Wednesday, October 9, 2013
First Cup: Wednesday
By Nick Borges
- Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer: Sixers forward Royce White, who has an anxiety disorder, did not accompany the Sixers on the trip. The Sixers said Tuesday that the team doctor told them it would be best for White to stay home. "We are going to deal with him with respect," Brown said. "We are going to understand his situation and we are going to help him. It's really that simple, because I'll tell you what: When you watch that man play, he's a different type of player." It was widely believed that White's perceived fear of flying contributed to his failure to play with the Houston Rockets as a rookie last season.
- Tom D'Angelo of the Palm Beach Post: Coach Erik Spoelstra and Dwyane Wade were asked about in-season preservation for Wade – taking off the second game of a back-to-back or the fourth of a four-in-five – but neither said they have looked that far ahead. “It doesn’t (enter) my mind I’m going to leave it to the coaches,” Wade said. “It’s a long season but you don’t want to come in thinking I’m going to half-ass it at all. You want to go in thinking when you’re on the floor, however many minutes you play. you want to give it what you have. We’re not that much better than other teams where we can preserve and sit guys. This is not the way we do things.” Wade spent part of the summer recovering from the bone bruise in his right knee that limited him during the final month of the regular season and throughout the playoffs and part of it conditioning. He believes he is healthier than he has been in many years. Wade expects to play Thursday in Detroit.
- Tim Bontemps of the New York Post: After new coach Jason Kidd and the team spent the offseason preaching an offensive system with more ball movement and spacing — as opposed to the isolation-heavy offense the team ran last season — the Nets looked crisp and comfortable moving the ball to one another, getting plenty of wide-open looks either for jumpers on the perimeter or layups and dunks at the rim. “They’re veterans,” Kidd said. “You have some wisdom guys over there and they’ve played a lot of basketball, so they understand it’s still basketball. They’ve been doing it all week at Duke, and then doing it at home.” This also was the first time Kidd was manning the sidelines. As he promised in jest before the game, he didn’t try to draw up a play for himself, though he did coach the game without top assistant Lawrence Frank, who missed Tuesday night’s contest for personal reasons. Still, even Kidd’s players admitted it was a bit strange to see the future Hall of Famer drawing up plays in a suit instead of executing them in a uniform. “It was weird, I’ll be honest, seeing him in his little tight suit drawing up plays,” Garnett said, drawing laughs. “It was good, though. It was great.”
- Filip Bondy of the New York Daily News: Spotting up purposefully to take some flat-footed jumpers, working alone, Amar’e Stoudemire on Tuesday was a sad illustration of just how a pair of worn-out, rebuilt knee joints can sabotage a top NBA player, ruin everything. Nobody works harder than Stoudemire. Nobody did more to resurrect the image of the Knicks. Nobody deserves this sort of frustration less. “As a friend, it’s hard for me to sit back and act like it doesn’t bother me,” Carmelo Anthony said, watching Stoudemire at practice. “One day he’s here with us. Another, he’s rehabbing. It’s another weapon we could use. He was one of the reasons I wanted to come to New York.” It bothers everyone, this harsh fate and wasted potential, but Stoudemire also stands as an important living lesson to Mike Woodson and his staff: Fitness and good health are really the only important things to take out of the exhibition season that starts Wednesday in Providence against the gutted Celtics. October is for coddling. The lineups will not be settled in Providence, and they won’t even be settled after seven preseason games. That debate will rage throughout this season, because the Knicks have only two set-in-stone starters with Anthony and Tyson Chandler. Every talk-show host, every talk-show caller will be absolutely certain he knows the right combination out on the floor to win a championship.
- Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times: While stats and numbers still play second fiddle to 23 years of coaching and watching for Tom Thibodeau, he said he has been a student of analyzing numbers since he worked under former coach Bill Musselman his first few years in the NBA. The dangers, however, are becoming obsessed with the numbers and basing full evaluations on them, or not understanding how to work the numbers so they give a coach or executive a true measurement. “The biggest thing when you’re looking at statistics is comparing apples to apples,’’ Thibodeau said. “Often times that gets overlooked. So there is a biased confirmation. You can go into it and say, ‘OK, this is what I think,’ and you can get the numbers to confess to anything.’’
- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: Jason Maxiell will change his look at some point in the next few weeks. Because he underwent surgery late last season to repair a detached retina, Maxiell has worn protective eyewear during Magic practices. Maxiell has worn a relatively fashionable pair of Wilson glasses during Magic practices. But soon he expects to receive goggles that resemble the eyewear Horace Grant donned during Grant’s days with the Chicago Bulls and the Magic. Maxiell doesn’t expect the new goggles to be ready for Wednesday night’s preseason opener against the New Orleans Pelicans in Jacksonville. “Coming up I probably will have more of a Horace Grant-look goggles, try to bring those back and have a little fun with that,” Maxiell said. “He is the reason why I’m wearing No. 54. When I was growing up in Chicago, yeah, he might’ve had the world’s greatest [Michael Jordan] on his team, but otherwise it was Horace. I modeled myself after him and also a little bit after Charles Barkley.”
- Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: As often as the Rockets had heard of the great passion for basketball in The Philippines, they found that enthusiasm expressed differently than they had expected after other overseas trips. They could not move unnoticed. When they were boarding busses near the Mall of Asia, fans were shrieking as if attending an early Beatles concert. But fans also kept their distance. “It’s funny because the fans, they see you and they just walk behind you,” Rockets forward Chandler Parsons said. “They don’t really attack you. When me and Jeremy were in Taiwan, they are really in your face. (In Manila), they kind of circled around us. They just want to look at you and get a picture with you. They’re unbelievable.” Lin, especially in Asia, was stunned with how he was treated at the Mall of Asia. He had tried to go unnoticed under a cap, but teammate Donatas Motiejunas wore a team shirt, ending any hope of anonymity.
- Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post: The MVP of the California trip goes to… JaVale McGee: Look, it is clear by now that the man has worked and improved and continues to work hard on his game. In the two games against the Lakers he averaged 13.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and shot 47.3 percent from the field and 100 percent (8-for-8) from the free throw line. But the numbers weren’t the whole story; not by a long shot. He displayed patience and then strong moves and decent footwork in the post. He flashed a free throw line jumper. He showed a bit of a hook shot over his left shoulder. He spun over his right shoulder into the lane and didn’t fade away on a jumper on Tuesday night. He made all of his free throws. All of them. And he didn’t compound one mistake by losing confidence and immediately committing one or two more. There is a lot to like about the development of McGee and the confidence he’s playing with.
- Gordon Monson of The Salt Lake Tribune: The over-under out of Vegas on total number of wins the Jazz will get this time around is 27.5. That’s one-and-a-half games more than the club won during 2004-05, a modern franchise low point, a season during which most of the marginal talent on the team had various body parts fall off, and a huge departure from the Jazz norm. But this entire new season is an anomaly. The preseason is an anomaly. It’s the Jazz channeling a backward step or two in the specific and a forward push in the comprehensive. It’s a glimpse at the Jazz’s future. Forget about the past, forget about the present, forget everything you once held true about the Utah Jazz. The whole win-now thing is history. This is about winning tomorrow. This is a rebuilding job unlike anything since the season after Stockton and Malone walked out the door. But this is different, more organized than back then. It’s not as though the Jazz are starting from scratch. Tuesday night, they had five lottery picks on the floor who are 23 or younger.
- Paola Boivin of The Arizona Republic: Suns fans have arrived at a reflective place. They can respect a rebuilding project as long as the blueprint looks sound. Archie Goodwin is the symbol of a franchise that finally has some vision. He will flash jaw-dropping open-court skills one minute, an inconsistent shooting touch another. More than anything though, is the promise of greatness, an intriguing story line as the Suns play their second preseason game tonight against Portland. “Patience,” Goodwin said, “will help me in this league.” You better believe it. Goodwin turned 19 less than two months ago. Nineteen. He is called “rook” by his teammates, sent out to make the occasional donut run. But the guard has earned their respect with a work ethic that often finds him on the court long after a practice, and with a game that turned heads during Summer League ball. Restraint must accompany the seven-game Las Vegas run, but the 13.1 points per game average, the slipperiness around defenders and the fearless finishing skills point to a player with a great growth trajectory.
- Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun: Tyler Hansbrough does have the reputation of being a hard-nosed, take-no-prisoners forward, the type of player who regularly gets under the skin of the opposition — as was the case last season when he threw Raptors rookie Jonas Valanciunas to the floor, prompting a Toronto TV broadcaster to call the former North Carolina Tar Heels star “a hack.” Well, the “hack” is now a Raptor, and Toronto head coach Dwane Casey couldn’t be happier. Hansbrough gives the Raptors yet another physical presence on the floor. Don’t look now, but this franchise — which for a long time had a reputation for being soft — is one of the most physical teams in the NBA, with a frontcourt that includes a handful of players who won’t back down and will play physical every night, including Hansbrough, Amir Johnson, Valanciunas and Aaron Gray. Throw in bull-dog point guard Kyle Lowry and it’s clear that these are not your father’s Raptors. And that suits Casey just fine.
- Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News: Believe it or not, Manu Ginobili once played for a coach even more demanding than Gregg Popovich. Popovich will at least treat his players to dinner after chewing their faces off. Not so with European legend Ettore Messina, who was all business, all the time during his two seasons with Ginobili at Italy’s Virtus Bologna from 2000-02. “He can be really tough,” Ginobili said. “Probably Pop, the practice finishes, and Pop is just another guy. He can be a buddy, even. (Messina) was strict all over. Inside the court, outside the court, there was a distance always.” More than a decade later, those boundaries are gone, and the two share an affectionate bond. Ginobili is one of the best players Messina, now the coach of tonight’s exhibition opponent, reigning Russian champion CSKA Moscow, has ever coached. Messina, in turn, taught Ginobili the lessons that paved the way for his future success with the Spurs. … So deep is Ginobili’s regard for Messina that he drove back to the Spurs’ practice site on Tuesday evening for a brief chat with his former coach after CSKA’s practice.