A New Season Dawns, and Media Day Marks the Morning

See that forced pose with staged laughter from Chris Bosh? Trying to decide whether the picture's hilarity is intentional or not? Yup, it's Media Day again throughout the NBA, and we've got you covered.

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More from Raptors Media Day: Chris Bosh Gives Up Halo

I’m currently in that bizarre nexis of life where it’s unclear as to whether or not I can still play video games. As I get older, it seems like there should be a better way to spend my time. And if I do play video games, I can only do it while I’m listening to a book on tape or something. Welcome to my internal monologue as I set about tackling “maturation.” Luckily, I’m not alone:

CB: Alright… You know man… It was taking up too much of my time. I’d like play that thing for four or five hours and you don’t know where the time goes. I felt like, you know, no offense to Halo, but I felt like I was gettin’ stupid or somethin’.

RHQ: So, the 360 is put away for now?

CB: It’s on the shelf. You know, I play it every now and then.

That’s from RaptorsHQ, who spoke to Chris Bosh, Marco Belinelli, and Jarret Jack at Toronto’s media day. Definitely worth a look, and check out their interviews with Amir Johnson, Antoine Wright, and Marcus Banks, an outlandishly athletic trio that, coincidentally, would be completely unstoppable in a game of SlamBall.


Blake Griffin and a Green Screen! Clippers Media Day

Our own Steve Perin, of SBN’s excellent Clips Nation, was in attendance at media day for the Clippers, and had a nice account of what went on. A sample:

I won’t try to give you a play-by-play of what went on. I will say that the event had an inauspicious start when a power outage hit downtown LA at 11:57 AM (the official start of media day was set for noon). It was hard not to think of the Clippers as a cursed team as we sat there in the dark of Staples Center – Kevin suggested that it must surely have been the Hebrew God smiting the Clippers for planning their Media Day on Yom Kippur – but after six minutes the power was back on and the festivities got under way, so I guess Yahweh wasn’t so pissed after all, just a little irked.

Unfortunately I was never able to connect to the wireless network. Maybe the power outage fried the wireless router. Maybe I was told the wrong password. At any rate, I wasn’t able to connect, which is why you guys didn’t get any updates during the day.

As I mentioned in a comment, although I did not receive an actual press credential today, it seems as if it is going to happen. The Clippers photographer (the same one taking publicity shots for the players) took my head shot for a badge. So that seems like a good sign.

See? Bloggers can have credentials! And he wasn’t the only “web logger” in attendance, as True Hoop’s Kevin Arnovitz was there to report, as well:

A few observations from Staples Center:

Baron Davis looks fantastic, a shadow of his 2008 self. How did he get in such good shape over the summer?

"Crack," Davis said in jest, before attributing his svelte physique to a summer regimen that had him either in the gym or in Asia — both sure-fire ways to drop LBs.

Nobody professes to be more excited about Davis’ conditioning than Mike Dunleavy. "At times last season I thought — because of conditioning — that he got tired and settled for too many 3-point shots," Dunleavy said. "I’ve been in the gym with him and he’s worked all summer."

Dunleavy recounted a playoff series he called while Baron was still with Charlotte. "Power forward/point guard" was how Dunleavy remembered describing Baron at the time, a nod to Baron’s ability to use size and strength to overpower smaller PGs.

So, yeah: B-Diddy was doing crack all summer to drop some extra pounds. Pretty exhaustive strategy, although I think Dr. Leo Spaceman would have recommended crystal meth. In case, I need more Baron Davis in my life. (And power forward/point guard is the best description I’ve ever heard for him. Just perfect.)


Canis Hoopus at Media Day

SBN’s Timberwolves blog, Canis Hoopus, was at Minnesota’s media day, and reported that the T’wolves players are looking to this year, not 2010 and beyond, to be successful in Minnesota:

Kurt Rambis was very open about pushing the team to run more and take on a defensive identity, both things that would distinguish this team from last year’s. He was equally open in stating that they didn’t have all the pieces of the team he and Kahn envision. It’s obvious that the roster is a work in progress, but when Rambis says he would like a rotation of 8, 9 or 10 guys (which doesn’t specifically tell us what he wants) the reflex is to start counting heads of who’s in and who’s out a year from now.

