First Cup: Thursday
September, 20, 2012
By Nick Borges
- Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: Moments before Jeremy Lin began his session with the media on Tuesday, the crowd pushed toward him, much to the clearly verbalized objection of those three and four rows back. Lin barely seemed to notice, having gone through a month-long Asian tour that included media sessions far more manic than a few dozen media members on the Toyota Center practice court to master. Asked if the scene on Tuesday offered a reminder of what would come this season, Lin seemed more relieved to return to relative normalcy. “I was in Asia and this is nothing compared to Asia,” Lin said. “Just kidding. It’s good to be back and good to be back in Houston.” With that, he even offered a brief description of how he spent his summer vacation while looking forward to the first day of school. “It was just busy,” Lin said. “There were a lot of different things going on. I had a lot of fun, and now fun time is kind of over. (It’s time to get) back into practicing and getting ready for training camp.”
- Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News: OK, Mr. Die-hard Spurs Fan, so you’ve got the replica Tim Duncan jersey in both home white and road black. You’ve got a No. 21 in the bilingual “Los Spurs” top the team trots out a couple times a year, plus the throwback Chaparrals garb donned for a couple games last season. But you’ve never seen a Duncan jersey like this. For starters, it doesn’t have the word “Spurs” anywhere on the front. The most prominent image on the Spurs’ alternate uniforms for the upcoming season, unveiled by the club Wednesday, is the team’s simple, iconic U-shaped logo, writ large across the left breast. ... More than two-thirds of the NBA’s teams will include a third uniform in the wardrobe case this season. After a two-year joint process involving the team, the NBA and league uniform-maker adidas, the Spurs are set to add to the en vogue trend with a sartorial look different than anything they’ve worn before. In addition to the trademark logo, the Spurs’ new silver top features the uniform number on the right breast in black, with black and white vertical stripes along the side.
- Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press: Glen Taylor no longer is considering just one prospect to succeed him as majority owner of the Timberwolves. Taylor, 71, revealed in July that he had a confidential, out-of-state prospect interested in buying a stake in the NBA team and eventually acquiring controlling interest. That person, though, no longer has exclusive rights to buy. "At first I opened it up to just one person and said I would 'hold it for you for a while,' but when we didn't get a deal done, I told that person there are other people who had made inquiries and that I'm going to talk to them, and that's what I'm doing now," Taylor said. ... Taylor wouldn't reveal the new interested parties, but including the initial prospect there now are believed to be three inquiring about obtaining majority interest in the Wolves. "I continue to meet with several different parties who appear to have interest in completing a deal," he said. "I'll be patient and see if it works out." Taylor said whomever ends up with the Wolves, that person or group would be required to keep the franchise in Minnesota. ... Taylor said the initial Wolves ownership prospect hasn't been eliminated from consideration.
- Ethan J. Skolnick of the Palm Beach Post: In professional basketball, glory is hardly shared evenly. Of North America’s three most popular sports leagues, the NBA has spread its championships between the fewest franchises since 1980, with only nine earning the right to raise the trophy. By comparison, 15 baseball franchises have won World Series during that time – even with no franchise winning in 1994 due to the strike – and 19 football franchises have won Super Bowls. In fact, from 1981 through 2002, it was almost as common to have a repeat NBA champion (nine times) as not. So, in that sense, what has occurred over the past decade has been a bit of anomaly, an uncommon redistribution of riches. While all the titles have been won by just six franchises – the Heat, Mavericks, Lakers, Celtics, Spurs and Pistons – the 2009-10 Lakers were the only team to follow up one title with another. And many of the teams didn’t come close; only the 2004-05 Detroit Pistons reached the Finals the next season. So what happened the next season? And what are the chances that something similar affects the 2012-13 Heat?
- Kerry Eggers of The Portland Tribune: During the offseason, General Manager David Kahn bolstered a returning nucleus of Love, Rubio, Nikola Pekovic, J.J. Barea, Luke Ridnour, Wesley Johnson and Derrick Williams by signing free agents Brandon Roy, Andrei Kirilenko, Greg Stiemsma and Russian guard Alexey Shved and trading a first-round pick for Chase Budinger. “We’re going to have a chance to be very good,” Love said. “We’re hoping Brandon can stay healthy through 82 games. Kirilenko is a big addition. Shved hopefully is going to be a big deal for us. We’ll have more firepower in terms of veterans. Brandon and Andrei will help our locker room and on the court. It will make Coach Adelman’s job a lot easier. If everything is put together, if Ricky comes back healthy, we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with.” Love is right about that, especially with Adelman masterminding the impressive blend of talent. He and Kevin have known each other since Adelman’s youngest son, Patrick, were teammates at Lake Oswego High.
- Mike Wells of The Indianapolis Star: Roy Hibbert and I have had countless conversations over the years about his workouts. But rather than talk about what goes into his MMA training, Hibbert invited me to participate in a session so I could get a first-hand experience of the sweat and pain he goes through. Pacers rookie Orlando Johnson and Hibbert’s nutritionist Mike Roussell also took part in the workout on Wednesday. ... The experience was tiring, painful and has made my body feel like its aged several years, but I’m glad I made it from start to finish. More importantly, though, it gave me a better understanding of the work Hibbert has put in to transform his body over the years. The same goes for the MMA fighters. Hibbert and Johnson lifted weights and scrimmaged over at the fieldhouse prior to doing their MMA workouts on Wednesday.
- Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: The Magic expect to sign guard DeQuan Jones and guard-forward Armon Johnson, completing their training-camp roster at 19 players. Jones, 6-8, 221 pounds, was undrafted in the 2012 NBA draft after playing four seasons with the Miami Hurricanes. Johnson, 6-3, 195 pounds, was drafted in the second round by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2010. He has had three briefs stints in the league since then, playing for the Trail Blazers and the Brooklyn Nets. The Magic open training camp Oct. 2 at Amway Center.
- Perry A. Farrell of the Detroit Free Press: The thought of having a full training camp is a beautiful thing for Pistons coach Lawrence Frank, as the team is two weeks away from official workouts. “Last year was no excuse because everyone had the same parameters and there were other new coaches as well, but I think it’s important in terms of development of your group,” Frank said Wednesday at the Pistons’ practice facility after an informal workout. “We’re growing. It’s brick by brick. This is a very important part of the process. Having a full training camp is an important part of the process and all these things are fundamental things of the process that we take full advantage of.” With the end of the Eurobasket 2013 qualifying tournament, veteran forward Jonas Jerebko and rookie center Slava Kravtsov have two weeks to work with their teammates before camp. Jerebko is part of a logjam at forward while Kravtsov could be in line for plenty of playing time depending on the development of fellow rookie and first-round pick Andre Drummond.
- Brian T. Smith of The Salt Lake Tribune: Veteran forward Trey Gilder is expected to compete for a roster spot during the Jazz's upcoming training camp, The Salt Lake Tribune learned on Wednesday. Utah's regular-season roster is currently set at 15 players entering camp, which is the maximum allowed by the NBA once the regular season begins. Veteran guard Raja Bell isn't expected play for the team or participate during camp, though, and his long-delayed buyout with the Jazz has yet to be resolved.
- Dick Harmon of the Deseret News: The book, entitled "The Contract: Jimmer Fredette," is a reflective narrative on the relationship Jimmer had with his older brother T.J., how one reached his dreams and the other — because of a debilitating disease that prevented him from reaching his athletic dreams — devoted his life to his younger brother who became The Jimmer. The book provides behind-the-scenes insight of the Fredette family, background of his parents Al and Kay and the bloodlines that set the tone for a competitive, athletic atmosphere in the Fredette home. Forde, who is not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also included a chapter on Fredette's LDS faith, carefully explaining his beliefs in a world where Mormons have come under the spotlight from the 2012 presidential race to Broadway. Fredette made the media rounds this week in Utah upon his return from New York with stops at BYU's campus bookstore and Deseret Book in Orem. "It's definitely exciting for myself and my family," Fredette said of the book.
- Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News: Sometimes basketball is the last thing on a rookie's mind during his first few months and for Andre Drummond, it's two-fold. The Pistons' first-round draft pick is 19 years old. It's a mantra worth repeating, and one the Pistons coaching staff and front office will keep reiterating this coming season. Drummond has uprooted the life he's known, moving to an area where he isn't familiar with too much of anything so it's understandable if his head spins a few times. In between days working out at the Pistons practice facility, he's found a place to stay, in a low-key Metro Detroit area. "People kind of keep to themselves," Drummond said. "Where I live, it's a quiet environment. Some of my teammates live nearby." His mother and younger sister have moved in with him to help ease the transition to professional life.
- Howard Beck of The New York Times: The Nets – relocated, revamped and re-branded – will soon arrive in Brooklyn with an army of cameras documenting every dribble for the NBA TV series “The Association.” The behind-the-scenes series will focus on the Nets as they work to establish a new identity and challenge the Knicks for supremacy in New York. The first episode will be broadcast Oct. 16 at 10 p.m. Eastern. The league will announce additional episodes at a later date. The choice of the Nets has been known for some time, but the league is making it official with an announcement Wednesday. Nets players began writing about the show on Twitter Wednesday morning in a coordinated campaign.