Blogtable: It’s Not Just Practice

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Making Training Camp Count | Shaq, The Owner | It’s The Name On The Back

Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose is back. But is he … back? (Issac Baldizon/NBAE)

Training camps open later this week. Give me a player and a team who might best use training camp to their advantage.

Steve Aschburner, NBA.comDwight Howard and the Brooklyn Nets. Howard needs to make October all about basketball, about his new teammates and surroundings and about a full cleansing of the past 24 months. We’re overdue for a recommitted, newly dedicated Dwight. If training camp with Houston is all slaps and tickles, many NBA fans may never take Howard seriously again … The Nets’ job in October is obvious: Turn Jason Kidd into a coach. How much those Brooklyn veterans support him early, and permit Kidd to deploy them, will go a long way toward determining the season they’ll have in 2013-14.

Jeff Caplan, NBA.comTeam: Lakers. There were a lot of personnel changes and odds suggest Kobe Bryant will miss the start of the season. Mike D’Antoni didn’t get a training camp last season so this is huge for him to implement his scheme and set the tone, to get a team minus Kobe working together. The first month’s schedule is tough and if the Lakers aren’t careful, their playoff hopes can fly out the window before Kobe ever steps back on the floor. Player: Dwight Howard. When Oct. 30 arrives, the Rockets need to have seen the emergence of a down-to-business, fully engaged, all-for-one, two-way dominant center. Distractions are eliminated. Excuses are inexcusable.

Scott Howard-Cooper, Team: The Bobcats. And not just because they could use the extra practice no matter what. But with new key players in important roles (Al Jefferson, Cody Zeller), a new coach and the reconstruction of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s shot since early summer, the time will be particularly valuable for Charlotte in a season when it desperately needs forward progress. Player: Danny Granger. I would normally be hesitant to pick an established veteran because they are better at just getting through a camp, but Granger is coming off a major injury and needs to fit back into the roster. The Pacers are good and have not passed the time waiting for him.

John Schuhmann, NBA.comThe player is Derrick Rose, who has to get comfortable playing full-speed basketball, defending in Tom Thibodeau’s system, and finding his teammates in their spots. No matter how healthy he is, none of that can be simulated. On the team front, it’s the Nets and Clippers, the two contenders with new coaches and new starters. Those teams need time to put in a new system and, more importantly, develop trust and chemistry. For both teams, defense will determine just how good they are.

Doc Rivers talks to the media

Lots of eyes will be on Doc Rivers and the Clippers.
(Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE)

Sekou Smith, Derrick Rose has some work to do if he wants to restore the faith of Bulls fans who grew tired of his “will he or won’t he” routine from last season. Every step he takes in training camp will be scrutinized by the diehards and they’ll treat training camp like a much more important test run for Rose this time around. As far as a team goes, the Memphis Grizzlies have me wondering what they’ll be like in the aftermath of the greatest season in franchise history (one that ended with the removal of coach Lionel Hollins). I need to know in training camp if this team is going to change its stripes under Dave Joerger or if they’ll continue to grind their way up the Western Conference food chain.

Lang Whitaker,’s All Ball blogAs for a team, how about the Clippers? They were good enough last season, but they’ve added some new moving parts, and most importantly they’ve got Doc Rivers roaming the sidelines, so I’m sure there will be some significant changes in terms of philosophy. I’m very curious to see how these new Clips stack up against last year’s team. As for a player, I’ve got an eye on Josh Childress in Washington, not only because I like the dude, but because the Wizards could be a really good fit for him. He can be a terrific complementary player, and he fit so perfectly with the Hawks, and then didn’t fit at all in Brooklyn or Phoenix. So I’m rooting for him to earn a place in the rotation in Washington.

Akshay Manwani, NBA IndiaDerrick Rose. If Rose is 100 percent fit, as he now claims to be, he will be itching to go at full throttle from the beginning to return to MVP form and make the Bulls a contender again. Team pick, however, would be the Brooklyn Nets. They are looking to contend immediately, but have a host of new faces on their roster, including a new coach, Jason Kidd. They need to click as soon as possible and training camp would be where it all starts for them.

Philipp Dornhegge, NBA DeutschlandPlayer: Andrew Bogut. He’s been injured for a while, but is now back to 100 percent and is hoping for a huge year. He obviously needs training camp to get in the best shape possible, and if he stays healthy he can be a game-changer for the Warriors. Team: Minnesota Timberwolves. They’ve had a bunch of injured players and have brought in new guys to help them make the playoffs. To get all those guys to be a cohesive unit, they need to get a lot of practice under their belts. Same goes for the Mavs and Trail Blazers, of course.


  1. Malik says:

    As for a player, I’m definitely agreeing that it’s Derrick Rose. He was a great player but he’s been put for so long and hopefully that hasn’t made him any less great. For a team I’m gonna say the Clippers. They made a good run last year but fell short. And now they have all of these new additions to the team (most of which are not good ones in my opinion) and they’re not gonna bench them after all that press they got when they received so incorporating them into the gameplan is going to a challenge in my opinion.

  2. Roy says:

    Let’s all ask honestly ask ourselves one question. Is there any team that can beat Miami in a 7 game series? The simple answer is: No. (I’m a Knicks/Grizzlies fan, don’t kill me lol.)

