As the player assigned by many the rank of most likely NBA player to be traded, Marcin Gortat arrived for training camp with a pragmatic and admirable approach to this season.
“Now, I’ve got three young stars coming to the practice to try to beat me up,” the Polish Hammer Machine told reporters at media day.
What should be our first reaction? Well, if Alex Len, Slava Kravtsov and Miles Plumlee qualify as “stars,” general manager Ryan McDonough is even wiser than most observers have presumed.
“We’re all fighting for bread,” Gortat said. “We’re all fighting for milk.”
And thank goodness we’re not hyperbole intolerant.
“I’m not going to let anybody take my job,” said Gortat, entering the final season on his current contract. “I’m going to come in here and fight these guys just like I fight everybody else. I never backed down from Dwight (Howard, his former teammate in Orlando). Trust me, I’m not going to back down from none of these guys.”
That type of determination should keep his performance level and market value high.
But, according to one league executive who watched Gortat play in the Eurobasket tournament, his value must be rehabilitated — just like the injured foot that kept Marcin on the shelf during the close of last season.
“He’s still a competent, NBA center,” the personnel guy said of Gortat. “But, especially with the potential draft pool putting a premium on first-round picks (for 2014) … let’s just say he won’t fetch the motherlode in a trade right now.”
— After official news of his return to active duty made Channing Frye the best story at media day, his quick assimilation back to basketball is the talk of training camp.
According to reports from Flagstaff, Frye – who missed last season with an enlarged heart — participated in a 5-on-5 workout on the third day of camp.
Frye told theArizona Republic’s Paul Coro he surprised himself with the quick assimilation, but that doesn’t mean he’s close to being game ready. not to read to much into it.
“Hell no. Practice is one thing against my teammates. There are things that have to be crisp for me to play out there. First, I have to get my strength. I’ve got to get my athleticism back. I’ve got to get my legs. Right now, the conditioning is probably going to be the longest thing and give me a couple weeks for my strength to come back.”
— Also checking in with early positive notices is second-year point guard Kendall Marshall, whose ability to kick the ball ahead in transition jibes with first-year coach Jeff Hornacek’s great interest in playing at a higher tempo.
It would be swell if other point guards realized that passing the ball ahead is quicker than dribbling it, and puts more pressure on retreating defenders.
— DLeagueDigest.com has a piece on Eric Musselman, a former D-League coach currently employed as associate head coach at Arizona State.
Two players who were developed by Musselman when he was head coach of the L.A. D-Fenders — Ish Smith and Gerald Green — are on the Suns’ roster.
— Ouch … painful, but true.
During training camp in the Bahamas, Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade had this to say about new/old teammate – and former Suns forward — Michael Beasley:
“Now that he’s got a couple of days in Miami Heat training camp, he’s sees that it’s a little different than he’s experienced the last few years.”
Gee, what a knock on the Minnesota Timberwolves.
— According to Grantland’s Zach Lowe, Suns guard Eric Bledsoe is the starting point guard for this season’s All-Intrigue team.
It’s interesting that while most glass-half-full Suns followers were reminding us of how much Bledsoe improved from 3-point range last season, very few stat hounds pointed out his struggles on long two-pointers.
Perhaps the Suns’ attempt at upgrading their skill-development results will clean that up.