I like Phoenix over Portland in a tough, 7-game series, but Michael Schwartz of Valley of the Suns aptly points to a huge concern for Phoenix: "I’m not sure if the Suns have a plan to keep Camby off the boards, but they sure need one. When the Suns win the rebounding battle, they often win the game, and believe it or not they out-rebound their opponents. Controlling Camby is one of Phoenix’s biggest keys to the series in my mind."
Daryl Morey to Jason Friedman on elite free agency movement this summer: "I actually think they’ll all go sign-and-trade. Even the teams with room often will sign-and-trade into the room and get something back from the team. A free agent is picking where he wants to go more or less, so he eventually tells the team, 'I want to go there,' and the team doesn’t want to lose him for nothing, so they try to work out some sort of arrangement."
Orlando-Charlotte might be the series with the lowest Q Rating, but it's a chance to watch a chess match between two of the more cerebral coaches in basketball. Eddy Rivera of Magic Basketball talks with Queen City Hoops' Brett Hainline about what the Bobcats need to do to compete with the Magic. Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don't Lie makes a pointed argument that the Magic can't afford to have Rashard Lewis go M.I.A. if they want to be playing in June.
Few teams have a less certain future than the Chicago Bulls, writes Matt McHale of By the Horns: "Rose and Noah are the foundation of the team. Beyond that, anything is possible. The Bulls are going to be rebuilt over the summer. In the end, this season has been about developing Derrick, Joakim, and even Taj. To that extent, the season was a success."
At Basketball Prospectus, Kevin Pelton and Bradford Doolittle offer all kinds of great stuff headed into the first weekend of the postseason. In the Lakers-Thunder preview, Pelton touches on my biggest concern for Oklahoma City: "When Durant has the basketball and the starting lineup is on the floor, only Jeff Green (33.3 percent) is any kind of threat from beyond the arc, which will allow the Lakers to offer help to Artest." As vulnerable as the Lakers seem right now, their proficiency for overloading defensively in the half court is still very, very strong. A team like the Thunder which doesn't shoot well from the perimeter and has few ball-movers can have a lot of trouble against that kind of strong-side pressure.
The 1st Annual Tarence Kinsey Award goes to ...
Darius Soriano of Forum Blue & Gold jots down a playoff wish list that includes more insults from Ty Lawson and traffic paralysis in central Los Angeles sometime in mid-June. As someone who uses Figueroa Street as a primary north-south thoroughfare, I'll concur on the first and punt on the second.
Bethlehem Shoals and Tom Ziller apply Bill James' log5 method to prognosticate the first-round playoff series. Bulls fans, look away.
You'll need at least $200 for a seat in the lower bowl at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City next Thursday night for the Thunder's first home playoff game.
How a New England transplant and die-hard Red Sox fan came to love the Thunder and started to warm to the NBA.