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: Sports on Earth. Mike Piellucci considers the sideline item that's drawn quite a bit of media attention in the Odom story — the "distorted game of Clue" so many are playing, "competing to decipher how Odom killed his career, with what substances, in which cities" — and how that ignores the myriad miserable factors that might also have contributed to the deterioration of his game and life over the years.
SF: Statitudes. Justin Kubatko's fun "in a box" breakdown of the history of the NBA's Rookie of the Year Award informs us that the median size of an ROY winner is 6-foot-7, 218 pounds, which makes me think we should make Chase Budinger the official logo of the Rookie of the Year Award, despite the fact that he did not win it.
SG: Complex Sports. If you are a basketball fan of a certain age (say, somewhere between 25 and 35) and temperament (say, at least kind of into hip-hop and highlights), you may well find this oral history of the rise and fall of the AND1 Mixtape Tour well worth the time.
PG: The New York Times. I'm a couple of days late on this, and a couple of repeat reads through it, but I can't help thinking that Udonis Haslem's wedding announcement is one of the more fascinating things I've read in a while — I mean, it's very much an NYT wedding piece, but the content, the nature of the story and the presentation are all, to say the least, different. Nevertheless, it sounds like it was a wonderful affair, and we congratulate the stalwart Miami Heat power forward and his new bride.
6th: Hang Time. Great stuff from John Schuhmann, who digs into the statistical profile of last year's Los Angeles Clippers and game tape from the Clips' disappointing first-round ouster by the Memphis Grizzlies in search of the real cause for concern heading into Year 1 of the Doc Rivers era: the frontcourt defense of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, and the departure of several key bench cogs (including Odom).
7th: The Arizona Republic. Paul Coro takes a look back at the disastrous Lance Blanks era for the Phoenix Suns, which ended with the hire of Ryan McDonough this summer and has few remaining traces of note: "Like Beasley, Blanks will collect Suns paychecks this season while watching from afar to see if his replacement can fare better."
8th: Denver Stiffs. Jeffrey Morton remembers Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, whose hiccup-quick release made him a deadly marksman, whose religious beliefs and politics made him a lightning rod, and whose size/defensive shortcomings made him a liability; the combination of all that makes him a pretty fascinating guy to revisit.
9th: HoopChalk. We know that Jeff Hornacek, like George Clooney in "Up in the Air," has a number in mind for his Suns when it comes to the sort of nightly scoring output they'll need to compete. (They won't really compete anyway, which is the plan, but whatever.) So how might the first-year head coach go about hitting that 103-point mark? Ian Levy takes a look at some offensive sets the Utah Jazz favored during Hornacek's time as an assistant in search of methods he might use to get the Phoenix offense up and running again.
10th: Magic Basketball. Spencer Lund on Tracy McGrady, Joe DiMaggio, Keats, Picasso, Hendrix, misfiring neural transmitters, unadulterated skill and how hard it can be to find the right words. A fun bit of wrestling.
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