The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content around the internet
1. Aaron Gordon is the key to Orlando Magic’s success . . . or failure – Philip Rossman-Reich, Orlando Magic Daily
Aaron Gordon is tremendously athletic as power forwards go, so much that coach Frank Vogel tried to play him at small forward for a while last year so he could get his five best players on the court. It didn’t work out that well, and Gordon’s expected breakout season didn’t happen. Last year became another wacky chapter in Gordon’s career, with players coming and going, a new coach, and getting swapped from four to three and back to four. This year, he has some continuity, and he’s the center of the offense. Can he break out?
2. Concerns about the New Orleans Pelicans 3-point shooting look to be overblown – Oleh Kosel, The Bird Writes
The Pelicans’ 3-point shooting suffered after the DeMarcus Cousins trade last year. On the surface, it looks like they added as much shooting as the 2016-17 Chicago Bulls. On the surface, they also appear to have all the elasticity of concrete. Kosel digs a little deeper into the numbers and presents a decent case that many things aren’t quite as bad as you think. No, the Pelicans won’t be the Rockets or Warriors, but they may pose a threat behind the arc.
3. It’s not just about Nikola Jokic: Denver Nuggets need more from backcourt to make playoffs – Eric Spyropoulos, NBA Math
Let’s take a break from the regularly scheduled Nikola Jokic: stats-versus-eye test debate to consider the rest of the Denver Nuggets. Primarily, let’s think for a moment about the backcourt, which faces some big challenges. Emmanuel Mudiay is up against a make-or-break season, and Jamal Murray needs growth. Garry Harris had a breakout last year, but still has mental lapses on the defensive end. Will Barton is an underrated sixth man. Can the group jell enough to help Jokic push the team into the postseason?
4. #NBArank: Players Nos. 1-10, ESPN
I’ve been holding off on this until it was all finished. The #NBARanks are up for the summer, and the interwebs wars are being waged about who goes where and whether Carmelo Anthony is underrated and so on. Through all of that, these are 100-plus really good writers who have done a lot of really good write-ups and snippets to outline the players’ strengths and weaknesses. If you can tear yourself away from the rankings for a minute, it’s worth reading the commentary.
5. Adam Silver isn’t backing down on player-rest issue – Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN
The NBA just made a bunch of coin off a massive TV deal, so you’ll have to give that some thought before judging Adam Silver too harshly for pushing the issue of resting players on national TV games. Certainly, it’s understandable if teams want to rest players, but they can rest them on other nights. The NBA has worked on the scheduling issues which made it, at a minimum, understandable why teams would rest players. Now teams need understand the league’s issues. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out.
Thanks as always to Basketball Intelligence, which has been an invaluable resource to me in putting together this article. Follow and subscribe, and you’ll be glad you did.