Hoops Links Vol. 9: Time Travel, North Korean Diplomacy, More

We’re back with the latest edition of Hoops Links, one that will make you appreciate the joys of the NBA blogosphere as much as we do. Now, with the Finals in the rear-view mirror, celebrating good original content is as important as ever.

Once a week we round up the best content that we come across while obsessively perusing the internet and now you can help. Find a blog article that you think deserves a shout out next Thursday? Send it my way on Twitter (@AustinKent). Even if you wrote the blog yourself, nominate it for inclusion in future editions.

Remember, keep things limited to Cavaliers Era Shawn Kemp, relevant, original and fresh.

Isaiah Thomas Avery Bradley verticalThe Celtics have plenty of decisions to make over the course of the next few years, especially since their cap space projects to dry up after this offseason. Retaining their roster as is and signing a big name free agent in 2017 could put Boston in position to far exceed the luxury tax next season when it comes time to re-sign Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley. Jason Sullivan of You’re Ducking Right recently broke down the pros and cons of retaining each guard, coming to the conclusion that the C’s will inevitably need to part with one if they want to build around Markelle Fultz.

Author: Jason Sullivan – @Sully6827
Rating: 9 out of 10 Sophie’s Choices
Link: Isaiah Thomas vs. Avery Bradley.

Much has been said about how an increasing reliance on three-point shooting has changed the game of basketball, but few have delved into what it takes to stop a successful team on the perimeter. Thomas Bassine of Big Three Sports went to work compiling the three-point percentages certain teams allowed compared to what one might reasonably expect those opposing percentages to be. The result? A statistical analysis of how teams are defending against the biggest trend in basketball.

Author: Thomas Bassine – @Big3Sports
Rating: 9 out of 10 Scatter Plots
Link: Three-point defense trends.

There’s a decent chance that Dennis Rodman‘s latest trip to North Korea will have a negligible impact on anything but perhaps the quarterly sales of bootlegged Bulls jerseys on the streets of Pyongyang, but that doesn’t change the fact that the retired forward is likely the only person alive that has personal relationships with both Donald Trump and Kim-Jong Un. Dan Devine of Ball Don’t Lie summarizes the Washington Post’s reporting.

Author: Dan Devine – @YourManDevine
Rating: 7 out of 10 Mermaid Puzzles
Link: Dennis Rodman in North Korea, 2017.

It didn’t take long for the speculation about hypothetical Cavaliers trades to kick in following their loss in the NBA Finals. Sam Beech of the King James Gospel, however, insists that Cleveland should resist making a blockbuster trade. Forget Carmelo Anthony altogether and don’t rush out to trade Kevin Love or Kyrie Irving, Beech says, thwarting some of the most frequently discussed trade possibilities.

Author: Sam Beech – @KJG_NBA
Rating: 7 out of 10 Hasty Overreactions
Link: Cavs should not make blockbuster trade.

If you were simultaneously granted the abilities to go invisible and time travel, it’s presumed that you’d skip ahead to the day the free agency moratorium lifts in order to sneak through the journals of various general managers. I get it. Alas, for now at least, we’re stuck with David Nash’s thought exercise. For The Four Point Play, Nash imagines what the diaries of Rockets GM Daryl Morey and Thunder GM Sam Presti might look like after two vital 10-day stretches in each executive’s career.

Author: David Nash – @DKN17
Rating: 9 out of 10 Cringeworthy Drakes
Link: Sam Presti, Daryl Morey diaries.

Meyers Leonard verticalAfter last summer’s historically mediocre shopping spree, the Trail Blazers don’t have much cap space in 2017. Eric Griffiths of Blazer’s Edge, however, has some options that could create some breathing room for the franchise. Griffiths floats Pat Connaughton and Tim Quarterman as possible cuts with Meyers Leonard an intriguing salary dump option.

Author: Eric Griffiths – @EricG_NBA
Rating: 8 out of 10 Scroungers
Link: How Blazers can make cap space.

The Wizards haven’t had much success luring NBA superstars home to the D.C. area, most recently missing out on Kevin Durant last summer. Durant, a Washington native, didn’t even grant the franchise a meeting last offseason before taking his talents to Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach. Ryan Eugene of Wiz of Awes, however, thinks the tide could be changing, citing recent comments from Will Barton and Greivis Vasquez about returning home.

Author: Ryan Eugene – @ButterScotchT
Rating: 8 out of 10 Google Searches For Beaches Near Oracle Arena
Link: Local players interested in playing for Wizards.

After spurring a chorus of speculation at the trade deadline by tweeting an emoji, Pistons big man Andre Drummond has done it all over again. Count Steve Hinson of Detroit Bad Boys among those frustrated that we may be in line for another barrage of social-media-fueled angst as the rumor mill surrounding possible transactions begins to fly.

Author: Steve Hinson – @Shinons8
Rating: 7 out of 10 Damn Millennials
Link: Andre Drummond’s emoji tweet.

While they’ve managed to turn themselves into a perennial playoff team and regular dark horse option to make noise in the west, make no mistake, the Clippers Curse is alive and well. Need a reminder of just how blech things have been for the franchise? Autumn Anderson of Clipperholics recently published a feature detailing just how much of an impact the Michael Olowokandi-era bad luck continues to have on the organization.

Author: Autumn Anderson – @AAAutumn_
Rating: 8 out of 10 Eric Piatkowski Jerseys
Link: The Clippers Curse is real.

The thought of Dwight Howard putting up jump shots from beyond the arc is naturally unsettling, but that’s exactly what the big man plans to do for the Hawks in order to prolong his career. Justin Hodges of Soaring Down South weighed in on some recent comments made by the traditional back-to-the-basket big man, suggesting that Howard no longer boasts the impressive interior defense to get away with being a one-trick pony.

Author: Justin Hodges – @HodgepodgeHoops
Rating: 8 out of 10 Ambitious Shooting Coaches
Link: Dwight Howard to add three-pointer.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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