I know the draft and free agency are the big topics up next for the Hornets this summer. But how about looking a little further into the future?
Specifically, ahead to the pair of Hornets preseason games that will be played in Berlin and Barcelona as part of the NBA Europe Live Tour 2008. Although I could see how team personnel might consider it a logistical nightmare, I think it’s actually a cool concept (despite the fact that it deprives us NOLA fans of our Hornets for the third week of October preseason games– horrors!), and also a chance for European NBA fans to check out the teams live. (Dare I also say, a chance, since the Hornets drew the Washington Wizards as their opponent, to get revenge for that slightly embarrassing stretch of losses this spring?)
Plus it could be fun to follow back home, if they send some talented and fun media people along (not the T.P., dear lord, their article on Byron Scott’s new contract last week used the same quote from the Game 7 press conference that I’d already seen six places… I mean, can’t they do better than that?) I did a little research on who went last year and what they did while they were there.
And let me tell you, if it’s anything like Celtics in Rome, this could potentially be a source of endless entertainment. Never mind the fact that I’m still reading articles this week crediting the trip as a time of bonding in which the team solidified their goals for the year. But here’s a quick sampling of the silliness that went down:
- The Big Three sip cappuccinos on the porch of their hotel with teeny tiny spoons (I don’t know why this video entertains me so much). Garnett: “We’re the Ceatles. Like the Beatles… but the Ceatles. And I’m Paul.” (While sitting next to Paul Pierce, who is like, Wait, wha–?)
- Big Baby gets hit by a mini-car on the streets of Rome. “I was walking to go meet the guys to get something to eat and – this is no lie – a car really hit me. I was crossing the street, and then a guy slows down to come around a corner and – boom. The guy was like, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.’ I swear it happened. But the car was so small. He kind of hit me on the thigh, but it didn’t even hurt at all. I mean, it was one of those small cars that just fits two people. You see them all over here. I told my mom I got hit by a car, and she was like, ‘Oh, lord, are you hurt?’ I told her, ‘No, mom, I’m way bigger than the car.’”
- Ray Allen rents a scooter and there’s actually a photo of him getting told off by a cop for parking in the wrong spot. And indeed, the rest of the Celtic-as-tourists photos are pretty funny too.
- The team poses for pictures with costumed gladiators at the Colosseum.
- The starters shave their heads for team solidarity (not a huge sacrifice for Ray and KG…)
I expect great things out of Hornets in Europe. Seriously, guys. Don’t disappoint.
Random Fact of the Day: The Hornets have played in Europe once before, in 1994, when they went 1-1 in Paris and Bologna.
Tyson Chandler’s official site posted this season wrapup video interview the other day, which I thought I’d point out in case people hadn’t checked it out yet. It’s a two-parter. You know I love me some TC6, so I of course watched the entire thing.
- When asked about David West’s facial hair, he says something to the effect of, no matter how successful an All Star he becomes, David is always going to be David. And show up places dressed in all black, jeans, and a hat, because it’s just what he does. Which I thought was funny because it always cracks me up that, no matter where D West is photographed, he’s never wearing a color. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in a tie either.
- Tyson says as the season goes on, you tend to stop working on your game as hard because you’re more focused on other things, and he’s looking forward to getting back to that in the summer/fall. Which I found interesting because in the beginning season he had a little turnaround shot that he tried less and less frequently as the season (in fact, he busted it out in one of the last playoff games and we were like, “Whoa, haven’t seen that in awhile!”). Now, it wasn’t a highly accurate shot, and maybe they just decided to focus on the CP3 alley oop as his main offensive weapon, but it could also have been that he wasn’t getting the time to work on it as the season got busier, like he said. If he could work on adding that shot consistently to his game, TC would be dominant next season. (This is my thought here, obviously, not his.)
- His thoughts about playing against Tim Duncan (“He never says anything”).
- He kind of thinks Celtics, but says he’s learned never to count Kobe out. (And the interview starts out with a great story he tells about him vs. Kobe in the Lakers game here in March… as opposed to Duncan never saying a word, Kobe yaps constantly.)
True. NBA Coverage is sparse these days. Of games that is. I’m sure there’s all kinds of Finals nostalgia here and there. Especially on NBAtv. Nonetheless, my NBA Hunger Strike has continued. No basketball since the Hornets lost. A modicum of Hornets blog reading, but no major media outlets. As you all know, The End hit me hard. It didn’t feel right. San Antonio fans might disagree with that sentiment with our series, but are likely just as bitter about their own team’s demise. The Stern Button has been activated. The big markets win. Celtics-Lakers Finals. But still, I am a basketball fan. A huge one. So I’m wavering. There are a lot of storylines that intrigue me about these finals.
I might watch. One more day to consider it. Thoughts?
Oh, an addendum to my last post. I showed the much vaunted Hornets tickets. As you know, we at HornetsHype have tabulated the more likely than not tenuously-connected “Ticket-Face-to-Result” statistic. (Who says we don’t do stats here?) Readers also know, we fear the jinx. So we didn’t mention that Mo-Pete was on the ticket-face for Game 7 against the Spurs. Below are the regular season Ticket-Face-to-Result stats:
- Team Photo: 1-0 (1.000)
- D-West: 5-0 (1.000)
- CP3: 8-2 (0.800)
- Peja: 4-1 (0.800)
- Tyson: 7-3 (0.700)
- Byron: 3-2 (0.600)
- Mo-Pete: 2-3 (0.400)
So, as you can see, despite all the actual basketball stats pointing to the contrary, I was skeptical heading into Game 7 for this reason. Playoffs? Playoffs? Those games looked like this:
- D-West: 2-0 (1.000)
- CP3: 2-0 (1.000)
- Peja: 1-0 (1.000)
- Tyson: 1-0 (1.000)
- Mo-Pete 0-1 ( 0.000)
Of course, these are only the home games. Had we progressed in the 2nd round against the Lakers, with only three games at the Hive, it would have been CP3, Tyson, and D-West on the ticket-faces. Which, of course, would have meant three wins. Stats don’t lie. But, we would have needed to steal at least one in L.A. to move on. As you can see from the images below, the same would have been true in the Finals. Against the C’s we would have only had 3 home games, so it would have been CP3, D-West, and Peja. Ah well. I will say this, however: Spurs, my checking account desperately thanks you. Them tickets weren’t getting any cheaper.