Dan Feldman

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 17:  Manu Ginobili #5 of Argentina reacts after losing to the United States during the Men's Basketball Quarterfinal game at Carioca Arena 1 on Day 12 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on August 17, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Manu Ginobili overcome by emotion in post-game interview (video)

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Manu Ginobili‘s international retirement closed a terrific era of Argentinian basketball.

The Golden Generation’s end was a lot for him to process:

If Team USA’s highlights against Argentina don’t excite you, the bench reactions will (video)

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 17:  Kevin Durant #5 of United States with the ball against Manu Ginobili #5 of Argentina during the Men's Quarterfinal match on Day 12 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 1 on August 17, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
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Kevin Durant Eurostepping, Kyrie Irving crossing over, DeAndre Jordan powerfully dunking and DeMar DeRozan acrobatically dunking — and Team USA’s bench going wild for it all.

Watch highlights of the Americans’ quarterfinal win over Argentina:

Tiago Splitter: Hawks improve defensively with Dwight Howard (over Al Horford), Dennis Schroder (over Jeff Teague)

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 20:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Houston Rockets defends against Al Horford #15 of the Atlanta Hawks during their game at the Toyota Center on December 20, 2014 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
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The Hawks shook up their starting lineup this summer. They traded point guard Jeff Teague, elevating backup Dennis Schroder. They also signed center Dwight Howard, clearing the way for Al Horford to leave for the Celtics.

How will those moves affect Atlanta?

Hawks backup center Tiago Splitter doesn’t beat around the bush.

Splitter, via Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“(Howard) is a little bit more of a defensive player than Al, more rebounds, more physical presence on the court,” Splitter said. “That is going to change our team. … Dennis, he is also a great defender. He’s a better defender than Jeff. He will pressure the point guard the whole court. He is growing up and getting more solid.”

The Hawks allowed the second-fewest points per possession last season, behind only the Spurs. Clearly, Horford and Teague were doing something right.

Horford was far better defensively than Howard last season. The 6-foot-10 Horford has the size to defend the paint, mobility to defend the perimeter and intelligence to put it all together. Howard, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, hit a higher defensive peak. But as he has aged and gone through injuries, he his defense has fallen off. Maybe Howard can get healthier and reclaim his form in Atlanta, but that’s far from a given.

Still, even if he doesn’t defend as well overall as Horford did last season, Howard might help the Hawks. Horford’s defensive strengths are similar to Paul Millsap‘s, and those redundancies allowed deficiencies elsewhere. Howard is better-equipped to handle big centers and rebound, an area of concern in Atlanta. The Hawks were one of the NBA’s worst defensive-rebounding teams last year.

Schroder and Teague also present an interesting transition. Schroder improved immensely defensively last season, and Teague regressed. Quick with long arms, Schroder has even more defensive potential if he focuses more on that end. Will Teague bounce back if healthier? (He’s just 28, so betting on his improved physical condition is less risky than with Howard.) Will Schroder pay more attention to defense as he gets the major offensive role he long desired?

Howard and Schroder could improve Atlanta’s defense, but the Hawks defended pretty darn well with Horford and Teague. I’m not nearly as convince as Splitter the two new starters are upgrades.

James Harden plays defense… with a twist (video)

HOUSTON, TEXAS - APRIL 13:  James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets reacts to a three point shot during the second half of a game against the Sacramento Kings at the Toyota Center on April 13, 2016 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images
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James Harden is having fun in these summer games.

After all his defensive lowlights, this is progress, I guess.

(hat tip: reddit user GettingLostInDaSauce)

Steven Adams: ‘Awesome’ people are still thinking about my nuts

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 28:  Steven Adams #12 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks on during the first half against the Golden State Warriors in game six of the Western Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 28, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
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Steven Adams‘ sister, Valerie Adams, won a silver medal in shot put at the Rio Olympics. In the following video, you can see the Thunder center express his pride in her.

You can also see Adams address his reportedly contused nuts, which Draymond Green knocked around in the Western Conference finals:

Adams:

Nuts? Ah, mate. They’re still there. They’re still there, thankfully.

It was rough, bro.  It’s funny that it’s on a lot of people’s minds, though. For this long, people are still thinking about my nuts. It’s awesome.

Awesome, indeed.