Pau Gasol goes down after being hit in the face by JaVale McGee on Jan. 6, 2013. (AP/Mark J. Terrill)
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: TrueHoop. Pau Gasol's been sidelined for more than a week with a concussion and has still not yet been cleared by the Los Angeles Lakers' doctors to participate in practices or games; rookies Anthony Davis and Tyler Zeller, among others, have missed multiple games, too. And these are just players who've been diagnosed with concussions after taking blows to the head — how many others who've taken big shots have gone unexamined and untreated? Henry Abbott and Beckley Mason report on the challenge of addressing head injuries in the NBA, a league that doesn't always come to mind when you think about brain trauma, but where the potential for danger exists every night.
PF: Liberty Ballers. Andrew Bynum took a practice court on Monday, taking part in some (admittedly low-level and non-physical) basketball-related activities and — BYNUM SWEAT ALERT! — breaking an on-court sweat for the first time as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers.
SF: The Brooklyn Game. Devin Kharpertian breaks down how the Brooklyn Nets flipped the offensive switch against the Indiana Pacers in the fourth quarter on Sunday, turning a 12-point third-quarter deficit into an 11-point win by driving to dish.
SG: Brew Hoop. Steve Von Horn has launched an ambitious and awesome endeavor — to analyze every block tallied by Milwaukee Bucks firewall Larry Sanders this season and rank them based on criteria like style, effectiveness and intimidation. We wholeheartedly support this kind of science. (And while you're getting your Larry Sanders on, check out this cool chat between Sanders and SB Nation's James Herbert about opportunity, creativity and the danger of "potential.")
PG: Eye On Basketball. Denver Nuggets coach George Karl tells Matt Moore about several things NBA coaches have to periodically revisit with their teams throughout the course of an 82-game season, and why those points of emphasis have to get hit over and over again — a neat bit of insight into what coaches actually, y'know, do.
6th: ESPN Boston. Along the same lines: Chris Forsberg uses Synergy Sports Technology's game-charting data to note how well Boston Celtics reserve Jeff Green has performed as an individual defender this year, prompting C's coach Doc Rivers to issue a slight off-the-ball/team-defense-oriented corrective — it's not that Green hasn't been better than advertised, but it's important for all of us (myself included) to remember that while statistics can tell us a lot, they don't always tell the while story and they don't always see what a coach is seeing.
7th: The Denver Post. And along those lines: Denver Nuggets beat reporter Benjamin Hochman talks to Karl and Nuggets assistant coach John Welch and Chad Iske — whom BDL readers might remember from his pregame primal screams — about how Denver uses advanced statistical information from sources like Synergy and Sportstec to enhance their scouting and player development efforts, the danger of information overload and more. We know that an increasing number of NBA teams feature beefed-up analytics departments, but we don't have great visibility yet into how they actually use the information they glean; stories like Hochman's offer an important look at how it translates (and is translated).
8th: Silver Screen and Roll. I missed this Friday — I sincerely hope you can forgive me — but C.A. Clark's breakdown of how Kobe Bryant's sharply declining defense "is completely invalidating his unprecedented offensive success" for the Los Angeles Lakers this season is well worth your time. You can make some excuses for Bryant's less-than-stellar defensive effort — with all the Lakers' injuries, especially at the point guard position, he's had to take on an even larger offensive role than he previously had, and he was already pretty important to the L.A. attack to start — but as Clark shows, this goes beyond an occasional wind-saving lapse: "His presence on the defensive end of the court has actually become a detriment, in the truest sense of the word."
9th: Project Spurs. Some unresolved visa issues are holding up Aron Baynes, a 26-year-old Australian big man who's been starring for Slovenian team Union Olimpija in Euroleague play, from joining the San Antonio Spurs' front line. The energetic defender and rebounder could be an important piece in the Spurs' big rotation come playoff time ... provided he can get over here and integrated into the San Antonio system quickly, of course.
10th: Hornets247. Some cool-looking winners of a recent "Design the New Orleans Pelicans Logo" contest. I continue to be amped at the prospect of Pelicans swag looking cool, though I would be bummed to see the teal and yellow color scheme go away, because it is rad.
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