felt today. Sheryl Swoopes courageously came out nationally while at the peak of her playing ability, fearless to any hate she’d receive. Allen Iverson changed the game in a different way, becoming a cultural icon for generations of young NBA players or fans that connected with his unique way of being (and of course, his game-changing style).
The past two seasons, the Warriors scorched the NBA with their “Death Lineup”, a five-man pairing so deadly defensively and behind the arc that no one had an answer for them. Until the playoffs, of course, when Oklahoma City and Cleveland both unlocked just enough friction to derail Golden State’s plans. With Kevin Durant now in Oakland, Jonathan Tjarks takes a look at what new lineups teams can put together to try and stop the Warriors. I like Utah and Boston’s versatility the most.
On the surface, Lakers point guard D’Angelo Russell had a disappointing rookie season. He wasn’t terribly efficient shooting and struggled to find consistency in most aspects of his game. He also snitched on Nick Young (whatever, but not the right kind of headline to make) and was forced to take a backseat to the Kobe Bryant feat. Byron Scott show. Kevin O’Connor wants you to realize that beneath all the distracting layers, Russell was actually quite encouraging as a young rookie. He was far more effective playing without Bryant and figures to benefit greatly from new coach Luke Walton. Don’t count out D’Angelo.