The players, though, are much less interested in talking about next year and the year after. Ryan Gomes was well aware that Kahn is looking for him to prove he’s worth the $14 million that would be guaranteed to him should he be on the roster July 1 (as opposed to the $2.5 million he’s guaranteed if the Wolves cut him before the deadline). That he’s willing to say that he knows his contract structure means he’ll have to prove his worth this year speaks volumes about Gomes’ character. His workouts this summer focused on taking defenders off the dribble and finishing at the hole, but his 3-point shooting may be more important to this perimeter deficient offense.

Al Jefferson and Kevin Love both know their status on the team is safe, but they share Gomes’ sense of urgency this year. Neither seems impatient with Kahn and Rambis’s restructuring of the team (Al specifically mentioned his transition from confusion to understanding after some conversations with the front office), but both are itching to prove their team won’t be a league doormat anymore. Regardless of how much time their on-court chemistry needs to mature, it’s easy to see that Love and Jefferson get along very well off the court. Yesterday they joked around while interrupting each others interviews and walking from shoot to shoot with ones arms around the others’ shoulder.

With Jefferson healthy, Kevin Love already one of the league’s better rebounders, and Jonny Flynn on board to run the team, the Timberwolves have quietly amassed one of the better foundations in the league. Question marks abound—namely, does David Kahn have any clue as to how to run an NBA franchise?—but considering the recent history of Minnesota basketball, there’s ample reason for optimism right now. They’re headed in the right direction, and while that probably won’t lead them to the playoffs this year, “the right direction” is victory enough.


Leftover stuff from Wizards media day

For more on Wizards media day, check out Bullets Forever:

  • Nick Young says he's spent a lot of time working with Sam Cassell, who has helped him with some veteran tricks, ball-handling and coming off screens.  When asked about whether he felt threatened by all the new acquisitions at his position, Nick replied "I'm confident in myself.  I got game too."
  • Fabricio Oberto said the biggest thing he can help the team with -- in particular Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee -- is his experience.  But that's not the only thing he can help with.  "Sometimes, the fastest you can run is not the way.  It's the security you can bring and how solid you can be, so I think that's what I can also bring to the team."
  • Antawn Jamison was pretty long-winded today, but nothing compared to his answer about what he thought Oberto could bring to the team.  It lasted a full two-and-a-half minutes and began with the words "I love Oberto."  Jamison talked about how Oberto understands the need to sacrifice for the good of the team and will do the dirty work necessary.



SBN's Raptors HQ at Toronto's Media Day

Raptors HQ, SB Nation’s Toronto Raptors blog, was on hand yesterday when the team held its media day. Here are a few notes from them:

-Even though there was a lot of talk about “getting tougher” at the end of last season, the Raptors ensured that the new players that were brought in to help fill this void are still great guys off the court. This was immediately evident when I walked past Amir Johnson and he asked if he could help me with anything! Even Reggie Evans, who will surely be counted on to knock some heads in the paint, hardly looked like the tyrant he’s at time been made out to be. In fact, he reminded me of ex Jays’ and A’s pitcher Dave Stewart. He’s got that menacing lion scowl but as soon as he starts talking, it’s pure kitten.

-Bryan Colangelo thinks that this team should be shooting for 50 wins this year. That’s not to say that that’s the magic number he’s set for wins, but that he thinks for this team to advance to the second round, it probably means a fourth or fifth seed, and to do that, it probably means winning that many games.

-Several players look like they’ve bulked up from last season. Bosh of course, but also Amir Johnson, Antoine Wright and even Patrick O’Bryant. Even DeMar looks bigger then the last time I chatted with him in Vegas. All good signs.

Click here for more quick hits, and be sure to check out their more in-depth coverage as it emerges. For one thing, they talked extensively to Jarret Jack, rookie Demar Derozan, and team president, Bryan Colangelo. Lots of good stuff, there.


