Brand confident in Mavericks' newcomers
Dwight Howard's name came up several times Friday as Elton Brand fielded questions at Mavericks Media Day at American Airlines Center.
After Dallas fell short of signing free-agent point guard Deron Williams, Brand, a 6-9, 250-pound power forward, was claimed off of amnesty waivers in July. Howard was traded to the Lakers about a month later, meaning the Mavericks might have missed out on landing another superstar free agent if Howard elects to sign a long-term deal and stay in Los Angeles.
Brand, who openly admitted that he has something to prove this season, was asked about being part of a group of newcomers — which includes Darren Collison, Chris Kaman and O.J. Mayo — that some will expect to fill the void left after the franchise didn't land Williams or Howard.
"Those guys are two very big names, superstar players," Brand said. "I don't think one player can match what they're doing. Maybe we'll have to do it by committee and be a solid all-around team and play our roles, these new guys. You say Dwight Howard and Deron Williams, I know we as a team, with the pieces we've put together, I feel we could match or get close to matching what they would've brought. But individually, I'm not Dwight Howard any more."
At one time he was close to it. The former No. 1 overall pick was an All-Star in 2002 and 2006 and averaged a double-double during six of his first seven seasons in the league.
Now, at 33, Brand says he has lost some explosion and quickness.
"But I still have a lot of explosion and quickness left," Brand quickly added. "(I) improved my jumper, free-throw percentage and stuff like that. I think it's about opportunity."
Brand then joked about how he has gotten fewer shot opportunities with age.
"I was guarding a lot of guys when they were on certain teams and they were getting 25 shots a game and I'm looking like, these guys aren't Dirk that are getting 25 shots. And they're missing the majority of them," Brand said. "I'm like, 'Wow, that must be nice.' So that's changed a lot."
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