NBA PM: Eddy Curry Nears Unlikely Comeback?
When the news came out that free agent center Eddy Curry had signed on with the San Antonio Spurs for training camp, it seemed a strange match. Curry has had issues with conditioning for years, even when he wasn’t injured, and it’s been quite some time since he logged anything close to a full season. He has been on and off of rosters for teams looking to take a chance that he can get back to a place where he can contribute, but hasn’t been anywhere close to full speed since the 2006-07 season, when he appeared in 81 games for the New York Knicks and averaged 19.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per contest.
After being completely out of the league during the 2010-11 season, Curry did manage to catch on with the Miami HEAT last year. He appeared in 14 games, even starting one, but was nowhere close to being an impact player, managing just 2.1 points and 0.9 rebounds per game.
Sounds like the perfect player to catch on in San Antonio, where the stakes are extremely high and the margin for error is thinner than a razor blade, right?
Well, you just never know.
Curry showed up for camp in shape and ready to work, and after surviving Gregg Popovich’s camp he has turned in decent performances in preseason. He played well enough in limited minutes during his first preseason outing to warrant more minutes the next time out. In his second game he started and played 25 minutes, recording 11 points and eight rebounds while connecting on four-of-seven field goal attempts. Sure, it was only a preseason game, but for Curry it represented a huge step in his quest to return to the NBA.
“That felt good, especially getting to go against an All-Star center (Al Horford),” Curry told Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News after the Spurs beat the Atlanta Hawks. “I feel like I’ve worked hard. I feel like it’s paying for me and I’m just going to keep plugging away.”
Curry feels that his time in Miami was well spent, and that some of the plays run by HEAT head coach Erik Spoelstra prepared him for some of Popovich’s sets.
“Miami did a lot of pick and roll, too,” said Curry. “I didn’t play a lot in Miami, but I practiced every single day, whether it was two-on-two, three-on-three, four-on-four or whatever. I practiced a lot and the majority of practice was pick and roll. … Hey, they post up a lot here, too. I like it a lot.”
As it happens, the Spurs could use another body in the front court. Tim Duncan is the presumed starting center, but in a Western Conference that now runs through very big, very physical teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers, the Spurs could use a big bruiser up front. Weighing in at 295 pounds, Curry could prove to be part of the solution for the Spurs.
“I feel I’m in a good situation,” said Curry. “I worked hard this summer. Every game it’s just about showing everybody what I can do. I’m trying to focus on defense and rebounding, trying to play in the system and soak up as much as I can. … I think I’m going to make it. Until they tell me I’m not, I feel like I’m part of this team.”
One thing’s for sure, if Curry can turn in a couple of more solid preseason performances he will, indeed, earn a spot on an NBA roster. If the Spurs don’t want him, there are plenty of NBA teams that lack front court pieces, especially in the form of a player who was once basically a 20/10 performer.
It looks like Eddy Curry’s unlikely journey back to the NBA may be nearing a successful conclusion.
Jason Richardson Talks Sixers
The Andrew Bynum acquisition was the highlight of the offseason for the Philadelphia 76ers, but they also acquired another player in that deal who will have a lot to do with their success, as well. Jason Richardson talks with HOOPSWORLD about his new team, their hopes of contending and more in this exclusive interview:
Can Dallas Survive Without Nowitzki?
It seems the Western Conference gets tougher every season, and as the conference gets tougher each game takes on a new, heightened importance. The teams that get out of the gate quickly, coming together as a cohesive unit and putting together wins from the start have a distinct advantage over teams with a lot of new pieces or with early injuries.
This is the environment in which the Dallas Mavericks could find themselves as the 2012-13 NBA season gets underway and as Dirk Nowitzki ponders what to do about the recurrent swelling in his right knee. He sat out his team’s last two preseason games before returning to a full practice on Friday morning.
“If the swelling keeps coming back, I’m not going to play on a swollen knee all season,” Nowitzki said after practice. “If it comes back a couple more times, then we definitely have to look at something else.”
What’s being talked about is an arthroscopic procedure that would likely put Nowitzki out of action for 4-6 weeks, begging the question, how will his team fare without him?
Last season, five games separated the fourth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies and the eighth-seeded Utah Jazz. If the Jazz had lost two more games they might have missed the playoffs, as that was the gap between them and the ninth-seeded Houston Rockets. A mere three games separated the third seed Los Angeles Lakers and the sixth seed Denver Nuggets. It was just that tight.
Things weren’t much different the season before, when two losses meant the difference between being the second seed or the fourth seed, two losses separated the sixth seed and the eighth seed, and three losses meant the difference between being the seventh seed or missing the playoffs altogether.
There is absolutely no breathing room in the Western Conference, which will be tougher this season than it was in either of the last two campaigns. If Nowitzki is out of action for the first four weeks of the season he will miss two games against the Los Angeles Lakers, two games against the New York Knicks, as well as games against conference rivals Golden State, Utah and Minnesota, all of whom have realistic hopes of making the playoffs this season.
There’s no doubt that Nowitzki will make the right decision, and that decision may be to have his knee scoped and miss the first few weeks of the 2012-13 NBA season. If that is the case, however, the Mavericks have their work cut out for them as they look to win those crucial November games that have ever-increasing ramifications come April.
HOOPSWORLD Season Previews
The 2012-13 NBA season is rapidly approaching and there are plenty of early storylines emerging.
Can the Miami HEAT repeat their championship quest from last season? Is this the final championship run for the aging Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs? Will Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks finally put all of their talent together and join the league’s elite? Can the new-look Los Angeles Lakers, now boasting Dwight Howard and Steve Nash unseat the Oklahoma City Thunder as Western Conference champions? Is this the year the Minnesota Timberwolves reach the playoffs behind All-Star Kevin Love? Likewise, the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors are poised to make playoff runs of their own, but can they seal the deal? Are the Dallas Mavericks toast, or will their new group of hungry veterans surprise us all?
The HOOPSWORLD team has these questions and more all covered and you can find season previews for all 30 NBA teams by following this LINK.
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