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Smack / Oct 2, 2010 / 3:11 am

NBA Training Camp updates on the Lakers’ biggest challengers

Al Jefferson (photo. Bethany Gilbert)

As Week 1 of NBA training camp continues, we’re learning some things about the teams that will challenge the L.A. Lakers in the West. In Utah, Al Jefferson is looking less like Karl Malone and more like Carl Winslow, showing up to Jazz camp at 280 pounds when he was at 265 last year in Minnesota. It’s not exactly Mike Sweetney territory, but — as we were reminded in the conference semis sweep — the Jazz don’t have any margin for error if they’re seriously trying to knock off L.A. this time around. Jefferson says it’s not a big deal, that he wanted to put on a little more weight anyway to avoid getting pushed around in the paint, and he’ll lose the excess during camp … Jerry Sloan, meanwhile, apparently does think it’s a big deal. Sloan didn’t mention Jefferson by name, but the coach did say, “At this stage they’re probably a little bit tired. But I don’t really care. From that standpoint, they should be in better shape when they got here. If you’re going to spend your time getting conditioned in training camp, then you’re probably going to be trying to play catch-up the biggest part of the time.” … In San Antonio, Richard Jefferson spent the summer re-tooling his game and is getting rave reviews. Gregg Popovich went as far as comparing RJ’s dedication to that of a college kid looking for an NBA job. If RJ is playing like the guy the Spurs thought they were getting last season, you can’t count Tim Duncan‘s guys out of the championship picture … And in Denver, as much as we like Chauncey, the Nuggets are starting to compile all the ingredients for a disastrously disappointing season. The Carmelo trade/free agency stuff is going to hang over everyone’s head until a deal gets done, Kenyon Martin is feeling unappreciated and will get cranky, Birdman, Al Harrington and K-Mart are hurt, and J.R. Smith is still being J.R. Smith. “If (J.R.) throws out that deflating, depression, negative energy,” George Karl said yesterday, “I don’t think we’ll tolerate that.” Why don’t we see this ending well? … Meanwhile, over in the East, some big men are having problems. Erick Dampier was looking like he’d sign with Miami or Milwaukee, but now he’s reportedly down to Toronto and running out of options. And in Orlando, Daniel Orton is going to miss all of training camp with a bad knee. It’s the same knee Orton tore up in high school and missed his senior year. Magic GM Otis Smith said, “He probably should not have played (at Kentucky), and should have spent the time rehabbing. And had we known the depth of his problem, he probably shouldn’t have played this summer.” Translation: If we’d known it was that bad, we wouldn’t have drafted him … If you missed it on Thursday, the nation’s No. 1 high school ballplayer, Winter Park (Fla.) guard Austin Rivers (Doc’s kid), committed to Duke. For the last few months he’s been keeping a diary for High School Hoop, and in his latest entry Austin breaks down how and why he picked the Blue Devils … We’re out like J.R.’s leeway …

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  • BRUCE

    Take that Raja Bell!

  • http://www.fukoff.com Chicagorilla

    Al jeff is on some BS. He was that big in Bos then lost that weight to get that extension. No way Sloan puts up with that from him. He better get it together. He on that BDiaw ish. Denver is done stick a fork n em. As for Daniel Orton…this is the ish that pisses me off. That kid should have stayed in school (never shud’ve went to UK) and got a d@mn degree. Tired of seeing young black men chasing $ and forgetting whats important.

  • Captain Fantastic

    Big Al had weight issues last season too and he took it to the gym during the summer while in Minnesota. In fact, I spoke with him twice will attending his Timberwolves sponsored summer camp for him son. At least in July any additional weight gain was strictly muscle. Haven’t seen him since he went to Utah though. Maybe there’s a special Mormon dish he latched unto?

  • sh!tfaced

    Not the next Mailman but the next Ike Austin…

  • Art

    so Al is more like Mel Turpin than Karl Malone?

  • That’s What’s Up

    @3 – that mormon dish you’re referring to is called ‘White Coochie A La Mode’

  • DVS

    hahahah @6.

  • Ben1en

    I know who has been working out Richard Jefferson and why he looks so much better. It’s the guys at Pro Hoops. Dime has covered them before because they worked with Sylven Landesberg. Pro Hoops have some impressive clientele, and Richard Jefferson is just one of their many active NBA players involved. I happen to be lucky enough to work out with with two of the main trainers of Pro Hoops, Ross and Tim Burns. They hold sessions for highschool kids in NYC. The workouts they put us through are very similar to the ones they do with their NBA players. Pro Hoops are the real deal and Richard Jefferson has them to thank…

  • jzsmoove

    please no dampier to Toronto talks, sickens my stomach, ima gonna heave.

  • Stunnaboy09

    what the fuck is Dampier doing in Toronto? Didn’t he want a ring?

    He should go to Milwaukee, OKC or any other team in need of a big C with 6 fouls. Hell just wait till the All-Star break and sign with the team that needs you the most.

    Daniel Orton has B.U.S.T all over him. I really wish he comes back from his knee because, well he doesn’t have much going for him now does he?

    RJ looking good? Hmm I like this, but basically that just means he makes open shots, doesn’t turn the ball over and gets open when they need him to be. Cuz that’s all they need for a 3 in San Antonio.

    Big Al is a non-story. Jerry Sloan whoops his ass into shape in 2 weeks.

  • Sporty-j

    lmaol @THATS WHATS UP…

  • phantom

    Dime, yall taking what George Karl said out of context yall only reporting part of the things he said about Earl if yall would read more into what he said you would realize that he also said he’s expecting bigger things out of him and he is having his best camp ever, and is impressed. So don’t report on the negative just because he is “well J.R. Smith”

    But things will be interesting this year with Denver, they might be the Jets of the NBA as far as cockiness. I think they need there own reality show it would be way better than watching dat “gabage” not garbage show Keeping up with the Kard-somebodies.

  • RC

    Sad for Denver, I really thought it was their time last season. Melo is playing out of this world and destroying every defender they put on him. But still just can’t get a break from the immaturity from J.R. Smith and the injuries with all their big men. Oh well I guess I would just wear my Melo jersey for one more season and that’s it. Just like Bosh just like Amare.

  • Joe’s Momma

    lol @ Carl Winslow

    As far as Al Jefferson, he will quickly see Jerry Sloan’s tough side if he makes mistakes in camp. He might not get the long leash he has been getting with the sorry teams he played for.

    Richard Jefferson? I was hearing the same stuff last year about him. I hope he has been working on that corner 3, because that is the only shot he will be getting in that offense.

    I got no problem with Daniel Orton going in the draft. Better to get the best medical personnel working on that knee and also getting paid. There is no guarantee he will make anywhere close to that type of money if he stayed in school. If things don’t work out he can always go back to school and if he spends his money right, he won’t need student loans.

  • http://www.utjazzblog.com UTJazzBlog

    Big Al is going to be just fine in Utah. Sloan has already praised him for how hard he’s worked since arriving in Utah. He is not yet in ideal shape, but he’ll get there. He’s saying all the right things, and reputedly doing all the right things as well. He doesn’t look overweight, either.