By John Hareas

  • Yesterday's notes: Sept. 30

    D’Antoni on Day 2

    TREVISO, Italy, Oct. 1, 2006 -- With Day 2 of practice checking in a little over two hours, Coach Mike D’Antoni weighed in with his assessment.

    “I thought things went well,” D’Antoni said. “The intensity was up. A little rusty obviously, not making shots and stuff like that but we had a lot of running, a lot of passing, great chemistry already from the group. They know how to play together. Right now, it’s just a matter of just keep repeating what we’re doing and getting in a groove.”

    Kerr: Expectations & Questions for Suns

    The Suns were hard at work Sunday.
    Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

    Steve Kerr, Turner’s analyst, arrived in Treviso yesterday and was a spectator at Suns practice today. The five-time NBA champion has more than a passing interest in the team. Kerr is also a minority owner and consultant to the Suns and checked in with his own preseason prognosis.

    “The expectations are a lot higher this year because last season with Amaré’s injury, everybody figured if they finished .500 they would be doing well,” said Kerr. “Obviously, they did a lot better than that. But now, the expectations are higher and with that comes more pressure. And there are a lot of questions still: How does Amaré [Stoudemire] fit in? Can he play with Boris [Diaw]? But the team is very deep, a lot of versatility, a lot of excitement. This should be a very exciting team to watch.”

    Kerr: Europe Rules

    A 15-year veteran, Steve Kerr received his share of opportunities to play preseason games overseas and welcomed every single one.

    “It was one of my favorite things to do,” said Kerr who as a member of the Chicago Bulls visited Paris in 1997 and later with the Spurs in 2003. “I love coming overseas to play. It is an adjustment. The time change, the long flight, the practice, it takes a couple of days to adjust. It’s the preseason, it’s the time that you’re getting ready for the year and it’s a change from the routine. New venue, new country. I think it’s a great experience for these guys.”

    Language Barrier? What Language Barrier?

    Spend seven seasons in Italy as a head coach and you’re bound for a good story or two, especially on the communications front and especially for someone hailing from Mullens, West Virginia such as Mike D’Antoni.

    “I remember one key game over there,” said D’Antoni, who is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Italy. “It was late and we called a timeout. I have two Italians, a Serb, a Croat, two Americans and an Argentine. I have a twang to start with and we have only 30 seconds in the huddle. They had no idea what I was saying, but I got my point across.”

    Happy Birthday, Eric

    Eric Piatkowski received a pleasant surprise at the team dinner last night when he was presented with a birthday cake commemorating No. 36. The swingman who spent the last two seasons with the Chicago Bulls before signing with the Suns during the offseason was and wasn’t surprised by the gesture. We’ll let him explain.

    “I was a little surprised by it,” said Piatkowski. “But then again I wasn’t. This is a good organization. They take care of their guys.”