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: Wizards.com. The Washington Wizards announced late Wednesday afternoon that shooting guard Bradley Beal will miss the rest of his rookie season "with a stress injury in his right fibula," a.k.a. the calf bone, which is a bummer. The Florida product had already missed 18 games, but 11 were due to a sprained left ankle, five to a sprained right wrist and two to a sore back, so the right leg "stress injury" comes as something of a surprise and, obviously, an unwelcome one. (According to CSN Washington's J. Michael, the injury's connected to a right high ankle sprain through which Beal had been playing.)
Like the rest of the Wizards, the 2012 draft's No. 3 selection got off to a slow start, but came on strong after New Year's Day, averaging 15.5 points, just under four rebounds and 2 1/2 assists per game on 45.8 percent shooting from the floor and a scorching 48.4 percent mark from 3-point range. Preseason injuries to starters John Wall and Nene put the Wiz behind the proverbial 8-ball early this season, but in the 22 games Washington played with Wall, Nene and Beal in the lineup, the Wiz went 15-7; according to NBA.com's stat tool, in the 265 minutes the trio played together, Washington scored an average of 104.6 points per 100 possessions (a tick better than the Brooklyn Nets' No. 8-ranked offense over the full season) and allowed a microscopic 93.1 points-per-100, leaps and bounds better than even the Indiana Pacers' league-best D.
Small sample size alerts apply, of course, so one should be careful not to take those 265 minutes and just assume that a healthy Wizards team would've boasted top-10 units on both ends of the floor. But still: The Wizards have an awful lot to look forward to with a Wall-Beal-Nene core, and with Beal's development in general. Get well soon, Brad. At least you went out a winner.
PF: 48 Minutes of Hell. For years, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has been able to rely on Manu Ginobili as a secondary ball-handler, initiator and facilitator down the stretch of close games against tough opponents. But as Ginobili struggles through another injury-plagued season, Matthew Tynan writes, the numbers suggest that the 35-year-old Argentine legend might not be nearly as steady a hand, or attractive an option, in "clutch" situations these days.
SF: BrewHoop. It's been 20 games since the Milwaukee Bucks acquired J.J. Redick from the Orlando Magic at the Feb. 21 trade deadline, and while the sample sizes are small, Steve von Horn wanted to take a look at which lineup combinations — five-man units, four-man groups, trios and pairs — have been most and least effective for Jim Boylan's team as it preps to make a playoff run. The numbers backup what the eye test tells us: The starting backcourt of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings appear to be going in sharply, sharply different directions.
SG: The Brooklyn Game. In terms of two-way impact, I'd still rather have Tim Duncan or Marc Gasol, but the fact that Devin Kharpertian's argument for Brooklyn Nets big man Brook Lopez as a deserving selection on the All-NBA First Team even sounds reasonable speaks volumes about how impressive Lopez has been this season.
PG: USA TODAY Sports. Former Golden State Warriors big man and current Sacramento Kings big man coach Clifford Ray recounts the story of the time his go-go Gadget arms were deployed in the service of saving a dolphin's life. Yes, I agree, that is a very weird sentence, so you should go watch the video.
6th: TrueHoop. Henry Abbott has been watching a ton of tape on foul calls drawn by star players, and he's come to one inescapable conclusion — the way so-called "superstar whistles" are handled infuriates everyone ... even, oddly, the superstars themselves.
7th: HoopChalk. After a red-hot start to the season from beyond the arc, Jason Kidd's 3-point accuracy has dropped off precipitously since Jan. 1. What gives? As Dylan Murphy found out through what appears to be quite a bit of tape study of "the three Jason Kidds," the answer seems to be the New York Knicks guard's footwork.
8th: The Two Man Game. A nice, if a bit sad, read from Brian Rubaie on Dallas Mavericks fans trying to find silver linings and remembering to take pride in their team after the kind of likely-season-ending loss that makes a man say to his wife, "Well, that was … heartbreaking, huh?"
9th: The Dream Shake. Ever since the Houston Rockets made their trade deadline deal to import 2012 lottery pick Thomas Robinson from the Sacramento Kings and ship out key power forwards Patrick Patterson and Marcus Morris, coach Kevin McHale has had to wrestle with the difficult question of who he should lean on at the four spot down the stretch and into the playoffs. Rockets blogger Matt Stephens makes a suggestion — formerly unheralded, now virtually indispensable ex-D-Leaguer Greg Smith.
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