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: BBall Breakdown. In the process of digging deep on Kyrie Irving, Coach Nick found one surprising name that kept popping up around the former No. 1 pick in a variety of statistical categories — the former Mr. Irrelevant, diminutive Sacramento Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas. After taking a closer look at the game tape and the numbers for both of the young triggermen, he came away thinking that the former Washington Husky probably deserves a lot more attention than he gets.
PF: Fear the Sword. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ chances of making it back to the postseason could rely in large part on the kinds of contributions they get from their three 2013 draft picks — top overall selection Anthony Bennett, first-round swingman Sergey Karasev and second-round ex-skater Carrick Felix. Which established pros should the trio of rookies be studying to accelerate their learning curves?
SF: SB Nation. Tom Ziller revisits his “Creation Ratio” metric to take an interesting look at how shot creation and shot usage broke down among the three best offenses in the NBA last season, in hope of trying to determine how successful units are built and how successful defenses break them down.
SG: Sports on Earth. Another strong European hoops story from Flinder Boyd, who tells the tale of Bo McCalebb, who went from undrafted Summer League fodder to an iconic point of national pride in the former Yugoslavic republic of Macedonia.
PG: Detroit Bad Boys. A EuroBasket-informed look at what Detroit Pistons fans might be able to expect when they get their first stateside look at recently signed former Italian League MVP Luigi Datome, one of the more intriguing players who’ll make his NBA debut this fall.
6th: Bullets Forever, SB Nation and Grantland. A trio of reactions to Wednesday’s bummerific injury news for the Washington Wizards, focusing on how Wizards coach Randy Wittman will look to limit the fallout from losing starting center Emeka Okafor (and, to a lesser extent, reserve forward Chris Singleton), how much the Okafor injury impacts the Wizards’ playoff chances and how the Wizards are, regrettably, “the Jan Vesely of franchises.”
7th: The 700 Level. Amid reports that Andrew Bynum’s return to the Cleveland Cavaliers lineup is a “fluid process” with no set timetable, Philadelphia 76ers fan Andrew Unterberger asks his brethren: “What level of misery do we wish on Cavs fans over the course of their team’s two-year, up to $24 million deal with Bynum?”
8th: The Two Man Game. Kirk Henderson just had the same back surgery that Dwight Howard had back in April 2012, and while he freely acknowledges that he’s not about to be confused with a world-class athlete whose every waking/non-fart-booming moment has been spent on getting in peak physical condition, he still can’t shake one thought: “I can’t help but think that the Dwight Howard who lives in highlight reels and our collective memory may be gone forever.”
9th: Sactown Royalty. On a Sacramento Kings team that will need scoring, that said goodbye to Tyreke Evans but added rookie Ben McLemore, and that brings back former first-round guard Jimmer Fredette, can undersized gunner Marcus Thornton live up to his team-high $8.05 million 2013-14 price tag?
10th: NBA Couchside. Fun with numbers: Kevin Ferrigan uses an adjusted version of the Wins Above Replacement Player statistic to project the talent level and likely win total of the 2013-14 Minnesota Timberwolves: “This ‘Wolves squad has 45 win talent, without context.” (Ah, yes, but context is everything!)
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