Kicks On Court Diaries: Preseason Panel with NBA Experts

7. Which injured player are you looking forward to seeing return in terms of their kicks on court?

Sweeney: I’d probably go with Derrick Rose. The folks at adidas are never afraid to take chances. Sometimes they hit; sometimes they miss. Maybe I’m just so ready to see Rose playing ball again, but I’m really interested to see how they lace him this season. Russell Westbrook is my other top choice. It’s easy to guarantee he’ll deliver at least three or four “WTF is he wearing?” shoes this season.

McMenamin: I’ll go with Derrick Rose here. I have been generally impressed with his signature line from adidas and want to see what he’ll be wearing after he finally returns after missing the entire 2012-13 season.

MacKenzie: Rajon Rondo. For the shoes, the passes, the passion and heart (and risks like the pink foams that most do not get away with), it’ll be a happy, joyous day when Rondo is back on the court where he belongs.

Twersky: Iman Shumpert. Though he returned mid-season last year, he didn’t have a chance to really show what’s in his collection. Russell Westbrook, upon his return from his knee hiatus, will show out with some fresh JBs. And, Rajon Rondo with Anta.

Kerby: Can’t wait to see those Greg Oden Dr. Scholl’s.

Kiel: I’m looking forward to the return of Kobe Bryant. Obviously, he’s one of the greats, but I’m also eager to see where they go with his ninth signature shoe following the Achilles heel injury. Nike has done an impressive job of keeping the upcoming Kobe 9 securely under wraps. Whispers of a Nike/Kobe returning to mid-top after five years of low-cuts have circulated over the past few months, but I’m ready to hear and see the full story.

Wong: The logical answer is Derrick Rose. He’s the most important player to his team and after last season’s drawn-out, will-he-or-won’t-he affair (along with adidas “The Return” campaign), it seems like Rose has been gone longer than one season. He’s the face of adidas and one of the most popular players in China. His return will certainly be a big boost for the brand. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the D Rose line, but I think today’s fickle consumers expect something different every year. The casual sneaker fan will have difficulty identifying his line from year-to-year. Like I said, there’s nothing wrong with the evolutionary changes from model to model, but once again, I think Mike set the blueprint in people’s minds to expect something different every year. Rose is a great player (one of the top 5 when healthy) with an exciting game. His shoe should reflect that.

Whitaker: Derrick Rose. As dominant as he was, we live in such an instant gratification society, and I think people forget just how explosive and amazing he can be. And I haven’t seen the D Rose 4 in person yet, but I really like the images I’ve seen and think they’ll look dope in action.

Ungvari: Kobe. I’m interested to see what types of technological changes the Achilles injury has spawned in sneakers. I also want to know if we’re still going to see Kobe wearing lows or if his doctors want to see wearing something that might give the Achilles more support.

Cason: It has to be Derrick Rose. Took the most criticism he ever has had to deal with in his professional career and a lot of it from his hometown. With what I’ve seen so far in preseason and how the Bulls have used him so far, I think he’s poised for a big season. I would also have to throw Russell Westbrook into the equation because just like with his off the court fashion, you never know what that guy could pull out of his closet.

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