It is the caveat with every team’s lofty goals entering the NBA season — “if they are healthy…”
The Miami Heat’s goals are as lofty as they get, but the team does not enter training camp healthy.
Both Dwyane Wade (knee) and Ray Allen (ankle) are not all the way back from off-season surgery, coach Erik Spoelstra confirmed when he sat down with the media Thursday. But both could be ready when the season starts.
Here is what Spoelsra said about Wade, via Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.
“He’s not 100 percent, so we’re going to be very vigilant on how we progress him. Hopefully, he won’t miss any regular-season time.”
As for Ray Allen, the prognosis for the sharpshooter is a little better.
“He’s been here for three weeks. He’s not 100 percent, but I wouldn’t notice it.”
In both cases, look for the Heat to be cautious. Because for all the lip service Spoelstra will give to the importance of training camp and the regular season, what he really needs is those guys healthy late in the season and the playoffs. That’s a long way off, but you don’t want a lingering, chronic thing. So things will go slow for the veterans in camp. Which is probably how they like it anyway.
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.
After a bumpy season where the he fought with Suns coaches, then a summer where he and his twin Marcus felt they were blindsided by a trade, Markieff Morris has been plenty vocal about his unhappiness in Phoenix. To the point it has cost him some serious cash.
So what should we expect from Markieff Morris’ upcoming season?
Relative calm, I tell Jenna Corrado of NBCSports in this latest edition of PBT Extra previewing the NBA season.
The reasons are twofold. First, he has to realize the Suns aren’t trading him anyway (especially not while he publicly demands a trade, lowering his trade value). Second, can you imagine how new locker room leader Tyson Chandler is going to react to that? Chandler was brought in to fill a leadership void in the locker room, and you can bet he will make his displeasure at such team-disrupting antics known.
Still not sure if that’s enough to get the Suns to the playoffs.