1. The Knicks are getting together a month early to work on conditioning and drills, to get a head start on training camp. Does this signal anything really meaningful to you?
Nah. A lot of this is cosmetic, and a lot of teams do it. But I will say that showing up early and in shape is better than showing up late and fat. After the lockout, a lot of players were behind due to poor conditioning and diet and never got caught up. Carmelo Anthony was one of the key offenders, and the fact that he lost 12 pounds or so prior to the Olympics, looked trim and active during the Olympics and will go into the season with a solid conditioning base can only be positive for the Knicks.
2. Reggie Miller went into the Hall on Thursday. Is there anyone out there today who even has the potential to top him as a Knicks torturer?
Well, a couple of things. First, Reggie's relationship with the Knicks and New York -- and his role as a Knicks tormentor -- was truly a unique dynamic that probably can never be duplicated. Second, the Knicks would have to be perennial conference title contenders for anything close to that to happen, and they're not there yet. If the Knicks get to that level, I suppose LeBron could torment them -- but he torments everybody. So the most logical choice is Deron Williams. He's the best player on a rival team that plays a bridge away in the next borough. And D-Will has just the chutzpah (and talent, and killer instinct) to pull off the villain role at Madison Square Garden.
3. Don Nelson also went into the Hall. With the way the league is going, playing faster and faster and smaller and smaller... did NellieBall eventually win, even after his retirement?
In a way, yes. But I wouldn't give Nellie all the credit. You have to also consider the European influence, the Mike D'Antoni effect and the changing of the rules to open the floor and encourage a faster pace and more scoring. For zany lineups, like George Karl likes to use? Nellie can have credit for that.
4. Rajon Rondo thinks the Celtics will win the title, which is no shocker, everyone says that this time of year. What will the Celtics need from him to get there, though?
Here's the thing about Rondo: He's a wonderful, tough-minded point guard and I'd take him on my team any day of the week. But his game has limitations. Losing Ray Allen -- a reliable release valve in transition -- will be a test of whether Rondo can raise his individual game beyond pesky defense and creative play-making. You know, it's the old which-came-first argument. Did Rondo make the Big Three in Boston, or did the Big Three make Rondo? The key, obvious area where Rondo could improve and raise his game toward the Chris Paul-Deron Williams realm is the mid-range jumper. He's worked hard at it, and showed signs of knocking down open J's in the playoffs. But if he could become a consistent mid-range scorer, wow, what a terror he would be.
5. What's one way you'd change the Hall of Fame?
It's always bugged me that the NBA and college greats are lumped together in the same Hall of Fame. I understand that all levels of basketball are intertwined, but it just seems to be a stretch to put everyone in the same shrine. Give me a professional hall of Fame and a college hall of fame. The distinction also would make the selection process less complicated.