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: Slate. David Haglund spent more than a year trying to figure out why Delonte West no longer plays in the NBA. The resulting article — about the complications of psychological diagnoses, rumors run amok, reporting that doesn't lend itself to clear narratives and the persistence of certain stigmas — is well worth your time.
PF: BuzzFeed. "[…] the [finger] wag is what made Mutombo Mutombo, what turned a lumbering non-native English speaker who excelled on the forgotten end of the floor into a bona fide superstar." (Later: "'From the finger wag, I was able to raise many, many, many dollars from corporations and individuals to save lives in Africa,' Mutombo says.")
SF: NBA.com. Bill Russell — yes, Bill Russell — writes on the heightened stakes of the championship round, and why he still enjoys it so much: "I like to watch to see how teams react to the pressure because for the really great players, there isn't any pressure, you just go out and play."
SG: Statitudes. Justin Kubatko considers the Hall of Fame candidacy of Manu Ginobili, as it exists today. (This topic also came up during Zach Lowe's very good podcast interview with Jeff Van Gundy. I think the answer is yes, because while many would like there to be an NBA-only Hall of Fame, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame includes collegiate and international players and coaches, and Manu's one of the most decorated and international players of all time.)
6th: Posting and Toasting. A comedy = tragedy + time revisiting of the 2013-14 season series between the dreadful Milwaukee Bucks and dispiriting New York Knicks, a series that "posed some deep philosophical questions [like] who would win a game between one team that should be tanking, but doesn't realize it, and another team shouldn't be tanking, but doesn't realize it?"
7th: SB Nation. Good stuff abounds in this Finals preview, especially in Mike Prada's breakdown of what to keep an eye on in the Spurs' attempts to defend LeBron James and what Miami needs to do to disrupt San Antonio's offensive flow.
9th: GQ. Bethlehem Shoals on how the Spurs and Heat feature emotional styles less erratic than those of the teams they vanquished in the conference finals.
10th: Wyn Douglas. Very cool flowcharts detailing the lifecycles of trades, draft picks and other forms of asset transferal around the NBA — for example, what the Atlanta Hawks used to get Joe Johnson, what they got for him, what they turned that into, and what assets they still have available as a result of those transactions.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Delonte West