The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the internet
1. BLUE Defense: Introduction and Analysis – Justin Jacobs, squared2020.com
The nice thing about the doldrums of the offseason is that it gives writers a chance to do pieces like this. It’s a very thorough look at BLUE (also called ICE) defense. When is it used? How does it work? Jacobs goes deep into the details, explaining concepts like the nail, and 2.9 seconds, includes video to show how everything works, and even discusses how other defensive schemes work in comparison.
2. Gary Washburn Sunday Basketball Notes – Gary Washburn, Boston Globe
Isaiah Thomas waxed poetic on his thoughts about the trade to Cleveland. Now Danny Ainge weighs in on his thoughts, saying, “It was definitely the toughest call I ever had to make. It’s in everybody’s best interest that I don’t share all the reasons [for the trade]. But the bottom line is obviously I felt like it was the right thing for our franchise to do. But it’s a deep and complicated process. It’s not as simple as people think it is.” Ainge touches on the human side of being a GM — a side maybe some of us don’t realize exists. With all the discussion of loyalty taking place on the interwebs, it’s a good time reflect on the personal side of trades.
3. Summer of George: OKC forward hits the weights in offseason – Brett Dawson, NewsOK
One way the NBA has changed in the last decade is how much better athletes take care of themselves. There was a time when players spent the offseason letting loose, and training camp losing the extra weight they packed on. These days, they use the offseason to get in better shape. Dawson peeks into what Paul George’s trainer, Ryan Capretta, puts him through (along with Capretta’s other client), including running up massive sand dunes. Sound like fun? Also, George is apparently packing a lot more muscle now.
4. Proposal for NBA draft lottery reform to disincentivize tanking, set even odds for worst teams – Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
Perhaps you’ve heard that the NBA is considering nerfing the lottery odds, but wondered, what sort of nerfing are they doing? Zillgit has the answer. The “lottery” portion would be expanded to four teams, and each of the three highest seeds would be afforded equal, 14 percent chances of winning. Presently, there is a greater than 60 percent chance a bottom-three team wins; that would be slashed to 42 percent with the proposed changes. Furthermore, with the lottery expanding to four teams (instead of three), the worst team could end up with the No. 5 pick.
5. Weaponizing J.J. Redick in Brett Brown’s offense – Mike O’Connor, The Athletic
This is going back a few days, but Mike O’Connor’s article from the Athletic is insightful. With all the attention Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz are getting as a potentially lethal “Big Three,” how much Redick’s signing means may have gotten overlooked. It’s not just that he’s a 3-point shooter, he’s a 3-point shot creator off the ball. That’s a skill the Sixers can really use. He has gravity, and that’s going to make things easier inside for the likes of Simmons and Embiid.