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.
PF: Fear the Sword. Being a Cleveland Cavaliers fan isn't much fun these days, so Ryan Mourton made a Bingo board to give Cavs fans something to enjoy during games. All of this is wonderful, but I think the fact that "Mike Brown Head Scratch" is the free square is my favorite part.
SF: The Brooklyn Game. Devin Kharpertian sits down with Andrei Kirilenko to talk about his approach to defense — how checking Kevin Durant is different from checking Carmelo Anthony, how he decides whether and when to provide help on particular players in particular situations, and more — and has the versatile Brooklyn Nets forward break down several defensive possessions in his own words.
SG: CelticsHub. Tom Westerholm looks at how Rajon Rondo made the Orlando Magic pay for going under ball screens during the Boston Celtics' home win on Sunday, with a special focus on a neat set and eventual counter with which Brad Stevens had some success.
PG: Ultimate Rockets. Thanks to alternating injuries, Houston Rockets point guards Jeremy Lin and Patrick Beverley have only shared the court in 22 of Houston's 49 games, and for just 309 total minutes, but the more head coach Kevin McHale sees of his two-point-guard alignment, the more he likes it. It's easy to understand why — over the last seven games, lineups featuring the Lin-Beverley backcourt are outscoring Houston opponents by a whopping 13.5 points per 100 possessions, according to NBA.com's lineup data, marrying the Rockets' trademark efficient uptempo offense with lockdown defense (the two-PG looks are allowing just 94.6 points-per-100 during the stretch, just a tick behind the Indiana Pacers' league-best full-season defensive rating), which could give McHale some intriguing small-ball options going forward.
6th: WarriorsWorld. Jasper Scherer comes in praise of Andrew Bogut, one of the main reasons why the Golden State Warriors have gone from routinely leaky defense to fourth-fewest points allowed per possession in the NBA this season.
7th: By the Horns. Avi Saini on why guys like D.J. Augustin, John Lucas III and Nate Robinson, who have washed out in a number of other destinations, become legitimate contributors with the Chicago Bulls: "The simple, obvious, and more boring answer is that [head coach Tom] Thibodeau has developed a system and offensive game plan that makes him a point guard whisperer of sorts. Just like with any other system, a guard’s success in the offense is dependent on multiple facets; however, there tends to be one aspect of the offense that acts as the backbone for everything. In Chicago’s case that’s lateral ball movement."
8th: Bleacher Report. A bit late on this, but good stuff from Ian Levy on what Giannis Antetokounmpo already does well and what the Milwaukee Bucks' young Greek rookie must do to go from exciting curiosity to consistently effective NBA wing.
9th: Grantland. I turn in another late pass to shout out Jonathan Abrams' cool feature on the Phoenix Suns, a team full of underestimated workers and grinders that continues to outperform expectations and, given its cap sheet and cache of upcoming draft picks, appears to have about as bright a future as any team in the NBA at the moment.
- - - - - - -