NBA: Thursday Preseason Report
By: Steve Kyler
LB And The Bobcats: The Larry Brown show got off to a rough start last night in Orlando, looking a lot like the Larry Brown Knicks for most of the first quarter, a quarter in which the Magic hung 40
points to Charlotte's nine. The Bobcats and Magic both came down to
earth for the balance of the game, but Charlotte's deficit never closed
allowing the Magic to look at some of their reserves, and for Larry
Brown to put all 17 of his guys on the floor. There had been some
scuttle about the Bobcats point guard position, with Raymond Felton
slated as the starter and rookie DJ Augustin coming off the bench.
Brown said before the game that he was more than pleased with both of
his point guards in camp and that while he knew they threw a lot at the
guys in training camp, the guards were really taking to the new
instructions and system. Brown's biggest surprise was Gerald Wallace.
Brown said he knew Wallace was good; he just had no idea how good he
was. Wallace seems to be the go-to-guy for the Bobcats because he
creates so many matchup problems for opposing defenders. Sean May and
Adam Morrison both were on the floor last night, and both looked like
they have a long way to go. Morrison has dropped a ton of weight, and
is rocking a long pony tail these days, while Sean May looks as round
as ever, drawing comparisons to Oliver Miller from courtside fans. Sean
was effective offensively, but its hard to imagine how he'll be healthy
all season carrying that much weight.
The Magical Rotation: Magic Head coach Stan Van Gundy addressed his decision not to play Keith Bogans and Marcin Gortat telling reporters that in pre-season he wanted to give the minutes to guys that need to learn the system or to guys that have questions surrounding them. Stan indicated he knew what he had in Keith, Marcin and Adonal Foyle and was going to rotate those guys throughout the pre-season, but that newcomer Mickael Pietrus would need at least 20 minutes a game to get into the flow of what the Magic do. Stan also said that Tony Battie would get a ton of minutes for much of the same reason. JJ Redick and Courtney Lee both had solid games for the Magic, however after the game JJ Redick ducked the media, heading for the side door, despite having a 12 points in 14 minutes draining shot after shot. Magic GM Otis Smith voiced his offense to Florida Today's John Denton regarding the notion that the Magic were "showcasing" JJ Redick, saying he's seen JJ every day in practice and knows exactly what JJ can do. The Magic face CSKA Moscow on Friday, and Van Gundy said that despite this being a non-NBA team the game plan was to continue to play the same guys and work on improving their offensive and defensive schemes.
Snake Bit: How snake bit are the Wizards? They spend untold millions trying to keep the team together and are already without Gilbert Arenas, who may not play until December. Antawn Jamison left the first pre-season game in Dallas with a bone contusion on his knee, and now word is Brendan Haywood will miss at least 4 months to wrist surgery. Imagine what the Wizards would have been like if they could have gotten all their guys healthy; its seems for a third straight season we'll never know.
Hazing The Rookies: Every year there are great rookie hazing stories that surface throughout pre-season. The hot one these days is filling the rookie's car with popcorn, that's happened to a few guys, including Memphis swingman Hakim Warrick. The Warriors did it to Patrick O'Bryant and video of it is posted on YouTube. The Bobcats have pulled off one of the best ones yet, giving each of their rookies children's bookbags that they must carry wherever they go. DJ Austin got the Giggle Girl pink bag with white poke-a-dots, Alexis Ajinca got a light blue My Little Pony bag with its own horse mane that must be brushed regularly. The Bobcats rookies are still fetching luggage and getting donuts as all first year players normally are forced to do. DJ Augustin takes carrying the bag in stride, and says the vets have made it clear that if they are caught without it there will be worse hazing to come. Last year, Jazz rookie Morris Almond got smart and bought several dozen donuts and left them on the counter of his apartment grabbing a fresh box for every practice, admittedly the donuts were stale by mid-week, but he never missed a box. Conversely former Jazz rookie Kyrylo Fesenko would take a taxi to the nearby Krispy Kreme and bring fresh hot donuts on his day, endearing him to his veteran teammates.