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 Classical. As a New York Knicks fan, I kind of — OK, not “kind of” — hate Paul Pierce. He’s proven ruinous and murderous to my favorite team’s fortunes more times than I care to remember. But this “Why We Watch” piece by Red’s Army chieftain John Karalis, describing the wizardry, alchemy and mystery of how No. 34 continues to beguile defenses throughout the NBA — including, I suspect, the Knicks’ defense tonight — spoke to me. I hate what it said, which is about as pure a recognition of real as I can muster.
PF: BuzzFeed Sports. Our dude Jason Concepcion — a.k.a. @netw3rk — wrote 2,000 words of Los Angeles Lakers fan-fiction pegged to the notion that Mike D’Antoni is a (maybe not-so) hard-boiled detective. It is not suitable for work, but it is after work hours. Have fun, friends.
SF: TrueHoop. There are plenty of off-court/front-office/outside-narrative arguments for why the Los Angeles Lakers stink right now. Beckley Mason offers one legitimate basketball reason — Steve Nash kind of can’t guard anybody right now.
SG: Salt City Hoops. The Utah Jazz are loaded up front, love the all-around game of Gordon Hayward, the shooting of Randy Foye and the potential of Alec Burks and Kevin Murphy on the wing, and seem on track for their second straight playoff berth. But with Mo Williams injured, the Jazz could really use an upgrade at point guard to make any noise this year; and with Williams’ contract up this summer, they could really use one long-term, too. So who might they target? Matt Pacenza compiles a list — a very optimistic list, I think, but a good one.
PG: The Sacramento Bee. OK, so we know that Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has to come up with some “whales” to make his four-step plan to keep the Sacramento Kings from being sold to a Seattle-based investment group in any way viable. So who’s he targeting, and what’s their backstory? The Bee brings us up to speed on Ron Burkle and Mark Mastrov, two names we could be hearing more about in the days ahead.
6th: Deadspin. As we consider (and, in some quarters, mourn) the prospective move of the Kings from Sacramento to Seattle, let’s not lose sight of how the Kings wound up in Northern California in the first place. Barry Petchesky offers a Kansas City-flavored history lesson. Unlike K.C.’s barbecue, it doesn’t taste so great.
7th: Cavs: The Blog. Don’t look now, but Tristan Thompson has actually become kinda-sorta-pretty good this year. Nate Smith breaks down how, using stats, eyeball observation and helpful references to poutine and ketchup chips.
8th: The Oregonian. Jason Quick on Portland Trail Blazers star LaMarcus Aldridge’s not-freaking-out All-Star reserve announcement plans, which indicates that there’s been an understandable, but also perhaps sad maturing for the former No. 2 overall draft pick this season. There’s legitimate emotion in this update, if you pick through it.
9th: SB Nation. With the Los Angeles Lakers continuing their mortifying underachievement, Tom Ziller considers which five L.A.-related entities have had their reputations most tarnished by the team’s disastrous play.
10th: Wages of Wins. The Golden State Warriors are pretty psyched to have gotten the chance to draft Harrison Barnes, and the Los Angeles Clippers are LOVING the fact that they got Matt Barnes for a song. But what if the Dubs had Matt instead of Harrison — would that make any difference? A pretty big one, in fact, according to Jeremy Britton.
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