With training camp set to kick off in a matter of hours, I felt it was time to stop talking the talk and actually make some bold predictions as to what will result from the arduous form of over-exercise known to commoners as training camp. With 20 players contracted for camp (Aaron Gray will miss camp after undergoing rehabilitation for a "cardiac episode"), and 16 of these deals guaranteed (Lorenzo Brown, Josh Bostic, Hasheem Thabeet and Brian Cook the freeloaders), there is going to be some rather spirited to-ing and fro-ing all in the name of competitive banter. Enough chinwagging, lets take a look at my 5 bold predictions for training camp.
Thabeet Makes The Roster
This is entirely possible anyway, due to Aaron Gray's health concerns. However, what makes this bold is that Gray's deal is guaranteed, and therefore harder to shed, as he would have to be bought out for Thabeet to make the roster. It's of course much more likely that Thabeet was signed as well styled insurance for Gray but ultimately would wither away to Grand Rapids, but there is still the lingering feeling around the NBA that this 7'3" Tanzanian may actually be good at basketball.
Augustin Starts Over Jennings
To a lot of the regular commenters here, this may not be so much a bold prediction as it is a lucid pipe-dream. However, for me, Jennings, for at least the start of the season, is the incumbent starting PG. Unless he breaks his jaw again or takes 15 stepback 3s in the open scrimmage, PG is his to [invariably] lose. If we also assume that the 15 pounds he's added on is actually muscle as he says it is, and not fat from sitting around all day watching NBATV as anyone who follows his Twitter would know, then it may make him less cringeworthy on defence, and therefore the better starting PG.
Tony Mitchell Is Cut
Remember the part where I said the roster stood at 16 guaranteed players? Well, with that pesky thing called roster limitations one player has to be released one way or another. In my eyes, the two most likely candidates are Will Bynum and Tony Mitchell. Bynum is unlikely despite our guard depth because he's one of those "character veterans" that Van Gundy talks about all the time. Mitchell will find playing time hard to come by initially because his position of choice, PF, is coincidentally our biggest strength, with Greg Monroe, Josh Smith and Jonas Jerebko all splitting time there before Mitchell. That's before you even factor in the fact that he has no jumpshot (Smiff taught him well), and the possibility of smallball lineups with Datome or even Singler (god forbid) at the 4, and it looks very bleak.
Monroe Comes Off The Bench
We know pretty well what the rotation will look like for the first 2 games due to Monroe's alcohol-related suspension, but after that it's open season. Training camp is a good opportunity for Smith to cement himself as the starting 4, and if he plays well enough in the first two games, then it's hard to see Van Gndy show even a fraction of the comedic ineptitude that surrounded Mo Cheeks and shift Smith back to the 3 and accomodate Monroe in the laughably suicidal "Big Three". At Media Day, Monroe spoke about coming off the bench as well as a range of other things, and he said it was a totally foreign concept to him at this point in his career. A concept which may become familiar as the season wears on.
Dinwiddie Is Declared Fit For Opening Night
This one is REALLY left-field, as all we've heard over the summer (winter here in Down Under), is how there is no timetable for Spencer and that Van Gundy has no expectations of him at all this season. There were various reports mooting a possible January return for the rookie, but by all recent accounts "The Mayor" is progressing swimmingly and has pushed his return well forward. Whether he impresses enough to force a suit-up on opening night, however, only time will tell.
Those were my 5 bold predictions for training camp, and if you have any of your own please feel free to tell me in the comments. Bear in mind these predictions are totally fantasized, and must be taken with a pinch of salt as no scientific data was used. These are basically the most-extreme case scenarios for what may happen over the coming weeks and months. With that in mind, lets get cracking.
Now, your thoughts.