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: HoopSpeak. Danny Nowell argues that "whatever it is that Blake Griffin does" when he does what he did to Kris Humphries is not an accident resulting from an overconfident take-off point, but rather an intentional "tactic [developed] in response to sound defense." That is weird to think about, which is why it is fun to think about.
PF: Mavs Moneyball. With an assist from Kirk Goldsberry's just-updated ShotScore rankings, Andrew Tobolowsky comes in praise of a finally healthy Dirk Nowitzki — "He is ridiculous. And he's most definitely back." — and draws our attention to just how sharp he's been at the ripe old age of 35.
SF: Sports on Earth. Speaking of older dudes, here's Michael Pina on how sensationally Manu Ginobili has bounced back from his disappointing 2013 playoff run, how an argument can be made that he's been Gregg Popovich's best offensive player thus far this season, and how his play has proven "refreshing on a nightly basis, a beautiful jazz solo embedded within the San Antonio Spurs' blemish-free orchestra."
SG: Red94. And speaking of young Mr. Pina, here he is again, explaining why Omri Casspi — despite his shooting having dropped off since a hot first month of the season — remains an integral found-money piece of the Houston Rockets' puzzle.
6th: The Triangle. On the heels of J.R. Smith's latest run-in with the league/embarrassment of his employer, Jason "@netw3rk" Concepcion asks whether the New York Knicks' shooting guard's shtick is still funny, and considers how the answer to that question always seems pegged to present performance. (Speaking of said run-in, the Knicks have now been fined nearly twice as much as any other team in the league this season, according to this Spotrac chart shared by Nicki Jhabvala of the New York Times.)
8th: Magic Basketball. We already know he's an explosive athlete and defensive presence (not to mention a gifted crooner), but Victor Oladipo's advancement as a ball-handler in the pick-and-roll is perhaps the most important individual aspect of player development facing the Orlando Magic this season. Spencer Lund takes a look at how the No. 2 overall pick is doing on that score, and highlights some areas where he could use a bit more seasoning.
9th: Silver Screen and Roll. After a year of misfortune marked by the Dwight Howard debacle and the passing of Dr. Jerry Buss, and amid an injury-plagued stretch that has seen them drop nine of their last 10, C.A. Clark is ready to proclaim that the Los Angeles Lakers' decades-long stretch of good fortune has officially returned: "The Lakers did not choose to tank. And that's why they are lucky, because they didn't have to choose. Instead, the tank chose them."
10th: Steven Lebron. Alex Wong, whose work we've highlighted in this space a couple of times and on whose podcast I've appeared a couple of times, is getting ready to release a book featuring all sorts of NBA writing and art, and it looks pretty rad. Find out how you can get it.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Blake Griffin