Without Russell Westbrook, OKC's offense looks worlds different. (Christian Petersen/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: Daily Thunder, Welcome to Loud City, ESPN Insider and SB Nation. Royce Young, Zebulun Benbrook, Kevin Pelton and Drew Garrison all offer their opinions on and analysis of just how badly Russell Westbrook's four-to-six-week absence due to arthroscopic knee surgery figures to harm the Oklahoma City Thunder's chances of repeating as the Western Conference's No. 1 seed and making a second run to the NBA finals in three seasons.
PF: FOX Sports Florida. Michael Beasley with a really interesting quote about why he chose to return to the Miami Heat on a non-guaranteed minimum contract after being waived by the Phoenix Suns: "At this point in my life and career, I didn't want to guess anymore." (He also said that he's "not going to be looking at not making mistakes or trying not to mess up," though, but rather just "to do things the right way consistently," so whether he sticks with the back-to-back champs remains to be seen.)
SF: Salt Lake Tribune. Gordon Monson on the interesting question of what kind of year the Utah Jazz need to have for head coach Ty Corbin, who's presently in the last year of his contract, to get the chance to stick around and develop his super-young five-man core (Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Alec Burks and Trey Burke) as well as whatever prize the expected-to-struggle Jazz land in the 2014 NBA draft.
SG: RealGM. Preseason predictions are all fine, well and good, Jonathan Tjarks writes, but if you really want to know which team's going to hoist the O'Brien come late June, the answer typically works out to be some variation of, "Whoever's the most healthy." (That sound you just heard was the entirety of Oklahoma City Thunder fandom sharing one more gargantuan gulp.)
PG: The Oregonian. LaMarcus Aldridge swears that he isn't looking to shoot his way out of Portland, that he loves what the Blazers did this offseason and that he's all about getting back to the playoffs this year: "I want to win. I wasn't winning and I was frustrated and things got blown out of proportion. And that's it. I'm here. I'm happy."
6th: Bright Side of the Sun. Marcin Gortat on what it's like to be the highest-paid player on, and in the final year of his contract with, a very evidently rebuilding Phoenix Suns team, and how he's approaching the likelihood that he's not long for the desert: "We all know what's going to happen [...] It's a business. I totally understand that. I totally understand the situation. There's no hard feelings."
7th: Wall Street Journal. A sharp read from Chris Herring on why the man with the greatest responsibility in pushing the New York Knicks past the second round of the NBA playoffs isn't star forward Carmelo Anthony, but rather head coach Mike Woodson.
8th: National Post, NOW Toronto and Toronto Star. Canadian scribes Eric Koreen, Holly MacKenzie and Cathal Kelly all take whacks at trying to separate the signal from static in Monday's big announcement of a partnership with platinum-selling recording artist and new "global ambassador" Drake.
9th: Hang Time. Scott Howard-Cooper on Doc Rivers' open challenge to DeAndre Jordan to be an All-Defense-caliber player: "The difference between Jordan reaching his potential as a rim-protector and rebounder [...] and Jordan as a frustrating tease could end up as the difference between the Clippers as legit contenders to win the West or another letdown finish."
10th: New York Post. Kevin Garnett clarifies why he agreed to waive his no-trade clause to leave the Boston Celtics and join the Brooklyn Nets ("I’m here to win a ring") and why he's not necessarily on-board with new head coach Jason Kidd's plan to keep the 37-year-old defensive genius out of the second game of back-to-back sets ("[...] from a chemistry standpoint I think it’s important for me to be out there with everybody, and speed the chemistry process up a little quicker").
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