Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The 10-man rotation, starring a trip down Kobe/Shaq Feud Memory Lane

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: Lakers Nation. Shaquille O'Neal's forum blue and gold No. 34 will be raised into the rafters at Staples Center on Tuesday night when the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Dallas Mavericks in a game with major playoff implications. It's neat to hear that the relationship between Shaq and former running buddy/nemesis/foil Kobe Bryant has warmed over the years, but let's not forget what a long, strange trip it's been for the two Laker greats.

PF: Pounding the Rock. I liked this post from Cameron Archer on the damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't, everybody-must-be-damned position in which the NBA's instant replay review policies have placed refs, players, coaches and all of us: "Instant replay has transformed the referees into metaphorical ants, held under a scorching magnifying glass."

SF: CSN Northwest. Hey, Portland Trail Blazers point guard and presumptive Rookie of the Year favorite Damian Lillard: How good do you think you can be? “I think I can be a first team All-NBA, I think I can be an All-Star, I think I can be an MVP." Boy, if only you had a little bit of confidence.

SG: SB Nation. I joke about catatonic guards, but the utter fall-off in the Los Angeles Clippers' defense over the course of the past month — as was evident in Monday's loss to the Indiana Pacers, which Mike Prada details here — is no laughing matter. (It also helps that the Pacers were uncharacteristically sharp in their offensive execution, as HoopChalk's Jared Dubin shows.)

PG: ESPN Insider ($). Collective bargaining agreement guru Larry Coon runs the numbers on which NBA teams will have enough salary cap room to be players in free agency this offseason, and which teams are over the cap and about to feel the wrath of the luxury tax. Keep this bookmarked and in mind for when it's time to wonder whether your team's going to try to add a max-level player this summer.

6th: Sactown Royalty. With a final decision growing nearer on whether the Sacramento Kings will be staying put or moving to the Pacific Northwest, Kings blogger Akis Yerocostas notes a difference in the stakes of the game — Seattle will have NBA opportunities beyond this decision, but this is probably Sacramento's last shot at being an NBA city.

7th: HuffPostLive, BuzzFeed Sports and TrueHoop. Phil Jackson says questions about whether NBA organizations "need to be more inclusive of gay athletes and more welcoming toward the gay community in general" are "ridiculous" — "None of us have probably ever seen it in all our careers [...] I've never run into it in all my career." This, as Kevin Arnovitz notes, is false.

8th: Wall Street Journal. As complaints once again crop up about NBA teams sitting star players and starters toward the business end of the season — as the Miami Heat did in beating the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, and will do again on Tuesday when they take on the New York Knicks — Chris Herring and the folks at STATS LLC took a look at how negative being down two stars has really been for the resting teams. The answer might surprise you.

9th: Wizards Insider. Michael Lee has several Washington Wizards' reactions to the leader of the free world missing 20 of 22 shots during the White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday. My favorite comes from Nene: "... the message is, never quit. Never quit. He made the last shot." Spun like a true Beltway insider, Maybyner. (Also, I'd buy a Wiz-colors "Beltway Maybyner" T-shirt, I think.)

10th: Sportsnet.ca. Ol' pal Holly MacKenzie chats with Toronto Raptors rookie Quincy Acy about the difficult task of learning how to be a professional, handling the shuttle between big league and D-League, and more.

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