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NBA Saturday: Len Will Be Ready For Camp
Posted By Joel Brigham On August 17, 2013 @ 6:00 am In NBA | No Comments
HOOPSWORLD catches up with Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.Watch More Video Here
Len Will Be Back for Training Camp
While Summer League is great for teams to get a good look at some of the younger players they have in their systems, the fans really only care about seeing lottery picks in action.
This year, however, three of the top six picks were not able to participate in the summer games, including No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett and projected No. 1 overall pick Nerlens Noel. Alex Len, the Phoenix Suns’ rookie big man, also sat out Vegas because of a bum ankle, but it looks like his rehab is moving along a little quicker than the other injured lottery picks.
In fact, as he shared at the team’s new uniform unveiling earlier this week, he’s even got a time table to get back on the court.
“I’ve got two more weeks of rehab and then I’ll be back about 85-90 percent,” Len told Paul Coro of AZCentral Sports. “I’ll be back for training camp and be ready for the season. The ankle’s feeling great. I have no pain.”
That is very good news for a team that really needs Len to develop into a star. The current roster of players is one of the league’s least desirable, but Len isn’t going to let a little thing like ankle surgery derail his goal of turning around this struggling franchise.
“I’m trying to just focus on the other things,” Len said. “Just learn the game because there are a lot of things I have to learn, different rules and stuff like that. I don’t really think about it. The doctors tell me to just not worry about it. Everything’s great. I’m feeling right. I don’t feel any pain so there’s nothing to worry about.”
Now, he’s just champing at the bit to run around the court with his new teammates and finally show how he fits in with the Suns. They have a long ways to go before returning to respectability, but Len seems genuinely excited to be a part of the rebuilding process.
“I can’t wait for the season,” Len said. “We’re ready to do big things. Nobody expects us to be great. We’ve got a young team and we really want it.”
Obviously, it will be a while before they get “it,” but having Len back on the court is a step in the right direction. Not a lot of players would be this thrilled to be headed to Phoenix right now, but the fact that he is means good things for the Suns, if not this year, then somewhere not too far down the road.
Daryl Morey Discusses Rockets’ Frontcourt Issues on Reddit
For those unfamiliar with Reddit, it’s the single coolest social news and entertainment website in existence, where users can post links that get voted up or down based on their level of worthiness. The IAmA subreddit is one of the most popular on the site, as it allows people to post something called an AMA (Ask Me Anything), which can obviously be pretty cool if the person running it is a major celebrity. Barack Obama, Morgan Freeman, Louis C.K., Stan Lee and hosts of others have run AMAs in the past, but for basketball fans, nothing is quite as entertaining as an internet conversation with Rockets GM Daryl Morey.
In his Friday Reddit chat with fans, Morey answered a lot of questions about the Houston frontcourt, which is particularly crowded at center now that Dwight Howard and Omer Asik are both on the roster. Somewhat predictably, Morey looks at this logjam as a luxury, and in fact it sounds like there are plans to get both players on the floor at the same time.
“Coach McHale plans to experiment with Dwight at PF and Omer as C in training camp. If it works and helps us win, obviously we would look at using it,” Morey wrote.
He added that Asik seems happy to accept whatever role McHale assigns him, insinuating that whatever trade demand Asik may have issued once upon a time may no longer be an issue.
“Omer would prefer to be a starter and is certainly a starter + quality player,” Morey said. “That said, he is a winner first & likes being on a winning team.”
He added that Asik isn’t likely to start and named Donatas Motiejunas and Terrence Jones as the two most likely candidates to start at power forward for the Rockets this season.
Morey also made a point of defending Jeremy Lin, suggesting that he may not be quite as eager to trade his starting point guard as some rumors have suggested.
“It is amazing to me that all the time I encounter people feeling negative about Jeremy’s season with us,” he said. “I have chalked this up to:
– he started off slow, mostly due to getting 100% back from injury
– very high, unrealistic expectations after his time in New York
– had a rough ending in the playoffs, again due to injury
– people generally remember starts & ends more than anything else
– people generally compare things to their expectations when forming opinions versus look at the big picture.”
He added that Lin was basically a rookie last season, playing his first full year in the league, and for that reason he should be cut a little more slack than he has been.
“If last season would have been his rookie year and he never would have played in New York, right now people would be appropriately talking about him incessantly as one of the top young rookie stars in the league,” Morey wrote. “He was the starting point guard on a playoff team in West at age 24!!!”
Lin’s recovery from injury at the start of last season didn’t help his early success, either.
“Almost all players do better with more rest, as do teams,” Morey said. “Where this is not true, it is likely random and not statistically significant. Really hard to find patterns here. That said, Jeremy for sure was still recovering from a significant injury at the start of last year and I believe it contributed to his slow start. By mid-year he was playing at a very high level.”
In general, it’s not hard to defend a team that looks as good on paper as the Houston Rockets do heading into this season. They’re going to be a fun team to watch on television—perhaps even as much fun as Morey is to chat with on Reddit.
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