So you've probably seen all the different NBA Finals storylines floating around throughout the week. I have simply collected them all into a handy one-stop-shop guide to them as the lead of today's SN column.
My favorite? Probably reflects Shoals' take: If the Magic win -- perhaps even if they don't -- has Orlando created a new template for success in the NBA, geared around tall versatile players? Does everyone need to find their own Turkoglu?
Let's be honest: It helps the Magic's plan that they have the best big man in the sport, but while the team revolves around him, it doesn't depend on him for everything. There is a distributed-network element to the Magic -- Howard won't kill you by scoring 40 (um, except Game 6), but because you have to nudge toward him, Lewis and Turkoglu kill you from the outside.
So: The premium is on the 6-10 "power forward" whose main game is shooting 3s -- making Rashard Lewis basically a better Matt Bullard. Or a 6-10 "point forward" whose main game is bringing the ball up and shooting 3s -- making Hedo a Eurofied version of Scottie Pippen.
I had a couple of reasons for picking the Magic to win the series -- but how can you not like the matchups? Who guards Howard? Who guards Lewis? Who guards Hedo? Who cares if Kobe scores 40 a game -- so did LeBron.
So in today's column, you get 9 other major storylines, plus a bunch about the Braves, Westbrook, Memphis hoops and more.
Complete column here. Two more posts (at least) coming at noon-ish and 3-ish.