Monday, February 4, 2013

The 10-man rotation, starring the case for a cease-fire to hatin’ on Dwight Howard

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: HoopSpeak. "[...] I’m tired of reading about Dwight Howard because it seems like every person I read complaining about Howard has forgotten that he is awesome." And with that, Danny Nowell sets about the task of reminding you that before we all (justifiably) started focusing super-hard on how blissfully ignorant Howard can be about how bad he can sound when he speaks, we were all pretty spellbound by how unique and gifted a game-changing force the Houston Rockets' new center can be. I'm not sure if too much water's gone over the dam for everyone to quit fretting about the latter, but it's not a bad idea to revisit the former, too.

PF: Hang Time. John Schuhmann traces the evolution of LeBron James' game over the years, from 18-year-old driver you dared to shoot to 28-year-old dominator who'll make you pay for that, and just about everything else. A fun read.

SF: The Oklahoman. A year and a day after the James Harden trade shook the NBA world, Darnell Mayberry and Anthony Slater revisit the swap that gave the Houston Rockets a fresh new All-Star and earned the Oklahoma City Thunder derision for scuttling a championship contender — derision, the OKC beat men argue, that isn't warranted: "What you don't hear, largely because the organization has kept quiet about it while being determined to move on, is how Oklahoma City made the best decision it could have under the circumstances. A perfect storm ultimately is what led to Harden's departure, not penny-pinching."

SG: Hardwood Paroxysm and HoopsHype. This year's collections of NBA players in Halloween costumes. Strong work as always, San Antonio Spurs, but I think Serge Ibaka's got you beat.

PG: CelticsBlog. On one hand, trading away veteran players like Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green could net the rebuilding Boston Celtics some future draft picks and lower this year's win total, helping improve the lottery odds of the Celtics' own 2014 draft choice. On the other, as Eric Weiss writes, such players "have the type of experience and ability to set a standard for the younger players to follow," which could prove pivotal in developing the next generation of competitive Celtics.

6th: The New York Times. Tony Gervino divides the 2013-14 NBA season into a story of haves and have-nots, which seems like a pretty useful way to view the year ahead.

7th: Sports on Earth. Michael Pina profiles Mark Deeks, the British super-fan and salary-cap wizard behind, who has spent the last decade fostering a video-game-sparked passion for the NBA and cultivating an expert's understanding of team-building during the hours he should be sleeping.

8th: Hoopsworld. And here's Deeks explaining why, sometimes, teams sign players they don't actually want to employ and have no interest in really signing, just so they can cover their posteriors when they sign players that they might want to employ. There's games within the game, and it seems like there are at least some that most of us know nothing about.

9th: 8 Points, 9 Seconds. After the announcement that Danny Granger will miss the first three weeks of the season, Jon Washburn considers the curious space inhabited by "the most important piece to the 2013-14 Pacers season," whether his presence/absence will help/hurt Indy's chances at a title run (and how much), and more.

10th: GQ. Friend of the program Bethlehem Shoals offers a variety of possibly-unanswerable-yet-certainly-worth-pondering questions about the coming NBA season.

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