The Starting 5: A look at some of the best content from around the internet
1. “Who’s the NBA’s MVP? If you consider salary, the answer will surprise you” — Chris Isidore, CNN Money
Stephen Curry will undoubtedly win MVP this season. However, according to CNN Money’s Player ROI — a new tool developed to analyze a player’s salary against “game score,” Hassan Whiteside had the most valuable contract. Curry had a total game score of 1,942, and he’s paid less than half of the league’s top-paid players. Nonetheless, Whiteside’s 1,072 game score, combined with his modest salary, made him the league’s best in terms of Player ROI. This metric clearly has its flaws, as Jordan Clarkson, Langston Galloway and Ish Smith are three of the top four. Whiteside has maintained his lead in Player ROI so far in this year’s playoffs.
2. “Will the NBA space out the Golden State-Portland series to make sure Stephen Curry returns?” — Jason McIntyre, The Big Lead
The former (and future) MVP will be sidelined for about two weeks with a sprained knee. Portland is likely to defeat the Clippers on Friday night with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin both out for the rest of the playoffs, and Golden State eliminated Houston on Wednesday night. That means that Golden State would face Portland on Sunday, which is just one week after Curry’s injury. Game 4 of the Thunder/Spurs series is scheduled on Sunday, May 8, meaning Golden State will likely play Game 4 the following day, or the day Curry will be reevaluated. If that’s the case, the earliest Curry would be able to return is in Game 5. McIntyre suggests the NBA can schedule Game 2 for Tuesday and postpone Game 3 until Saturday to buy Curry time.
3. “3 Questions we can’t believe we’re asking from NBA playoffs’ 1st round” — Grant Hughes, Bleacher Report
After an underwhelming first round of the playoffs, Hughes poses 3 questions that may lead to hot-takey answers. First, is James Harden a bigger problem than Dwight Howard in Houston? Howard is likely leaving Houston unceremoniously, which isn’t dissimilar to his exits from Los Angeles and Orlando. However, Harden is the supposed leader of the team who holds the ball majority of the time and doesn’t play defense. The reasonable answer is that both players share responsibility for their abysmal season. Second, is Cleveland a new title favorite? Cleveland swept the Detroit Pistons and look dangerous heading into the second round. With Curry’s injury leaving Golden State vulnerable, and Chris Paul and Blake Griffin’s season-ending injuries, Cleveland’s title hopes just went up. Third, are the Warriors better without Curry? I’ll make this short: no.
4. “Hawks believe they’re better prepared defensively for LeBron James” — Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN
Atlanta couldn’t handle LeBron James, who averaged 30.3 points, 11 rebounds and 9.3 assists, in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals. Atlanta believes it’s a better defensive unit this season than the injury-riddled version it was last year against the Cavs. They play great team defense and had another year to learn the defensive scheme. The Hawks certainly have extra motivation headed into this series to stop LeBron and the Cavs, seeing as they got swept by them in last year’s playoffs. After all, the pressure is on LeBron to make it back to the Finals.
5. “BDL’s 2015-16 season NBA playoff previews: Spurs vs. Thunder” — Dan Devine, Yahoo! Sports
The Spurs have the league’s best defense by a wide margin, and their offense is humming with LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard as the focal points. San Antonio coasted against a depleted Memphis team, yet they still swept the Grizzlies with an average margin of victory of 22 points. For OKC, it all starts with the two superstars, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. The rest of the roster is inconsistent and the team has had major problems closing out close games all season. The Thunder have proved capable of overwhelming the older Spurs with superior talent and athleticism, but the Spurs’ discipline on defense and precise ball movement and cuts are likely to catapult them over the Thunder.