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: DraftExpress. Mike Schmitz offers an in-depth video scouting breakdown of Nikola Mirotic, a 2011 first-round pick who has become one of the top players in Europe and who may or may not be the stretch-four of the future for the Chicago Bulls. If you've heard his name but never really seen him play, this offers a nice encapsulation of the strengths and weaknesses in his game.
PF: Cavs: The Blog. Kevin Hetrick would like to know what the heck happened to Uncle Drew's ability to get buckets during the 2012-13 All-Star break: "Suddenly last February, Kyrie Irving became a run of the mill, volume chucker."
SF: Rufus on Fire. Elsewhere in "What's wrong with our point guard's offense?" news, Ben Swanson takes a look at Kemba Walker's slow start to the season, what's changed in the Charlotte Bobcats triggerman's offensive output and how Steve Clifford and company might get their table-setter back on track.
SG: 48 Minutes of Hell. A really fun read from Andrew McNeill, who spoke with several San Antonio Spurs about Manu Ginobili's often-unpredictable passing and what it's like to play with someone who is " not going to just throw the perfect chest pass if he can throw it behind his back or over his head to get it to you perfectly."
PG: The Toronto Star. Cathal Kelly listens to those saying Sunday's trade of Rudy Gay and others to the Sacramento Kings is intended toward tanking, but given Gay's penchant for shot-taking and struggle with shot-making, he's not so sure: "If the goal all along was to lose games, Gay was a mission critical part of the package." Grantland's Zach Lowe concurs, calling "the current version of Gay [...] basically a harmful player."
6th: The Hook. Ziller examines how Gay's offensive efficiency has plummeted as his offensive role has increased, and wonders whether the Kings — featuring the league's highest-usage player in DeMarcus Cousins and another possession-eater, point guard Isaiah Thomas, who's about to enter the starting lineup — could get more bang for their buck by forcing Gay to do less.
7th: The Rotation. Colin McGowan on what grinds his gears about much of the criticism of Gay's game, and the games of other "inefficient" players: "When you take a criticism of a player’s tendencies, and blow it up into a larger argument about how the player is somehow wrong to play the way he does — as if being wrong is of any consequence in the playland of sports — you tend to come off as a scolding bore and anti-aesthete."
8th: Valley of the Suns. The Phoenix Suns have stunned an awful lot of us by going 11-9 in their first 20 games, sitting just a half-game out of a playoff slot in the double-tough Western Conference nearly a quarter of the way through a season in which they were expected to post one of the worst records in recent memory ... and yet clearing the balance sheet, accumulating future assets and aiming toward true top-level contention in the years to come remains the franchise's primary goal. What, then, should general manager Ryan McDonough do about Channing Frye, a comparatively expensive veteran who could bring back some value before the February trade deadline, but also provides plenty as a leader who contributes in the Phoenix locker room?
9th: ESPN Boston. Brad Stevens is "not doing cartwheels" after his Boston Celtics blew out the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, and his post-game speech was "boring as heck." Dude sounds like a thrill a minute, but clearly he's doing something right to have the picked-to-crater Celtics at 10-12 and atop the admittedly acrid Atlantic Division.
10th: CelticsHub. But lest we heap too much credit on the coach and give his players short shrift, Tom Westerholm is here to sing the praises of misfit toys like Eastern Conference Player of the Week (no, seriously) Jordan Crawford, who might have been put in position to succeed, but still have to do the job of actually succeeding.
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