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Oct 29 / King Kaufman

Shoutouts: Ric Bucher’s debut, plus NFL, World Series and hockey

It’s that time of year when the traditional Big Four North American sports are all active, and that’s represented in this week’s Shoutouts.

We start with a nod to the Bleacher Report debut of NBA National Columnist Ric Bucher. His informative read on the pressures NBA GMs face, NBA GMs’ Chief Preseason Concern? Keeping Owner Expectations Tempered, included a classic-style “And One” section with news and notes from around the league.

After Marcin Gortat Trade, It’s Playoffs or Bust for Washington Wizards by D.J. Foster: The Wizards traded a top-12-protected 2014 first-round draft pick and Emeka Okafor to the Phoenix Suns for Gortat, Kendall Marshall, Shannon Brown and Malcolm Lee. Foster breaks down exactly what that means for Washington, which is summed up perfectly in the headline.

NFL Week 8: Expert Takeaways from Sunday’s Action by Gary Davenport: In this weekly feature, Davenport serves as the host as B/R Lead Writers talk about the week’s storylines and issues. A nice mix of viewpoints and writing styles.

Marcus Smart Fuels Rivalry with Andrew Wiggins, Kansas at Big 12 Media Day by C.J. Moore: The Oklahoma State star yapped a bit about Kansas’ freshman phenom, and Moore treated the situation with the solemnity it called for: “This is what’s fun about the preseason. It’s a time to overreact to any borderline bulletin board material.”

Week 9 College Football Conference Power Rankings by Brian Leigh: An enjoyable read with logical, easy-to-follow rankings. Can the Pac-12 catch the SEC?

Did Jon Lester Load Up in Game 1? Sure He Did, But He Did It Wrong by Dirk Hayhurst. The big-league pitcher turned author turned Bleacher Report guest columnist turned TV commentator has returned to B/R this postseason, and this was his take on the green-goop controversy from Game 1. As usual, Hayhurst’s insider knowledge and creative angle added something of value to a conversation that had already been talked to death by the morning after the game. Sample: “I love it. Because I did it myself. I had to, frankly. I was a terrible pitcher and needed every edge I could get—and I still sucked!”

How Much Does Your NHL Team Really Matter? by Jonathan Willis: There hasn’t been much talk of hockey in the Shoutouts posts. Willis, a relative newcomer to Bleacher Report, ends that streak with a terrific slideshow ranking the NHL franchises based on history, fan engagement and recent track record.