I'm shaking off the malaise that has been the preseason. Frankly there has been little to write about and not much but mental note-taking during this training camp. I can sense the team hasn't been too interested in things over the last 10 days or so. They are quite bored with practice, which is one of the reasons Mike Brown gave them this whole weekend off. Here's some stuff I've noticed:To read more or comment...
--Thanks for visiting as always, should you have some more free time I've got a new ESPN story, or as LeBron would call it, a new ESPN joint up here. Also if you have an ESPN Insider membership you read my Five Observations.To read more or comment...
--After watching Shannon Brown in summer league in Vegas back in July I was pretty sure he could help the Cavs in some capacity right away. After watching him in last week's scrimmage and last night's relatively miserable preseason opener I feel even stronger that he's got the potential to be a solid rotation player. However I am also convinced it won't be happening anytime soon. Mike Brown, as reason dictates, is going with Damon Jones and David Wesley in that position for the foreseeable future. Last night Brown didn't come into the game until the starters were wearing T-shirts and flip flops in the third quarter.To read more or comment...
There's been no significant rule changes. They haven't asked the veterans to report to training camp earlier. The CBA is settled. There's no dress code changes. What to talk about the first week of the season this year? Ah ha, the new ball.
Look, I'm not a professional basketball player (in case you thought otherwise). I probably can't appreciate the little nuances, such as the feel of the ball. Just as I bet an NBA player can't understand, say, the difference in the wireless network availibility at various NBA arenas or the differences in frequent flyer programs. However, I can say with reasonable certainty that all this talk about the ball is much ado about nothing.
They were using the new balls during summer league in July. Those players seemed to handle it just fine. Listening to all the worries about how slick the ball gets, you'd think an NBA practice would resemble a kindergarten dodge ball game these days. Sure, there will be some adjustment, but it isn't going to impact the game. After the preseason, you'll probably never hear about it again.
Several of the Cavs actually like the ball. Drew Gooden told me he's never been able to palm an NBA ball until this year. I couldn't believe that and challenged him. He said he could cradle it, but not palm it. Eric Snow and LeBron James, the two primary ball handlers, told me they thought the ball was cheap but they'd handle it just fine.
So enjoy the fodder -- we beat writers need something interesting to write about this time of year -- but don't read too much into it.
Oh, great line today by Zydrunas Ilgauskas. As a guy who lives in Cleveland year round, Z was asked if it is different being out in public when your with a winning team. Said Z: "Well, it's better because when people as you how the team will be this season you don't have to BS them as much."
That's all for now. Check my stories from training camp on the Cavs offensive changes and the pressure on last year's free agents to step up.
--Lots of players saying "I'm happy to be here."
--Scot Pollard not sporting any facial hair, a Mohawk, and joking about an endorsement deal with "Fun Dip."
--Damon Jones saying he's "in the best shape since I left Miami." Which, I guess, means he wasn't in the best shape at the start of last year's training camp.
--Drew Gooden saying he could throw the ball up high enough for Randy Moss to catch it.
--Lots of players saying they were "looking forward to the season."
--Sasha Pavlovic's stunning tan, which he said he got back home in Montenegro. In case you missed it, he's not from Serbia anymore, there's a new country. "It's still all the same," he told me.
--A clean shaven Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
--Seeing Ondrej Starosta sit at a table all by himself. By the way, he's from the Czech Republic, the same people that brought you Jiri Welsch.
--Lots of players saying they're "trying to get better every day."
--Larry Hughes flicking off a bunch of reporters...showing them the range of motion on his right middle finger.
--Austin Carr sporting his new look...sans mustache.
--LeBron James refering to his new Sprite commercial as a "joint."
--LeBron James calling Warren Buffett "a cool guy, when I found out how much he was worth."
--LeBron James breaking down his "ink."
--Lots of players saying "We just need to win ballgames."