Reaction from Sacramento's Media Day

Out West, Sacramento held its media day earlier today, SBN's Sactown Royalty was on hand for the festivities. Below are some of their notes. Click here for the rest of their notes, as well as a great collection of photos:

  • Paul Westphal knows how to talk. His first question in the media scrum was on how he chose his assistant coaches. Twelve minutes later, he got his second question. Saying he is long-winded is a disservice to marine mammals. (I'll have something on Westphal for FanHouse later.)
  • Tyreke Evans has a bobblehead. There it be in yar photograph. He was not happy with the representation of his hair. Jason Thompson, Kevin Martin and Spencer Hawes also had bobbleheads, though no one made a big deal about those because they are old news.
  • No Gavin or Joe Maloof in the building, though both are expected in Sacramento later this week.
  • Seriously, Beno Udrih was on fire. Sam Amick had a long chat with him, and Sam says he'll have a piece on Udrih on Wednesday. You should look forward to that.
  • Desmond Mason, who was a pleasure to talk to, made a great point about the Glory Era Kings that gets ignored a lot: they -- Webber, Divac, Peja, Bibby, Christie -- were incredibly solid with the fundamentals of the game. Mason said it's important for the team to get its base there and work upwards. Can't agree more.
  • Mason on why he doesn't do any of the social networking/media stuff: "If you don't have my email, then I don't want to talk to you." Fair enough.

Also for Sactown Royalty, Geoff Petrie's not worried about job security and, in one of my favorite pieces of the day, "The Chalice of Point Guard Purity." I still don't think Tyreke Evans is a point guard, but the title made me laugh out loud, and was backed by a thorough debunking of John Hollinger's empty statistical assertions, which too often go unquestioned. Good stuff from Tom Ziller.

My favorite news of media day came in the form of two tweets, one from Ziller, and one from Cowbell Kingdom, a Kings blog that's part of the True Hoop network. First, this is the type of thing you learn at an NBA media day:


And this is what you see:



Suns Media Day in Phoenix

SBN’s Bright Side of the Sun rolls out an impressive collection of media from today’s Phoenix Suns media day. Included are interviews with GM Steve Kerr, Coach Alvin Gentry, Amare Stoudemire, and more. And, of course, the best part of any media day—photos, photos, and more photos. They’ve got a terrific slideshow over there, so be sure to check it out, and check back later in the day for more coverage from Bright Side of the Sun.


On Second Thought, Maybe There's Something to this Warriors Stuff

I stand corrected, I think. It didn’t occur to me that—obviously, in hindsight—media would remind Ellis of Don Nelson’s stated plan for he and Curry. As Sporting News’ Sean Devaney reports, Ellis was steadfast even in light of the reminder that no, there’s no way they’ll play together and be successful:

Reminded that the folks running the team see things differently, he said, “They say we can, but, can’t. I just want to win. We’re not going to win that way. It’s different when you are trying to compare me and Stephen to when you go back to when me and BD [Davis] played, it’s a different situation. You got a nine-year veteran who came in and understands the game and how to play the game, and he’s a big body. Can’t put two small guys out there and try to play the one and the two when you got big two-guards in the league. You just can’t do it. OK, yes we are going to move up and down fast, but eventually, the game is going to slow down. Can’t do it.”

So… I don’t know. I stand by my contention that this isn’t really a big deal, but we’re still talking about a player that openly contradicted the coaching staff in just about the most open forum possible. That Ellis is correct in his assessment makes it no more justified, and probably more problematic. Should he recant his opinions, this could easily die by Wednesday.

But if it lingers, it’s sure to spark a power struggle between the aging head coach whose best work is behind him, and the franchise player that’s not really a franchise player. All with the benign, pre-pubescent Steph Curry caught in the middle. Not fun for Warriors fans.

Will that happen? Too early to tell; Ellis’ remarks were either indicative of a few quirks from Monta, or deep frustrations about the direction of his organization. If it’s the latter, he wouldn’t be the only Warrior to feel that way (Stephen Jackson?).

SBN’s Warriors blog, Golden State of Mind, is sure to have a better pulse on what’s going on out there, so be sure to check back for their take once they get a chance to process all the news from media day.

