For weeks Shabazz Muhammad has been doing a daily boot camp run by a guy who used to train Navy SEALS. Which sounds like it would get you in shape.
Muhammad needs it. Conditioning was one of the issues that limited his minutes on the Timberwolves last season, but with an influx of young talent — starting with Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine — Muhammad is going to get another long look from the Wolves. One he needs to take advantage of.
Speaking with the media in the wake of trading Kevin Love and bringing back Wiggins, Thaddeus Young and Anthony Bennett, Minnesota coach and decision maker Flip Saunders said this to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.
Muhammad was on a short leash by coach Rick Adelman at the start of last season (especially after an incident at the NBA’s rookie training program). First, they already had Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer, and Chase Budinger to play the wings, and when the season started Minnesota was thinking playoffs. Muhammad got sent down to the D-League for a few games.
As the season wore on we learned a couple things — Muhammad can slash and get inside, and he’s a good post up player. We also learned that he has no jump shot anyone will fear (27.3 percent from three, 28.6 percent on catch-and-shoot chances) and he’s adjusting to not playing AAU-style ball (his court awareness on both ends of the floor, especially when he doesn’t have the ball, needs work). Also, his defense needs a lot of work.
Muhammad is out to show a lot of improvement this season, and that had to start with conditioning (he looked a little doughy). Part of his attraction is hustle and effort, there dropping a few pounds helps.
With this roster Muhammad will get his shot, and he could play some four in a small lineup Saunders said. However there are other guys looking to do the same and Muhammad will have to show improvement and beat them out or his minutes will dwindle.
Markieff Morris made a lot of noise this summer about being unhappy in Phoenix and wanting out, after the Suns traded his twin brother Marcus to the Pistons as part of a salary dump. He openly demanded a trade, and said on the record several times that his long-term future is not with the team. He’s changed his tune since training camp started, once he realized he has no choice but to play for the Suns unless they decide to trade him. But according to the Detroit Free Press‘ Vincent Ellis, there is interest from the one team he would be guaranteed to want to play for:
Markieff’s unhappiness with the Suns started when they traded his brother, so he would obviously jump at the chance to reunite with Marcus. And they don’t have much in the way of power forward depth beyond the other Morris twin and Ersan Ilyasova, so it would be a good fit from a basketball standpoint. But with the brothers’ felony assault charges pending, reuniting them on the same roster might not be the best idea, and it also opens up the possibility of having to trade one of them in the future and the other one being unhappy. So far, the Suns have shown no inclination to trade Markieff, but if that changes, the Pistons are an interesting destination to keep an eye on.
Gregg Popovich’s habit of resting key players at times has become the norm around the league as more and more studies have shown it helps players perform at higher levels plus helps reduce injury risk. Still, Popovich is the poster child.
New Spur LaMarcus Aldridge wasn’t used to this but got introduced to it in a very Popovich way, reports Jeff McDonald at the Express-News.
LaMarcus Aldridge missed his first workout of training camp today with leg tightness. Or rather, the Spurs — being the Spurs — held him out for precautionary reasons.
“We sat him out,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “He didn’t want to do it. I said, ‘Welcome to the Spurs. Go sit.’”
He might as well have added “get used to this.” Aldridge is going to get some rest this season. Not as many as Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker, but he’s going to get some nights off.
Remember, Aldridge is a guy who played through a torn ligament in his thumb last season because he thought the Blazers could make noise in the playoffs (and they might have had Wesley Matthews not gotten hurt). He’s not a guy used to being told to sit and rest.
It’s his “Welcome to the Spurs” moment.