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News » Preseason is when the 2009-10 story begins

Preseason is when the 2009-10 story begins

Preseason is when the 2009-10 story begins
In a few days, NBA players will park their cell phones long enough to start building sweat equity in training camp.

Defensive rotations out of double teams will be rehearsed. Deployment of and actions against ball screens will be refined. Offensive schemes designed to keep the ball away from the less-skilled will be practiced. Rookies will learn that the door limiting the impact of help defense at the professional level swings both ways.

Anyway, while the technical side of the NBA is engaged, the rest of us should be interested in tracking what occurs as camps start rolling and exhibition games begin to erupt.

For example, will Shaquille O'Neal's promise to fall into lock step behind LeBron James mean The King has sovereignty over any pre-game introduction pantomimes?

It should be noted that Shaq's ability to remain chipper if excluded from most of the Cleveland Cavaliers' offensive game plan is an issue requiring weeks of study time.

The same holds true for Vince Carter's presumed attempt to blend in Orlando, Ron Artest's talent for adding a touch of productive craziness to the defending champions and Rasheed Wallace embracing the ubuntu spirit in Boston.

But in the short term, camp and exhibitions should enable us to reconcile several of the following issues:

KG's knee

The last time we checked in on the Boston Celtics, they were coughing up their status as defending champs while spiritual and defensive leader Kevin Garnett was rendered helpless with a bum knee.

Now that Wallace and Marquis Daniels have joined the T (for technical) party, a bouncy Garnett could be enough to push the Cs back into the Finals. Anything short of that could portend trouble.

Watching KG in camp should give Boston fans a fine idea of what may be in store.

Michael Beasley Ahead Of Schedule

After 30 league-mandated days in a Houston substance-abuse rehab center, the second-year Miami Heat forward looks physically fit.

According to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, Beasley "blew away" the team's fitness test after gaining 10 pounds of muscle.

It seems like lifting yourself out of despair is the best workout of all.

Let's hope we can watch Beasley use camp and exhibition games to start living up to his considerable potential.

And while watching Beasley, let's keep an eye on teammate Jermaine O'Neal, who — before launching a final contractual year worth almost 23 million scoots — worked with trainer-to-the-basketball-stars Tim Grover.

LeBron may not be top gun in Cleveland

For now, that distinction belongs to Cavaliers guard Delonte West, who is facing misdemeanor hand-gun possession charges in Maryland. We'll see if the league will suspend West, whose minutes (and shots) would be taken by Anthony Parker and Boobie Gibson.

The UConn Pistons

With Villanueva and Ben Gordon joining the Detroit Pistons, we'll find out if they and co-former-UConn star Rip Hamilton can lead the Pistons back to an elite level.

While Gordon was the big-ticket free agent replacing Allen Iverson, he should be much more comfy with coming off the bench (behind Rip) than was A.I.

Moving on up in Minnesota

Franchise post player Al Jefferson announced that he was 90 percent after last season's knee surgery and will be ready when camp opens. Camp should determine how ready Jefferson is to assist rookie point guard Jonny Flynn in having a big impact on the Timberwolves.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 23, 2009


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