And Warriors fans, take heart: no matter what happens, Anthony Randolph is still the best young player in the NBA not named Kevin Durant. Regardless of what happens in the backcourt, the strange effectiveness of Andres Biedrins and Anthony Randolph should be enough to keep you mesmerized.


Are the Warriors All on the Same Page?

If this were football, and I was Mike Florio, I would make this into its own story. Are the Warriors Rebelling Against Their Coach? But, more than likely, that's not what's in play, here. Still, Fanhouse's Matt Steinmetz relayed the following incongruous statements from the Golden State gathering at media day.

First, from Warriors guard Monta Ellis:Picture_10_medium

And again:


But wait... that's not wha...


Is this a story? I say no. Monta Ellis has been gone for the past four months, and it's unlikely he knew of Nellie's plan to pair the two diminutive dynamos together in the backcourt. After all, each one of 'em is like 5'4 relative to their NBA peers. Monta's just thinking like a basketball player: obviously you're not going play two guys at the same time who have the exact same weaknesses. Only a crazy person would consider playing them together.

Ah... but that's where Don Nelson comes in. If you think it can't be done on a basketball court, Don Nelson will show you otherwise. Hell, he might even play Andres Biedrins at point guard and put Ellis and Steph Curry at the forward spots. And you know what? He'd probably make it (sorta) work, and win about 38 games like that. Because Don Nelson is the Most Interesting Coach in the World.

Methinks Monta just forgot who he's playing for.


All the Tweets Fit to Print (And More from Media Days Around the NBA)

With news swirling around the internets in the wake of today's deluge of NBA media, much of the good, substantive stuff is yet to come. Until then, Twitter is perfect for the sort of rapid fire news to which we've all become accustomed, anway. So, what's new in the Tweet world?

Marc Berman of the New York Post has some updates on the Knicks:

[Eddy] Curry has lost weight but must lose grotesque Media Day beard. Curry already missed last 4 pre-camp workouts with hamstring and calf.

And Newsday's Alan Hahn was also on hand to cover the Knicks:

Al Harrington is 260. But its a hardcore 260. Looks solid. Said he lifted 8 weeks, no basketball, in the summer. First time lifted weights.

Curry about his post 2010 status: "The only way I can approach it is to make myself better for me and this team. if that’s their goal, to showcase me or whatever...then so be it."

Chris Duhon says the only stats the expiring contract guys on the team need to worry about is in the Win-Loss column. Duhon was money today.

Eddy Curry didnt only lose weight, he apparently grew 1 inch in height. Knicks list him at 7-0 now. They also list him at 295 so...yeah.

The Houston Chronicle's Jerome Solomon spoke to Houston's Tracy McGrady and reported the following:

McGrady says he is healthier now that at any point last season, but he'll be smarter about coming back and not rush it. ... Tracy McGrady says he went at it so hard during his rehab workouts that one time he passed out.

Brian Windhorst, of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, spoke to embattled Cavs guard Delonte West. Before the lights went out, that is:

Delonte West declines to comment directly on arrest. He is in good spirits. ... An omen? Complete power failure at Cleveland Clinic Courts.

While Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears was on hand in Cleveland, as well:

Cavs forward LeBron James says he still has not decided if he will play for USA during the 2010 World Championships next summer. ... Lengthy electrical outage putting damper on Cavs media day with Shaq still pending to talk. LeBron jokingly blamed Shaq.

From SBN's own, Ben Q. Rock:

Peeked in the Magic's training room. There's a framed photo of Dwight and Jameer sitting on the bench watching the Lakers celebrate.

J.J. Redick is wearing a Kings of Leon shirt.

And maybe my favorite tweet of the day:

Just walked up to Adonal Foyle. He was talking about socialized medicine.

Nothing says "NBA Media Day" quite like "Adonal Foyle expounding on the virtues of socialized medicine." Awesome.


Key Gilbert Arenas Quotes from Media Day

Check out Bullets Forver for full coverage of Wizards media day, and here's a sample of what Gilbert Arenas had to say:

Gil had some moments where he was warm and engaging, but he also had some moments where he was a bit defensive.  His answers about whether he saw himself as a leader were among his most defensive. 

