NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: D-Will out of walking boot — After suffering a right ankle injury during his offseason workout in Utah, Nets star Deron Williams was put in a walking boot to help stabilize the injury. But he’s apparently mended nicely since then and will be OK for all of training camp, writes Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork.com:
“My ankle’s doing better,” Williams said at the team’s media day availability at Barclays Center. “The main thing right now is I could probably go out there and do everything. But if I tweak my ankle or have a setback, then that wouldn’t be good. So right now we’re just gonna take it slow and see how things go.”
Williams, 29, is coming off an injury-plagued 2012-13 season. He played in 78 games despite being bothered by ankle inflammation and weight problems for the majority of the season.
“Personally, I just want to get better overall,” Williams said. “The last couple years have not been my greatest, so I just want to get back to the way I’m playing and get my confidence back to the way it should to be.”
Williams struggled last season up until the All-Star break, when he received a third set of cortisone shots in both ankles. During that week, Williams also received platelet-rich plasma therapy treatment and did a three-day juice cleanse.
No. 2: Rose misses scrimmage in ‘planned’ absence — Before all of Chicago and the rest of the NBA world panics over the news that Derrick Rose missed part of practice with the Bulls, keep in mind this is all part of the plan to keep Rose healthy for the entire season and beyond, writes K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Derrick Rose sat out the scrimmaging portion of Monday’s practice as part of “planned rest.”
“He did some, the warmup phase,” Thibodeau said. “And we went shorter (Monday). We had a teaching segment that of course he participated in and the warmup phase. But the live stuff, we were planning on giving him (Monday) off.”
Rose, who sat out all last season after left knee surgery, had said he didn’t want to miss any practice time or preseason games if the decision was left to him. By all accounts, Rose has looked dominant thus far in practice.
…”We said we’d take it step-by-step,” Thibodeau said. “He has practiced very well. The next step is to see where he is in a game. We’re trying to get it as close to a gamelike condition as we can. He has handled that part. But there’s nothing like a game.
“The preseason games will be the next step. And of course there’s a different level when we get to the regular season. But he has prepared himself well.”
No. 3: Love not interested in rehashing last season — Playing in just 18 games last season due to various injuries, Kevin Love put up Love-like stats (18.3 ppg, 14.0 rpg), but his overall absence clearly hampered the Wolves (who had plenty of other injury issues aside from Love). As Media Day unfolded Monday, Love was in no way interested in talking about what went wrong in Minnesota last season, writes Jerry Zgoda of the Star-Tribune:
Timberwolves forward Kevin Love reported for duty with his surgically repaired knee and hand reportedly all healed and his body lean.
He also made one thing abundantly clear: The past is in the…well, you know.
“Last year is last year,” the two-time All-Star forward, uttering a line he used repeatedly during a 12-minute session with reporters at the team’s annual media day.
He made it clear he has little interest in discussing a lost season in which he played just 18 games after breaking his shooting hand not once but twice.
Love also wasn’t much interested in discussing his relationship with former President of Basketball of Operations David Kahn, who was replaced by Flip Saunders last May.
“The past is the past and it’s great to have Flip on board,” Love said. “We’ve had great talks. … We all know what happened last year, and we just want to move forward and take care of unfinished business.”
Love looked like he’s in the best shape of his career, even though he said he doesn’t know exactly how much weight he lost from last season.
No. 4: Frye always confident he’d return — During a two-season span stretching from 2010-11 to 2011-12, no center in the league hit more 3-pointers than the Suns specialist, Channing Frye. As a key part of a contending team in Phoenix, Frye nailed 172 and 171 3-pointers, respectively, and, for good measure, made 91 in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. But an enlarged heart kept Frye on the sidelines last season, but he tells ProBasketballTalk.com’s Brett Pollakoff he never doubted he’d return to the NBA again:
“My heart had a cold for a year, it went away,” he said. “So now I’m better.”
Frye is expected to be a full participant in training camp, with no restrictions. He was emphatic when asked if he needed to be on any medication.
“None. No way. I’m all healthy,” was Frye’s response.
Frye didn’t have to return to the NBA, obviously. Not only has he amassed more than $28 million in career earnings with two more guaranteed contract years ahead of him, but he reminded us that with his education, he could easily go do something else.
“I could be a teacher if I want to,” Frye said. “I’ve got my degree now.”
But he doesn’t have to pursue other options just yet. When asked about his choice to come back, Frye pointed to the motivation of overcoming his illness, along with a feeling inside that told him he still had something left to give to the game he loves.
“I just felt like I was never done,” Frye said. “Even when things didn’t look good, I just felt like I wasn’t done yet. And I was determined to approach this like I approach everything else.
“I wasn’t always the best, I wasn’t always the strongest or the tallest or the fastest. I just want to play ball, you know? It’s what I’m supposed to do, and I never felt like I was done.”
No. 5: Cheeks expecting a lot from Jennings, Drummond —The Pistons were one of the most active teams in the offseason and their addition of Brandon Jennings via a sign-and-trade deal with the Bucks was one of their more marquee moves. In addition, changing coaches from Lawrence Frank to Maurice Cheeks was another shake-up that was done in hopes of ending Detroit’s playoff drought. Cheeks has made it abundantly clear to Jennings and young big man Andre Drummond that he’s hoping for big things from them this season, writes Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free-Press:
New Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks mentioned he talked with Jennings on Monday about the expectations for the young point guard.
Cheeks was asked what he said, but he deferred and said he was more curious to hear Jennings’ recollection of the conversation.
“Everything was just straightforward,” Jennings said. “He said the team goes as far as I go. He’s looking for a guy who can come in here with a positive attitude every day and a guy that’s not too high and not too low, but in the middle.
“He said he is going to be on me every day, and he’s going to put a lot of pressure on me.”
One of the things that angered fans last season was former coach Lawrence Frank’s limiting of rookie center Andre Drummond’s minutes.
Cheeks said he isn’t looking to limit Drummond and expects big things in his second season.
“I’m going to put him out on the floor for sure,” Cheeks said. “I’m not looking not to play him, I’m looking to play him. He’s going to be out on the floor. There’s no other way to say it.”
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Eric Gordon clears the air in New Orleans about his dedication to the Pelicans … O.J. Mayo is glad to be with the Bucks for a while … Jazz support coachTyrone Corbin , but won’t talk extension yet … Coach Kevin McHale not sweating who will be the leader of the Rockets
ICYMI of the night: The last of the Media Days happened on Monday, so as we wait for practices to get rolling league-wide, here are good interview with some of the movers and shakers in the Eastern and Western Conferences: