Brooklyn Nets:Deron Williams compared his current squad to the 2004 Champion Detroit Pistons, as far as having top 10 talent at every position. Sure, but what about duplicating that Motown defense? According to my records, Gerald Wallace is their only real tough defender. Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries…hardly intimidating inside. As for the culture moving to Brooklyn, D-Will took the time to vent a little bit about last season in N.J.:”It was hard. I’ve never been in that position before,” Williams told reporters Tuesday, following his team’s first day of training camp. “So at times, I’ve showed frustration, but I think anybody would have. I think no matter who it is, if you were there every day and you saw what was going on in the locker room you’d be pissed off too sometimes. You’re getting your asses kicked and then you’re in the locker room laughing about the game afterwards…..I don’t think that stuff is funny. That’s what we had to deal with last year. But I don’t think we’re going to deal with it this year…”
Chicago Bulls: When asked about possibly not playing this season if his rehab takes too long, Derrick Rose said “that’s crazy, man…no we haven’t discussed that.” Translation: D-Rose will be back by the Spring and the Bulls will be in the mix out East (top 4?).
Denver Nuggets: George Karl said “I want to prove to the world that you can win in the NBA, and win big, if you keep running.” The team is coming off a season where they led the league nightly in points, assists, points in the paint, and fastbreak points.
Los Angeles Clippers: Blake Griffin touched on the experience that the young guys (like himself) gained during lastyar’s playoff run. He also said that he was the constant figure all summer at the team’s training facility while the other guys “were in and out.”
Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bryant in comparing playing with Shaq vs playing with Dwight…”it’s a different dynamic (w/Steve Nash here) than when I was here with Shaq because I had to do something that I naturally don’t do, which is to make plays for other people.” He also recently said that Dwight Howard is “one of the most dominant defensive players of all-time” and didn’t mention offense whatsoever…translation? don’t expect me to give up touches, Superman. Dwight, meanwhile, stepped off his recent vow to play on opening night saying “I’ll play when I’m 100%.” Then, when asked who’s team this is, Howard said “it’s our team.” Nice move.
Memphis Grizzlies: Zach Randolph says that coach Lionel Hollins started Media Day by showing the team some tape from last season…stressing playing for each other. Z-Bo also says that his knee is 100% and that his body is in great shape. He also took a moment to challenge back-up PG (and former Blazer) Jerryd Bayless to ”have a big year.” Lastly, Randolph feels that the West is even and that Memphis is as good as anybody.
New York Knicks: Carmelo Anthony says “our time is now”…Amar’e Stoudemire says “we have every position covered.” But rumblings out of the NYC are that Jason Kidd may actually start ahead of Raymond Felton at the point. For the sake of both men, I sincerely hope not. At his age, Kidd will help this team more in short spurts and also in the locker room.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Durant spoke about what he worked on this summer and his team: ”getting more comfortable in the post…try to protect the ball a little more (limit turnovers).” As for his team: “when he have more than 25 assists we usually win the game.” This will be big versus the star-heavy Lakers. Speaking of L.A., Russell Westbrook & Jams Harden admitted that they got tired of hearin about the purp n’ yellow all smmer in their hometown. Oh yeah, it’s on.
Philadelphia 76ers: Andrew Bynum, in regards to his knee injury, says “I’m going to sit out and let the orthokine do its magic”….he also added that its good to be with an organization that puts his health first. Is that a shot at the Lakers? hmmmm
San Antonio Spurs: Manu Ginobili admitted that his team couldn’t have played better in the pivotal Game 5 loss to OKC last Spring. He also stressed that the veterans i camp show the new guys that it’s not about the stats but about winning. I mentioning the top teams out West, Manu mentioned the Thunder, Lakers, and Clippers..conveniently omitting the Grizzlies. Memphis is still a horrible matchup for San Antonio (remember 2011?). As for Coach Popovich, he said that his team suffered from “identity theft” vs. OKC last Spring. That’s because lacked (and still lacks) the star power to beat the star power out West. The day of smoke and mirrors is over down on the River Walk.