The 10-man rotation, starring deep thoughts about dunks, dunkers and dunking

Ball Don't Lie

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: The Diss. Jacob Greenberg digs into what makes the slam dunk the play that most invigorates us, the stigma of being "just a dunker" and more. It's a fun, smart read.

PF: TrueHoop. Kevin Arnovitz talks with members of the Milwaukee Bucks front office about the team's clear aversion to tanking and commitment to competing for a playoff berth, even if it means a perpetual position as first-round fodder. It's a position fewer and fewer teams are taking, given the challenges of building a title contender in a small market with nothing but mid-first-round picks, but does that mean the Bucks are wrong for taking it?

SF: 8 Points, 9 Seconds. Jon Washburn reviews the offseason overhaul of the Indiana Pacers bench: "The question to me is not whether or not the Pacers’ upgrades make them better than the Heat, but do those upgrades make them the best in the East?"

SG: Brooklyn's Finest. Brian Faith takes a look at what sort of defensive schemes first-time head coach Jason Kidd might favor next season as he tries to elevate the Brooklyn Nets from a middling defense up near the top of the pack, even when Kevin Garnett's not on the floor.

PG: Sports on Earth. Dylan Murphy reports from the NBA D-League National Referee Tryout, which I did not know was a thing, about the processes of becoming a referee and evaluating a referee. It's remarkably interesting, considering it is a story about officiating.

6th: Sports Illustrated and ESPN. Good reads from Phil Taylor and J.A. Adande on newly minted Hall of Famer Gary Payton, focusing on — what else? — his predilection toward talking trash.

7th: As we get set to induct the newest class of Hall of Famers, Greg Esposito makes the case for Kevin Johnson's enshrinement in Springfield.

8th: YouTube user pennyccwai. A five-minute compilation of Allen Iverson crossing dudes up. There are worse ways to spend five minutes. (Thanks, Marcel Mutoni.)

9th: The Brooklyn Game. R.I.P., Reggie Evans' beard.

10th: ESPN Insider ($). Amin Elhassan argues for the elimination of max contracts, which he calls "outdated" and says do more to hurt teams than help them. Reached for comment, the National Basketball Players Association said, "So?" (Not really.)

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