Collins hopes for hands-on lessons from Millsap with Hawks

em>By Charles Odum, Associated Press /em> ATLANTA (AP) — John Collins has used Hawks star Paul Millsap’s versatile game as a model for the player he hopes to become with Atlanta. The big question for the Hawks: Will Collins have the opportunity to take hands-on lessons from Millsap, a free agent? Should Millsap sign with another team, a Hawks roster that became younger with last week’s trade of center Dwight Howard will become even more reliant on its nucleus of 25-and-younger players. Collins, only 19, was Atlanta’s first-round pick in last week’s NBA draft. He immediately became a key member of the young core led by point guard Dennis Schroder and forwards Taurean Prince and Tim Hardaway Jr. “I love it,” Collins said Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) at a news conference. “... It’s cool they have some younger guys on the team I can bond with a little bit. Obviously you get that chance to grow and the chemistry can skyrocket.” Schroder and Prince, who won a starting job late last season, are only 23. Hardaway, a free agent, is 25. Forward DeAndre Bembry, 22, and free agent forward Mike Muscala, 25, also could be part of Atlanta’s rotation next season. Collins, the 6’10” power forward from Wake Forest, could immediately earn a starting role, either as Millsap’s replacement or partner on the front line. Collins said he marvels at the way Millsap, a four-time All-Star, contributes in different ways. “It’s that versatility,” Collins said. “You look at Paul and he’s a great defender and can shoot the three. His post-up game is there. He makes plays and can push the ball. You could see in the playoff games he was really close to triple-doubles most of the games. It’s crazy for a guy like him who I would call a quiet killer. You’re going to see it at the end of the game on the stat sheet. Just being as versatile as possible, using all his gifts.” Those are all reasons it may be difficult for the Hawks to re-sign Millsap. Collins was joined Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) by two second-round picks, Oregon guard Tyler Dorsey and center Alpha Kaba of France. The three will play on the Hawks’ summer league team in Las Vegas. Dorsey, who described himself as “a gym rat for sure,” can’t wait for the summer league. He was eager to shed the red bow tie he wore with his white shirt and black suit so he could find a practice court. “I’m a worker,” Dorsey said. “It’s hard for me to take a day off. If I take a day off I get paranoid, just feeling like I need to work because somebody might be out there working. I need to get in the gym and work on my game. I’m just addicted to the grind.” The draft class is the first for new general manager Travis Schlenk, who was hired from Golden State on May 25 (May 26, PHL time). “When we started out this process, one of the things we said we were going to look for were high-character individuals and we feel like we hit a home run,” Schlenk said. Schlenk replaced Wes Wilcox, who resigned as part of the restructuring of the team’s front office. Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer, who resigned as president of basketball operations after the season, sat in the audience during the news conference and posed for photos with the draft picks and Schlenk. Budenholzer, who indicated the day belonged to the draft picks, declined an interview request. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: Sports2 hr. 16 min. ago Related News

After rocky road in LA, Russell seeks smooth start with Nets

em>By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press /em> NEW YORK (AP) — D’Angelo Russell wasn’t only traded, he was insulted on the way out the door. After the Los Angeles Lakers selected Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick in the NBA draft, team President Magic Johnson said Russell played well but stressed that he needed a leader as his point guard. Given that Johnson is one of the greatest ever to play the position, the sting might have really hurt Russell. But his turbulent time in Los Angeles is over, so the only voices Russell are listening to are in Brooklyn. “It’s good to be here. I can’t really control that, what they say,” Russell said Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). “I’m gone. It’s the past. I’m here now. It’s irrelevant, honestly.” The Nets introduced Russell and center Timofey Mozgov in a news conference at their training facility, having acquired the pair in the deal last week that sent center Brook Lopez and a draft pick to Los Angeles. Russell is just 21 and himself was the No. 2 pick just two years ago, the kind of player who isn’t usually available via trade. But the Lakers needed to make room for Ball, and the Nets are in desperate need of talent after finishing with the worst record in the NBA. “Looking at what the Lakers were dealing with, we’re always in that talent-acquisition mode here,” general manager Sean Marks said. “We will be for a while, but adding a player — specifically D’Angelo being 21 — we could’ve easily drafted somebody who was a year older than D’Angelo.” Russell averaged 15.6 points last season, an improvement over his rocky rookie season. Fitting in under coach Byron Scott in Kobe Bryant’s final season was a difficult transition, and Russell made it harder on himself when his video of a private conversation with teammate Nick Young ended up on social media. Even though Russell played better under Luke Walton, the fallout from the video may have already damaged his ability to become the leader Johnson was seeking. Marks didn’t dwell on the past, believing Russell will find a more stable situation under second-year coach Kenny Atkinson. “I think everybody’s going to question what happened in the past with the whole Nick Young so forth,” Marks said. “But as I said before, I’m not really concerned about that, because I think if any one of us looked in our little dark secret of closets there would be things that we would be embarrassed about and wish we could take back. So again, I’m going to bet on this group, from Kenny, the coaching staff, they’ve done a terrific, terrific job of developing these guys.” Lopez was the Nets’ career scoring leader, but Atkinson believes the Nets will get strong play from Mozgov, remembering how hard the Russian worked when Atkinson was on Mike D’Antoni’s staff with the Knicks. Mozgov didn’t play late last season as the Lakers went with their youth, but he is a strong rim protector who won an NBA championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers. But the key to the deal will be Russell, who joins Jeremy Lin as the point guards on the Nets’ roster. His transition from Ohio State to Los Angeles was rough. Perhaps going coast to coast will be a smoother start. “A lot of guys have it easier. A lot may have it harder,” Russell said. “My situation was different. It was what it was. It’s the past. I’m here and looking forward to it.”   .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: Sports4 hr. 25 min. ago Related News

