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: Heat Index and Grantland. Tom Haberstroh and Zach Lowe got access to a bunch of data from STATS’ SportVU — a 3D video camera-based tracking system that films games from a variety of angles, using in-game player position coordinates to offer a ton of detailed info about player speed, distance, player separation, ball possession and more. Fifteen NBA teams have purchased these camera systems, and, as a result, probably have a crazy amount of information about not only their teams, but every other team in the league. Haberstroh and Lowe parse it to give us some awesome, granular profiles about guys like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and many, many more. So much fun, whether you’re a hoops nerd or not. (Although being a nerd probably helps.)
PF: BBall Breakdown. Virtually every NBA team uses the Horns set — a point guard triggering the ball up top, two players (usually bigs) at the elbows, two players (usually wings) spacing the floor in the short corners — on offense, but despite its prevalence across the league, there are plenty of different actions and counters teams run out the initial alignment. Coach Nick runs through a bunch of variations, showing how individual player motions and decisions can create loads of offensive options.
SF: Waiting for Next Year. Kirk Lammers breaks down how Cleveland Cavaliers sophomores Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson used simple high screen-and-rolls, with slight tweaks from possession to possession and great execution down the stretch, to kill the Oklahoma City Thunder last weekend.
SG: Off the Dribble. OK, so, we know that James Harden — 25.8 points, 5.6 assists, 4.6 rebounds per game, 12th in the league in PER, just put up a huge game against the Miami Heat — is super dope. But, quiet as it’s kept, Jeremy Lin’s starting to come on, too, and the Houston Rockets as a team have started to look like an especially frightening offensive monster over the past seven games. Friend of the program Jim Cavan takes a look at the West’s eighth seed, who might be nearing “team nobody wants to play” status.
PG: SLC Dunk. “Is Paul George Better than Gordon Hayward?” The question seems ridiculous at first blush — one guy’s an All-Star, and the other comes off the bench behind Randy Foye and Marvin Williams. But then you look at the case made in per-minute production and peripheral stats, and … well, we’ll let Clark from SLC Dunk make the argument. (Which, for the record, I still don’t really buy, although I would like to see more minutes for Hayward, please, coach Tyrone Corbin.)
6th: Knickerblogger. After the Minnesota Timberwolves announced Friday afternoon that they’d waived forward Lou Amundson, Tyler Tynes started thinking — wouldn’t the 30-year-old reserve, an energy guy who grabs offensive rebounds at an elite rate, be a good fit for a New York Knicks team that’s currently pulls down the league’s eighth-lowest share of available offensive rebounds and could use some second-unit energy?
7th: Boston Globe Magazine. Reading about Brian Scalabrine playing squash is way more interesting than I thought it would be, which is probably due, at least in part, to the fine writing and reporting of Noah Davis.
8th: Bleacher Report. Jared Wade digs into lineup data to identify the NBA’s most effective five-, four-, three- and two-man units this season, and tries to see what that tells us about team chemistry, roster construction and what (besides talent) separates good teams from bad ones.
9th: Spurs Nation. San Antonio Spurs forward Matt Bonner’s reaction to being selected to participate in the Foot-Locker Three-Point Contest on All-Star Saturday Night, marking the successful completion of the #LetBonnerShoot campaign: “I hope I’m not so excited I airball the entire first round.” That would be, like, way worse than three straight during a game, right?
10th: TrueHoop. How does the experience of watching an NBA game change when you move from covering the league to working for one of its teams? Kevin Arnovitz asks someone who’d know — John Hollinger, former ESPN.com writer turned vice president of basketball operations for the Memphis Grizzlies.
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