Media Day Blogs 2006: Pacific Division
Posted Oct 2 2006 8:01PM
It's Media Day in the NBA. Do you know where your superstars are?
You can find them right here on NBA.com as we blogged all Media Day with All-Stars Shawn Marion, Elton Brand, Ben Wallace and Gilbert Arenas, to name a few.
On Friday, we'll get Shawn and Elton before they head off across the pond for Europe Live and on Monday, we'll have two players from nearly every team in the NBA and have their thoughts up online moments after speaking with them.
So, join us Friday and Monday as we talk to the playmakers and newsmakers from around the league. Why wait for the paper or your local nightly news? Get the scoop on the 2006-07 season now.
Posted by Mike Dunleavy on Oct. 2, 2006 at 2:57 p.m. ET
I had a great summer. I took some trips, but mainly took it easy. I worked out some. Iíve been working on my jump shot and low-post moves. This time of year, every team has high expectations. All 30 teams feel like they can have a good season. Us in particular, we feel we have talent and a great coach. Last year we got off to a great start, but we werenít playing against a lot of the better teams and we had a lot of home games. When it came time to play the better teams, we struggled a bit. With some small improvements, we can beat those teams.
We have Don Nelson as coach and his record speaks for itself. Heís been successful everywhere he has gone, he knows what he wants and what he wants to do.
Iím not a big individual goal guy. Iím more concerned about how the team does, although I want to have the best year of my career.
Posted by Troy Murphy on Oct. 2, 2006 at 4:09 p.m. ET
Iíve been running and getting in shape in preparation for this season with coach Nelson. He likes the run and gun style of play so I have to be ready. He is going to provide us with great direction and leadership, two things weíve lacked.
We started off 12-6 last year and then we started to lose some games we should have won. That was the backbreaker. We got on a losing streak and we were kind of finished after that.
I want to help the team make the playoffs and try to average a double-double again. Making the playoffs is our biggest team goal. The key to that is to improve our free-throw shooting. We lost 15 or so games where we trailed by three or less in the last five minutes. We were a poor free-throw shooting team, but if we improve that, our win total will go up.
Posted by Corey Maggette on Sept. 29, 2006 at 3:37 p.m. ET
This summer, I mainly just rested. I came to the Clippers facility and tried to do a lot of running to stay in shape. I have a newborn, so you only get a little sleep here and there. The biggest thing was just trying to stay healthy to get ready for this upcoming season. I spent most of my time in Los Angeles and a month in Chicago.
I don't feel any pressure to repeat last year's success. We need to raise the bar if we're going to do something with this team. Last year was a change for our team to move up in the pack, and now we want to move up again. Our standards are a lot higher. We have some great players on this team, great additions.
Being in the playoffs, it's so much faster, itís so much energy. I can't wait to get back to that situation again. The biggest thing we need to do to take it to the next level is just working harder. We need to capitalize in areas where we made mistakes last year. This year, we just need to be better.
Posted by Elton Brand on Sept. 29, 2006 at 4:08 p.m. ET
My body feels great. The World Championships weren't too strenuous in terms of minutes. We shared the playing time pretty equally. Practices were tough, but I think we had ample time off. I had about four full weeks off. Two weeks right after the season. About a week and a half after I got to Asia. So I got some time off.
I don't expect to hit the wall during the season, and I haven't spoken to anybody about it because I don't want to know about it!
There's a lot of pressure to repeat last season's success. There expectations are higher, people want us to get further in the playoffs than we did last season. I believe we have the team to fulfill those expectations.
People look at you differently with the recent accomplishments. We're definitely respected more that we're winning ball games. Everyone loves a winner. But our fans really deserved a winner because they were backing us for years and years and years.
One of the highlights of my summer was going to the Toronto Film Festival with my movie that I produced, Rescue Dawn. It got some great reviews so I'm very proud of it. MGM actually picked it up, and it's hitting New York and L.A. in December and theaters nationwide in February. I'll be in the thick of things with the NBA season by then, so I won't be able to focus on it, but it was great to have as an outlet during the summer. I'm really proud of what the movie has done.
Posted by Chris Mihm on Oct. 2, 2006 at 6:46 p.m. ET
Honestly, it was kind of a tough summer for me. I tore up my ankle pretty bad at the end of last season. I took a little time off right after the season, about 3-to-4 weeks, and then came back in June and tried to really rehab it and get it strong and it ended up that I had to go in and have surgery. So, it was a new experience to have a surgery and rehab for most of the summer and try to get this healthy for camp now. With the surgery there was a lot of stuff that needed to be cleaned up and it worked out. But, you know, I feel good now and you know, ready to work myself back in here in training camp and get it back to 100 percent.
I just want to keep building. When I came out to L.A., I looked at it as kind of a new birth to my career after a start that I wasnít too happy about for a lot of reasons. Iíve improved and increased my output over the last two years and this year I really wanted to keep the improvement up, to keep the consistency up, to be a guy that goes out there that my teammates can depend on. They can depend on me to play defense the whole night, to cover the basket and be our last line of defense and also someone thatís going to be there to be a consistent scorer night in and night out.
Last year was a tough way to end the season, but we really grew as a team as the year went on. I think a lot of people saw that. Going into the season, we were counted out in every single poll and said that we were going to finish at the bottom of the pack in the West. And in a tough conference, we came on and due to some bad breaks toward the end of the year, and unfortunately I wasnít able to be with the team in the playoffs, and then just a couple bad bounces in the playoffs and these guys would have moved on to the second round. Who knows what happens from there. So, it was a great building block last year and this year, I expect more from us. I look for us to take the next step, to move on in the playoffs and be a real contender this year.
