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: Hardwood Paroxysm. Before they lit up the Philadelphia 76ers, the Minnesota Timberwolves suffered yet another bad late loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, leading Derek James to break down Minnesota's persistent struggles with late-game execution, which could wind up being the difference between a playoff berth and a third straight early summer vacation.
PF: Hang Time and ESPN Insider ($). Those close-and-late problems have combined to obscure the fact that Rick Adelman's Wolves are better than their 17-17 record, as both John Schuhmann and Kevin Pelton explain. (Parallel thinking!)
SF: Denver Stiffs. Andrew Feinstein takes a look at the up-and-down Denver Nuggets (up now, down just a few days ago) and sees a team in need of a clear statement of purpose that lacks "a defining personality."
SG: The Point Forward. Exceptional work by Rob Mahoney in showing how four teams with widely varying systems, players, styles and abilities use the pick-and-roll in different ways to generate offense.
PG: Uni Watch. With the Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets preparing to take the court in nickname-bearing jerseys for their Friday night matchup, Paul Lukas reminds us that this isn't the first "nickNOB" rodeo for the NBA ... or other pro sports leagues, for that matter.
6th: Bleacher Report and LA Weekly. They take (very) different paths to get there, but both Kevin Ding and Jeff Weiss frame the Los Angeles Lakers' recent/ongoing unwillingness to part ways with Pau Gasol as proof of the organization holding firm to "never give up, never surrender" identity they've cultivated over the years.
7th: The Hook. Tom Ziller's column on discussions of whether "clutch" exist and what believing it doesn't might mean for one's fandom is a great and unique spin on a much-batted-around topic. Super fun read.
8th: Box Score Geeks. Noted optimist Andrés Alvarez finds the dark cloud within the silver lining of the Indiana Pacers' scorching start to the season: "The worst place a coach can be is on a team playing above their level."
9th: Mavs Outsider Report. Bryan Gutierrez takes stock of a Dallas Mavericks team that's holding down the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference but seems to be lacking cohesion (especially on the defensive end) and possibly enough firepower to put a scare into the West's elite: "... the Mavericks appear to be at least one or two players away from making some significant headway in their overall development."
10th: Fear the Sword. David Zavac speaks plainly and forcefully about a grey cloud within the silver lining of the Cleveland Cavaliers' C.J. Miles-led Tuesday blowout of the Philadelphia 76ers: "Anthony Bennett had a bad game last night and quit." (Drew Garrison made a GIF of the late-fourth-quarter pick-and-roll Zavac mentions. It's pretty damning.)
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