The ball's in Blake Griffin's court now. (Noah Graham/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: ESPN Los Angeles. In a recent interview, Chris Paul said the Los Angeles Clippers will only go as far as power forward Blake Griffin — already a multiple-time All-Star at age 24, but with multiple holes still remaining in his game — can take them. Griffin responds to his point guard's comments, and sounds ready to take responsibility for L.A. making it past the second round of the playoffs this coming season.
PF: RealGM. With 2010 No. 1 overall pick John Wall fresh off inking a max extension and several classmates (Paul George, Larry Sanders, perhaps DeMarcus Cousins) looking likely to join him, Jonathan Tjarks looks at seven '10 draftees who find themselves without an NBA employer as 2013 training camp approaches and tries to figure out where each went astray.
SF: SB Nation. Really sharp work from Scott Schroeder on the recent history of "American draft-and-stash players" — those who were drafted into the NBA in the second round out of high school, college or the D-League, who actually made their pro debuts overseas — and their somewhat scattershot success rate, and what that means for '13 draftees Colton Iverson, Mike Muscala, Pierre Jackson, Erick Green, James Ennis, DeShaun Thomas and Alex Oriakhi, all of whom will begin their pro careers outside the NBA this year.
SG: The Two Man Game, in four parts. I dug Bryan Gutierrez's quick-hit word-association breakdown of the entire Dallas Mavericks roster, summing up the roles players will be expected to play, the team's moving and shaking this offseason, the challenges to be faced in the season ahead and much more.
PG: HoopChalk. Jacob Frankel takes a look at how new head coach Mike Malone might look to tighten up the Sacramento Kings' league-worst pick-and-roll defense by using some of the techniques that helped the Golden State Warriors rise from the bottom of the NBA to the middle of the pack over the past two seasons.
6th: Pro Hoops History. Curtis Harris highlights Paul Johnson, "a truly terrifying offensive force" who led the NBA in scoring for three straight years in the mid-1950s but whom nobody remembers because his peak fell between the eras of Mikan and Russell. I love how Harris puts it: "Dynasties get the glory, interregnums gets a shoulder shrug."
7th: Grantland. Shea Serrano's Text Messages to Dwight Howard is probably the funniest running bit in the NBA writing game right now. I burst out laughing at least once every installment.
8th: A Wolf Among Wolves. Steve McPherson teases out one strand from Jonathan Abrams' great profile on Jonny Flynn — which Our Fearless Leader discussed earlier — into a longer meditation on how much it sucks when moving from passion to profession sucks the joy out of the thing you love. It's something to which I think a lot of us can relate, no matter what our jobs or hobbies.
9th: r/NBA. These 8-bit headshots of five players from each NBA team are just fantastic.
10th: Hot Hot Hoops. The Miami Heat once again look loaded and ready to make a run for a fourth straight NBA finals appearance and third consecutive championship, but given his shaky playoff performance and amid the slight shifts in their roster makeup — out goes Mike Miller, in comes Greg Oden — what kind of role can we expect Udonis Haslem to play this season?
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- Sports & Recreation
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Blake Griffin