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: Hardwood Paroxysm. Noam Schiller on the ever-louder ticking clock in Oklahoma City, where The Year of Kevin Durant has come to a too-early end: "Now no longer playing with house money, staring free agency two years down the road and playing in a league where no long-term guarantee is safe from torn ligaments and Anthony Davis’ wingspan, there is an increasingly loud urgency factor."
PF: Daily Thunder. As the ticks get louder, Royce Young sets the table for the big question facing Sam Presti and company this offseason.
SF: SB Nation. A good read from Paul Flannery on the difficulty of finding the proper historical ranking or categorization for Tim Duncan, who "is best understood as an amalgam of Russell, Kareem and Olajuwon" but also seems to exist outside eras and trends.
6th: Salt Lake Tribune. Gordon Monson presents a composite sketch of what the next head coach of the Utah Jazz might look like, based on what the front office has emphasized in the weeks since parting ways with Tyrone Corbin. As he sees it, we're looking for a defensive-minded teacher with an appreciation of advanced analytics who's not looking to be a celebrity. I'm not sure who that is, but Hypothetical Coach sure sounds great.
7th: Hang Time. John Schuhmann, who's been keeping a close eye on the Miami Heat's not-quite-up-to-snuff defense for months now, on whether "better than it was six weeks ago" means "good enough to beat San Antonio."
8th: The Hook. Ghostface Ziller throwing knowledge darts on misplaced Heat hate: "For whatever reasons — the slow death of unions, the growing power of big business, rampant American deference to authority in some circles, lingering discomfort with the young, rich and often black wielding any sort of power — some fans just don't want to see an NBA where the stars of the show actually pull the strings."
9th: BSports. Jared Dubin with a very good, very thorough 10-question breakdown of the key issues at play in the 2014 NBA Finals.
10th: Philadunkia. With Nerlens Noel reportedly set to make his pro debut at Orlando Summer League after missing his entire rookie season rehabilitating a torn left ACL, Jeff McMenamin revisits what made the Kentucky big man such a sought-after prospect, the concerns about his health and long-term prognosis, and what his potential ceiling and floor mean for the future of the Philadelphia 76ers.
- - - - - - -