This lockout has led to a long, strange journey for the finest athletes in the sporting world.
We anticipated that it would result in a number of players losing focus on the NBA and possibly losing some muscle or gaining weight due to being involved in the labor negotiations or just taking advantage of the lockout and going on an extended vacation.
That has not been the case, however, as a number of players have actually improved their well-being.
With reports coming in from training camps across the NBA, it seems that the majority of the league's players have improved their bodies and are now healthier and stronger than ever.
Even players that have dealt with weight issues in the past—that we suspected would become the Shawn Kemp during the 1999 lockout—have taken a turn for the better and are now more than capable of playing 48 minutes worth of basketball.
However, not all is right as a few players have also dealt with injury concerns, including one superstar on a possible contender.
We'll go through a quick run-down of the latest news out of training camps with five stories either helping or ailing a team.
You would think that the lockout would have an adverse affect on the players.
With the lockout barring players from meeting with team trainers or going to their teams' gyms, naturally you'd assume that some players may have gained a little weight or lost a little muscle, as a result of being involved in labor negotiations or just taking advantage of the lengthy offseason with an extended vacation.
It turns out that these players are more committed than we imagined, with the Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant and Kendrick Perkins showing up to training camp a lot different than we remember last year.
Durant has actually added some bulk to that wiry frame that was once unable to bench 185 pounds at the combine prior to being drafted second. Durant is now listed at 235 pounds, 20 pounds heavier than when he was drafted.
Perhaps the even bigger story is just what Perkins arrived looking like, as it appears that he has dropped the 20 pounds that he vowed to lose at the end of last season. Perkins still has that competitor's mentality and a fierce edge to him, but you have to imagine that the weight he had to him was half his game as his size was a constant intimidation factor amongst those who attempted to enter the paint.
Either way, it should work out. A stronger Durant can only help improve his range and driving ability, while Perkins can move his feet a little quicker and get to spots before slashers can.
My apologies for the somewhat sensationalist headline. The injury is not too severe, but it is completely true that Carmelo Anthony did hyperextend his knee during a practice with the New York Knicks on December 12th.
Apparently, Anthony was coming off a screen and stepped on a player's foot before crashing to the floor and laying on the ground for 30 seconds. He would get up and spend the rest of the day with trainers, where coach Mike D'Antoni would later say the injury was day-to-day and that he should return by Wednesday at the latest.
While the injury doesn't seem as serious as it could have been, it could still carry some significance later on in the season. The minor injury happened to be on the same knee that he had surgery on during the offseason.
Anthony has relatively been healthy throughout his career and has played in at least 65 games in every season since being drafted in 2003.
It turns out that Eddy Curry was committed to coming back to the NBA after all.
Even with the ridicule that he is still dealing with from the uneducated masses, Curry has lost 70 pounds since showing up to a Miami Heat workout weighing in at 350 pounds. President Pat Riley told Curry that the only way he'd sign him to a contract would be to drop the weight until he deemed him suitable to put on a roster.
Curry took Riley's advice and thanks in part to Tim Grover (the same guy who helped Dwyane Wade get back on track), he has lost the weight and now appears to be a new man that could play a significant part on a Heat team that's looking for help at center. With 6'9" Joel Anthony the projected starter, Curry may be starting sooner than most would expect.
Of course, Curry will have to get back into the basketball habit, as he has only played in 10 games over the past three years.
If we thought anyone was going to come back to training camp overweight, it would have been Memphis Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph.
The driving force behind the Grizzlies historic postseason run last year has always dealt with weight problems and conditioning. He made it a purpose this offseason to not become that player and has actually improved his overall appearance after workouts, with Memphis assistant coach Frank Matrisciano helping the cause.
While some may be turned off of the idea of Randolph's weight loss because of how significant it was to the game, word is that Randolph has actually improved his vertical leap and is transferring fat to muscle for the first time in his career.
Gaining weight at this stage in his career would completely throw off his game, as gaining muscle and getting leaner bears great significance for Randolph this late in his career.
Receiving a great deal of criticism since signing a lucrative contract and then following it up with two abysmal seasons after a productive one, Golden State Warriors center Andris Biedrins is reportedly looking more like the player from 2008-09 than the one who has averaged five points and seven boards per in the past two seasons.
The '08-'09 Biedrins averaged 12 points, 11 boards, and nearly two blocks per while emerging as one of the league's top up-and-comers, as well as one of its top post defenders. Reports from training camp have the 7', 255-pound center looking stronger and more inspired, according to teammate Stephen Curry.
Biedrins has been dismal over the past two seasons and it resulted in the Warriors pursuing the likes of Tyson Chandler, DeAndre Jordan and Nene Hilario in order to fill in for the Latvian.
However, Biedrins has been impressing at training camp and at only 25 years old, could still be valuable.
Not all is right in Warriors world, however, as the team reportedly signed Kwame Brown to a one-year deal that is worth $7 million.