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: The Detroit Pistons' YouTube channel. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Detroit Pistons' "Bad Boys" 1989 NBA championship team, the team put together a video revisiting the famed "Jordan Rules" that governed how Chuck Daly's crew defended an ascendant Michael Jordan — among them, "When he goes to the bathroom, we all go with him" — and later provided the name for Sam Smith's best-selling book about the Bulls' 1990-91 championship.
PF: Bleacher Report. Not that you needed more reasons to love the great Joakim Noah, but Jared Dubin's in-depth breakdown of the Chicago Bulls' All-Star center's ability to quarterback both the offense and the defense for coach Tom Thibodeau should only make your heart grow fonder of the Florida product.
SF: Mavs Moneyball. Jonathan Tjarks offers a counterpoint to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban's suggestion that a beefed-up D-League would be a better choice for elite high-school basketball players than entering the NCAA ranks: "The reality is, with so much money flowing through amateur basketball, [top prep prospects] would be taking a substantial pay cut to go the D-League."
SG: Memphis Flyer. After a frankly shocking 21-point performance that helped spark a nice road win over the Washington Wizards, Kevin Lipe comes "not to bury Tayshaun Prince, but to praise him" ... which he does by noting that "last night was, if anything, a painful reminder of how not-normal that performance is these days." Burials call in all shapes, sizes and degrees of gentility.
PG: The Point Forward. Rob Mahoney trains his eagle eyes on DeMar DeRozan, who "is clearly doing too much, but that’s very much the point," and how the expectations placed on the first-time All-Star shooting guard by head coach Dwane Casey and the development he's made to meet them have helped make him into a very valuable player for the Toronto Raptors.
6th: Bleacher Report. Howard Beck with a smart piece on why, once the media grows weary of the historic novelty of Jason Collins being the first openly gay player in the NBA, it "would be a mistake" for us "to shrug and move on," because the ball must be pushed further down the court: "[...] it is not about Collins now, or about the NBA. It’s about the next gay player who wants to live openly and honestly, whether he’s already in the league or if he’s a talented teenager with NBA aspirations. It’s also about the barriers that have yet to be broken in the NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball."
7th: SB Nation, twice. Paul Flannery and Drew Garrison provide two different ways of looking at how the Houston Rockets, led by the star tandem of Dwight Howard and James Harden, have found a rhythm and become a dark-horse contender.
8th: Hang Time. Late pass No. 1: John Schuhmann's breakdown of SportVU data on pick-and-rolls — who runs them most, who scores most frequently out of them, who does the best work out of which areas on the court, and more — is pretty fascinating stuff.
9th: Liberty Ballers. Late pass No. 2: Roy Burton's salute to Allen Iverson notes not only the perfect imperfection of Iverson on and off the court, but also the delicious irony of the Philadelphia 76ers retiring his No. 3 jersey while bunches of NBA executives and journalists attended a statistically inclined conference where high-volume, low-efficiency scorers get derided.
10th: SLC Dunk. Late pass No. 3: I found Amar's "What if Jeff Hornacek coached the Utah Jazz and Ty Corbin coached the Phoenix Suns?" fan fiction delightful.
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