Media Day Blogs 2006: Southwest Division
Posted Oct 6 2006 5:31PM
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 live with All-Stars Shawn Marion, Elton Brand, Ben Wallace and Gilbert Arenas, to name a few, on Media Day.
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 Jerry Stackhouse on Oct. 2, 2006 at 3:53 p.m. ET
Obviously we were disappointed after the Finals but, after a couple weeks I kind of got back to normalcy. I took a little time off with my family and went back to North Carolina. I messed around with some of the guys thatís coming in this year. Theyíre going to have an awesome class. Itís going to be fun to watch. I do a lot of trash talking around here about UNC. I took a vacation to Mexico, went down to Cabo St. Lucas. Itís all about enjoying it as much as you can, man. Having a short summer made the season seem like it got back here fast, but weíll take that every time.
Iíve always been a guy that just loved to play, play, play. Even in the off-season. I had to be a little smarter with that. Still working out and doing things to keep moving, but not just take the pounding of running on the court. Knowing that Iím having long runs on teams like this, you have to kind of save yourself a little bit. I didnít play as much pick-up as a normally play and Iím hoping that will kind of have my legs and everything feeling good pretty much throughout the course of the year.
We know the makeup of our team. We know we have a championship-caliber team and weíve added some pieces who have championship experience and have Finals experience that maybe can help us get over that hurdle that we faced after we went up two games. For real, for real, we just feel that that team got what we was supposed to have and weíre looking to get that. Weíre trying to get that, and have a little interest added on to it this year. Its been going out and setting the tone throughout the season. You gotta have intermediate goals, and our first goal is to start the season off well and to, at the end of the regular season, be the No. 1 seed because we feel that having that home-court advantage is important when it comes down to, you know, playing in the playoffs.
Devean was hurt a lot last year and I think heís healthy now, so he has something to prove. Itís always nice to have guys that have something to prove. Ager, going the last pick in the first round, he has something to prove to all the teams that passed him over. And then thereís Anthony Johnson with his experience, Iím glad that I have another guy who is capable. He is a guy who scored 40 points in a playoff game just last postseason. So, you can never have enough weapons. Austin Croshere with his experience, playing in this league 9-to-10 years is going to be huge to be able to not have to play Dirk so many minutes during the regular season.
Dirk looks good. He spent a lot of time after the World Championship was over when he had a good time where he didnít really do anything. He got to spend some time with his family and now he is here and weíre going to use this next month to kind of get him back to where he wants to be for when the regular season starts. Hopefully that time he has taken off over the last few weeks will give him renewed energy to start training camp.
Posted by Jason Terry on Oct. 2, 2006 at 4:38 p.m. ET
The Finals was a great experience but our goal was not just to get there, itís to win it all. I think we took strides towards doing so this season. We kept our guys in tact. We had myself as a free agent. Iím locked in now. Dirkís locked in. We have J-Ho, Devean, Jerry Stackhouse, Ghana, Big Damp Ė you know, the key guys that were a part of that team are back and in addition weíve added three solid veterans that have Finals experience. Austin Croshere, Devean George, Anthony Johnson Ė these are guys that are quality players and we can only get better as a team.
I took some time off, you know, came back and tried something new. Iím doing a little swimming this summer and increased my endurance and my stamina. But other than that Iím a family man, so I spend a lot of time with my girls taking them out golfing, playing soccer. You know, doing the little daddy things. I split time in between Seattle, Dallas and I have a home in Atlanta also that we spend time at. But my focus every night, it was always tough to sleep knowing that we let an opportunity pass us by. But going into this seasonís training camp, Iím excited.
I played with Anthony Johnson in Atlanta my first two years and the thing about the guys we brought in, everybody came in early in September and started to work out. Weíve worked out together and weíve already bonded and thatís going to be a big help.
The championship. That is THE goal. Everyone putting on that Maverick uniform, or, even around the city, the Maverick fans, theyíre ready. They know what we got to do to get it done.
