The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the internet
1. “What’s wrong with Kyle Lowry, and can he fix the Raptors in time?” – Ben Rohrbach of Ball Don’t Lie
Somehow, the Toronto Raptors made it past the Indiana Pacers in the first round with their two star guards playing badly, more notably the better of the two, Kyle Lowry. Yes, Toronto’s advancing probably had to do with it being a much better team than Indiana, but it doesn’t have that luxury against the Miami Heat.
Rohrbach dives into Lowry’s extreme offensive struggles thus far in the postseason here, breaking down all the ugly details. Let’s hope the Raptors All-Star point guard can pick it up in time to, at the very least, make their series with the Heat more fun to watch.
2. “NBA Trade Rumors: Teams That Could Trade for Paul George” – Maxwell Ogden of Hoops Habit
Per The Ringer’s Bill Simmons, the Los Angeles Lakers are interested in trading their top three pick with significant filler pieces to the Indiana Pacers for Paul George.
On the surface, you might think it’d be stupid for Indiana to trade its superstar wing who just had an amazing playoff series and was easily the team’s best player. But when you consider that the Pacers probably aren’t going deep in the playoffs with their current core (PG-13 doesn’t have enough offensive help) and that George’s trade value might be at an all-time high, it’s at least worth thinking about.
Ogden discusses teams, including the Lakers, who might have the assets to throw on the trade block to entice Indiana’s front office.
3. “These 5 factors make a superstar in the modern NBA” – Bethlehem Shoals of SB Nation
There has never really been a ubiquitous definition of what a superstar in the NBA is. Some people think it has to do with talent, some people think it has to do with marketability and others think it’s a combination. And even when people agree on that, there’s the issue of determining how many of the league’s players deserve to be in that top group. So it makes it all the more entertaining when people vehemently argue about this topic.
Shoals brings forth five criteria for being a superstar in today’s NBA. They’re still pretty subjective, but it at least provides some framework for the discussion.
4. “How Spurs’ LaMarcus Aldridge has put up historic numbers vs. Thunder” – Eric Prisbell of USA Today
Trying to decide who the best player of the playoffs’ second round has been so far? Look no further than the San Antonio Spurs’ LaMarcus Aldridge. He’s averaging 39.5 points per game on an 80.9 true shooting percentage in two contests versus the Oklahoma City Thunder.
He’s hitting open shots, fiercely-contested shots and everything in between. He looks supremely confident now, and that’s a great sign for the Spurs moving forward.
Of course, San Antonio now just needs to find a way to keep its offensive flow while involving Aldridge in the offense as much as he deserves to be involved.
5. “‘Commander Iguodala’ does it all for Warriors” – Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle
If there’s anyone’s stats who are adversely affected by playing for the Warriors, it’s Andre Iguodala. The versatile swingman is more of a defensive presence who contributes offense when it’s needed from him.
With Curry out, the Warriors have been so good that they probably haven’t needed Iggy to win most of their games, except maybe Game 2 against the Portland Trail Blazers. But he’s delivered anyway.
In the playoffs, he’s upped his PER from 12.2 to 18.9, his points per 36 minutes from 9.5 to 13.6 and his true shooting percentage from 56.5 to 66.5, all while maintaining his stellar defense.
Iguodala’s definitely showing the NBA world that picking Jamal Crawford for Sixth Man of the Year was a mistake.