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: Sports on Earth. A very cool 16-or-so-minute short film about Rick Barry shooting underhand free throws, the subsequent resistance to both the high-percentage shot and its loudest, brashest advocate, and more.
PF: The Hook. An anonymous ex-NBA star told ESPN that the advancing analytics movement, and the rising tide of stat-savvy folks being hired to front-office jobs, has led longtime "basketball guys [to] feel under-utilized and under-appreciated and [...] quite insulted because their PhDs in basketball have been downgraded." After having a laugh or two (or three or four) at the term "basketball PhDs," Tom Ziller corrects the incorrectly presented perception of recent hires and suggests that the "quoted ex-player is just mad that NBA playing experience is no longer the fastest track to one of those coveted NBA general manager jobs," which sounds about right.
(And this is where we remind you, as we always do when this comes up, that "stats vs. eyes" is a false fight that nobody wins because the best front offices, coaches and writers understand the importance of mixing the two and never relying solely on either. As you were.)
SF: National Post. Yes, the Toronto Raptors have been the league's premier fourth-quarter team for the bulk of this season. And yet, they've lost a bunch of close games late, including one on Tuesday, that have kept them from locking up the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. What's gone on in those "clutch" situations? Eric Koreen
SG: The Point Forward. Rob Mahoney on the almost literally incomparable Anthony Davis, whose exponential improvement from Year 1 to Year 2 gives the New Orleans Pelicans an awful lot of options as they go about the business of surrounding "the league’s surest bet for superstardom" with complementary pieces in pursuit of title contention. (Getting their existing complementary pieces healthy next season would be a big plus.)
PG: Us vs. Th3m. I don't really understand "2048," because I am 1 million years old in Internet years, but if you would like to play an NBA-themed version of "2048," well, this is where you can do that.
7th: Bleacher Report. Dylan Murphy offers a nice Xs-and-Os walkthrough of some triangle offense actions in an attempt to answer the big question facing the post-Phil Jackson New York Knicks: Would Carmelo Anthony be a good fit in the triangle?
8th: Grantland. Good stuff from Kirk Goldsberry on the Dallas Mavericks, an offensive juggernaut powered by the unerring shooting of Dirk Nowitzki, which makes Monta Ellis much more dangerous than he was in Milwaukee and might be elsewhere, which gives Rick Carlisle more opportunities to get creative in maximizing said offense, which creates the sort of winning culture that makes guys like Monta want to take less money to play with guys like Dirk, who create the culture in the first place, and everything is connected, and everything is illuminated, and basketball is breath is blood is life, forever and ever, amen. (Or something like that.)
9th: Denver Stiffs. Amid a fairly depressing Denver Nuggets season, Nate Timmons finds himself refreshed by recent celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the '94 upset kings and wonders whether next year's Denver squad would do well to take a page out of the past, too: "Maybe the Nuggets need to take a page from their own history and build a bond between organization/players/city that quite frankly we haven't seen since then."
10th: Red94. John Wilmes plants tongue in cheek and thinks hard about the league leaders in moral victories (MVs) and moral losses (MLs), with a special wag of the finger for the flailing Portland Trail Blazers: "Too much good luck can breed false impressions, lazy minds, and staggering ML%."
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