Arron Afflalo, coach Jacque Vaughn, Victor Oladipo and Moe Harkless: all Hennigan additions. (Joshua C. Cruey/Orlando …
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: SB Nation. Tyler Lashbrook does a nice job of detailing how Rob Hennigan has almost completely turned over the Orlando Magic organization and roster in the space of about 19 months, which hasn't yet resulted in a whole lot of wins, but has positioned the franchise for a bounce-back from the doldrums of the end of the Dwight Howard era far faster than many expected.
PF: D.C. Sports Bog. Dan Steinberg with the in-turns heartbreaking and heartening story of Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat bringing the widow and 8-year-old son of a deceased Polish soldier to D.C. because ... well, because he wanted to do something for people who had lost everything, I guess.
SF: The Point Forward. Rob Mahoney goes deep on something Marc J. Spears also wrote about today: how the Houston Rockets have made the jump from second-tier playoff squad to legitimate consideration as a potential title contender.
SG: SB Nation. David Roth attended Jason Collins' Sunday debut for the Brooklyn Nets and was most struck not by the applause the 7-foot center received, but by the silence that followed and that will follow, in which Collins' game has always resided and which Collins has earned as much as he's earned widespread national recognition as a gay-rights groundbreaker.
PG: Hardwood Paroxysm. Andrew Lynch, with a visualization assist from Ian Levy, dug deep, deep into Basketball-Reference.com's league-wide offensive and defensive efficiency numbers going all the way back to the 1973-74 season, with an aim of figuring out how much better or worse an NBA team was than a league-average offense/defense in one particular season, and then figuring out which individual teams outperformed or underperformed their season's league average by the biggest amount. Basically, this lets you figure out which teams' offensive and defensive performances were the most impressive (or depressing) on a year-to-year basis over the course of the last four decades, and it lets you do all sorts of sorting, tweaking, massaging and mangling. It's really interesting, if you're of a mind to play with it.
6th: Sports on Earth. Howard Megdal thinks that all this Raymond Felton business really makes the New York Knicks' decision to let Jeremy Lin join the Houston Rockets a couple of summers ago seem worse. Maybe not "Jim Fregosi-for-Nolan Ryan" worse, but still: worse.
7th: Save Our Bucks. John Hammond has brought in an awful lot of players via the draft, free agency and trade during his time as the Milwaukee Bucks' general manager; he's also shown a tendency to jettison those very same players in very short order, whether because they've underperformed, because they're clogging up cap space, or both. The folks behind the billboard begging the Bucks to bottom out take a look at Hammond's "revolving door" policy and wonders whether anything can get better if it doesn't change.
8th: Bucksketball. Speaking of that revolving door: With Caron Butler and the Bucks reportedly nearing a buyout agreement, Jeremy Schmidt recaps the veteran forward's six-month stint with the hometown team he got so emotional about joining back in September: "He had a couple of really good nights, and I mean that literally."
9th: The International Passion. Every year, the debate about whether Russell Westbrook's in some way holding Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder crops up again, and every year, we read impassioned (and, to my eye, correct) defenses of the All-Star point guard's value to the league's leading scorer and the West's top team. This one wonders how we'd relate to Westbrook and Derrick Rose if the two had switched places a few years back, which strikes me as a fairly interesting thought experiment. The point, as always: Russell Westbrook is much more of a solution than he is a problem.
10th: Minneapolis Star-Tribune. After getting his first extended playing time of the season, busting loose for 20 points in 24 minutes and scoring 10 in the fourth quarter to help the Minnesota Timberwolves score an impressive and potentially important road win over the Phoenix Suns, what was rookie Shabazz Muhammad's favorite part of his breakout game as a pro? "The two big rebounds at the end."
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