"What is a leader?  Is a leader someone who comes into the gym at 7 o'clock when practice is at 11.  Or when the game's at seven, you're here at 3:30?  [Is a leader] someone who plays hard?  Is that a leader?"  Or is a leader something where you say 'Coach, I'm a leader,' and in the papers, he says I'm a leader.  Is that a leader?  I have no idea," he said.

He then went on to explain why he didn't really take the "leadership role," so to speak, in the past.

"In my first year here, Eddie [Jordan] appointed [Jerry] Stackhouse and Larry [Hughes] to be the leaders.  He didn't want me to be a leader.  He says I was too young," he said.  "So from that moment, I was never a leader.  In my mind, I was always too young.  So every time he tried to appoint me as a leader, I didn't want to be it.  This year, Flip said I was to be his leader, so I said okay."


Wizards Media Day: DeShawn Tattooed WHAT on His Neck?

The Washington Post’s Wizards beat writer, Michael Lee, emerge from today’s media session with plenty of material. Below, he offers some initial thoughts in the wake of the inaugural media session:

Gilbert Arenas decided that he didn’t want to pay a hefty fine so he spoke with reporters. Arenas purposely tried to be subdued, surly and serious and sounded reluctant to speak at the beginning. He scowled, offered simple, short answers and mumbles. But he wound up talking for about 30 minutes, adding some jokes from time to time. The man can’t help it. The biggest thing he had to say was that he was done being an entertainer. No more Agent Zero. No more hibachi. No more antics. No more blogging. And he says he has no plans to get on Twitter. Arenas said he is focused only on playing basketball and being more a leader for the team. […]

Caron Butler said that he should be excited about the Wizards this season and isn’t focused on anything except a championship. Butler asked how any player, with all of his weapons back, could sit there on media day and say that the team should be satisfied with making the eighth seed. Butler said the Wizards should be going for the top. […]

DeShawn Stevenson showed up with a new look — on his face! He has a tattoo of the Pittsburgh Pirates “P” on his left cheek, but it’s backwards, so it looks like a “9” when he’s not looking in the mirror. He also has a crack inked on the top of his forehead because “I don’t crack.”

Uhh… what? Thankfully, TruthAboutIt.net offers us some photos of DeShawn’s new ink:

And another angle. Yes, that would be the likeness of Abraham Lincoln on DeShawn’s Adam’s apple.

Didn’t I say earlier that the Wizards have the most entertaining media day?


Follow Along with Live Coverage of Media Day from SBN's Celtics Blog

SBN’s Celtics Blog will be live-blogging from Boston’s media day, so be sure to check out their coverage for nuggets on everything from Garnett’s knee to Sugar Ray’s awesome tweets. Click here for the coverage, and below is some of what you’ll get.

  • Paul- Marquis is going to help tremendously. You bring in a guy with experience and who can play the 1-2-3 positions
  • Ray- me and paul can play as many minutes as needed.
  • Paul- minutes aren’t really an issue. Kind of overblown last year.
  • Ray- we know where sheed wants the ball. Not worried about sheed because he wants to see the game played the right way. We have all been part of teams that have been rebuilding and as far as windows go we are not looking past this year
  • KG- On the same page with Rasheed already. Its weird seeing him in green and just how our chemistry flows without even touching the ball.
  • Pierce- KG looked good on floor, just knocking off the rust
  • KG-everything is right on schedule, feels good
  • KG – First time back on the floor he thought everything was really fast, but he’s getting back to speed now
  • KG played 5 on 5 last week

Tweeting from Wizards Media Day

Those who at a “real job” with “actual responsibilities” probably do not have the time or inclination to stay up to speed with all the news coming through on the twitter machine. Luckily, we have no such constraints at SB Nation. The Washington-based TruthAboutIt.net is tweeting live from Wizards media day, and has already gleaned the following notes from various Wizards:

Arenas wants to shoot less than 100 3s this year … Will take more mid-ranges shots.

Arenas contemplated retirement for “about three hours” when he saw the doctor in Miami in January ’09.

Arenas: “I haven’t seen a pure PG since Mugsy Bogues.”

