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: Hang Time. As Team USA prepares for Friday's USA Basketball Showcase, John Schuhmann revisits the weeklong camp in Las Vegas to identify which players look like locks to represent the United States in Spain at the FIBA Basketball World Cup and which competitors are on the bubble.
PF: Pattern of Basketball. The battle for the backup center spot stands as one of the more interesting positional struggles on the U.S. squad, especially with word circulating that rising Brooklyn Nets sophomore Mason Plumlee (who played for USA coach Mike Krzyzewski at Duke) might be ahead of Sacramento Kings near-All-Star DeMarcus Cousins on the American depth chart. Jonathan Tjarks' succinct take: "On one level, you can see the argument for taking Mason Plumlee over Demarcus Cousins […] On another level, though, c'mon."
SF: Grizzly Bear Blues. An eight-step justification for rooting for Spain, and not the U.S., during the FIBA World Cup.
SG: Heat.com. A great breakdown by Couper Moorhead of how the loss of LeBron James and the additions of Luol Deng and Josh McRoberts will change the Miami Heat's offense. Would you believe "not very much?"
PG: The Classical. In which Ian Levy sees his own worst memories in the disappointing bluish blobs of Evan Turner's 2013-14 shot chart: " This is where Turner finds open three-pointers as the trailer on a fast break. It’s also where my first girlfriend broke up with me."
6th: 8 Points, 9 Seconds. If you're an Indiana Pacers fan unsure that going from Lance Stephenson to Rodney Stuckey is an especially great move, take heart — Rafael Canton's here to plumb the depths of history and tell you that a fairly similar offseason talent downgrade once worked out pretty well for the Pacers.
7th: Philadunkia. One year down the line, has Sam Hinkie done enough in terms of implementing his long-range plan for the Philadelphia 76ers to win over the skeptical Jeff McMenamin?
8th: Bleacher Report. Fred Katz's discussion of the difficulties of properly evaluating team and individual defense at the NBA level includes some fervent preaching of the gospel of off-ball defense: "If a defense is taking away a ball-handler's options, it can force the offense into bad decisions and poor shot selection, and that's ultimately the goal of defending."
9th: Mavs Moneyball. A long read on spending a year watching your favorite team build toward a championship and watching your father slip away, and how remembering "it this way, with Dad and the champion Mavs all mashed together […] gives me a context in which I can face things that are worth facing."
10th: The 700 Level. A 100 percent true oral history of "Cookin' with Altitude," a cookbook featuring several members of the 2001 Denver Nuggets, that is based in fact, rigorously reported and, above all else, indisputably real.
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