Hoops Links Vol. 3: Traditional Big Men, Puppies, More

Welcome to Hoops Links, your one-stop shop collection of the best original content from around the NBA blogosphere. Consider it a mid-week safari of sports news, just with more journalism and fewer hyenas savaging the carcasses of fallen jackals.

As I do every week, this is my plea for all readers to hit me up with future articles so that each edition of Hoops Links can shine a light on areas of the online hoops community that deserve it. You can email them to me at HoopsRumorsTips@Sports.ws or send them to me on Twitter (@AustinKent). Heck, flag down any of the Hoops Rumors staff the next time you see us walking down the street and that’ll work just as well.

Lost in the excitement of the thrilling Game 2 finish between the Wizards and Celtics is that Washington could realistically have pulled out the victory in regulation. Jake Whitacre of Bullets Forever relives the last 14 seconds of the fourth quarter and breaks down what went wrong.
Rating: 8 out of 10 Missed Opportunities
Author: Jake Whitacre – @JakeWhitacre
Link: Wizards-Celtics, Game 2

Jrue Holiday verticalA thorough look at advanced metrics reveals that Jrue Holiday is a valuable second-tier guard. Oleh Kosel of The Bird Writes recently walked through the NOLA playmaker’s portfolio and revealed that, while his numbers may lack in comparison to some of his elite counterparts, the fact that the pending free agent is willing to defer to players like Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins is a good thing, not a bad thing.
Rating: 9 out of 10 It’s Not A Bug, It’s A Features
Author: Oleh Kosel – @RedHopeful
Link: Jrue Holiday offensive metrics

Through seven seasons in the NBA, and especially this most recent one, James Harden has established himself as a scoring savant capable of stuffing the stat sheet with gaudy point and assists totals. That much we know. This second-round series between the Rockets and Spurs, however, will serve as an indication as to whether or not the box-score stuffer is ready to formally join the league’s contending elite. Kwame Fisher-Jones of The 76er Files has the details.
Rating: 7 out of 10 Most Valuable MVP Runners-Up
Author: Kwame Fisher-Jones – @MrJonesNBA
Link: James Harden Rockets-Spurs series

When the Cavaliers were limping through the second half of the regular season, criticism of head coach Tyronn Lue was commonplace. Quenton Albertie at King James Gospel, for one, admits to not-so-subtly calling for the man’s firing. Fast forward one month later and the Cavs are back running like a well-oiled machine, a testament to the adjustments Lue has made from the sidelines, and writers like Albertie have changed their tune.
Rating: 8 out of 10 Richard Jefferson Snapchats
Author: Quenton Albertie – @QuentonAlbertie
Link: Cavs coach Tyronn Lue

The Magic will be well represented in the new BIG3 league set to debut this summer. A total of 10 former Orlando players were drafted to three-on-three rosters last Sunday. While Rashard Lewis and Jason Williams team up to captain the 3-Headed Monsters, the list of former Magic players who will participate is significant (we see you Larry Hughes! BONUS LINK). Philip Rossman-Reich of Orlando Magic Daily has the complete list.
Rating: 6 out of 10 Flat-Footed Old Guy Jumpers
Author: Philip Rossman-Reich – @OMagicDaily
Link: Orlando Magic BIG3 players

LeBron beerThe same Ohio beer company that infamously launched a special ale called Quitness when LeBron James left for the Heat in 2010 have now taken to using the King’s own image in a more recent promotion. As Henry Bushnell lays out at Ball Don’t Lie, James’ legal team will handle the beer company looking to cash in on James pretending to take a sip out of a beer bottle on the tray of a courtside server last Monday.
Rating: 7 out of 10 Marketing Fails
Author: Henry Bushnell – @HenryBushnell
Link: Beer company’s LeBron James promotion

A Michigan-wide dog adoption event ended about as well as any of us could have hoped, with Stan Van Gundy taking home the last of the available canines at a Harbor Springs Humane Society. For Detroit Bad Boys, Sean Corp breaks down the Van Gundy family’s decision to take home the lab with complicated medical needs. “And with this,” one DBB commenter says, “SVG concludes the Pistons’ offseason roster movement.” He’s kidding. We hope.
Rating: 8 out of 10 Good Boys
Author: Sean Corp – @Sean_Corp
Link: Stan Van Gundy adopts dog

The Celtics and Wizards had beef even before their second-round series, Jeff Clark writes for Celtics Blog, but that doesn’t mean can’t get progressively worse. Clark talks about the “boop” game and the “funeral” game and the fact that Markieff Morris has a reputation for finding himself involved in “extracurricular activities.”
Rating: 7 out of 10 Reminders Not To Leave The Bench In The Event Of An Altercation
Author: Jeff Clark – @CelticsBlog
Link: Celtics-Wizards Feud

It’s getting harder and harder for the Raptors to get by with Jonas Valanciunas on the court and the club’s latest matchup is yet one more compelling case for the club to fully embrace small ball. For The Step Back, Andrew Bernucca writes that Toronto deserves credit for having the foresight to acquire Serge Ibaka at the deadline, but that it’s no longer justifiable to have the back-to-the-basket Valanciunas out there with him.
Rating: 9 out of 10 Signs Of The Time
Author: Andrew Bernucca – @Krosoveri
Link: Jonas Valanciunas small ball

Plodding big man Al Jefferson came under fire from his own general manager for not being in great shape this postseason. C. Cooper of Indy Cornrows, however, calls to question the Pacers in general, arguing that they ought to get the rest of the bench working effectively around him, too.
Rating: 6 out of 10 Floor Spacing Issues
Author: C. Cooper – @C2_Cooper
Link: Al Jefferson out of shape

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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