Compilation: Tar Heels at NBA Media Days
Yesterday was media day for many teams in the NBA, as training camp begins this week. Here's a look at the main storylines surrounding each of the Tar Heels in the NBA:
Raymond Felton (Knicks): To put it mildly, Felton had a frustrating 2011-12 campaign in Portland. Now he's back with the Knicks (replacing Jeremy Lin, which is such a big deal the Knicks have already said they're not going to talk about Lin), where he had good success two seasons ago. Yesterday, he candidly admitted he was out of shape last season and says he has a chip on his shoulder this year. By the way, that same link has the news that Rasheed Wallace asked to come out of retirement to play for the Knicks, and the team thinks he will be in training camp.
Kendall Marshall (Suns): Felton and Marshall might be able to relate this year. While Felton tries to make Knicks fans forget Lin, Marshall is joining a team that no longer has icon Steve Nash. Head coach Alvin Gentry has been impressed with Marshall's progress so far. Goran Dragic is likely to be the team's point guard starter, however.
Ty Lawson (Nuggets): I bet Lawson and head coach George Karl have some hilarious conversations. Here's Ty talking about Karl's frequent texts asking him to show more leadership this year: "I probably have, I'll say, 20 texts in my phone. 'What are you doing? Are you leading right now?' I'm like, 'It's 12:00 at night, I'm sleeping.'" The next subject they talk about might be confidence, as Lawson proclaimed Denver the best team in the West yesterday. Also: check out the new Denver unis in that last link. They are very...yellow.
Harrison Barnes (Warriors): It looks like Barnes will come off the bench for Golden State, as the starting small forward spot is a battle between Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush, "unless Barnes has a monster camp." Barnes thinks he'll need to do the little things to earn a starting spot.
Tyler Zeller (Cavaliers): Sometimes, players do first-person diaries, and you can tell right away they dictated it to someone else, who then wrote it for them. That's not the case with this diary entry posted yesterday, which is pure Zeller. It's also fairly typical that despite being a first-round pick, there was almost zero focus on Zeller at Cleveland's media day yesterday. That will be the case right up until he posts his first double-double, which should be in the first preseason game on Oct. 12.
Antawn Jamison (Lakers): It will be interesting to see how the normally reserved Jamison thrives in a Lakers environment that might be one of the two most star-studded in the NBA. Jamison is expected to come off the bench for the Lakers.
Ed Davis (Raptors): One of those things you don't think about when you're considering how awesome it will be to play in the NBA: you might be on a bad team. A really bad team. In Canada. The losing can put a bad taste in your mouth, says Davis. In his third season, however, he thinks the club could make the playoffs.
Brandan Wright (Mavericks): Dallas training camp started early, and unfortunately, Wright was injured on the second day. It's not expected to be serious for Wright, who has beefed up in an effort to try and be more physical in the paint. That exact same phrase has been written about Wright roughly 841 times since he was in high school.
Tyler Hansbrough (Pacers): Interesting year coming up for Hansbrough, as a coaching change was expected to benefit him last season, but his playing time didn't flourish as much as you might have thought. He's expected to be the top post reserve this year, and with his brother, Ben, also in Indiana training camp, expect to see lots of Hansbrough Brothers stories in October.
John Henson (Bucks): Good news for Henson, as the Bucks are emphasizing defense this year. The rookie says, "Defense is my calling card, and that's how I'm going to get on the floor quicker." He'll need to defend well, because power forward/center is a crowded spot on the Milwaukee roster.
Danny Green (Spurs): Green might have been the best Tar Heel story in the NBA last year. With a new contract, more will be expected of him this year, and San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich thinks the playoff experience--even though it wasn't all positive--will be good for Green.
Marvin Williams (Jazz): I think Marvin Williams might be the Tar Heel surprise of the year in the NBA, as it's going to greatly benefit him to be out of the toxic environment in Atlanta. Now, if his new team can just figure out the difference between Marvin and new teammate Mo Williams. The last time Marvin was on a team with a plethora of Williamses, things worked out pretty well, as Jawad, Roy and Marvin Williams combined to win the 2005 NCAA title.
Jerry Stackhouse (Nets): Interesting take here on Stackhouse, who is using this year with the Nets as an opportunity to transition into coaching under Avery Johnson. Stackhouse will play, but he says he's caught the coaching bug and hopes he has a future in the business.
Vince Carter (Mavericks): Like Stackhouse, Carter has moved into more of a veteran savvy role, as he'll come off the bench for Dallas. He's trying to tutor the younger Mavericks. How long has Carter been in the league? He lists Kevin Willis, Dee Brown and Charles Oakley as players who helped him when he was younger.
Wayne Ellington (Grizzlies): Memphis has been desperate for a shooter, and that's the role Ellington is expected to fill.