QUESTIONOF THE DAY
Q. I have heard that Ron Artest now weighs 270 pounds. Can you confirm this report? How will this affect his game? (From Sam in Australia)
A. After spending most of his NBA career in the 250-pound range, Artest has indeed bulked up to around 270 pounds for this season. He says it's "all muscle," and that certainly appears to be the case. Of course, he won't have as much free time to spend in the weight room this season, so it remains to be seen if he'll maintain that weight but it presents some interesting possibilities.
Artest has always been a power player at his best in the post and the extra bulk should only help in that department. It may work against him out on the floor both offensively and defensively, depending on the matchups. Though all involved say he hasn't lost any quickness, logic would dictate carrying an extra 20 pounds will have some effect on his footwork.
Coach Rick Carlisle mentioned during summer-league play he'd like to take a look at Artest at power forward. That offers the intriguing option of a lineup featuring Danny Granger at small forward, Artest at power forward and Jermaine O'Neal at center. The only potential drawback to that unit is rebounding but Granger brings a strong reputation in that area from New Mexico and Artest should be more effective if stationed inside. Offensively, that group could be prolific.