NBA vets just love marathon practices

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When I read Wednesday about Vinny Del Negro’s marathon practice, the first person I thought of was Larry Hughes. And I smirked.

The smirk grew into a full-fledged smile when I read that Hughes skipped the practice because of some problem with a surgically repaired knuckle.

And then I see Ben Gordon sat out, too. For some reason, I wasn’t as suspicious of Gordon – at first. Then I saw Del Negro actually had to address the suspicion that Gordon sat out as protest over not getting a contract done.

My cynicism may be unfounded. They both could be legitimately injured, but it seemed like a smirkable coincidence.

Made me think back to my days covering the worst five-year stretch in NBA history. Wonder how Charles Oakley would have liked a four-hour practice. Especially one conducted by a rookie coach. My guess? Not so much.

But at least Oak would have practiced. Eddie Robinson? He would have skpped it. That’s who Hughes reminds me of, Eddie Robinson. Talented, but not the most committed, team-oriented players in the world.

Good luck to Del Negro. I don’t know how many marathon practices I would throw, though. Reminds me of some bad times.

Then I read Drew Gooden saying this is a “rebuilding year.” Yikes. Bad memories, indeed.

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