The Starting 5 | Dennis Smith Jr continues to dazzle

Dallas Mavericks team owner Mark Cuban, left, makes comments as he jokes with their 2017 NBA basketball first round draft selectee Dennis Smith Jr., right, during a news conference, Friday, June 23, 2017, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the internet

1. “From Summer League to Future All-Star? NBA Scouts Dish on Dennis Smith Jr.” – Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report

The Mavericks are undefeated through four Las Vegas Summer League games, and the biggest reason for that is Smith. The athletic rookie floor general has put up per-36 numbers of 26.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 3.3 steals on a 61.9 true shooting percentage.

Wasserman talks to scouts about a variety of Smith-related topics here: what they thought about him leading up to the draft, his summer league performance and how good the 19-year-old can be in the NBA.

2. “Carmelo Anthony trade talk pause a rare good move for Knicks” – Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post

The Knicks’ Melo trade talks with other squads have reportedly paused, though it seems like a swap is still inevitable. In fact, the New York Post’s Marc Berman says the team’s management wants to convince Anthony to expand his wish list.

Vaccaro argues that the decision by New York to pause the talks is a smart one. The team has a new general manager (Scott Perry) that needs to get up to speed on everything and be a key part of the talks.

3. “Ekpe Udoh is back, and better than ever” – Trevor Magnotti of The Step Back

Udoh is known for being a draft bust who never had the requisite offensive skills to justify the Warriors taking him sixth overall in the 2010 draft. He hasn’t played in the NBA since 2014-15.

However, Utah is taking a chance on the 6-foot-10 big man after his two-year stint with Fenerbahce of the Turkish Basketball Super League. Udoh recently led his squad to the 2017 EuroLeague championship, was the MVP of the Final Four and also made the All-EuroLeague first team.

Magnotti explains how Udoh shined in Europe, and how he’s more equipped for NBA success than the last time he was stateside.

4. “Nobody Loses More with the New Timeout Rule Than LeBron James” – Michael Pina of VICE Sports

NBA players have excellent stamina. But they’ll have to be even more in shape in 2017-18 to counter the league’s new rules that cut down on the amount of timeouts teams can call.

Pina makes the astute observation that this rule will hurt LeBron James the most. With seven straight Finals appearances, the league lead in minutes last year and a very big workload with the Cavs, he may have to make more sacrifices to his game throughout the regular season to ensure that he can go full-throttle during the postseason.

5. “Steals, Sleepers of NBA free agency: Gay, Patterson among the best bargain signings” – James Herbert of CBS Sports 

On the whole, teams haven’t spent as frivolously in free agency this summer as they did last summer. The cap increase for 2017-18 is much less than it was in 2016-17, and some players have made financial sacrifices to return to their team.

Herbert highlights the biggest non-superstar value signings of the offseason. Patrick Patterson going to the Thunder for three years and $16 million might have been the biggest steal.

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