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: ESPN the Magazine. A fantastic feature from David Fleming on Stephen Curry's jumpshot, a work of art a lifetime in the making that takes all of 0.4 seconds to make opponents wince. (Just ask Dallas.)
PF: The Sporting Scene. Ben McGrath expands on a point in his New Yorker profile of Kobe Bryant that raised an awful lot of eyebrows and engendered an awful lot of debate — the Los Angeles Lakers star's response to an inquiry about whether he'd ever do something like the Miami Heat's all-hoodies team photo following Trayvon Martin's death — and offers a bit more context into the interesting question of what the man behind the newly formed Kobe Inc. represents, and could represent.
SF: Statitudes. Justin Kubatko reaches back into his memory and the statistical record to sing the praises of Horace Grant, a great example of NBA players "who can do many things well but lack a signature skill [and] tend to be underrated."
SG: SB Nation. Today's installment in diagnosing what ails the Indiana Pacers comes from Mike Prada: "The Pacers have failed in three critical areas: setting screens, throwing on-target passes and spacing the floor."
PG: A Wolf Among Wolves. As Minnesota Timberwolves fans and observers look at the surprising recent rise of rookie Gorgui Dieng at the five spot and wonder whether the Louisville product's ascent could mean starting center Nikola Pekovic isn’t long for the Twin Cities, Zach Harper urges caution and consideration: "Let’s not do the typical thing of discarding one asset because we have another."
6th: Hot Hot Hoops. In which an argument is made that Chris Andersen, a.k.a. "The Birdman," should be named the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year. I think this case is specious and that there are a number of other more deserving candidates, but I do like shouting out how important a piece Birdman's become for the Miami Heat on both ends of the court, especially when I can do so by linking to a post with a couple of sweet GIFs.
7th: Cowbell Kingdom. When Sacramento Kings head coach Mike Malone had literally nobody else to turn to at the point, he called Ray McCallum's number. Given all the minutes he can handle, the rookie's begun to turn some heads in Northern California.
8th: Bright Side of the Sun. Bryan Gibberman talks with Eric Bledsoe and head coach Jeff Hornacek about how the Phoenix Suns guard has had to alter his game after to adjust to the change in role from instant-chaos, short-stints reserve to big-minutes, foundational starter.
9th: The New York Times. Beckley Mason went to Barclays Center on Tuesday to see if the Houston Rockets looked like a real-deal title contender or a team that's not quite ready for a deep playoff push in a brutal Western Conference. He came away betting on the latter.
10th: PER Diem ($). Kevin Pelton runs the numbers on the teams who have had the best luck (and, by extension, most success) when it comes to keeping its players healthy this season, and which teams have had their campaigns most significantly impacted by injuries.
- - - - - - -