But not this year. Brockman, who is looking forward to his third season in the NBA, can only wait with his fellow pros as the league and the players association negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement.
The delay, which already has led to game cancellations, "is kind of a weird feeling," Brockman said. In other years, he went on, "I've always had a day when I had to be ready to play. I always knew when the first day of training camp was, when the first preseason game was, when the first road game was. But now it's weird having that unknown."
In the meantime, Brockman said, "I'm just kind of doing things on my own." He runs, lifts weights and works out in area gyms, including the small basketball court at Little Cedars Elementary School in Snohomish where his mother, Becky Brockman, is the principal.
"I'm just making sure I do a little bit of something every day," he said.
The 24-year-old Brockman graduated from Snohomish High School in 2005 and went on to play four years at the University of Washington. He spent his 2009-10 NBA rookie season with the Sacramento Kings, and then was traded to Milwaukee in the summer of 2010. He played last season with the Bucks after signing a three-year contract.
Compared to what he knew at Snohomish and then at Washington, the NBA "is a different world, that's for sure," he said. "This is not just basketball, it's a business."
That much is evident as Brockman tracks the continuing labor negotiations. It is a little like watching the stock market -- good days followed by disappointing days -- and every so often the league cancels more games. On Friday, commissioner David Stern scrubbed the NBA schedule through Nov. 30 -- the league usually opens its season at the beginning of November -- and said there would be a reduction in games from the regular 82-game season for the second time in 14 years.
Of course, a worst-case scenario would be a cancellation of the entire season, as the National Hockey League did in 2004-05.
A year without basketball "would be a really weird feeling," Brockman said. "But I'm hoping it doesn't get to that point. I'm hoping that once a couple of things get settled that there's sort of a snowball effect and we'll be able to conquer the next few issues."
As the labor impasse continues, "I definitely pay attention," Brockman said. "(Friend and former UW teammate) Spencer Hawes is really involved in all the negotiations and I talk to him quite a bit. I talk to my agent. And our (Milwaukee) player representative, Keyon Dooling, is actually the vice-president of our union, so I'm able to keep tabs through him as well.
"I think all the players want to play," he said. "But both sides need to be able to work together to make basketball happen."
Brockman underwent ankle surgery at the end of last season to remove bone spurs and correct cartilage damage. It was similar to a procedure he had in the summer before his senior season at Washington.
"My ankle is feeling great," he said. "It's a lot better than it was before the surgery. And I think I picked the right year to get it done. I knew there was a chance of a lockout, so I had the surgery as soon as I could and knew that I could take my time through the recovery process.
"It's not 100 percent, but it's definitely getting better." And with the season on hold, he added, "I can take my time and let it heal the way it's supposed to."
Brockman played in 63 games for the Bucks last season, including six starts, while averaging 10.7 minutes, 2.2 points and 2.9 rebounds a game. Modest statistics, yes, but numbers that should continue to grow in the coming years.
The learning curve for a college player moving to the NBA "is a big one," Brockman said. "And I'm still learning. I think it takes a couple of years to get comfortable and really start feeling normal out there because it's just so much different than college.
"I definitely know I improved last year, and by the end of the year I was feeling a lot more comfortable and confident. And that's so much of it. Just getting to the point where you can go out and play the way you know how to."
Brockman took an important step in his personal life this offseason when he bought a waterfront home in Lake Stevens. It was a confirmation of his love for the Northwest, and of his commitment to the area where he was raised and probably will always live.
"I love being back here," he said. "All my family is here and all my friends are here, and it's just a place where I can relax and really feel comfortable."
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