After a quiet month or so, things are starting to heat up again in the NBA. Several teams had their media days yesterday, so there’s some pretty juicy news items below.
First, though, be sure to check out a loaded lineup of new columns here at SH. Start with Jan Hubbard’s piece on the Mavs, take a look at Chris Perkins’ column on LeBron, and, if you’re a prep fan, Adam Zagoria has a rundown of the top 20 high school prospects in the country.
And now, the latest news from around the NBA:
- Carmelo Anthony says he wants to score fewer points this season. No, seriously. In an interview with Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal, he said: “I’m tired of scoring 30 or 40 points a game. There’s probably going to be times where I have to do it, or I’m in a groove… But if I’m doing that night-in, night-out, we’re not going to have the balance that we need to win.” Herring’s whole piece is excellent and definitely worth the clickthrough, by the way.
- Ethan Skolnick of the Palm Beach Post has a response from Ray Allen to Kevin Garnett saying he doesn’t have Allen’s number any more: “Allen said Saturday that he hadn’t heard or read the quote. After a reporter repeated it, Allen started smiling before even speaking. “That’s a shame,” Allen said. “I’m a good person to talk to on the phone, so….” “
- Meanwhile, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that Allen feels different in Miami from how he did in Boston: “…the 37-year-old veteran said he felt on balance in another respect in the wake of his parting from Boston, where he was linked to several trade rumors. “You always felt you had one foot in, one foot out,” he said. With the Heat, he’s all-in when it comes to the transition. “It’s a new landscape for me,” he said. “Having to move down here, be in a new situation, learn a new staff, all that’s been a great challenge. I’ve been looking forward to it. I’m enjoying it.” “
- Rockets GM Daryl Morey did an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit yesterday. It’s a super fun read, so definitely click through, even if you’re not a Rockets fan. Here’s a couple highlights: “You definitely need at least 1 elite player in the top 10-20 of all NBA players (all-star level) to win the championship. There are no counter examples of this. We are not championship contenders right now. All our moves since Yao Ming went down have had the specific goal of acquiring a top level player since that moment. Each change on our team has been designed to acquire players who either have a chance to be an all-star or give us the cap room or trade flexibility to acquire an all-star.” … “Royce White has an issue with anxiety that is more common than people talk about and he has done a good job to bring awareness. It did not affect his ability to fly for games last year and we don’t expect it to this year. It certainly did not affect him last year where he was unquestionably one of the top players in the country and the best player on the floor in the Kentucky-Iowa State NCAA tournament game.”
- Dwight Howard plans to make his Lakers debut on Opening Night, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports: “Howard is determined to play against the Dallas Mavericks on Oct. 30 at Staples Center, and his progress in recent weeks has strengthened the possibility, sources said. Howard has privately indicated his back has returned to 85 percent strength, sources said. He had surgery for a herniated disc in April and still needs doctor’s clearance to engage in full training-camp activities with the Lakers. Los Angeles opens its training camp Tuesday.”
- A couple other LA superstars are in a similar position. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin of the Clippers both underwent surgery this offseason, and plan to be back for Opening Night, reports the LA Times’ Broderick Turner: “Griffin said he’s 100% after surgery in July for torn cartilage in his left knee and that he has no restrictions. Paul, who had surgery in August for a torn ligament in his right thumb, said he “will be ready” for opening night. He has been cleared for non-contact practice starting Saturday and is expected to be begin full-contact practice in about two weeks.” Chauncey Billups, on the other hand, is aiming to be back “sometime in December” according to Turner.
- Another player who likely won’t be ready for the start of the season is Wizards’ PG John Wall. Michael Lee of the Washington Post writes: “The Wizards were pro-active in shutting down John Wall before his left knee injury got worse and possibly became a stress fracture that required surgery. They are now optimistic that the foundation of their rebuilding efforts will be able to avoid a significant crack and contribute after giving his body about eight weeks to heal. Wall wore himself down by grinding through his offseason workouts, but his body has now forced him to relax. … Wall learned from his experience as a rookie not to rush before too soon. But having to sit out the first month – which could likely hamper his goals of being an all-star and make the Wizards’ long-shot odds of making the playoffs even longer – will be difficult for a 22-year-old addicted to basketball.“You have to look at the big picture and the big picture states that John is going to be with us for the majority of the season and help us get to where we want to go,” Grunfeld said.”
- One injured player doesn’t have quite as rosy a long-term outlook. Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida has this update on Mike Miller via Sulia: “#Heat Mike Miller needs to see how back responds over the long haul Didn’t rule out chance this his last NBA season. “We got to see if I can make it through one,” Miller said when asked how many more years he hopes to play. “That’s all I can do right now. I got to focus on what I can do this year and make sure I stay healthy and stay on top of things, and see how it goes.” “
- Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News has this on DeJuan Blair, from Spurs GM R.C. Buford: “Well aware that Blair believed the Spurs would trade him after he fell out of the playing rotation during the playoffs, Buford empathized with the fourth-year forward’s situation. “We understand the way he feels,” he said. “If we were in his shoes we may feel similar. Having said that, DeJuan helped us win a lot of games and we have not had anything presented to us that puts our team in a better position than moving forward with DeJuan.” “
- Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer has some Bobcats updates: “Ramon Sessions, the new backup point guard, brings the ball up court and a tall guy reaches in, slaps it away and scores. The tall guy hits a jump shot, and another. I’ve seen the tall guy before, but it’s been two seasons since I’ve seen him like this. Welcome back, Tyrus Thomas. Thomas lacked energy last season and his game is fueled by energy. He’ll never be the prototype post-up power forward. He doesn’t have to be. When he’s right, he runs, blocks shots and finds easy baskets. He imposes. He disrupts. If Thomas, who usually plays at 225 pounds, is his old self, the Bobcats have a power forward. Another player who looks good is 7-0 Desagana Diop. When I say he looks good, I mean he’s lost a lot of weight. It’s as if he and Thomas made a trade. Diop no longer is 350 pounds or 330 or whatever he played at last season. He’s less than 300. He can run down court without pausing to rest.”