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: Red94. Within a nice post on what goes into being a "contender," Forrest Walker dropped a line that I thought neatly summed up the brutal state of the Western Conference: "… Houston could have a realistic shot at the conference finals and still end up being the worst team in Texas."
PF: The Dream Shake. Speaking of those Houston Rockets: They traded away their backup point guard to make room for a third star who instead decided to stay home, and now they're relying on a second-year point man with 252 minutes of NBA experience to hold down the fort for the second unit. This has Patrick Harrel wondering: Are the Rockets banking too much, and too confidently, on Patrick Beverley showing no ill effects from last season's meniscus tear?
SF: Denver Stiffs. Jeffrey Morton hopes against hope for one of the Denver Nuggets' most substantial investments to start paying dividends: "… we are left routinely frustrated at the lack of true development from [JaVale] McGee. Most of all, however, we all want to see one thing and one thing only from the athletic big man. Seriousness."
SG: USA TODAY Sports and The New York Times. A pair of good reads from Nancy Armour and Jere Longman, respectively, on how WNBA star Becky Hammon came to be the newest addition to the San Antonio Spurs' coaching staff.
6th: Salt City Hoops. Rudy Gobert saw less than 500 minutes of floor time in his rookie season with the Utah Jazz due in large part to his utterly raw offensive game, but the 7-foot-1 Frenchman showed flashes of being a legitimate NBA rebounder and shot-blocker when he got a chance to run. How close might he be to taking a step forward into new head coach Quin Snyder's rotation this year? Dan Clayton considers the rising sophomore's role.
8th: Welcome to Loud City. There is a small town in Oklahoma called Durant, and after exploring the many deep connections between it and Kevin Durant, Joe Atmonavage has come away convinced that the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player will never leave the Oklahoma City Thunder, no matter what Drake does.
9th: Portland Roundball Society. Corbin Smith makes an impassioned case for why the Portland Trail Blazers should bid farewell to Blaze the Trail Cat ("Blaze’s big dumb smile is an upsetting fiction that prevents people from loving him because he is a fanciful lie") and install as their new mascot something called "Schrunk the Salmon." A powerful read.
10th: The Triangle. "Here is what it is like to lose your Space Jam virginity at age 36."
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