Happy first day of training camp to all my Siegfried and Roy's! St. Joe's University is the place to be today. I know the first day of camp in basketball is just a side-note for most, but it excites me as much as camp entices ravage football fans or a new Twilight
movie film piece of trash melts the hearts of teenage girls (and Jordan). What will the position battles be? Who worked on their game the hardest over the summer? All this speculation gets my blood flowing faster than Tyrone Biggums after drinking a Red Balls.
We're fresh off the news that Primoz is taking his talents to Russia, Elton laid off the bearclaws and Funfetti cake, and some other Philadelphia team did something pretty okay down in DC. Why not mourn the loss of Elton's fat and Primoz by checking out a few links?
Today's links address Lou's feelings towards Coach Collins, Iguodala's crush on Jrue, things to watch during camp, nerdtastic numbers with Dave Berri, and Remember the Titans style workouts (Hayden Panettiere was unavailable for comment, or a date). Enjoy while they're hot. The season tips-off in less than a month!
"Any coach who comes in here talking about discipline, getting us to win, changing our culture, and getting us on the same page, I'm all for it," said Williams, referring to the team's new coach, Doug Collins
Williams' words seemed to be mirrored not only in his teammates' demeanor and statements, but also in their actions: On Monday morning, the team gathered at St. Joe's track for a test mile. "It was like a scene out of Remember the Titans. We were running in the rain. Everybody made their times so we were excited about it."
"There's no blaming the coaches this year," Brand said. "We have a great coach and it's on us players. We take responsibility to get us where we need to be . . . guys have been working hard to turn this thing around. A lot of other teams got better, but we've also gotten better."
We came in last week [for workouts], and the only thing we've talked about is just winning, getting on the same page and listening to coach Collins. I think that's important for us. I'm ready to win. I know how it feels to lose, and it's an awful feeling from last year, and I don't want that again."
"He understands what kind of players he has and he tries to maximize that. He knows I'm a scorer, so since I've been with him, he's putting me in the right positions to score. During pickup games, he's telling me that he wants me to think about this and he wants me to think about that, but it's all stuff that's within our realm. It's not taking guys out of their comfort zones for the sake of saying he's a great coach for doing it. He's a great coach by utilizing the guys that he has and going to their strengths. That's what we all like about him."
The first thing that jumps out at you is his size for his position," Hawes said of Holiday. "The way he's built [6-4, solid 190 pounds] is more and more becoming the standard for successful point guards in the league. The thing for him that stands out is his poise and the pace he plays at and his vision. All those things are well beyond his years. The things he can do with the ball and the mentality he has as a point guard is becoming rarer these days.
"When you're playing pickup and you don't have the ball, you're just standing there watching someone else score," he said, laughing. "But if you make one error on offense, you've turned it over and the defense is scoring in a split second. If you slack off getting back, everybody's coming right at you. You have to really react, be on your toes. Once we have a set system, it'll be different. I learn pretty well."
"Sometimes [Turner] is in a hurry," Collins said last week. "I said, 'Slow down when you're off the ball. Let [the opponents] make a mistake. Go away from pressure. Don't fight pressure.' I figured it out when I was playing with [former Sixers star] Maurice Cheeks; I'd throw the ball to him, let him do all the work and I'd get the shots. It was easy.
'‘He will be one of the top-five point guards in the league in his prime, and he might go down as one of the greatest point guards defensively,’" Iguodala said, recounting his conversation. "I think defensively he has a Gary Payton presence where he can pressure a guy fullcourt."
"He can really shoot the ball," Iguodala said. "He shot the ball well last year. He’d be taking shots last year, and I’d think it was the worst shot in the world and he’d knock them down. I think he gained a lot of trust and confidence from his teammates."
"I think since I got the chance to play after the All-Star break last year, my confidence built," Holiday said. "When they say stuff like that, yes it feels good. But you have to stay humble. You can’t get too big-headed. You just keep on working."
2. Interior defense: The split with center Sam Dalembert had to be done, for both parties, but it left a gaping hole as far as a last line of defense. Spencer Hawes, Marreese Speights and Elton Brand won't strike fear into many who drive to the basket, though they should benefit from Collins' defensive schemes. They'll also get help from a solid group of perimeter defenders headed by Holiday, Andre Iguodala and Turner.
When we look the individual players we see that most of this team’s wins last year could be linked to the play of Andre Iguodala, Samuel Dalembert, and Louis Williams.
When we focus on the frontcourt… Spencer Hawes has never produced in positive territory, so it seems unlikely that he will help much in the future.
On the impact of last week's trade for Craig Brackins:
College numbers are not a perfect predictor of the future. But what Brackins did last year in college was not a positive sign. Very few players who perform this badly in college ever become productive NBA players.
Of the players selected in the 2009 draft, Turner posted by the 4th best productivity numbers last year in college. His college numbers last year surpassed what we saw from John Wall. Once again, college numbers do not predict the future perfectly. But it does seem quite possible that Turner will be more productive than Wall in 2010-11.
There are little paragraphs about each player on the page.
The Philadelphia 76ers announced today that the team has signed free agents James Florence, Trent Plaisted and Chris Quinn in preparation for Training Camp which runs from Sept. 28 through Oct. 2 at Saint Joseph’s University.
Multiple sources have confirmed to me in the past week that ESPN has designs on hiring Cleveland Cavaliers beat reporter Brian Windhorst away from the CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER to cover the Miami Heat this season for ESPN.com.
The most prominent Cleveland reporter chronicling the fortunes of LeBron James since he entered the NBA, Windhorst also covered James for the AKRON BEACON-JOURNAL while the hoops prodigy was in high school and wrote a book with celebrated Cleveland sportswriter and author Terry Pluto about the NBA star.