Archive for July 12th, 2008

Spurs last season were elderly

The San Antonio Express-News (Mike Monroe) reports: The 13 players who suited up for the Spurs in their playoff run last season averaged 32.46 years old. That made them, if not quite as ancient as dirt, the oldest team in the NBA. Depending, in part, on what Popovich and his assistants see from first-round draft pick George Hill, who is 22, and a group of equally young players who will put their skills on display in summer league games in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City over the next nine days, the Spurs figure to be significantly younger when the 2008-09 regular season begins. Simply plugging free agent signee Roger Mason Jr., 27, in the guard spot once occupied by Brent Barry, who is 36, instantly drops the average age to 31.76. It will drop more before next season’s opener, perhaps dramatically, depending on which players make the roster. Fans and media critics who have been calling for the Spurs to get younger and more athletic may finally be getting their wish.

Marbury puts logo tattoo on head

The New York Post (Marc Berman) reports: Stephon Marbury bounded off the Knicks’ team bus at Vegas’ Valley High last night - a new tattoo inscribed on his left temple. The “3″ logo found on his Starbury sneaker and apparel line is now a permanent part of his bald head. Good thing the permanent tattoo ink wasn’t used on his Knick jersey. Even the cocky Marbury knows he may be giving up his Knick jersey in a couple of months, with team president Donnie Walsh and coach Mike D’Antoni contemplating waiving him before the season opener.

Gortat and Lee rise for Magic

The Orlando Sentinel (Brian Schmitz) reports: Center Marcin Gortat represented significant progress, hardly resembling the player that the Magic sent home after just three summer-league games for more seasoning in 2005. Friday at RDV Sportsplex, Gortat finished as the leading rebounder and shot-blocker in the six-team developmental league. Gortat, 6-feet-11, 240 pounds, has continued to impress since he surprisingly took veteran Adonal Foyle’s job during the playoffs last season as Dwight Howard’s backup. He averaged 12.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks, sharing the starring role this summer with Courtney Lee. Lee scored 101 points in five games for a 20.2 average, justifying his reputation as a marquee shooter. He hit 31 of 71 3-pointers for 44 percent and made 31 of 34 free-throw attempts.

The AP reports: The superlatives kept streaming out of Larry Brown’s mouth: Terrific. Attentive. Real good. Great kid. Despite his well-earned reputation of being brutally tough on rookies and point guards, the new Charlotte Bobcats coach couldn’t stop saying nice things about D.J. Augustin — his rookie point guard. “He just does what you ask him to do, without exception,” Brown said after a minicamp practice this week. “I knew he was a good player but he’s far exceeded my expectations.” … Augustin will start in Charlotte’s summer league opener Saturday against the Los Angeles Clippers, leading a team of rookies and free agents looking for training camp invitations.

Spreading basketball in India

The AP reports: India, a relatively untapped territory, looms as the NBA’s next great challenge. But it could be a tough sell. The few public basketball courts attract little attention, and words like “slam-dunk” and “alley-oop” are met with blank stares. To help counter that, the NBA held its first-ever event in India last week, a “Basketball Without Borders” camp that featured charity events and basketball clinics in which NBA players instructed young Asians. League executives say they’re considering a wide range of plans to spread the game, including building courts in remote villages, seeking endorsements from Bollywood stars, and bringing NBA players to India for exhibitions. “We see tremendous growth potential for basketball in India,” said Heidi Ueberroth, the NBA’s chief of global marketing. “The interest in sports is by no means saturated.”

Baron Davis messed up

The Oakland Tribune (Carl Steward) reports: Maybe Baron Davis wasn’t as smart as so many of us thought. He threw away a great situation in a place where he was mostly revered and pampered for a little more money, only slightly more security and the foolish allure of playing in his hometown. That plan works if you’re going with the Lakers. But with the Clippers, particularly with Elton Brand and Corey Maggette now gone, B.D. probably just signed the death warrant on the rest of his career. He might as well be back in New Orleans. By next midseason, with the Clippers slogging through a 57-loss season, Davis will be miserable, bored, sullen out, of shape and probably injured.

Nets add Hayes and Najera

The New York Daily News (Julian Garcia) reports: In reaching agreements with forwards Jarvis Hayes and Eduardo Najera Friday, the Nets added players who fit that description perfectly. It doesn’t hurt that both can do other things that should help keep the Nets competitive until they are able to go on a major shopping spree two summers from now. Hayes, a five-year veteran, played for the Pistons last season, averaging 6.7 points and 2.2 rebounds for the Eastern Conference finalists. He can help the Nets in two areas where they need it most - on defense and perimeter shooting. Najera, an eight-year veteran who turned 32 Friday, averaged 5.9 points and 4.3 rebounds with the Nuggets last season. He’s regarded as a tough player who is also great in the locker room.

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