With three of the top five trending New York Times stories involving Knicks guard Jeremy Lin (via tweet from NYT reporter Michael Luo), let's take a look around the rest of the league to see what else is happening.
- Kevin Sherrington of the Dallas Morning News says Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki has responded to Charles Barkley's proclamation that the 11-time All-Star is in decline with a strong showing of vintage Dirk in recent play. Sherrington contends the 14-year veteran still has enough talent and drive left to challenge Jerry West's record of 14 consecutive All-Star nomations. Simply put, Nowitzki's slow start should be attributed to a long offseason rather than diminished skills.
- The 76ers need to make a trade if they want to compete for a championship this season, writes Mike Missanelli of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Missanelli points to the erratic nature of the 2011/2012 season as a reason why the road to the NBA championship remains wide open just two weeks before the start of the 2012 All-Star Game. Paul Pierce and Monta Ellis are mentioned as two possible pieces that could take a young, balanced 76ers roster to the next level without having to sacrifice the future.
- The departure of All-Star point guard Chris Paul via trade has led to a difficult path for Hornets head coach Monty Williams, says John Reid of The Times-Picayune. After losing Eric Gordon, the centerpiece of the Paul trade, to injury in early January, the Hornets have spiralled to the worst record (4-23) in the Western Conference. As such, Williams has turned to his peers around the NBA for wisdom including Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.
- Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post examines how the Nuggets can get by without having a true closer to win games for the team like the Lakers closer Kobe Bryant. Barring a trade, the Nuggets will have to continue to rely on Al Harrington toward the end of the game. Harrington is shooting 56% when there are less than five minutes to play in games separated by five points or less.