Training camps opened in the NBA this week and 10 former Washington players were in the mix.
Among the Huskies, perhaps the most intriguing story is in Minnesota where Brandon Roy makes his return after prematurely retiring last year due to a degenerative knee condition.
The 28-year-old underwent a platelet-rich plasma therapy treatment and feels good enough to resume a five-year NBA career that includes three All-Star appearances.
Also in Minnesota Will Conroy, who turns 30 in December, makes perhaps his last run at latching on with a NBA team. He has not been on a NBA roster since 2010. Conroy received a partially guaranteed contract and is one of six unrestricted free agents invited to the training camp roster.
Conroy is the UW’s all-time assist leader and was a star in the NBDL, but its going to be difficult for him to make Minnesota’s 15-man roster because the Wolves have guards Ricky Rubio, who is recovering from a knee injury and isn’t expected to return until December, former Sonic Luke Ridnour, six-year veteran Jose Barea and second-year pro Malcolm Lee from UCLA.
Meanwhile, Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten Jr. (left) make their NBA training camp debuts in Toronto and Memphis respectively.
Ross, a surprise No. 8 pick in the draft this summer, is making friends with the other rookies. However, his biggest obstacle appears to be learning if he can co-exist with DeMar DeRozan, a third-year 6-7 guard who was second on the team averaging 16.7 points.
Wroten begins his NBA career battling with former Arizona star Jerryd Bayless and second-year pro Josh Selby for minutes to backup starter Mike Conley. Wroten will also have to fend off guards Ronald Murray, a former Sonic, and former Washington State standout Kyle Weaver who were added to the training camp squad.
Wroten has the luxury of perhaps seeking guidance from Quincy Pondexter. However, the former UW star will have to fight to keep his spot in the rotation. Judging from early training camp reports, Wroten has a difficult task to impress the coaching staff.
In Sacramento, the Kings are moving former Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans to point guard and brought in Aaron Brooks, the former Franklin High and Oregon Ducks star, to challenge Isaiah Thomas (above) for the starting job. Here’s a nice rundown on the Kings from Ailene Voisin at the Sacramento Bee.
It would seem former UW star Spencer Hawes’ minutes and role will be reduced after Philadelphia traded for Andrew Bynum. However, Bynum is recovering from a knee procedure and Hawes is still the man in the middle for the 76ers. Still the ultimate plan for Hawes is to move to power forward and play alongside Bynum.
Nate Robinson (right ) begins his eighth NBA season with his fourth team, the Chicago Bulls. He’s slated as the understudy to starting point guard Kirk Hinrich.
Jon Brockman did not report to Houston this week after suffering a serious eye injury in September.
Justin Holiday begins the season with the Cleveland Cavaliers on their training camp squad. Judging from the competition at small forward (Alonzo Gee, C.J. Miles, Omri Casspi and Luke Walton), Holiday has a decent chance to make the team.
Martell Webster, who was never officially a Husky but did sign with UW, is looking for a breakout season with his third team, the Washington Wizards.
Former UW star Justin Dentmon who won the MVP award while leading the Austin Torros to the NBA D-League championship last season has put his NBA dreams on hold at least temporarily and will play this season with the Fuhian Quanzhou of the Chinese League.