The offseason is when the stars collide, the Olympics, the VMAs, Fashion Night Out.
The wing man? He's to the left or the right.
For many, in fact these days for most, it will continue with the opening of training camps, with the NBA to a degree now presented as a buddy movie.
Wade and LeBron in Miami. Amare and Carmelo in New York. Pierce and Rondo in Boston. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin in Los Angeles.
And, now, Dwight and Kobe in Los Angeles, as well.
Heck even Brooklyn has gotten into the act, with Deron Williams and Joe Johnson.
This is nothing new, with Bigs Twos practically passe in this era of Big Threes ... or more, which is why Chris Bosh also is part of the equation in Miami, Tyson Chandler part of the mix in New York, Kevin Garnett part of the process in Boston, etc., including Steve Nash with the Lakers, Gerald Wallace with the Nets.
But as the season approaches, there are others, who, with the ends of those games in the Drew and Goodman leagues and at Dyckman and Rucker parks, will have to return to more solitary realities.
And sobering realities.
These are the stars who consistently have to stand out for their teams to stand a chance, because they essentially stand alone. One long has been the loneliest number in the NBA. It led LeBron away from Cleveland, Bosh away from Toronto. It's a lonely reality, one Howard no longer could tolerate with the Magic, one Paul escaped from in New Orleans.
So who stands alone this season?
We offer up a six-pack of potential soloists, as well as others close to similar realities.
In recent years, Mark Cuban has done a nice job of finding complementary pieces for Dirk, be it Shawn Marion, Vince Carter or current stopgap additions Elton Brand, Chris Kaman and O.J. Mayo.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
On one hand, Cuban has left the door open for late-career revival for Dirk with Paul and Howard, at least for now, still in the 2013 free-agent pool. But at 34, a do-it-alone crunch-time existence can't be what Nowitzki had in mind.
A healthy Ricky Rubio would change the outlook. But after his breakout season with the Timberwolves, Love got a summer-long taste of playing as part of an ensemble with the United States' success at the London Olympics.
If Rubio doesn't prove to be an enduring success, Love might have to reassess the entire Minnesota equation, because the 'Wolves already gave up on Michael Beasley as a potential co-star and Derrick Williams hardly appears to be on the fast track.
PBT: San Antonio raced out to a 25-point lead at home, pushed back on Memphis’ big third-quarter run, shut down Zach Randolph and cruised to a 105-83 win.
PBT: The Grizzlies haven't faced a team this postseason that can execute its system to the level that the Spurs can. The results were obvious in the series opener.
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