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: Wall Street Journal. In the light of the total-non-story-except-to-readers-who-think-it-is-a-story-so-we-have-to-cover-it of Carmelo Anthony saying he'd like to exercise his early termination option and become a free agent this summer, and in light of the New York Knicks' new general manager making clear from the very first Media Day opportunity he had that the team intends to do whatever it takes to keep Anthony in New York for the long haul, Chris Herring asks the question that many just seem to be glossing over: Is 'Melo actually worth the five-year, $129 million mega-max deal the Knicks seem so eager to give him?
PF: Heat.com. Danny Martinez digs into the randomness of free throws and how a bad year of "free throw defense" conspired to keep the Miami Heat from their fourth straight top-five finish in defensive efficiency last season.
SF: Charlotte Magazine. I was six years old when the Charlotte Hornets played their first professional basketball game; there's a pretty good chance that you, the blog consumer reading this, were even younger, or maybe not even born yet. Matt Crossman's oral history of the birth of that franchise — the way it energized the city, the way it made Muggsy Bogues into an iconic figure, the way it set the stage for the Larry Johnson/Alonzo Mourning days to come — is a sensational bit of information for those of us who don't quite remember it first-hand.
SG: TrueHoop. Kevin Arnovitz on the organizational ethos of the Portland Trail Blazers — "Develop the Aldridge-Lillard-Batum trio while accumulating assets and maintaining flexibility that can ultimately yield one more key piece" — and how it complicates the matter of setting expectations for Terry Stotts' club this season.
PG: Secret Rival. Mark Porcaro — who does work on the international hoops scene — updates us on the status of several top draft-and-stash products plying their trades overseas, including the jewel of European NBA prospects, Chicago Bulls draftee Nikola Mirotic.
7th: The Boston Globe. A good read from Baxter Holmes on Ron Adams, one of the most respected assistant coaches in the NBA, whose allegedly messy separation from the Chicago Bulls made him one of the game's most attractive, if under-the-radar, free agents, and who's now drawing raves as the centerpiece of Brad Stevens' coaching staff.
8th: Grantland. An interesting look from Brett Koremenos at the "boring, uninspiring exercises that are secretly fueling [Roy] Hibbert’s improvement as an athlete."
10th: Hardwood Paroxysm. The small army that now staffs this venerable resident of Blogfrica spent the last week singing the praises of the second-year players for whom they harbor ardent affection. Please enjoy reading why they love these sophomores, and please remember Skeets' entreaty that we not seriously consider second-year players for the Most Improved Player Award, because second-year players are supposed to improve from Year 1 to Year 2.
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