Our management and coaching staff did a great job of putting together some more pieces with this team thatís really going to help us. Vladimir is an outstanding shooter and I think he is going to provide a real punch for us from behind the three-point arch that we really didnít have consistently last year. Jordan is a gym-rat type player. He is always in there, always working and eager to do what he can to be a productive member on this team so thatís always something what you want to see in a teammate.
I just saw Kobe for the first time since both of our surgeries this afternoon and he looks good. He looks good and he is in good spirits. We were both talking about how excited we are for this upcoming season so I think we are both on the same page and ready to get back on that court together.
Posted by Kwame Brown on Oct. 2, 2006 at 7:12 p.m. ET
After the first round exit I wanted to go hide under a rock somewhere. You know, I was so disappointed about that loss that I kind of didnít do anything for a couple of days. I just watched TV and I watched that tape over and over again Öone rebound from clinching and moving on. So, itís a very tough loss, especially when you have fans that keep mentioning it when youíre out in public. My brothers and all my family was here for that game, so, it was a very tough loss. Itís still not behind me, but I think we can use that as motivation to go further this year.
With the unfortunate injury of Chris, it allowed me some more time at the center spot. We kind of split the time at the center spot. At the beginning of the year, he carried the bulk load or the work load of the minutes at the center and I would play the 4 and then when he would go out, I would slide over to the center. That was the only time I really would score, when I was at the center spot. With the injury of Chris, I worked on my low-post game and I came in ready. It was an unfortunate injury for him, but I was fortunate enough to be ready and thatís the nature of the business. Heís still not 100 percent, but Iím looking forward to getting in and mixing it up with him and Andrew with some good, healthy competition and try to get this center spot locked up.
I ran stairs, I added something new this summer, I ran stairs for the most part. My legs are a lot bigger than they were last year and my upper body is a lot bigger. I tried to come in bigger to camp as far as my legs and my arms because I lose so much weight during camp. I just wanted to start out bigger and hopefully my legs can hold up from all the stair work Iíve been doing and you know, my quads got much bigger, so hopefully when I run and lose some weight I can still have that same strength in my legs that I did at the beginning of last year.
Our team goals, is to first, and Kobe said it the best today, ĎLets take it day by day.í We still got a lot to prove, weíre still going to have naysayers as soon as we tip the ball off. We have a very young team, so we canít hang our hat on fighting and battling the Phoenix Suns. We have to go out and start clean. Itís a clean slate and go out and play hard and earn everything we get.
I got to spend a little bit of time with Jordan [Farmar], we went bowling. He is a guy with a lot of energy. Love his energy. I already knew what Vlady could do because I worked out against him when I first came in the league. But you know, the shooting exposition he just put on here the other day Ö I mean, he must have made about 200 shots. Iím looking forward to getting the ball in the post and kicking it out to him and have him hitting a couple shots and opening it up for me, and Lamar and Kobe. With him out on the floor, I donít know how many guys are going to come off of him at the three-point line. So, hopefully weíll have a little more room to operate.
It amazes me how much bigger Iím getting. Every year I just keep getting bigger and bigger. Iím happy. Iím at peace. Unfortunately, this is a business where you donít have time Ö time doesnít wait on anyone here because there are always so many fresh and new-willing bodies. So, Iím conscious of that. Itís a business and I think Iím better equipped and knowledgeable about it. Iím just coming in with the open mind of, ĎYeah, I love my teammates,í but at the same time, itís a business and I want to taste that playoff run again and be a part of it instead of sitting on the bench.
Posted by Shawn Marion on Sept. 29, 2006 at 3:42 p.m. ET
My summer was short. I was out in Vegas for the first week. It was cool, man. I felt like we had just stopped playing with the Suns and I had to get back up in the gym right quick. But it was a great experience, man.
I continue to just try to learn the game. Every year there are things you set aside and you do, but the older you get the more stuff you learn about yourself and about your body Ė what you got to do and what you can control. Iím feeling alright right now, my hamstrings are tight, but the trainers will take care of that.
Iíve been to Italy and Athens before. I canít say Iím looking forward to anything specifically. Iím just ready, about to get it going, man. Trying to get my mind and my body right. Itís a long flight over to Italy, and weíre just ecstatic to get it going. Weíre going to see some sights when weíre over there, but weíre going to be in training camp too now, donít forget. When youíre working out like that, you canít be on your feet all day.
Our goal is to go for a championship, what more can you say? We went to the conference finals two years consecutively now, and weíre trying to get to The Finals and get us a ring.
Posted by Raja Bell on Sept. 29, 2006 at 4:21 p.m. ET
I had to rest a little bit. My calf was torn a little bit at the end of the season. I had to stay off my feet for a while. I did my prescribed rehab, and then it was back into the gym. I worked with a shooting coach a little bit, tried to play as much ball as I could, and stayed in the weight room every day in hopes of being a better player this year. I feel pretty good overall. Iím a little bit behind I think in fitness, as far as where I was last year, but that will come in the next couple days in training camp. My body is really well rested and hopefully Iíve done enough work in the gym on my game that Iíll be improved on the court as well.
Weíre all excited. To get to see Italy is great, but to get to go with Mike who is historic over there, is a pretty cool experience for us. I think the NBA has gone above and beyond as far as trying to make this a great experience for everybody. I know my wife has been looking forward to it all summer, so there are a lot of people fired up about the trip. Weíre going one-a-day practices instead of two-a-days, so that makes it even better.
Our sights are aimed at a championship. We came close last year and feel like this is our year to get it done. Thereís a lot of hard work that goes into that and we have to start from tomorrow when training camps open. We have to be ready to go.
Amare looked pretty good yesterday. I played with him yesterday and he looked pretty good. I hadnít seen him for most of the summer, but Iím excited about what I did see.