A work of art holding a work of art. (Photo via Nina's Color Lab)
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: Nina's Color Lab. Nina Fike painted a portrait of Chris Bosh and his wife Adrienne holding their baby Jackson, volunteered to help with a Christmas party event the Boshes were throwing, and hand delivered the portrait to them. This has been NBA Painting News.
PF: Liberty Ballers. The Washington Wizards have been better than average since John Wall arrived, and much better (and much more fun to watch) than they were while he was working his way back from a knee injury earlier this season — they're playing faster, shooting better, scoring more and playing more efficiently all the way around. So why is Derek Bodner writing about that on a Philadelphia 76ers blog? Because it's important to remember the butterfly effect that a returning superstar can have on a not-so-great team, and it sounds like Philly's about to get its mercurially coiffed centerpiece back shortly after the All-Star break.
SF: Steven Lebron. Even before the three-team deal to import longtime Bryan Colangelo favorite forward Rudy Gay started picking up steam, Alex Wong was not especially thrilled with the direction of the Toronto Raptors, a path littered with "short-term fixes and band-aid solutions, most of which are to cover for management’s own mistakes." We're guessing he's even less thrilled tonight.
SG: Grantland. The day before Royce White called a Houston radio station to say he was near a deal to report to the Houston Rockets' D-League affiliate, he sat down at a Cheesecake Factory with Chuck Klosterman to talk about, among other things, how late capitalism has created an environment in which the majority of Americans have at least some degree of mental illness. It is, if nothing else, interesting.
PG: Orlando Pinstriped Post. To say that Jacque Vaughn's usage of rookies Andrew Nicholson, Moe Harkless and DeQuan Jones has been erratic would be something of an understatement. Evan Dunlap offers a pretty neat visualization of just how up-and-down the youngsters' minutes have been on a night-by-night basis, which seems like a tough way to let the freshmen get acclimated to the NBA game.
6th: WEEI.com. Since Rajon Rondo was diagnosed with a torn right anterior cruciate ligament that would sideline him for the rest of the season, the question's been circulated? What comes next for the Boston Celtics? If general manager Danny Ainge decides not to move a big piece (say, Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett) for future help, then how does this year's Celtics team — which could still make a postseason push in a weak Eastern Conference — operate on the floor? Ben Rohrbach goes man by man and scheme by scheme in search of the answer. (As NBA.com's John Schuhmann sees it, the answer might include more minutes and a more prominent role for rookie Jared Sullinger.)
7th: Daily Thunder. Aubrey McClendon — the man with the second-largest ownership stake in the Oklahoma City Thunder (behind only Clay Bennett) and the CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corporation, the naming rights holder of the Thunder's home arena — is stepping down from his Chesapeake leadership position after a scandal-filled year that included civil and criminal investigations into the energy company. What impact could this have on the Thunder, and on Oklahoma City as a whole? Michael Kimball gives us an in-depth local perspective.
8th: Half Court Press. Any right-minded basketball-loving individual misses having Yao Ming in the NBA, both for his unique spin on the game and his unique game itself. But with Yao retired, Yi Jianlian's days as an NBA player seemingly over, what does the future of Chinese basketball look like? From the Youth Olympics in Sydney, Australia, J.P. Pelosi offers a glimpse.
9th: Rufus on Fire and Pounding the Rock. Ahead of Wednesday's matchup between the Charlotte Bobcats and San Antonio Spurs, their respective SB Nation team blogs wrote battle rap diss tracks aimed at one another's squads, blogs and fan bases. Precisely the kind of blissful idiocy that the Basketball Internet was created to produce. I love it.
10th: Mr. Irrelevant. As mindblowing this evening as it was this morning — a dude who hung out with Bob Marley apparently looked exactly like Gilbert Arenas. Let that blow your mind real quick as you head into your Wednesday evenings.
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