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: National Post, The Toronto Star and Raptors Republic. In the midst of a four-game win streak at the tail end of one of the most successful campaigns in Toronto Raptors history, Eric Koreen, Doug Smith and Blake Murphy all see some real cause for concern in the way Dwane Casey's club is playing defense these days without injured interior linchpin Amir Johnson.
PF: The Bird Writes. The New Orleans Pelicans bid adieu to Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon, whom the Pelicans announced Thursday will miss the rest of the 2013-14 season with back spasms and a left knee injury, respectively. Snuck into the Pelicans' injury announcement? Word that Gordon will have arthroscopic surgery on that left knee, which nobody was expecting and is an unwelcome development (to say the least) that continues the dismal state of affairs surrounding Gordon's health since he got to the Big Easy. Also, here's this depressing sentence: "Al-Farouq Aminu remains the only active Pelican from our original group of starters when the season started in October." Get well soon, everybody.
SF: The Lowe Post. Friends of the program Zach Lowe and Kevin Pelton talk about advanced statistics like ESPN's newly introduced "Real Plus-Minus," women's college and pro basketball, memorabilia, the Indiana Pacers and other things.
SG: Hickory High. Speaking of RPM, Kevin Ferrigan has some concerns about the notion that it's a stat that can "totally attribute the impact of an individual player to the margin of victory in a basketball season."
PG: Eye on Basketball. Zach Harper takes a look at the steps Kawhi Leonard has taken to improve his all-around game — his shooting, his playmaking, his on-ball and help defense, etc. — since joining the San Antonio Spurs three seasons ago, and why head coach Gregg Popovich thinks the sky is the limit for his quiet young swingman.
6th: Bleacher Report. Howard Beck with a good read on how Dwight Howard has gone from beloved to reviled to … well, kind of overlooked, despite playing his best basketball since before he hurt his back.
7th: LA Weekly. Jeff Weiss profiles Los Angeles Lakers big man Jordan Hill, tracing how the struggles that started with the death of his mother when he was 3 have helped shape him into someone who, in the words of teammate Jordan Farmar, " gives our team toughness and plays really hard all the time."
8th: The Point Forward, twice. Ben Golliver recognizes the 10 most sublime flops of the 2013-14 season, while Rob Mahoney turns his alternative-awards attention to honoring the league's best and worst big-minutes lineups, its most "generous" and deferential players, and more.
9th: USA TODAY Sports. Jeff Zillgittt did a nice job on this profile of Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah, "a young man who is developing into who he really is," which just so happens to make him one of the most valuable players in the NBA.
10th: San Antonio Express-News. The story of how a New Orleans evangelist became the halftime entertainment for Game 6 of the 1974 ABA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and Indiana Pacers. Fantastic stuff.
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