8-time All-Star Dwight Howard: I have a lot left in the tank

em>By Steve Reed, Associated Press /em> CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — At 31 and entering his 14th NBA season, eight-time All-Star Dwight Howard says his best basketball is ahead of him. Wearing a teal suit with black trim, a smiling Howard insisted Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) he can return to being a dominant center with the Charlotte Hornets, where he will be reunited with coach Steve Clifford and play for one of his childhood heroes, team owner Michael Jordan. “A lot of people have written me off, which is great because it’s going to make me work even harder,” Howard said during his introductory news conference. “I’m just looking forward to this opportunity because I have a lot left in the tank.” This will be Howard’s third team in three seasons. The Atlanta Hawks, his hometown team, traded him to Charlotte one year into a three-year, $74 million contract. Howard said he has no hard feelings, adding that “sometimes things just don’t work out.” But he’s confident Charlotte is the right fit. “I think I’m a lot healthier than I have been in the past five years and I think this is going to be my best time,” Howard said. “I’m a lot wiser now, stronger mentally and physically, and I’m in the right place with a great coach, a great GM and the GOAT (greatest of all time). So I think this is the perfect opportunity.” Much of Howard’s optimism stems from being reunited with Clifford. They worked together for seven seasons in Orlando and Los Angeles, and the 6-foot-11 three-time Defensive Player of the Year loves Clifford’s defense-first mentality. He’s also confident Clifford will put him in the right situations to succeed on offense. “He understands me,” Howard said. “...He was always there for me and not once did he turn his back on me or talk bad about me. He was very positive and he was somebody that I have always trusted in.” The feeling is mutual. Clifford said he’s never coached a player smarter than Howard when it comes to understanding defensive coverages. While Howard has incredible athletic ability, Clifford said, he’s never been given the credit he deserves for playing a “thinking man’s game.” “Smart always wins in the NBA,” Clifford said. Howard is expected to start in Charlotte alongside All-Star point guard Kemba Walker, guard Nic Batum and forwards Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marvin Williams. Cody Zeller, last year’s starting center, is expected to come off the bench for the Hornets but still see significant minutes. Howard said he’s learned a lot over the past 13 seasons. “Over the years a lot of things have been said and I’ve not said anything back,” Howard said. “Somehow things that weren’t true kept getting stirred up, and that gave a lot of people wrong opinions about who I was as a person. I should be the one speaking up for myself instead of allowing other people to do that.” In Charlotte, Howard becomes the second big-name athlete to be known as “Superman,” joining former NFL MVP quarterback Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers. Both are from the Atlanta area and have met a couple of times but aren’t close friends. Howard said he’s eager to connect with Newton and get to know him better. “We have the same attitude; we love to win, but we want to have fun,” Howard said. .....»»

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Brogdan, Saric unanimous picks for 2016-17 All-Rookie team

Brogdan, Saric unanimous picks for 2016-17 All-Rookie team.....»»

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Draymond, Kawhi, Gobert lead 2016-17 All-Defensive team

Draymond, Kawhi, Gobert lead 2016-17 All-Defensive team.....»»

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Westbrook set to learn if his historic season was an MVP one

Westbrook set to learn if his historic season was an MVP one.....»»

