Out in Las Vegas for the past couple of weeks at the Impact Compeitive Training Series (affectionately known as the “lockout league”), it has been about NBA players staying in shape for the start of the season, sharpening their game, getting in some run.
Now everybody will have a lot longer to hone that edge. Friday the training camps and preseason games guys were working out for will be postponed, with the league cancelling everything through Oct. 15.
The reaction of several players seemed to be “we knew this was coming.”
“If you didn’t expect to miss any games, then you haven’t been prepared, you haven’t been listening,” said Suns forward Jared Dudley. “We’ve talked to (union director) Billy Hunter, we’ve talked to everyone. This has been planned for three or four years, (the owners) knew it, right when it was time to deal they weren’t going to do this.
“They want us to miss checks. They want us to feel the burn. We knew this.”
Across the country at the University of Connetticut, Celtics sharpshooter Ray Allen echoed that sentiment, saying that he would be willing to give up a full season to get a fair deal. Rashard Lewis said basically the same thing Wednesday.
“Our thing is you have to to have a stance,” Dudley said. “It’s not like we’re not willing to give back. We just want the split to be somewhat fair… We have our line, the line we’re not going to cross, and if that means missing a season we might as well miss a season anyway because they are talking 40 percent cuts. If you’re talking 40 percent, everyone could miss two years.”
Both sides of the labor talks seem to have dug in, meanwhile fans who just wanted to watch games — and were willing to pay to do it — will be the losers.
The Pistons had just 19 assists – to 22 turnovers – in their 93-83 loss to the Nets last night.
Stan Van Gundy was none too pleased.
On offensive problems:
I told them in there – that was the first thing – we’re not playing together at all. I thought it was a very selfish performance, and guys wouldn’t just pass the ball to open men. They wanted to see if they could take one more dribble to get their own shot, so the passing angles were gone. I just thought we forced play after play after play. We’re not willing to move the ball
On Reggie Jackson, who scored seven points on 3-of-10 shooting with six assists and six turnovers, and was coming off Achilles soreness:
He was not good at all. He was forcing everything.
On injuries to point guards – Jackson, Brandon Jennings and Steve Blake – hindering the team’s flow in practice and that carrying over to the game:
We could probably make a lot of excuses for our guys, but we were selfish.
Van Gundy is clearly trying to send a message, and the preseason is the best time to do it.
But it’s somewhat troubling he had to do it after this game.
Eight of the 10 Pistons who played against Brooklyn project to make the regular-season rotation. Joel Anthony played over Aron Baynes, and once healthy, Blake could challenge Spencer Dinwiddie to become back up point guard – at least until Jennings is ready. Otherwise, Detroit – with Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Ersan Ilyasova, Andre Drummond, Jodie Meeks, Stanley Johnson and Anthony Tolliver – looked similar to its opening-night lineup.
Van Gundy is blunt, but he doesn’t tell the media things he hasn’t already directly told his players. They appreciate that.
He’d appreciate them getting this message.
Dwight Howard said he played with a torn MCL and meniscus in the Western Conference finals – pretty shocking news that few knew what to make of.
So, um, did he have offseason surgery?
Calvin Watkins of ESPN:
Howard obviously feels great about his health now, so maybe this was the right course.
We’ll never how Howard would have performed if fully healthy, but he averaged 14.4 points and 14.4 rebounds in 35.1 minutes per game against the Warriors during the conference finals. How bad could the injuries have been?