Hoops Links Vol. 2: The Next MJ, McGee’s Reign, More

It’s here. The second installment of our revamped Hoops Links feature. If you missed last week’s debut, you can check it out now. This week, we have an entirely new batch of the best posts and pieces published from all around the blogosphere.

Before you read on, remember that we’re looking for original NBA content from all around the internet. The next time you read an article that you think could make the cut, send it to Austin Kent on Twitter (@AustinKent) or at HoopsRumorsTips@Sports.ws.

Michael Jordan verticalThe NBA has evolved so much over the course of the past 10 years that gone are the days where any 6’6″ swingman capable of flushing a highlight reel dunk was touted as the “Next Michael Jordan.” Howard Beck of Bleacher Report takes a good long look at how Jordan’s legacy has changed over the course of the past two decades.
Rating: 8 out of 10 Harold Miner Posters
Author: Howard Beck – @HowardBeck
Link: The Next Michael Jordan

If the Grizzlies weren’t already the most affable and relatable team capable of contending in the Western Conference, they are after ESPN cameras captured Mike Conley and Marc Gasol hugging following their Game 4 win. This week, Ross Jarrar of Grizzly Bear Blues wrote about how and why the gesture has resonated so much.
Rating: 8 out of 10 Public Bromances
Author: Ross Jarrar – @ASAPRockyTop
Link: Mike Conley and Marc Gasol hug

There’s no denying that the best Shaquille O’Neal rap album analysis is unsolicited Shaquille O’Neal rap album analysis, so when PopGates‘ Charlie Wooley journeyed back to the early nineties and broke down the big man’s musical debut, we took notice.
Rating: 8 out of 10 Triple Threats
Author: Charlie Wooley – @WooleyCharlie
Link: Shaq Diesel review

It wasn’t the only ill-conceived trade in the NBA this season, but Charlotte’s move to take on Miles Plumlee and his bloated contract may have been the worst of the bunch, says Jerry Stephens of Swarm and Sting. Stephens ruminates on the desperate decision the Hornets made to ship Roy Hibbert and Spencer Hawes to the Bucks mid-season and how it’s already impacting the team’s wallet.
Rating: 6 out of 10 Reddit Memes
Author: Jerry Stephens – @JR_StephNBA
Link: Nebulous Miles Plumlee trade

Former NBA commissioner David Stern gives the Nets the benefit of the doubt that they may not have fully understood the impact their decision to rest players in the final game of regular season would have on the playoff picture. Still, he isn’t afraid to call out the only franchise with absolutely zero incentive to rest players for inexplicably letting the Bulls waltz uncontested into the postseason. Henry Bushnell discusses the details at Ball Don’t Lie.
Rating: 7 out of 10 Disappointed Grandfathers
Author: Henry Bushnell – @HenryBushnell
Link: Stern criticizes Nets for resting players

There was plenty of skepticism over Brad Stevens‘ decision to put Gerald Green in the Celtics‘ starting lineup after two surprising losses to the Bulls in their first round playoff series, but the move has significantly changed the outlook of that series. Tim MacLean breaks down the impact the 31-year-old Green has had on Boston’s matchups and floor-spacing for Celtics Blog.
Rating: 8 out of 10 Birthday Candles
Author: Tim MacLean – @MacLeanNBA
Link: Starting Gerald Green

Norman Powell horizontalFor the second year in a row, Norman Powell has emerged as a driving force behind the Raptors‘ playoff success, so what keeps on happening and why doesn’t Dwane Casey just employ him this way year-round? Shyam Baskaran of Raptors Republic writes about how the space on the wing Toronto freed up for Powell by trading Terrence Ross was quickly swallowed up by the additions of veterans Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker.
Rating: 7 out of 10 Dwane Casey Rotation Changes
Author: Shyam Baskaran – @ShyamBaskaran
Link: Norman Powell in the playoffs

Although he was widely lauded as an elite defensive prospect (among other things), Andrew Wiggins‘ first three seasons of NBA action don’t exactly support the hypothesis that he could be a lockdown perimeter threat. With Wiggins’ value still high, given his raw athleticism and offensive output, could it be the perfect time for the Timberwolves to move him? Erik Voldness of The Blog That Boredom Built suggests as much.
Rating: 6 out of 10 Maple Jordans
Author: Erik Voldness
Link: Trade Andrew Wiggins now?

No matter how you look at it, JaVale McGee‘s game-altering impact has given the Warriors a devastating new weapon. And, believe it or not, this isn’t just some hastily scribbled fan fiction published by a mysterious dude on the internet named Pierre. What McGee’s athleticism and length brings to the Dubs’ second-unit is profound. However, as Scott Rafferty writes for The Step Back, let’s not thrust him into a starting role with 30-plus minutes per game just yet.
Rating: 9 out of 10 Awkward Cross-Generational NBA Feuds
Author: Scott Rafferty – @CrabDribbles
Link: JaVale McGee, Warriors secret weapon

If Paul George to the Lakers is an inevitability, which a cursory look at the rumor mill seems to suggest, somebody ought to take a peek at what a trade might actually look like. Ryan Magdziarz of Sir Charles In Charge recently patched together a possible scenario that could land George in Los Angeles while sending a pair of young Lakers to the Pacers.
Rating: 6 out of 10 Hours Spent On The Trade Machine
Author: Ryan Magdziarz – @RyanMagdziarz
Link: Paul George’s future

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