After Team USA players Carmelo Anthony and Deron
Williams left their courtside seats at Cox Pavilion, another member of the
U.S. Olympic team arrived. New Orleans’ sensational point guard
Chris Paul showed up in time to watch his Hornets’ summer league squad take
on the Blazers.
A security guard sat behind Paul, but the star graciously signed autographs
for fans, including one youngster who snagged a seat next to him.
COULD SUNS BRASS OUTSHOOT TEAM? — Who do you like in a 3-point shootout?
Phoenix summer league coach “Thunder” Dan Majerle or Suns general manager
“That would be interesting,” said a tanned Majerle, who looked like he
could still knock down a few NBA treys. “If we had to move, we’d probably
be tired, but I think our coaching staff could probably beat our team.”
When pressed for an answer between him or Kerr, Majerle said “You know I’m
going to say me.”
As for former Spurs sharpshooter Vinny Del Negro, who chatted with Majerle
after the Suns’ 88-69 romp of the Wizards?
“Oh, I’d beat him. He’s got no range,” Majerle said.
The coaches almost did take on the players recently, although the proposed
game was 2-on-2 between Majerle and new Suns coach Terry Porter against
second-year pros Alando Tucker and D.J. Strawberry. But, alas, the showdown
“Thunder Dan and Terry said they’d take me and D.J. on 2-on-2, but they
didn’t follow through with it,” Tucker said. “Of course, we would’ve won.”
NOT TUCKERED OUT — Tucker, a former Wisconsin standout and 6-foot-6-inch
forward for Phoenix, scored a team-high 25 points to lead the Suns to a
rout of the Washington Wizards on Sunday in the second of three NBA Summer
League games at the Cox Pavilion.
Averaging more than 20 points per game, Tucker was one of the top scorers
in the league and hopes it translates into more playing time for Phoenix
“I showed (the Suns brass) defensively I can get into guys and offensively
I was consistently knocking down shots and was able to create off the
dribble and that’s what they’re looking for,” said Tucker, who averaged 3.7
ppg and 1.3 rebounds in six games for the Suns last season. “(New coach)
Terry Porter provides a lot of opportunity coming in here. I think we’re
going to be tough defensively and the more we play defense, the more guys
that are going to play.”
Kerr said Tucker and fellow second-year pro Strawberry — who poured in 20
on Sunday — both “played very well” in the summer league and “they’ve got
a chance to make an impact for us this year.”
“We’re excited about their progress as well,” said Kerr, who was highest on
rookie center Robin Lopez, who didn’t play Sunday, but performed well in
“Robin Lopez played well for us,” Kerr said. “We’re really happy with his
progress. It was a great experience for him to come in here and get his
feet wet before he plays in an NBA game.”
IN THE STANDS — Blazers coach Nate McMillan was in the stands watching the
Portland-New Orleans matchup, which the Hornets led 36-34 at halftime.
TANNED, RESTED AND READY — A heavily tanned former UNLV men’s basketball
coach Bill Bayno was spotted in the concourse at Cox Pavilion at halftime
of the Suns-Wizards game and, accompanied by two youngsters, then went to
the Thomas & Mack Center for the Bucks-Cavs contest. Bayno is the new coach
at Loyola Marymount.