Nick Young says Sam Cassell has taught him how to play with more control.

And, my personal favorite:

DeShawn Stevenson has a Frankenstein ‘cracked head’ Tattoo from his hairline down.

Follow along yourself with @Truth_About_It, and really this why Twitter exists. It’s a perfect medium for media day. And moreover, media day is why I love the Wizards. They may not win big in the regular season or the playoffs, but they’re entertaining as hell in interviews. And really, given that only 3 or 4 teams have a legitimate shot at the NBA title this year, isn’t “entertaining and hilarious” the best consolation prize?

“I haven’t seen a pure point guard since Mugsy Bogues.” Damn. That could have been a fantastic quote for my high school yearbook. That, and “TNT knows drama.” Alas, hindsight is 20/20. Oh well.


Mehmet Okur's Media Day Magic, and More News from Utah

You wonder why I love media day? Because it generates things like this:
That comes courtesy of SBN's Jazz blog, SLC Dunk, which also offered up reaction to Andrei Kirilenko's new physique (with photoshopping!), and Carlos Boozer's obviously well-coached responses to questions about his uneasy alliance with Utah.


The Season is (Almost) Here! Your Guide to Media Day Throughout the League

The NBA season is upon us, and with teams set to open training camp throughout the league, that means media day is here! Because NBA players are probably funnier and more engaging than athletes in any other major sport, NBA media days are always pretty entertaining. Certainly better than preseason basketball, anyway.

So today's activity across the league figures to generate plenty of material worth your time. Luckily, we'll have a number of bloggers on location to give us updates, analysis, and hopefully a slew of goofy photos. Stay tuned throughout the day and week to see what our bloggers come up with.

To whet your appetite, here's some of what the guys at Indy Cornrows and Blog-a-Bull came up with for their media days, which happened last week.

From Indy:

I suddenly felt like T.J. Ford after taking a charge from Shaq. One of the thousands of thoughts that flashed through my mind while absorbing the hit was, I hope they can reschedule the media event so I don't miss it. Once the car came to a stop and reality kicked in, the wrinkled hood obstructing my view and the throbbing pain in my neck brought about the realization that the media day show would be going on without me this year.

Then after stepping out of the car to get my bearings and assess the damage, the clouds opened up and began pouring rain. Within two minutes, a day that began full of renewed hope and excitement quickly turned into a painful, soggy, insurance-infested disaster. Fortunately, it appears all of the soreness is muscular which I'll be able to treat with ibuprofen and Miller Lite. So spare your concern for someone who really needs it.

I refuse to believe my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day was an omen for a painful Pacers season. It was just a bad day for me. Plus, after checking out all of the great coverage from the Fieldhouse, there remains plenty to be excited about as the Pacers begin practice tomorrow morning. Also, a huge "thank you" to Sean for pinch hitting on the fly to make sure there was some coverage around here today. He da' man!

It continues from there, and they've got a few great interviews with All-Star Danny Granger, Head Coach Jim O'Brien, and the W.A.S.P. G.O.A.T., Mike Dunleavy, Jr. Click over to check 'em out.

As for the Chicago Bulls, SBN was on the scene there, as well, and Blog-a-Bull had this say:

The Bulls certainly have an organizational message going into training camp, and it's improving the defense. Coach VDN is preaching it in practice, and Mike McGraw at the Herald called it the 'overall goal of the team' this season.

It's a nice way (and I mean it) to spin the Ben Gordon departure. I always thought Gordon's defensive deficiencies were overblown, but there's no doubt that replacing all of his minutes with Hinrich, Salmons, and Deng is an upgrade on that end (as is a full season of Brad Miller over Nocioni/Gooden), and at 18th in defensive efficiency last season there's plenty of room for improvement. There's a chance they're actually better offensively this season too, but I think making the defense above-average is a more attainable goal, with Improvement from Noah (not being pushed around) and Tyrus (not being out of position entirely) being the best way to make it happen.

They also had a nice collection of links from various Chicago media, so be sure to check those out, as well. And get excited! Media day is here, and that means that the NBA is right around the corner.

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