DJ and I were at the US Airways Center again today, working on a few things with new assistant coach “Thunder” Dan Majerle. Dan will be our summer league coach in Vegas later this month and has been great to work with. He busts our chops a little bit, but he’s making sure we’re ready and we’ve all just been having a lot of fun on the court together.
I’ve talked to pretty much all the guys on the team, most of who are away doing things with their wives and kids. DJ and I are the youngest so we’ve just stayed here in Phoenix for the most part working on our games. Everybody’s excited though and looking forward to working with new head coach Terry Porter and his staff. I wish the best for Mike D’Antoni in New York, but believe change provides opportunity and that’s what I’m preparing myself for right now. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the fact that this coaching staff has set the bar very high for us and expect nothing but the best results.
I was playing basketball for Wisconsin when Terry Porter was coaching the Milwaukee Bucks, and with him already having ties as a native of Wisconsin, quickly became familiar with his track record. He’s a hard-nosed, hard-working player and I like to think the same about myself. I’ve always admired Coach Porter, coming from a small college like Stevens Point and working his way to becoming a great NBA player really says a lot about his work ethic. Now he’s expecting the same work ethic out of us and that attitude is why he’s going to get the best out of the guys on this team. I’ve talked with Porter since his hiring and can already see he’s the kind of coach you want to play for in this league.
While there’s been a lot of work on the court for me this summer, I have had a couple of opportunities to get away. I visited some family and had the opportunity to travel to Miami for a photo shoot me and some other NBA players did for Converse. It was me, Dwyane Wade, Kyle Korver, Kirk Hinrich and Udonis Haslem, and we had a lot of fun down there and it went really well.
As far as Arizona itself, I’ve gotten to check out a couple of places I didn’t have time to see during the regular season. I had some family in town – some of them visiting Arizona for the first time – and we all went to Sedona and had a great time. More recently, I checked out the Phoenix Zoo, but learned there comes a time in Arizona when it’s a little hot to do anything that requires being outdoors. The animals there definitely knew that – most stayed concealed throughout the day – and I quickly caught on as to why.
Finally, I checked out the NBA Draft the other night and it brought back a lot of memories. The Suns grabbed a couple of great guys in Robin Lopez and Goran Dragic. Robin’s energetic and I can see he’s ready to work. Not sure whether or not Dragic will be here next season, but DJ and I are going to try and reach out to any rookies we have on this team and help make their transitions into the NBA easier.
DJ and I know we are the only rookies this franchise has had in a while and are kind of taking it upon ourselves to help them out. We want to let them know this is a whole different game from a mental standpoint and you’ve got to prepare yourself for that. You may not get a lot of time right away like you’ve always been used to, but you can’t get down. You’ve got to keep working and not allow yourself to get discouraged. I think that’s important for any rookie to understand, especially one coming to a team filled with superstar veterans like the Suns. But no matter what, these guys just need to make sure they stay prepared because you never know when you’re going to be called on to contribute.
Well, it’s been a great summer so far and now it’s all about preparing myself for summer league. I’m going to keep working on the things the coaches ask me to and continue preparing myself for what should be a memorable 2008-09 NBA season. Thanks again for reading and I’ll check back in soon.