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: Grizzly Bear Blues. Courtney Lee had a rough night Monday in the Memphis Grizzlies' road loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, but he's mostly been a hand-in-glove fit for a Grizzlies team in desperate need of some long-range shooting and playmaking to unlock their often-stagnant offense. Andrew Millen takes a closer look at what Lee's added to Dave Joerger's squad since coming over in exchange for Jerryd Bayless last month.
PF: Bourbon Street Shots. After a dreadful rookie season, Austin Rivers has shown signs of improvement for the injury-wracked New Orleans Pelicans this season in limited minutes. James Grayson takes a look at the 2012 lottery pick's step forward on the defensive end and in getting to the basket, which provide (at least a little bit of) a reason for Pelicans fans to be excited as this mess of a season drags on.
SF: Peachtree Hoops. Another second-year man coming on of late: Mike Scott, whose increased range and active play around the basket has made him an important piece of the puzzle for an Atlanta Hawks team that's remained at the top of the (distant) second tier of the Eastern Conference even without lost-for-the-season centerpiece Al Horford.
SG: Knickerblogger. Carmelo Anthony scored 36 points on 25 shots, with 17 of them coming in the fourth quarter, and it wasn't enough to avoid a horrific loss to the NBA's worst team. Kevin McElroy looks back at the New York Knicks' latest deflating loss before looking ahead to a summer where the All-Star forward will have a decision to make about his future: "And as much as I want to see it differently, the only conclusion I’m able to reach is this: leaving this group is not an act of disloyalty, it’s an act of self-preservation."
PG: ESPN Insider ($). Tom Haberstroh considers recent rumors that the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns might be circling a Pau Gasol trade and wonders if the deal would really be worth it for the surprising Suns.
6th: Bleacher Report. Jared Dubin digs into the tape and the numbers to find out what's wrong with the Cleveland Cavaliers' offense. He finds many, many things.
7th: Grantland. Zach Lowe on the Brook Lopez-injury-inspired hybrid lineups that have sparked the Brooklyn Nets' rise up the Eastern Conference ranks over the last 15 games, and whether this recently established identity opens the door to the asset-poor and luxury-tax-paying Nets shipping off their All-Star center.
8th: The Point Forward. Rob Mahoney puts the defense of DeAndre Jordan under the microscope, seeing the Los Angeles Clippers center as a player "in a position to uniquely shape the outcome of the entire Western Conference playoffs" but also one whose inconsistencies figure to limit the Clippers' championship chances.
9th: A Screaming Comes Across the Court. A deep dive on intentional fouling/"Hack-a-Shaq" strategy, including an attempt to figure out how often teams get the offensive rebound off missed freebies, how the number of points per possession a team's expected to score after being hacked differs from the expectation on a regular offensive possession, what the break-even point for hacking being a good idea winds up being, and more.
10th: BBallBreakdown. Coach Nick chats briefly with Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel about some of the specific elements he and his coaching staff preach when installing the scheme that's resulted in the league's stingiest defense over the past two seasons.
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