Yesterday was Cavaliers Media Day at The Q, a day for reporters to do all the menial preseason reporting for all their menial preseason stories. For a day devoted to interviews, shockingly little was revealed. Even Damon Jones, king of the quote, said almost nothing of consequence and didn't even tell any good jokes. If it weren't for the free chicken tenders, the whole event might have been a waste.
But one interesting trend did emerge from a few players, including Jones. Although they said there was no concerted effort, four key players -- Jones, LeBron James, Drew Gooden, and Donyell Marshall -- all said they've returned this season in noticeably better condition than last year.
When he wasn't touring China to promote his shoe deal or appearing on Cribs
, Jones apparently spent the off-season in Vegas, working out with Pistons guard Chauncey Billups and his conditioning guru. James said playing on the U.S. team kept him in shape early in the summer, and allowed him to push himself into better shape by this week's start of camp.
But Gooden took the most extreme step: He bought a 10-speed. He said he ended last season feeling too heavy but has returned 15 pounds lighter. "I turned into the black Lance Armstrong," he says.
Maybe the guys were just blowing smoke up the media's collectively large, free-chicken-tender-eating ass; after all, they had to be working on something
during the offseason. But it also may be a signal that they're coming back ready to battle for minutes. With the addition of veterans Scott Pollard and David Wesley, along with fresh-legged rookies Shannon Brown and Daniel Gibson, playing time's going to be harder to come by on Mike Brown's this year. And with the second-year coach's committment to defense, having legs and lungs that don't quit on you is probably a sound approach. It worked for the white Lance Armstrong anyway. -- Joe P. Tone