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: ClipperBlog. It has been incorrect to say that all Blake Griffin can do is dunk for quite a while now, but after watching the Los Angeles Clippers' All-Star power forward become "the starters’ primary playmaker" in half-court settings and in transition with point guard Chris Paul sidelined due to injury, as Seerat Sohi notes, saying that's downright laughable these days. She leaves us with an interesting question: "When do we stop punishing Griffin for his shortcomings and begin to appreciate the unique talent which only he can bring to said table?" (For more on the reasons to quit hating on Blake, check out this recent Tom Ziller take at SB Nation.)
PF: Bleacher Report. A bit late on this one, but Tom Sunnergren's piece on how the NBA's move toward Big Data will, could or perhaps even already has impacted head coaches and the way their employers view them — something I wrote about a bit from the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference a couple of years back — makes for a really interesting read.
SF: The Point Forward. Rob Mahoney nails down several issues with the way the league's Most Important Player award has been handed out over the years, identifies several candidates who track with past categories of winners, and lobbies for honoring players who — despite significantly higher billing than the second-tier players to whom this award typically goes — might have more legitimate claims to the letter-of-the-law title.
SG: ESPN.com and MagicBasketball.net. Ramona Shelburne and Jacob Frankel come in praise of Arron Afflalo, who has played like an All-Star on an Orlando Magic team that's needed him to do a little bit (or an awful lot) of everything.
PG: The Triangle and Hardwood Paroxysm. Danny Chau and Scott Rafferty on the resurrection of James Johnson, a former first-round pick who had failed to stick with three different teams in four NBA seasons before a trip to the D-League and an opportunity to "go get it" on the defensive end with the Memphis Grizzlies turned him into an unlikely shot in the arm for one of the NBA's hottest teams.
6th: ESPN Boston. Chris Forsberg digs into what a contract extension that keeps Rajon Rondo with the Boston Celtics might look like financially, and why it might be in both sides' best interests to take their time in negotiating a deal. (More Rondo: Jessica Camerato's got a nice look at how ACL rehab affected him, and how the point guard dealt with the challenge of only having so much control over his circumstances.)
7th: Salt Lake Tribune. Gordon Monson looks at Tyrone Corbin, in the final year of his contract and not seeing any indication that a new regime that didn't hire him wants to bring him back, and wonders if there's any compelling reason for the Utah Jazz to extend the man who's led the franchise for the last three-plus seasons. If the barometer is competing night in and night out, well, the fact that he's got Utah playing .500 ball since their disastrous 1-14 start (and 15-18 since rookie Trey Burke made his season debut) could help his case. If it's making strides on defense, though, Utah's dead-last-in-the-league defense, which has actually allowed more points per possession over the last 30 games than it did during the 1-14 start, could spell Corbin's doom.
8th: Gothic Ginobili. I really enjoyed this back-and-forth deep dive on what's up with the San Antonio Spurs — murdering non-elite competition, struggling to beat the best, not getting the boost from their supporting cast they usually do — and how Spurs fans are dealing with it, and what it all means for the future. Smart stuff.
9th: Cavs: The Blog. Patrick Redford considers the recent increase in criticism of the Cleveland Cavaliers' two-time All-Star point guard, which comes with this interesting observation about the third-year man's form: "Kyrie Irving is healthy this year, but he’s playing more like he is injured now than when he was injured."
10th: Fear the Sword. A compelling read on identifying with Delonte West, struggling with bipolar disorder, finding an outlet on the court and the importance of being willing to reach out for help.
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