The Starting 5 | Spurs better equipped to defend Warriors

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich takes part in media day at the team's facility, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
AP Photo/Eric Gay

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

1. This year’s Spurs are better equipped to defend the Warriors – Eli Horowitz, Basketball Intelligence

For a long time, Basketball Intelligence has been doing a terrific job of compiling some of the best NBA writing. Now it’s starting to add some original content. Horowitz launches the series with a piece that challenges the convention that the Spurs defense took a step back this year. He argues that the Spurs have size — and not just down low. Their lengthy wings and guards make them a more viable threat to defend the Warriors.

2. Throwback Thursday: The history of NBA playoff reformatting – Rich Kraetsch, The Step Back 

Adam Silver is discussing a major reformatting of the NBA playoffs, even to the point of dismissing conferences entirely. It wouldn’t be the first change, and it wouldn’t even be the most radical. For instance, did you know about the time they tried the round-robin format? Kraetsch walks through the history of various changes, discussing the merits and flaws of each and how they worked out.

3. Lakers looking to improve what has been a dreadful defense – Tania Ganguli, Los Angeles Times

Corey Brewer has always been noted for his defensive mentality, and now he’s bringing that to the Los Angles Lakers. He’s also bringing his experience, coaching his younger teammates on the specifics of guarding individual opponents, such as Joe Johnson. The Lakers have been terrible defensively for the last few years, and the hope is that Brewer can help turn that around.

4. Nikola Jokic: A throwback superstar for the modern era – Phillip Barnett, YardBarker

It’s easy to think of Nikola Jokic as the perfect modern NBA center. Between his 3-point shot and passing ability, he’s ideal for running the high pick-and-roll, which is why so many are so high on the Denver Nuggets making the playoffs this year. However, Barnett also reminds us that Jokic is a bit of a throwback center as well — calling to mind guys like Bill Walton and Arvydas Sabonis. In engaging writing, Barnett analyzes why Jokic is so instrumental to the Nuggets’ future.

5. Up-tempo offense suits Elfrid Payton’s strengths – John Denton, Magic.com

The Orlando Magic aren’t generating a lot of discussion heading into the season. They haven’t been very good for several years and aren’t looking like they’re going to be that good next year. But Elfrid Payton has been thriving in the Magic’s retooled offense since the tail end of last season, averaging 13.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 8.4 assists while shooting 50.8 percent over the last 24 games of the season. Could he key the Magic to being a surprise team this year?

— Thanks as always to Basketball Intelligence, which has been an invaluable resource in this article. Follow and subscribe, and you’ll be glad you did.

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