Damian Lillard and Nicolas Batum have the Blazers riding high out west. (Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports)
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: ESPN Insider ($) and ProBasketballTalk. After a 118-110 overtime win over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, the Portland Trail Blazers stand at 8-2 on the season, winners of six straight games, in possession of the league's third-best offense and alone atop the Northwest Division. But as good as they've looked in rolling up the NBA's third-best record through 10 games, Kevin Pelton and Dan Feldman each see reasons to temper enthusiasm about Terry Stotts' squad, starting with the schedule they faced, the workload they're putting on their starters and the long odds against them keeping it up all the way through a grueling 82-game slate.
PF: SB Nation. James Herbert on Nicolas Batum, Portland's do-everything wing, who's spacing the floor, helping on the glass, finding his teammates, defending the opposing team's best player and, when you least expect it, banging on unsuspecting Lithuanians. As All-Star teammate LaMarcus Aldridge says, "He always blends in, then he stands out."
SF: Liberty Ballers. Derek Bodner breaks down how Spencer Hawes, playing the best basketball of his NBA career through the season's first 11 games, has begun making the game easier on offense for his Philadelphia 76ers teammates.
SG: Dirty Tackle. Yahoo Sports soccer blogger Brooks Peck offers his take on reports that David Beckham has reached out to LeBron James to gauge the Miami Heat star's interest in a potential ownership stake in a prospective Miami-based Major League Soccer franchise.
PG: Bucksketball. With the Milwaukee Bucks struggling to the league's fourth least-potent offense per 100 possessions, K.L. Chouinard takes a look at the shot charts and shooting tendencies of every player on Larry Drew's roster in search of some trends, themes, hot spots and ice-cold regions. The general idea: "shiny numbers from three-point range and less glossy numbers from everywhere else."
7th: The Nation. Dave Zirin on Len Bias, who should have turned 50 on Monday, and the "shock doctrine" aftermath of his tragic death: "What people in power have done with his memory has metastasized that tragedy beyond comprehension."
9th: Hang Time. A few days late on this, but Steve Aschburner's alternate-reality thought experiment on what life in the NBA would've been like had LeBron James stayed in Cleveland makes for an interesting read.
10th: Hawks Basketblog. Elton Brand's attempt to figure out Twitter lasted all of one day.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Portland Trail Blazers
- Toronto Raptors