The point being, if he’s going to be an All-Star, he’ll really have to blow people away. He can do that if he’s healthy, which is the number one thing. He’s an offensive player who understands his defensive short-comings and wants to improve. I was accused of being an apologist last year for saying that his ankle handicapped his lateral movement and made matters even worse since he wasn’t a great defender to begin with. And just psychologically, he didn’t feel like he had it in him to be a two-way player — as he even said, he felt like was out there on one leg. But if he’s healthy, I don’t see any reason why he can’t put that ball in the bucket all year long.
What are some of the main things you will be looking for in training camp? Who do you think might have a breakout season?
Tyreke Evans could certainly have a big year — a lot of people are saying he might win Rookie of the Year. As far as breakout years, maybe Spencer Hawes, who showed a lot of improvement last year. But it’s not a secret that they’re concerned about his head getting too big. The danger is that a young guy, even someone like Jason Thompson, plays 82 games and thinks he’s a star because he’s an NBA starter, but the team still won only 17 games. They should all be pretty humble right now.
I'm planning to make my first trip to Arco Arena in January. As a displaced fan in New York, what are some of the subtleties I'm missing by watching the majority of games on television and what details should keep in mind?
One thing you won’t see because he’s been traded — and this is something that we never wrote about — is that every time Brad Miller checked into the game, he took the gum out of his mouth and stuck it underneath press row. I never peeked under there, but I always thought it was disgusting.
In the middle of press row, look for a really old guy with coke-bottled glasses, Tim, who controls the scoreboard and has been there since the very beginning at Arco. I’m not sure if he’s missed a game, and that kind of stuff fascinates me as far as the people who’ve been there through the different eras.
Cisco [Francisco Garcia] is interesting to watch interact with his teammates because he’s one of the few leaders they have. Some of those guys are just out there playing basketball, but he gets on guys when they miss an assignment and pats a guy on the butt when he makes one.