'I also found a new best friend. This has been a very good year.' (Bart Young/NBAE/Getty Images)
A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out.
C: USA TODAY Sports. Here's Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic, to Sam Amick: "2013 is my year. First of all, I get married, then I get a son one month ago. Everything is just falling in the right place. I don't have any worries." Combine that with career bests in points per game, True Shooting percentage and Player Efficiency Rating alongside Eric Bledsoe in a high-powered two-point-guard backcourt that's pushed the thought-to-be-tanking Suns to the league's No. 5 offense and the heat of the Western Conference playoff picture, and yep, it sure seems like everything's coming up Goran these days.
PF: The Dream Shake. Patrick Harrel on the reported (apparently brief, non-starting and now dead) talks between the Houston Rockets and Brooklyn Lets about an Omer Asik/Jeremy Lin-for-Deron Williams swap are a whole bunch of nothing: "In essence, this is akin to me asking my friend for his Fruit By The Foot in exchange for my half-rotted apple at the fourth grade lunch table. He says no, and we move on with our meals."
SF: The Brooklyn Game. With All-Star center Brook Lopez likely to miss the rest of the season after suffering a broken bone in his right foot, Devin Kharpertian considers five potential re-jiggered starting lineups that head coach Jason Kidd could run out as he tries to keep the Brooklyn Nets' sinking ship afloat.
SG: The Hook. Speaking of those Nets, Tom Ziller weighs in on why the only way out of the hole Billy King's dug with now-for-later trades might be for him to dig deeper: "There's no point in playing to lose when you can't be relatively sure you'll get to keep your own pick until 2019."
6th: L.A. Weekly. Jeff Weiss on how Kobe Bryant's left knee injury lays bare not only the precarious predicament of the Los Angeles Lakers, but also how effectively the myth-making machine surrounding "The Black Mamba" became at snowing even us grown-ups: "At a certain point, it feels like we're lying to ourselves to preserve our memories and forgive our own declining foot speed."
7th: The Basketball Distribution. Nathan Walker gives us his "Cheapo All-Stars" — the players producing the most Wins Above Replacement Player while making less than $1 million this year. The lesson, as always: Hitting on second-round draft picks and minimum-salary veterans can be a beautiful, beautiful thing.
8th: Oddball Baskets. I didn't know until now how badly I wanted an "A Christmas Carol" reboot starring "Mo Cratchit," "Tiny 'Dre," "The Ghost of Bill Laimbeer" and, of course, "Ebenezer Smoove." (I told you the Detroit Pistons were a treasure trove of nicknames.)
9th: Posting and Toasting. Joseph Flynn makes the case for New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson being a "devious psychological mastermind ... who is also a bad basketball coach." A real "double threat," then.
10th: Sactown Royalty. End your day by treating yourself to about three minutes of Sacramento Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins as Santa Claus and visiting children in the hospital. I heartily endorse it.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Goran Dragic
- Phoenix Suns