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Around the NBA: Fultz to play in preseason, Rod Thorn to the Wiz

Philadelphia 76ers v Orlando Magic Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

James Johnson banished from Heat training camp

The Miami Heat have gained a reputation for being a gritty, yeoman’s work sort of organization. With an ultra-competitive guy like Pat Riley at the helm of their operations and having to find overlooked, misused talent after missing out on big name acquisitions, the Heat have cultivated in environment in which their players, however talented, will be the hardest working, best conditioned collection of players in the NBA. This has become the aura around the Heat, and its thanks to stories like the following.

James Johnson has been banished from the Heat’s training camp for reporting out of shape according to Heat standards. The team said in a statement that Johnson “fell short of our conditioning requirements. Once he fulfills and maintains those requirements, he will rejoin the team.” What’s crazy about this story is this: Johnson, a second-degree black belt in karate, revitalized his career by heading to the Heat and getting into ridiculously good shape. If there’s one person who you’d pick to not fail conditioning tests, its probably Johnson, and yet he wasn’t able to meet the Heat’s conditioning standards? Heat training camp sounds like boot camp — odd retirement choice, Jimmy Butler.

Markelle Fultz expected to play in preseason opener

Markelle Fultz is expected suit up and play in the Orlando Magic’s preseason opener this Saturday, October 5th, against the San Antonio Spurs. Fultz has not played NBA basketball since November 19th, 2018, his last appearance for the Philadelphia 76ers, and he’s played in just 33 regular season games since being drafted in the summer of 2017 (all for the Sixers).

I’m happy to see Markelle is ready to hit the court again. I think about being Markelle and how disorienting and confusing the last two years have been, and it has to be emotionally and mentally draining. I mean, that sort of experience has to make one question their own identity. And I think I’m... excited to watch him play?!

Adam Silver installs Rod Thorn as babysitter of Tommy Sheppard Rod Thorn hired by Wizards as special adviser

Rod Thorn, former President and General Manager of the Sixers, has been hired as a special adviser to Tommy Sheppard, current General Manager of the Washington Wizards.

I, and I’m sure I have some comrades who feel the same here, dislike this tendency in the NBA to bring in members of the old boys club to oversee teams that are struggling, especially in a case like the Wizards where the previous GM was one of the good ol’ boys and a total failure. But who knows, maybe Thorn will draw on his experience of being employed by the Bulls when they drafted Michael Jordan, a result Thorn was essentially disappointed in, to effectively rebuild the struggling Wizards.

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