- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Marcin Gortat had a big game in Poland’s 75-71 victory over Bulgaria on Monday. Gortat scored a game-high 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting. He also collected nine rebounds, blocked three shots and dished out two assists. With the win, Poland improved its record to 4-3 as it attempts to qualify for next year’s European championships. The Poles are second in their group, trailing Belgium (5-1). The [Orlando] Magic center is averaging 18.0 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game.”
- Ben Q Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “Five years, one month, and 26 days have elapsed since the Orlando Magic used the 11th overall pick of the 2005 NBA Draft on Fran Vazquez, then a mere 22 years old. And Vazquez has still yet to play for the Magic, instead plying his trade in high-level leagues in his native Spain. Yesterday, in an exhibition match against Team U.S.A., Vazquez tallied 8 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 block in 14 minutes off Spain’s bench–yes, he’s good enough to play for Spain’s national team–and looked NBA-ready. Mobile, with good hands, he’d make an excellent pick-and-roll partner for Jameer Nelson in Magic pinstripes.”
- More from Rock: “Watching Team U.S.A. struggle against a decidedly inferior Lithuanian team in an exhibition game yesterday–Chris Sheridan rather memorably wrote, “[t]o say they looked ordinary would be to give them an undeserved compliment”–I learned a few things: the European conversion rate on veteran savvy is steep, if Chauncey Billups’ miserable play is any indication; a number of second-string NBA point guards could start for Lithuania, which could hardly dribble or pass against the U.S.A.’s press; and Team U.S.A.’s size deficit is as bad as advertised. Coach Mike Krzyzewski elected to bring five point guards and just one center across the Atlantic for these exhibitions leading up to the FIBA World Championships. And as much respect as I have for Tyson Chandler, it’s pretty obvious that rotating him and a trio of forwards (Lamar Odom, Kevin Durant, and Kevin Love) in the pivot is going to present problems for the United States; it’s perfectly reasonable to view them as the underdogs, given their deficiencies in inside scoring as well as perimeter jump-shooting. Which is where Dwight Howard fits in. Or would have, anyway.”
- J.J. Redick: “I’ll be politically correct about it because that’s the honest answer: I would like to start on an NBA team. But I’d also like to start on a really good NBA team. And for me, there’s no substitute for winning. So, if I have to play my whole career on playoff teams and be a backup, I’m fully cool with that. You know, I just want to be a part of a great organization and a winning team, and I have it with the Magic. Whether Vince [Carter] sticks around for two more years or one more year or four more years, I’m not going to complain. I’m happy with my situation.”
- Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference takes a look at the players which played for the best defenses in NBA history. Dwight Howard, surprisingly enough, does not make the list.