The Starting 5: A look at some of the best NBA content around the internet
1. The Houston Rockets are downright terrifying – Dan Devine, Yahoo Sports
If you haven’t noticed, the Houston Rockets are just destroying everyone in their path. They have a top-five offense and a top-five defense. The only other team who can make that claim is Golden State. The Rockets have the best average margin of victory in the league and the second-best record (tied with Boston for the fewest losses). Since Chris Paul returned, they’ve only gotten better. They have so many ways to hurt teams, and they’re not even firing on all cylinders yet.
2. How much has Cleveland Cavaliers’ defense truly improved during winning streak? – Chris Fedor, Clevleand.com
On the surface, the Cleveland Cavaliers appear to have solved their defensive woes. But there are a couple of caveats to that. They’ve played a lot of teams where there was only one legitimate threat and LeBron James could singlehandedly stop them. They’ve been blitzing a lot, which is inherently dangerous against teams with more balanced attacks. And they have just played a relatively soft schedule overall. How much of the improvement is real (some is) and how much is fool’s gold?
3. Donovan Mitchell is a star in the making – Duncan Smith, BBallBreakdown.com
Donovan Mitchell was the 13th pick of the NBA draft. He’s been arguably the league’s third-best rookie this season, though, averaging 16.8 points per game, including a 41-point outburst in his last outing against the New Orleans Pelicans. That individual success is leading to team success as well. Smith takes a look at both the film and the numbers to show that this isn’t just an anomaly. The kid is for real and a star-in-the-making.
4. Bam Adebayo shines on defense vs. Dwight Howard, and Howard had something to say to Adebayo after the game – Anthony Chiang, Palm Beach Post
Ben Adebayo has been compared to Dwight Howard in the past, both because of his style of play and his personal appearance. Even Howard made the comparison! “He thinks I’m like his little brother,” Adebayo said. “I guess people think we look alike, I don’t see it. But we got the utmost respect for each other, so you know it’s competitors competing.” This is a charming little profile about a kid getting to play against one of his idols and doing well.
5. Spurs Playbook: The power of the drive and kick – Mark Travis, Pounding the Rock
The drive-and-kick offense is one of the cornerstones of the NBA these days, and no one does it better than the Spurs, who incorporate all five players and multiple actions to get open shots. Their side-to-side passing and overall versatility are one of the reasons they are routinely one of the best passing teams in the league. Travis concisely points out just what makes the Spurs’ offense so effective.
— 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.