The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the internet
Manu Ginobili likely played in his final Olympic game last Wednesday, which was an emotional moment for Spurs fans that have watched him since he was a 25-year-old in the NBA. Michael Erler of Pounding the Rock isn’t ashamed to admit he was rooting for Ginobili’s Argentina against the American squad, simply because that’s what he’s always done. But watching the farewell from Manu on the Olympic stage should help Spurs’ fans prepare for what will eventually be coming in San Antonio.
Nikola Mirotic came into the league with the Chicago Bulls with a ton of promise and potential back in 2014-15, but he had a horrendous 2015-16 that only leads to more questions. However, with Pau Gasol no longer on the roster, there is hope that some of his deficiencies on defense will be less obvious and that he could get more involved in the pick & roll or pick & fade. Being able to utilize his size in combination with his outside shooting abilities in a way that the team didn’t last season might make him one of the keys to their success in 2016-17.
Isaiah Thomas may be only 5’9″, but he still is able to get into the paint and score. In fact, he’s developed into one of the best finishers in the paint of all point guards in the NBA, which places him in the same company as Russell Westbrook and John Wall. So how does he do it? Scott Rafferty of Hardwood Paroxysm has four ways that Thomas consistently gets his shots off near the basket, despite the presence of men at least a foot taller than he is.
When Jordan Farmar was coming into the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers, Luke Walton was one of the players on the team that helped take him under his wing and show Farmar the ropes as an NBA player. That left quite the impression on the former Lakers guard, and he spoke recently about how he thinks Walton will operate as the new head coach in Los Angeles. Farmar talked about Walton’s intelligence, his love for the game, and the way that he treats people–making it sound like the Lakers’ players will have a supportive coach and not a dictator.
Pacers’ 19-year-old rookie Myles Turner remembers exactly when he felt like a real NBA player. The Pacers were locked into a close game with the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron James had the ball and saw an ability to get to the rim and score, but Turner went up to attempt the block. According to Turner, you can even see on the replay that he had closed his eyes, but he ended up stuffing LeBron at the rim. The number 11 overall pick ended up with his first career double-double that day, and it was a big boost to his confidence that has helped him recognize that he belongs on the court.