  3. Stan Gallo says:

    Bogut’s health for the Warriors is going to be huge. They have nobody else that protect the rim (please don’t give me Festus Ezeli) and aren’t exactly a roster filled with lockdown perimeter defenders. Iggy will always guard the other team’s best wing, but Curry’s on the ball defense is below average and Thompson’s is right there with him. Without Bogut on the backline, any far fetched hopes Golden State had about making the NBA Finals are toast.

  4. Iron Lung says:

    Lebron needs to work on his handles hes missed alot of shots driving to hoop trying to over power everyone.break them down
    Wade needs to stop using his body to get every point so that he stays injury free. Slamming to the floor or into players is unhealthy
    Bosh needs to go back to the days of Toronto hit that mid range shot he is virtually perfect at that range…
    no more miller so Ray allen you need to step up!!
    Mario man be smart with the ball, stop trying to take over. be the role player youre supposed to be

    these are some ingredients for the
    three peat to happen

  5. sanjay says:

    who cares about practice? Once season stars they will be in the groove. Save some energy as it is a long season. These writes need anything to write during the offseason.

  6. d'sniper says:

    All teams tanked their rosters to stop the defending champs!…lol

    • OKC says:

      Except OKC, because we know we have enough already to beat the money bags Heat. You can talk about two years ago all you want, but the fact is Harden choked for us and each year the Thunder get so much better based on our two young all-stars improvement, whereas the Heat just get older and older.

      • Just again says:

        Last time I check, everyone gets older every year.

        Heat lost miler and got oden and Beasley in return. Older? Really?

      • Pakyaw says:

        If okc become a defensive minded team, they are gonna be tough to beat.. This remind me of suns back in a days, they’re defense is their offense..

  7. Olegre10 says:

    the Warriors ahead of the Clips. Healthy Bogut, healthy Lee + Iggy. But for the blooper in the first game vs the Spurs they should have been 2-0 up coming to Oakland – and that mainly on the back of their backcourt. In all probability Steph and Klay are going to be even better this season. in fact, the Warriors should go for the crown, and I believe this is the mantra that Doc is trying to instill in them in the privasy of the locker room, though he is wise enough not to admit it publicly any time soon.

  8. Jerome says:

    Player: Paul Milsap. Team: Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks have been treading water for so long it just seemed like a giant step back was the only way to move forward BUT with that roster they have an opportunity to put in a devastating front court 2-headed dragon with Milsap and Horford. Teague has another year of experience under him and with this offseason to work on his outside shot Atlanta might be more dangerous than we think especially since they have given themselves a little more wiggle room financially for the free agency. They are still not a top 3 seed in the east but they might not have taken as much of a step back as we thought. A consistent front court surrounded by shooters. That is a recipe for efficiency.

  9. Explorer says:

    Appropriately it will benefit at most for Oden, and the HEAT…for the 3 peat…

  10. Brian Colanjello says:

    Terrence Ross

  11. Karlo Garcia says:

    Derrick Rose could really use a full training camp under his belt & use it to his advantage. I expect big expectations on Rose. Charlotte Bobcats will use the training camp to there advantage. Al Jefferson will deliver on what the Bobcats were missing the last 5-10 years.Jefferson will bring post moves & mid range jumpshot on the Bobcats roster & I believe that the Bobcats were missing that type of player & also scoring which they had trouble from game-to-game on a consistent basis.

  12. Akeem Asante says:

    Definitely the Nets benefit the most, with new coach, 2 new starters (KG, PP) and new 6th (AK47), & 7th/8th (JT) men (Evans, or Blatch could get in b4 JT). The Lakers, and Clippers will benefit too. Don’t sleep on the Wizards.

  13. Dave says:

    No one took my picks on either side. Maybe I just don’t know basketball the way I think I do.
    I would have to go with the Cavaliers on the team front. They get to start by seeing if Bynum is able to return to his, arguably, ‘second best big man in the game’ form or if he will be a waste of roster space. You have the number 1 draft pick to hopefully add some potency to the offense, run by the future of the franchise in Kyrie. On top of that, we will see Mike Brown returning to his comfort zone in a city that prides themselves on hard ‘blue collar’ work and being willing to get dirty to get the job done, his two biggest coachin characteristics. Obviously not on Kobe’s ‘to do list’.
    As a player, I see MUCH more importance in the way Paul George handles training camp. As we saw him emerge as the Pacers superstar, in Grainger’s absence, can he keep that role with such undefiled certainty while Grainger steps back into the picture or will he step back a bit to let Danny shine? I think this dynamic could determine which team comes out of the east. Wade and James have finally worked out their super duo.

    • ripistons says:

      Training camp is also very important for Roy Hibbert. He had a very slow start to the regular season last year , he flourished in 2014 after all-star break and in the playoffs. It would be interesting to see if he can maintain his playoff form and establish himself as top 2,3 big man in the league right away

  14. Vince Guffin says:

    Well I no that it going to take me 3 years to play for the suns because they need a player to play shoot gaurd as they suns superstar.And make the nba all star team and win MVP of the year,also win the nba world champ ships to prove that i am the next kobe bryant

  15. Where did Josh Childress come from lol?

  16. drosebulls01 says:

    Sekou continues to prove he’s the most uninformed, thus ignorant of the writers.