Derrick Williams hits the defensive glass. He's doing more of that now. (Fernando Medina/NBA/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: A Wolf Among Wolves. Since being tabbed with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft, Derrick Williams has largely underwhelmed for the Minnesota Timberwolves, currying no favor with head coach Rick Adelman with his subpar shooting, ball-handling, vision and defensive acumen. But as Ben Polk writes, a funny thing happened on the way to declaring Williams a jarring disappointment — in his second season in Minneapolis, he's actually gotten better, in ways that might not always be eye-catching or obvious, but in tangible ways that indicate the player we saw destroy opponents at Arizona isn't yet gone forever.
PF: Sactown Royalty. In response to an open letter to Sacramento Kings fans from the producers of the documentary "Sonicsgate" about how to deal with losing your team, Tom Ziller offers a reminder and rejoinder: We haven't lost our team yet.
SF: TrueHoop. Kevin Arnovitz — who knows his stuff regardless, but really knows the Miami Heat's stuff after spending a year dug in with the team as part of the Worldwide Leader's maiden Heat Index voyage — delivers the goods on a five-man Miami unit that's blowing opponents' doors off offensively and winning enough bets defensively to keep the Heat atop the East during Shane Battier's injury absence.
SG: The Star-Ledger. Dave D'Alessandro makes the case for the Brooklyn Nets removing the word "interim" from the title "interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo" right now, rather than waiting to see if they can land a big name at some point over the next few weeks or months and potentially sowing seeds of uncertainty. Whether you think Carlesimo's X's and O's work has been the Nets' saving grace or attribute their recent surge to the combination of full health for Brook Lopez and made jumpers for the Deron Williams-Joe Johnson backcourt, the whole "9-1 record since P.J. took over, including seven straight wins" thing sure doesn't hurt Dave D.'s argument.
PG: BBall Breakdown. Speaking of P.J. Carlesimo and the Nets' recent turnaround ... well, what's caused it? The new coach hasn't had a ton of time to make any major structural changes to Brooklyn's scheme, but Coach Nick takes us through a few key shifts that have helped Carlesimo hit the ground running. (Also, a relatively soft schedule never hurt anybody.)
6th: Daily Thunder. With the Heat's continued struggles on the defensive glass actually starting to affect them somewhat — see their recent losses to the Utah Jazz, Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls, for example — it seems an argument could be made for going big against the Heat's smaller (or, as in the case of the "killer lineup" Arnovitz breaks down at TrueHoop, functionally smaller) units. That's got Royce Young wondering: Do we all owe Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks an apology for repeatedly criticizing his decision to play Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka together against the Heat in the NBA Finals back in June?
7th: The Point Forward. "Watch any Rockets game and you’re likely to experience a mental trigger — that immediate notion that something you’ve just seen is ever so slightly amiss." Namely: James Harden just got from the 3-point line to the rim in two shakes, and he just had to have walked, right? Well, maybe not. Rob Mahoney runs back the tape to see how the Houston Rockets star uses a little-considered clause in the two-step drive rule to its fullest extent, making life even more miserable for opposing defenders. (Which, as he showed last night, he can do just fine without walking, too.)
8th: Queen City Hoops. After watching the Indiana Pacers — the sixth-worst 3-point shooting team in the league, according to NBA.com's stat tool — light up the Charlotte Bobcats from long range to the tune of an 11-for-28 mark (nearly 40 percent) on Saturday, it occurred to Brett Hainline that a lot of teams seem to shoot really well from deep against the Bobcats, so he dug into the numbers to check his suspicion and dug into the tape to see if he couldn't figure out why. His conclusion: It ain't just that opponents are getting lucky.
9th: Boston Herald. Ahead of the Boston Celtics' Wednesday night matchup with the New Orleans Hornets, Steve Bulpett talks with Boston coach Doc Rivers and a number of C's about the unique experience of squaring off against Doc's son, Hornets rookie Austin Rivers. Jeff Green's not sweating it too much: “I don’t care if he’s Doc’s kid. Is he going to get mad at me? I mean, he wants us to stop him, right? If he comes into the lane, I’m going to hit him. Welcome to the NBA, kid.” Burly forwards in the paint aren't even going to be Austin's biggest problem — after all, he figures to see at least a bit of Avery Bradley, a defender brutal enough to make any offensive guard's soul burn slow and one who might not allow the struggling rookie (who's making just under one-third of his shots this year) a single bucket.
10th: Heading for the Exits. An important artistic historical exploration of NBA eyewear. Just lovely.
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