Posted by Rafer Alston on Oct. 4, 2006 at 2:29 p.m. ET
My summer went great, man! I spent a lot of time with the family. Just the family and staying in Houston and working out, thatís it. Staying in great shape; putting up a lot of jump shots and doing a lot of conditioning work. I didnít spend a lot of time in New York this summer, I stayed away. I traveled with the family, man. I did a little Bahamas, went to Vegas, you know, things like that. I traveled, went to Disney, took the kids to Disney.
I just worked on being a consistent open shooter. You knowÖSpot-up threesÖPick-and-roll pull-up jump shotsÖCatch the ball, catch-and-shoot, and catching the ball, making a move and then shooting. Thereís a lot of different variations of shooting the basketball. You just try to be a consistent outside shooter.
You had guys like Luther Head, Chuck Hayes, John Lucas and Steve Novak in the gym. But, a lot of the things I did were individual, but then sometimes Iíd get with some of those guys and weíd do some things, some drills and things together. I just put a lot of time in down on one end of the court fine-tuning my game.
Going into this year weíre going to work hard, play together and compete, and hopefully we can just stay healthy. I think a key thing will be our health issues. Last year we got hampered by a lot of injuries and we had to play with different lineups and different players. I think now we just want to be healthy and play the best, solid basketball we can.
Yao looks great, Tracy looks great. They came in in great shape. Yao had a very productive time in the Worlds and you know, Tracy has been working out key spots in his game being that he missed almost half the season last season.
Shane is Shane. You know what youíre getting in Shane. Youíre getting a hard worker, competitor, youíre getting a defender, a guy that can hit the open threeÖjust a team-oriented guy. Novak, he can stretch the defense out with his shooting ability and the guy is a smart basketball player. Kirk Snyder is a tough competitor. He competes hard, he works hard. I havenít really seen much of him in his NBA career, but what Iíve seen at Nevada heís a great mid-range shooter, heís been working on his three. He definitely can post-up and slash to the basket. And then Bonzi, you know he is a good mid-range to low-post player and heís a fierce competitor and heís a team guy. We have to understand that our first two options are Yao and Tracy and our third one has to be Bonzi.
My job is, hey, get these guys the basketball. Itís a good thing Iím a pass-first guy and Iím a true point guard so I donít really mind it. Itís going to come easy for me. The only thing Iím going to have to work on is get some reps and knowing where these guys like the ball, being that I havenít played with Battier or Wells last season. I have to familiarize myself with the times that we played against them and understand where their scoring comes from. You know that Wells likes to post up and shoot the mid-range and you know that Battier is a good corner 3-point shooter.
Posted by Mike Miller on Oct. 6, 2006 at 1:18 p.m. ET
Man, you know, it was one of them things where we were left with kind of a sour taste in our mouth from what happened to us against Dallas. But, you know, it happened. It made it a little easier for the motivation in the summer time. I think our whole team worked to get better and thatís basically what I focused on - getting better for the year.
I stayed in Memphis all summer. I was working out by myself, man. It was just me a couple of coaches and the weight trainer. I was trying to work on a little bit of everything and just try to hone in on the things that I need to get better on. And the things that Iíve done successfully, I just wanted to get better at those things and make sure I come in in the shape I want to be in with the game I feel is good enough to compete.
I think we look good. I think thereís a lot of things we got to get better at. But, we look good, weíre doing the things we want to doÖweíre playing a little different style of basketball with the athletes we brought in and the athletes that we got here. It should be interesting.
Hey, we got a lot of athletes in Rudy, and Hak, and Lawrence and part of that is Kyle Lowry. We have a lot of young, talented players that are athletes. The style of play weíre trying to create here, I think it could be exciting this year. It should be interesting to see what happens. We could use Pau healthy, but with the young guys stepping up, it should be interesting to see what happens.
If I come off the bench, Iíll try to be the best player off the bench. If not, Iíll do what I can when I start. It hasnít come up yet.
Posted by Desmond Mason on Oct. 2, 2006 at 1:35 p.m. ET
We won 38 games last season, came close to making the playoffs. We think we're going to be a better team than we were last year. If it goes the way it's supposed to, we should be playing in the playoffs.
