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.com. Couper Moorhead considers Greg Oden’s actual on-court merits and flaws, health aside, and tries to envision where he might fit into Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra’s plans should he able to get and stay healthy come the regular season. If nothing else, it is fun to watch clips of Oden actually playing basketball, which is something I really haven’t done very much of in quite a while.
PF: Cavs: The Blog. After this coming season, the Cleveland Cavaliers can begin negotiating with All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving on a long-term, likely max-level extension of his rookie deal. As the year progresses, this is likely to cause a lot of preemptive freaking out among Cavs fans who are already at least kind of bugged out by the whole “is a LeBron return really a possibility?” thing. That’s why Robert Attenweiler has put together this handy primer on How to Not Freak Out About Kyrie’s Impending Contract Situation. Helpful!
PG: Complex Sports. There’s some adult content herein, but man, did I enjoy Nick Grant’s story about the time he (allegedly) dunked on Gilbert Arenas.
6th: Grantland. After SI.com’s Rob Mahoney put DeMarcus Cousins under the microscope and came away believing that, warts and all, he’s worth a max-level contract extension, Zach Lowe takes his own close look and finds those warts a bit more objectionable. Two really good breakdowns of the Sacramento Kings big man, who’ll find himself at the center of a pretty fascinating decision in that Kings front office over the next year or so.
7th: Raptors HQ. Kyle Lowry started the season on fire for the Toronto Raptors before losing his starting job to Jose Calderon, regaining it when Calderon was traded and finishing the season on something of an uptick after the Rudy Gay trade. So which Lowry’s the real thing, and what does he need to do to help Dwane Casey’s club make an honest push for one of the East’s lower-tier playoff slots?
8th: @EdKupfer. Noted smart guy/stat wonk/graph artist Kupfer ripped through the 2013-14 NBA schedule to track the total number of travel miles logged by each team on the road this season. (Sick, right?) Find out where your favorite squadron ranks among the NBA’s hard-traveling heroes. (There’s more similarly deep-diving stuff available on Kupfer’s Twitter page.)
9th: Bright Side of the Sun. Inspired by recent events, a comprehensive timeline of Michael Beasley’s decline from No. 2 overall pick — and, crazy as it seems now, a player whom many people thought at the time would have been a legitimate choice at No. 1 ahead of Derrick Rose — to an extraneous piece who could soon be waived by a Phoenix Suns team expected to be among the very worst in the NBA. Let’s all get bummed out!
10th: Hoops Manifesto. A 16-entrant, single-elimination, reader-vote-decided tournament to identify the best rapper in NBA history. Vote with your conscience (which is to say, for Iman Shumpert).
Got a link or tip for Ball Don’t Lie? Give me a shout at devine (at) yahoo-inc.com, or follow me on Twitter.
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