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Sorela sizzles as Wang’s five holds off Racal

MANILA, Philippines - Michole Sorela stepped up in the clutch as Wangs Basketball stunned Racal Motors, 93-84, yesterday to boost its bid in the PBA D-League.....»»

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Unso sparks Team Philippines Hong Kong trackfest gold drive

MANILA, Philippines - Patrick Unso dominated the men’s 110-meter hurdles then joined the 4x100m crew in a record-breaking silver-feat at the close of the Hon.....»»

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Marcial takes gold vs Chinese in Mongolia Cup

MANILA, Philippines - Power-hitting Felix Marcial dominated Chinese Jan Xo Ja and fashioned out a 5-0 victory to deliver the lone gold for Team Philippines i.....»»

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Trainer insists Horn to make weight limit

BRISBANE, Australia – With just six days left before his showdown with Manny Pacquiao, Jeff Horn is still over the welterweight limit of 147 pounds......»»

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Aussie says Pacman’s slugfest life-changer

BRISBANE, Australia – If not for Manny Pacquiao, the name “Jeff Horn” will probably remain unheard of outside this country......»»

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Message to TNT: Fire Smith, fire up Texters

MANILA, Philippines - Will TNT KaTropa stick with Josh Smith or will it finally tap a new import with the Texters now down 1-2 in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.....»»

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Filoil romp big boost to Lions NC repeat bid

MANILA, Philippines - San Beda sets out for the NCAA Season 93 all fired up, its sweep of the Filoil Premier Cup speaks well for its drive for another champi.....»»

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Underdog Jeff blows horn, seeks knockout

BRISBANE, Australia – At his training headquarters, in a boxing gym tucked inside the palatial home of his trainer and manager, Jeff Horn showed that he’s re.....»»

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Is Smith in or out?

TNT has up to 12 noon today to decide whether or not to stick with hulking import Joshua Smith for Game 4 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals against San Mi.....»»

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Ahomiro gets to play on new PVL ruling

MANILA, Philippines - Perlas hopes to draw inspiration and power from Amy Ahomiro when it opens its campaign against Air Force in the Premier Volleyball Leag.....»»

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HD Spikers gear up for quarters vs Lifesavers

MANILA, Philippines - Cignal HD primes up for the quarterfinals as it collides with Generika-Ayala in the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference which.....»»

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Red-hot Marikina booters upend Cebuanos

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Horn calls Filipino sparmate perfect

BRISBANE, Australia – Jeff Horn was so impressed with his Filipino sparring partner, Czar Amonsot, that he stuck with him throughout his preparation for his.....»»

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Nat'l women's volleyball team cancels training... again

A deafening silence echoed inside the Arellano University Gym. No chatter, no shouts of commands, no high-pitched sound of the whistle, the cracking sound of palms smacking synthetic leather nor the loud thud of the volleyball hitting the wooden floor of the sweltering gym. No sound of bodies slamming on the hardwood nor the screeching sound of rubber soles making contact on the polished floor. Nothing, except for the occasional blowing of horns from jeepneys and automobiles outside the busy street of Taft Avenue or the passing of LRT wagons with its metal rail vibrating as the iron wheels of the trains roll.       It should have been a busy training day for the national women’s volleyball team. But not a single soul from the 14 ladies selected by head coach Francis Vicente to represent the country in the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship and the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in August was to be found inside the gym.      That was 10:00 a.m. Monday. The team was supposed to train every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon after the men’s squad’s three-hour training that starts at 6:00 a.m. em>ABS-CBN Sports /em> tried to contact Vicente about the cancellation but the mentor has yet to give a statement as of posting. A source said that the players were unavailable because of their club commitments. The team also cancelled its training last Monday while last Friday 13 players showed up to attend the team meeting with Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. Team practice was called off because of the players' commitments to their respective clubs.  The squad composed of team captain Mika Reyes, Alyssa Valdez, Jaja Santiago, Aby Marano, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Kim Fajardo, Rhea Dimaculangan, Maika Ortiz, Gen Casugod, Ces Molina, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Denden Lazaro and reserves Dawn Macandili and Kim Dy will fly to Japan for a training camp from July 17 to August 2. The Asian tilt is on August 9 to 17 to be held at Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna while the SEA Games will run from August 19 to 31. Meanwhile, a source bared the possible inclusion of Serbian coach Moro Branislav as training director for both men’s and women’s team headed for crucial international tournaments this year.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles .....»»

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