Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE
Training camp began this last Saturday and the new look Mavericks look to be gellin’…
For those of you who were taking bets on who would get injured first, the money could have easily been on Chris Kaman, Brandan Wright or Roddy Beaubois and so far, two outta three ain’t good. However, they’re minor and shouldn’t keep the two big guys out for long. Meanwhile the rest of the team is looking good mentally and physically with a few positive surprises.
Well, we hope so anyway. Here’s a brief summary on some of the early goings on:
- Injury Report:
Chris Kaman left practice Saturday with a lower back sprain and Brandan Wright suffered a quadriceps injury. Both are considered minor but they will each miss a couple of days of practice, possibly more. Kaman is uncertain for preseason opener. With two big men down, the Mavs may need to look to an additional center for backup, especially with so many guards on the roster.
Dirk Nowitzki shows no signs of the poor conditioning or knee injury that slowed him down at the beginning of last year so he is also ready to go.
In other injury news, Delonte West @CharleeRedz13 tweeted:
"“Dis day 4…got a charlee-hourse in my left Butt-cheek”"
Rick Carlisle has stated that the rookies are all looking terrific. Bernard James in particular has shown the most improvement as he is being asked to adapt his game from being a rebounder and defender to add offensive skills. So far the hottest shooter in camp? Josh Akognon, according to Earl Sneed. Could he be the surprise of camp?
James’ progress is the most significant because while the Mavericks have a surplus of competent guards, the frontcourt, while greatly improved, is thin at the 5 after Kaman. The team has been exploring using Elton Brand as a backup center and while he certainly has the experience and the offensive and defensive skill, he doesn’t have the size and extra minutes might mean more wear and tear on the veteran than he really needs.
After a good offensive showing in the summer league, “Sarge” is making great progress according to Carlisle and that is probably the best news the Mavericks could have, especially when the first two injuries out of the gate are big men.
Carlisle has praised the veterans for coming to camp in shape, including Dirk, who last year had conditioning and knee problems. Roddy Beaubois received praise for showing up in the best shape of his career and he has been the last one off the court the first two days.
With Jason Kidd gone, Vince Carter has taken over as not only the old man but as team mentor. With a possible future coaching career in mind, Vince is investing in the younger players. Carter has always been recognized for his athletic ability but perhaps only more recently for his high basketball IQ which has helped him transition into an effective role player. Now he is sharing his knowledge of the game with the youngsters.
- Overall Outlook
The team showed up with enthusiasm and eager to get started. The veterans are in great shape overall and excited about new opportunities both individually and as a team. The youngsters are learning a lot from the older veterans and looking at real opportunities to make an impact. The two injuries are a bit disappointing this early on but minor and will have plenty of time to heal.
Rick Carlisle has overall been very positive about everything he’s seen so far.
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