We have a lot of new players. It definitely makes training camp more important. We've got to teach a lot of the new guys the defense, the schemes.
This summer, the main thing for myself was making sure I have myself in shape and ready to go. I spent a lot of time this summer working with a shooting coach. I had a shoulder injury last season so I had something going on with my shot that I wasn't used to. I definitely think my shot has gotten a lot better and that's the goal. It's easy shooting in the gym by yourself but it's a lot different when you have to go up against a defender.
Chris Paul had a wonderful rookie year. It's hard to say we expect more out of him. He had a great summer with the U.S. Team, he's a year older, a year wiser. We have high expectations for Chris.
For us as a team, it's very important to play in New Orleans. The city is still going through a transition. I think it will be wonderful for us to go out there and take their mind of off everything for a few hours. Oklahoma City was a great host to us. Like I've said before, we have two homes and two homes is better than one.
Posted by Tyson Chandler on Oct. 2, 2006 at 1:30 p.m. ET
Being traded from the Bulls to the Hornets has been really good for me. It's been an easy transition. There are a lot of new players and I think everybody is really gelling. I think it was important for them to make everyone feel comfortable. I expect playoffs and I expect to go from there.
I kind of just stayed close to home and worked out this summer - a lot of free throws, working on my shot.
I'm looking forward to playing with Chris Paul. I'm definitely excited to be on the receiving end of those passes.
I feel like it's a great opportunity for us to give back to the city of New Orleans. We can bring a lot of joy to people's lives.
Posted by Michael Finley on Sept. 29, 2006 at 2:50 p.m. ET
This summer, I did my normal workouts with my trainer Tim Grover in Chicago, just trying to get into the best shape as possible going into camp, and fine tune different aspects of my game. I've worked out with Tim over the past 10 years and I definitely trust him to help me prepare for the season. Working out with us were Juwan Howard, Andre Iguodala, Antoine Walker, Shawn Marion, Eddy Curry, Quentin Richardson and a couple of rookies.
As for the Spurs, we want to get better as a team. I think last year everybody felt we came short of our ultimate goal. But we know we still have an opportunity to do some good things here. Last year was a difficult ending that probably sparked some fuel in some of the guys that are returning. Hopefully that will be motivation to get us over the hump this year.
Everybody comes into this league to win a ring. Not too many players have the opportunity to be on a team that has a chance to win that. I've been blessed to be on teams where we've been put in positions in which we have a chance, and this year is no different.
Posted by Brent Barry on Sept. 29, 2006 at 3:24 p.m. ET
I spend my offseason in Hermosa Beach, Calif. I got into the gym sometime in early July, started lifting, doing some conditioning a couple of times a week. As the summer wore on, I did more and more as we try to get ready for the year. A lot more playing.
I play up at the UCLA men's gym which is always a pretty good run. There are a lot of NBA guys that are in and out of town, doing entertainment things in Los Angeles, or who live out there. Paul Pierce, Andre Miller, Shawn Marion, Amare Stoudemire. Between playing with them and training on the surf board, it's a good summer.
In September I got back into San Antonio and started playing with the guys who were in town, getting ourselves ready to go.
I don't see a major shift in anything we're trying to do as a team. Certainly we lost a bit on the inside with the departures of Rasho Nesterovic and Nazr Mohammed. With the acquisitions that were made, I think it speeds up our team, and possibly makes us want to run more. That seems to be the tendency of a lot of teams. I don't know if Coach D'Antoni in Phoenix is rubbing off on a lot of people but playing small ball seems to be the way the teams in the West have had success. Maybe we made a shift in terms of our speed, but nothing major overall.
I don't think we're bitter over not getting to The Finals last year. We didn't play our best but we played our hardest, and we came up short in Game 7 by a roll or a shot. That's how difficult it is to win an NBA Championship. It's not an easy thing, and if it was, it wouldn't be as memorable for the players and the fans. We would love to get ourselves in the same position come the spring time this season. If we do that, we'll be better off for it, because we learned a lot about our team in the playoffs last year.