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: San Antonio Express-News. "'He didn't have a great angle, but he still threw it because he's Manu,' [Danny] Green said. 'He threw a curve ball.'” (Mike Prada breaks down the baseline hammer set that led to this Manu Ginobili gem over at SB Nation.)
PF: ESPN.com. A really good profile by Jeff MacGregor on Chris Andersen, the Miami Heat's energetic defensive difference-maker, who "might be the best seventh man in basketball" and whose well-established love of self-decoration might be about something more than being colorful: "But the ink is also a way to hide in plain sight. A disguise. A body double. Armor. As much an erasure as a declaration, Birdman is a fiction. A character. He tells his story at the same time he edits it at the very moment he hides inside it."
SF: Heat.com. Couper Moorhead with a great breakdown of how the Heat's primary defensive adjustment between a Game 1 loss and a Game 2 win was not to adjust anything except doing things better more often. Pretty good strat, if you ask me.
SG: Grantland. There are a slew of wonderful lines in Brian Phillips' tracing of Russell Westbrook's rise from sub-6-foot Compton resident to All-NBA world-breaker, and this one might be my favorite: "He plays like a new superhero who’s not fully in control of his powers, because that, in effect, is what he is." Or maybe it's this: "… a point guard lives in the calm at the center of the game, in the silent geometry of it. Westbrook lived in the roar." Or this: "Talent hits a target no one else can hit; genius hits a target no one else can see; Westbrook sees a target no one else would even recognize as a target." (You get the idea.)
PG: The Score. Mark Deeks delves into the collective bargaining agreement to explain why contract extensions "are increasingly impossible and unlikely" under league rules, and why the way the system is set up winds up harming teams like the Toronto Raptors and players like Kyle Lowry: "… if Lowry wants to stay, Toronto wants Lowry to stay, and they agree a price, [why] can Lowry not tie things down tomorrow, just because he was underpaid for his work to date?"
6th: Hoop365. Deeks again, elsewhere, this time encouraging those who took Tuesday's draft lottery broadcast as an opportunity to be creeps to, y'know, stop being creeps.
8th: Spurs Nation. A full transcript of Gregg Popovich's long chat with reporters between Games 1 and 2 of the San Antonio Spurs' Western Conference finals series with the Oklahoma City Thunder, including a moment of reflection on the flip-side of limiting his players' minutes to keep them healthy and fresh: "I always think about our guys sometimes, and their stats. They really get screwed sometimes, playing for me."
9th: A Screaming Comes Across the Court. "So far homecourt advantage has been roughly a full point less in the playoffs than the regular season […] That's the worst differential by far since 2000."
10th: Hardwood Paroxysm. Dan Diamond hopes that, amid ongoing talk about Paul George's concussion and the prospect of him missing time as a result, we take advantage of the "opportunity […] to move past knee-jerk reactions questioning toughness and maturity […] and take up the challenge of grappling with the slippery nature of brain injuries."
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- Sports & Recreation
- Manu Ginobili