The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the internet
1. “With Kyrie Irving era now ended, Cavs grasp renewed options” – Dave McMenamin, ESPN
The Irving-Isaiah Thomas trade finally became official Wednesday, as the Celtics added a 2020 second-round pick to placate the Cavaliers’ worry over Thomas’ hip injury. As was the case originally, the Cavs look like the biggest winners both in the short and long term.
McMenamin discusses the many options Cleveland now has with some new assets in tow. The team definitely looks to be in better shape in the event of LeBron James leaving next summer.
2. “Examining how Kyrie Irving will be used in Boston” – Nick Sciria, Nylon Calculus
The Celtics did get the best player in the Celtics-Cavs swap, even though the gap between Irving and Thomas isn’t very big. Boston’s offensive system also seems like a better environment for Kyrie’s skill set than Cleveland’s was.
Sciria examines how Irving will fill Thomas’ roles for the Celtics in 2017-18, and outlines some play types and principles that will help Kyrie maximize his skill set in Boston.
3. “An NBA Statistics Treatise” – Ben Dowsett, Basketball Insiders
Dowsett starts this piece off with an important truth: though watching basketball is important to developing opinions about teams and players, stats are also vital. Unlike the eye test, statistics aren’t inherently biased toward certain players. When intelligently used in conjunction, the two player evaluation methods can be quite accurate.
He then gives an extremely helpful and detailed perspective on all of the major sites that offer NBA stats. Every site he mentions offers something unique and deserves attention from basketball fans.
4. “Flirting With the Luxury Tax: What’s Next for Blazers, Bucks, Hornets and Thunder?” – Adam Spinella, NBA Math
As Spinella acknowledges here, talking about the business aspect of the NBA is not fun, but it is important. He breaks down the situations of four average to very good teams that are close to the luxury tax line (both above and below) right now.
Spinella looks at what each of these teams can do both in the near and distant future to minimize luxury tax penalties and still keep their cores intact.
5. “Ranking the 10 NBA teams who have ‘next’ after the Golden State Warriors” – Gerald Bourguet, Hoops Habit
The Warriors aren’t always going to be head and shoulders above the rest of the league. All the top dynasties in NBA history had to end, and the Dubs’ domination will also fall victim to the league’s circle of life.
Assuming the coronation of a new top dog occurs in the next five years or so, Bourguet looks at the teams with the best chance of becoming the next dynasty. Of course, the player movement of free agency will change the league’s landscape quite a bit in the next few years, so treat this sort of as a “best young cores in the NBA right now” list.