NBA exhibition games have started, and we’re all counting down the days until Opening Night. In the meantime, we’re running a series of 30 guest columns on why fans of almost any team in the NBA can feel positive (we haven’t done the Bobcats yet. Or the Rockets. Both are coming this week)
The latest installment covers the Pacers, and is written by Tom Lewis of Indy Cornrows.
Also, Nick Gibson has his first Euroleague column of the season, as play has already begun. His piece focuses on Fenerbahce Ulker, the Turkish team that has imported American point guard Bo McCalebb, and the team that beat the Boston Celtics last week.
Seriously, that happened.
And if you have been wondering about what’s been happening in various NBA exhibition games, our fantasy staff has been chronicling all of them. Here is what happened Friday night. You really should follow @SheridanHoopsFantasy.
And here’s all the latest news from around the NBA:
New Hawk Lou Williams is happy to be playing for his hometown team, writes Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “The point guard says he envisioned himself one day playing for his hometown team while growing up in metro-Atlanta. After seven seasons with thePhiladelphia 76ers, who drafted him straight out of South Gwinnett High, Williams didn’t take long to make up his mind once a free agent this summer. … As the Hawks were undergoing their offseason makeover, Williams kept up with all their moves via close friend Josh Smith. The two have known each other since Williams was in the sixth grade after moving back toAtlanta fromMemphis. They competed against each other in AAU tournaments and various elite basketball camps. … ‘I was always familiar with the way things were moving because me and Josh would always communicate on a personal level as close friends,’ Williams said. ‘Seeing Joe [Johnson] leaving and seeing that there was an opportunity to fill a void with scoring. And they brought Devin [Harris], DeShawn [Stevenson] and Anthony [Morrow] in before myself. Those were guys who I was interested in playing with. Those are guys I knew would compete at a high level. I wanted to be part of the process.’ ”
- Like Williams, Steve Novak had the opportunity to play in his hometown, but he chose to stay with the Knicks. Here’s what he said to Marc Berman of the New York Post: “Novak, out of Brown Deer, Wis., and Marquette, could have wound up with his hometown Bucks. … ‘We talked,’’ Novak said. ‘We talked several times when I’ve been a free agent. I never know for sure at what level. But no, I wanted to be back . If I could choose Milwaukee or New York, hands down, New York. It’s the truth.’’’
- Former Raptors coach Sam Mitchell had some pretty harsh words for Jalen Rose, who said to Grantland that Vince Carter bodyslammed Mitchell to the locker room floor when Carter played in Toronto. Mitchell said to Kevin Nielsen of Sportsnet.ca: ” ‘Consider the source. You know what blows my mind? And I don’t attack people because I try to take the high road, but consider where it’s coming from,’ Mitchell pointed out. ‘Where in this person’s history are the things that he said true? You are talking about a person who played at a university whose record has been expunged. And for what? Lying and cheating. Right? You spent your entire career in the NBA making a lot of money, but you never quite lived up to your potential as a player,’ Mitchell said of Rose. ‘Now you’re on TV and you get to say these things. First of all, we need to stop believing that everybody on TV is credible and (that) everybody you hear in the media is credible.’ “
- Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel has a piece on Chris Bosh moving to center that is a really great read: “Bosh said the move is “over analyzed” because the evolution at center. ‘The game was different back then,’ he said. ‘The game changes every now and then. At that point, it was all about girth. You have to be big, Anthony Mason and Charles Oakley and Patrick Ewing and Vlade Divac. It’s different now. The game is a lot faster. If you’re big, we’re going to run right by you.’ “
- Brian Kamenetzky of ESPNLosAngeles.com has an excellent Q&A session with Chris Douglas-Roberts, who recently joined the Lakers as a camp signing. The former Memphis star spent all of last season playing in Italy after signing there during the lockout, and talked about that experience with Kamenetzky: “It was actually great for me, because during the lockout — I’m was a fairly young player, I (had just finished) my third year — so it was about basketball for me. It wasn’t about money, I just wanted to play basketball. But I went over there, and made that commitment to stay. It definitely made me a better basketball player, and it made me a better person. It made me more appreciative, because some days I didn’t have heat. The living conditions were terrible. I had to heat up water to give my daughter a bath, some days. If you had the microwave on and the washer on, the electricity may go out in the whole house. It was very small. The shower at the gym that we practiced at, it was filthy. There was mold everywhere. You couldn’t put your feet on the ground, barefoot. Guys were getting staph infections. It was basically back to when I was growing up in Detroit. But when I look at it, it just made me a better person and a player.”
- Here’s Ramon Sessions on why he chose to leave the Lakers, courtesy of Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports: ‘It was one of those situations I looked at like, ‘If I do come back what if they trade me?’ ‘ Sessions said. ‘There were talks about getting Deron. They always wanted the bigger-named guy. What if I get traded to a team and it’s my contract year? It was one of those things that I can’t say if I opted in, [Nash] wouldn’t have come. They still might have tried to get him. You just never know.’ “
- Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic has some news regarding new Sun Michael Beasley: “For eight years, it has been a training camp and preseason ritual for a Suns newcomer to have the pleasure of being yelled at by coaches to shoot more. Of all people, new Suns forward Michael Beasley is this year’s target despite being a player who has averaged 13.4 shots per game despite only playing 27.9 minutes per game. The staff’s emphasis has been for all sorts of perimeter shots but Beasley admittedly has never been big on his 3-point shot, despite having an efficient 37.6 percent clip from that range last season. He was not so hesitant with it Friday night, missing a 3 to open the game but making his next two tries in a half of eight Suns 3s by seven players. ‘Every day gets easier,’ Beasley said. ‘They’re telling me to shoot, shoot, shoot. I pass up far more shots than I should. Coach (Alvin Gentry) really encourages me to shoot. Everybody does, even the team. The more I get comfortable, the more old habits will leave. This is the first time I’ve really been encouraged to shoot even more than I already do, and we all know that I shoot a lot. My last two teams, I’ve been asked to try to be a passer/playmaker.’ ”
- And finally, here’s an AP story on Kevin Garnett nicknaming all the Celtics’ rookies: “Jared Sullinger is “Sully.” Dionte Christmas is “Temple,” because that’s where he went to college. And Kevin Garnett calls Fab Melo is “Melo” because “I don’t like really calling a man ‘Fab.’” … Garnett went out of his way on Friday to make it clear that he’s doing it to be affectionate and not because, like many veterans throughout basketball and other sports, he can’t be troubled to learn their real names. … Sullinger and Melo were first-round draft picks, with Kris Joseph coming in the second round. (Garnett calls Joseph “Shawn,” Christmas said, “because he reminds him of someone named Shawn.”) “