The Fundamentals

» October 1, 2008 8:13 AM | By Brandon Hoffman

Marc J. Spears of The Boston Globe:  “Miles last worked out with the Blazers in January, but coach Nate McMillan said he couldn’t practice regularly on back-to-back days. McMillan said he, the coaching staff, and the trainers did the best they could to get Miles back in a Blazers uniform, to no avail. The Blazers bought out the remaining two years and $18 million on his contract April 14. Because his injury was deemed to be career-ending, if he plays in 10 games in either of the next two seasons, his salary goes back on Portland’s books. By the looks of the way Miles practiced yesterday at Rodgers Recreation Center, the Blazers could have a big check to write out soon.”

Marc J. Spears The Boston Globe:  Ray Allen and his wife seek help in diabetes fight

Brian Hanley of The Chicago Sun-Times:  “On Vinny Del Negro’s count of three, the Bulls broke their first practice under their new coach Tuesday with one word: ”Together!” Del Negro next had the players pair off for lunch, with the coaching staff giving each duo questions to ask each other. ”We’re doing a lot of different things,” Del Negro said. ”The better they get to know each other, the better they’ll want to fight for each other. That’s what it’s all about: getting everybody on the same page as quick as possible. You’re all together, pulling in the same direction. I’m big into, when they walk into the building, being focused on what their job is.””

Tom Enlund of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:  “Milwaukee Bucks players curious about newcomer Scott Skiles’ coaching style got a hint of what to expect at the opening of training camp Tuesday when they noticed no wall clocks inside the Cousins Center gym. “I don’t think they belong in the practice gym,” said Skiles, whose not-so-subtle message was that he expects his players to be concentrating on playing basketball instead of glancing at the clock to see how much time is left in practice. “That never made much sense to me. Guys could be clock-watching. You don’t want that. I’ve got a watch on. I know what time it is.”"

Kyle Hightower of The Orlando Sentinel:  “Boston Celtics Coach Doc Rivers is dealing with a little more than just trying to build a team to defend the NBA title as his team gets going in training camp this week. Rivers is also simultaneously managing a delicate home issue as well. In an attempt to help him find some stability in his life, Rivers and his wife have taken in Orlando-area basketball standout Adam Jones. But what has created a firestorm of sorts is the Rivers family’s attempt to get Jones a waiver to transfer to the high school that their son, Austin Rivers, currently plays at. Critics are crying foul, saying that by family taking in the 6-foot-7 Jones, they are circumventing the state high school association’s anti-recruiting rules.”

TrueHoop:  Henry Abbott’s playin’ ba-sket-baaall

Sam Amick of The Sacramento Bee:  “The test, which Kings coach Reggie Theus said is conducted by “a lot of teams” in the NBA, lasts approximately 10 minutes and consists of extended sprints up and down the floor commonly known as suicides. Players must finish within a predetermined time period based on which position they play. Players also had the option of working out at the team’s practice facility for two weeks before training camp and spending three days conditioning with strength coach Daniel Shapiro as a way of avoiding the test. Hawes, according to numerous team sources, may be fined for every practice day that passes without him taking the test. Yet even after a meeting with Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie on Tuesday afternoon, Hawes said he’s too concerned about the potential damage to change his stance.”

Jerry Brown of The East Valley Tribune:  “Mike D’Antoni’s “Seven Seconds or Less?” Gone in 60 seconds. The Suns knew they were in for a change. They fully expected what was waiting for them. But after four years of shoot-’em-up, there was still a fair bit of culture shock. After getting his feet tangled with an orange cone during a three-man weave drill, Shaquille O’Neal leaned up against the basketball support and pushed out an expletive between deep breaths. “These types of practices are a lot different from Mike’s,” guard Raja Bell said. “We did a lot of offense with him. That was the focus. Guys will have to get used to this.””

Mike Barrett of  “McMillan told me, after the evening workout, he was very happy with the first day. He set the tone for camp very early in the day, with a five-on-five, full-speed drills. The losers had to run sprints. There were bodies flying everywhere, and it was intense. A lot of guys looked very sharp already, but leading the pack of guys who look to be ready for the pre-season right now is LaMarcus Aldridge. His upper body looks chisled, and his shooting touch has gotten even better. He will lead this team in scoring this season.”

Fran Blinebury of The Houston Chronicle:  “No whining about the schedule. No complaining about travel. No promising to be ready in March or April. We know how that worked out. A year ago, Rick Adelman’s offensive system was brand new to all of them. There was going to be a period of adjustment. The Rockets won 6 of their first 7 games and then lost 6 of their next 7 games and spent the rest of the season trying to prove – to themselves and the league – that they were worthy. Yes, the Rockets finished just one game behind the Lakers in the race for the best record in the Western Conference. But it took an anomaly to get there. Remember that before the Rockets took off on their historic 22-game win streak, they were sitting in 10th place in the playoff race.”

Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commercial Appeal:  “If anyone thought for a second that Memphis happened to have a world-class retirement facility for NBA players 30-and-older, think again. At least, that’s what Buckner, Jaric and Walker aim to make you do. The 30-something trio packaged and shipped from Minnesota to make the O.J. Mayo-Mike Miller deal work on draft night began training camp Tuesday with the desire to do more than mentor their youthful teammates. They want to be on the court, unwilling to concede playing time that is seemingly earmarked for younger players in need of development.”

Jerry Zgoda of The Minneaspolis Star Tribune: “Love said he already has interviewed three or four chefs to prepare his meals. He prepared for the NBA draft in June by losing 15 pounds by extensive exercise and changing his diet to include custom-made, packaged meals and appears to have gained some of that back over the summer. NBA scouts questioned his weight during his only season at UCLA. “I’ve got to keep it healthy: gluten-free, low-fat,” Love said. “I need to make sure my body is getting the right things, but it has to taste good. I can’t be eating cardboard every day.”"

Ian T. Shearn and George E. Jordan of The Star-Ledger:  “Four months ago, Goldman Sachs assured all financing would be in place for a $950 million professional basketball arena in Brooklyn by today. Bruce Ratner, owner of the New Jersey Nets and developer of the ambitious, $4 billion Atlantic Yards project, said he was “inches away from completing the deal.” That was before prestigious investment firms started to fall and credit markets went into full-scale panic, triggering a financial crisis on Wall Street unseen since the Great Depression. Tuesday, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs offered only a “no comment” when asked about the financing for the nearly $950 million arena, fueling persistent doubts about the viability of Ratner’s plan, which has been systematically downscaled and delayed since it was first rolled out more than four years ago.”

John Reid of The Times-Picayune:  “Since last Saturday’s opening day of training camp, Peterson usually has been the last player to leave the court at the Alario Center. He has continued to work out past practice, making 100 to 150 shots, a majority from 3-point range. Peterson might be working extra hard because he is the Hornets’ only starter on the edge. For the remainder of training camp and entering the regular season, Peterson is faced with the challenge of fending off top free-agent signee James Posey from taking his starting job. “I don’t want to be the weak link, ” Peterson said. “Nobody wants to be the weak link.”"

William C. Rhoden of The New York Times:  “The common thought is that the Knicks will jettison Marbury and install Chris Duhon, obtained as a free agent last spring, at the point. Be careful. Duhon is a solid player, but he is not a better player than Marbury and not a tougher player. In a season that will have steep peaks and deep valleys, toughness and thick skin will be at a premium. Critics wonder how Walsh can proclaim a new Knicks era while giving Marbury — identified with the Isiah Thomas era — an expanded role on the team. In fact, Eddy Curry and Zach Randolph are more poignant reminders of the Knicks’ blunders.  Marbury is not the Knicks’ problem. Fans may hate his demeanor, hate the glaring, hate the snapping at the news media, but Marbury is the Knicks’ best player.”

Marc Berman of The New York Post:  “President Donnie Walsh took the Knicks beat writers out to dinner at an Italian restaurant last night on Broadway here in Saratoga, reinstalling a Knick training-camp tradition that ended with Isiah Thomas in recent years. It’s unclear if Danilo Gallinari gave the recommendation. It’s mostly an off-the-record gathering, with Walsh getting to better know the writers who will be questioning his judgement the next several months and us getting to know him more on a personal level. (He’s a grandfather of 12, including triplet girls). Donnie, the former Pacers patriarch, admitted he never actually saw live Reggie Miller’s historic eight-points-in-nine-seconds explosion in the 1995 playoffs vs. the Knicks as he was in the back, too ticked off to continue watching. Donnie said one of the toughest parts of the Knicks job is having to walk by a giant framed picture poster of Larry Johnson’s 4-point play hanging in the Knicks’ practice facility.”

Bob Finnan of The News-Herald:  “Cavs guard Delonte West said he put the money he earned in his new three-year, $12.7 million contract to good use. “My momma’s house is paid for,” he said. “My Uncle Rudy will get his teeth. My daddy got a boat. My little sister’s college is paid for. I can just concentrate on basketball now.”” [Via And One]  “His career cut short, Dickerson was left looking for answers. He found it over 8,000 miles away.  “Just after the retirement, there were a lot of unanswered questions,” said the soft-spoken swingman. “I had just signed a contract and I was progressing in my career. And to have my career taken away from me, I was seeking answers. So I started studying different cultures, different environments. And I found more answers in India than I had anywhere else in my entire life.”  Dickerson spent much of the next three years in the subcontinent, studying ancient scriptures and healing his mind and body. Asked what drew him to India to begin with, Dickerson answers unequivocally: “The soul drew me there.””

- Check out last night’s Highlights for more recommended reading

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