Morning shootaround — Oct. 10


VIDEO: Top plays from Friday’s preseason action

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Dave Meyers — UCLA star, Bucks enigma — dies at age 62 | Klay gives Doc some of own medicine | Sefolosha clears name, can work on game | Mavs’ injuries dampen Dirk’s mood

No. 1: Dave Meyers — UCLA star, Bucks enigma — dies at age 62Dave Meyers‘ greatest basketball achievements came at UCLA, where the 6-foot-8 forward anchored legendary coach John Wooden‘s 10th and final NCAA championship team. But for a lot of NBA fans, particularly in Milwaukee, Meyers represents a terrific player who got away and a man who lived life on his terms rather than strangers’ expectations. Meyers, 62, died Friday at his home in Temecula, Calif., after a lengthy battle with cancer.

His basketball accomplishments came in the first half of his life, including the national championships he won with Wooden and UCLA in 1973 and 1975. Meyers was the No. 2 pick in the ’75 NBA Draft, behind only North Carolina State’s David Thompson. Three weeks later, Meyers was packaged in one of the NBA’s most famous trades ever, sent by the Lakers with Junior Bridgeman, Brian Winters and Elmore Smith to Milwaukee for an unhappy Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Walt Wesley. He averaged 11.2 ppg and 6.3 rpg in four seasons with the Bucks but is most remembered for walking away from the game at age 26. Bill Dwyre of the Los Angeles Times was working in Milwaukee then and wrote about that in Meyers’ obituary for the Times:

Another member of the Meyers family gained fame in the sport. Ann Meyers Drysdale, Dave Meyers’ sister, was also a UCLA basketball All-American and is currently a vice president of the Phoenix Suns in the NBA and the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA, as well as a broadcaster for both teams.

“People always remembered Dave as a tenacious player with a big heart,” Meyers Drysdale said Friday.

Meyers was also known as a private person, who shocked the sports world in 1980 — five years into a productive and lucrative pro career with the Bucks — by announcing that he was leaving the NBA to spend more time with his family.

“Remember, David played for an unbelievable teacher at UCLA,” Meyers Drysdale said, referring to Wooden. “He was taught more about life than about basketball.”

Meyers returned to California, and after a stint in sales for Motorola received his teaching certificate and taught elementary school — mostly fourth and sixth grade — for more than 30 years. He began teaching in Yorba Linda and later taught in Temecula.

An aggressive, fundamentally sound player, he rebounded, played defense and handed out assists with the same enthusiasm that he took shots. From his power forward position, he used the backboard on his shots more than most players and became known for those skillful bank shots. It was something he learned from Wooden.

“I’d run into Bob Lanier,” the former Bucks’ star, Meyers Drysdale said, “and he would always tell me how sad he was that David retired. Lanier always said that, if he had stayed, the Bucks would have won the championship.”

Meyers suffered a serious back injury during his pro career and was pressured by team management to undergo surgery. He refused, partly because that surgery went against principles of his Jehovah’s Witness religion and, according to Meyers Drysdale, partly because there were extreme risks to that kind of surgery.

“In the end, it was what he said it was,” Meyers Drysdale said. “He wanted to be with his family and watch his children grow up.”

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No. 2: Klay gives Doc some of own medicine — Make up your own mind which you think is sillier: Folks elsewhere in the NBA saying things that seem to detract from what the Golden State Warriors did last season or the Warriors dignifying little barbs and digs by responding. Who cares what Houston’s James Harden or Ty Lawson thinks about Steph Curry‘s MVP season, at this point? Or whether Clippers coach Doc Rivers was sticking a Phil Jackson-esque asterisk on Golden State’s championship run from last spring? But Warriors guard Klay Thompson didn’t let the opportunity to zing back pass, as chronicled by Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group:

Warriors players issued several retorts to Doc Rivers after the Los Angeles Clippers coach commented on Golden State being lucky it faced neither the Clippers nor San Antonio in the playoffs.

“Didn’t they lose to the Rockets? Exactly,” Klay Thompson said Friday, laughing in reference to Houston coming from behind to beat the Clippers in the Western Conference semifinals. “That just makes me laugh. That’s funny. Weren’t they up 3-1, too? Yeah, tell them I said that. That’s funny, man.”

Walking away from reporters after his interview session, Thompson continued, “I wanted to play the Clippers last year, but they couldn’t handle their business.”

Rivers’ remarks were the latest in a string of perceived swipes at the defending NBA champions. In published comments, Rockets guard Ty Lawson lamented that Stephen Curry was allowed to relax on defense in the Western Conference finals, and teammate James Harden insisted he felt he deserved the Most Valuable Player Award that Curry won.

Asked on KNBR about the suggestion from other teams that the Warriors were lucky last season, Andrew Bogut joked, “I’ve actually got my ring fitted for my middle finger.”

“We respect all previous champs,” Bogut said. “We’ll respect future champs. They don’t want to respect us, so be it.”

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No. 3: Sefolosha clears name, can work on gameThabo Sefolosha missed all of the Atlanta Hawks’ training camp while testifying in New York in his own defense against three misdemeanor counts, stemming from an incident outside a nightclub there in April. The 6-foot-8 wing player also missed the Hawks’ preseason game against New Orleans Friday in Jacksonville. But Sefolosha, who suffered a broken leg while being arrested by police that night for allegedly interfering with them, did get acquitted on all counts earlier in the day. Now he and the Hawks can get back to basketball, as detailed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Now he wants to get back to playing basketball with the Hawks. Sefolosha hasn’t fully recovered from the injuries apparently suffered when a police officer kicked his right leg. He has been cleared for all basketball activities and has participated in training camp before leaving this week for the trial. He hopes to be ready when the Hawks’ season opens Oct. 27.

“I hope I still have a long career,” he said.

Jurors declined to comment as they left the court, but several of them shook hands and exchanged pleasantries with Sefolosha on the street outside the courthouse. Sefolosha thanked them in person and with his public comments.

“I want to assure them this was the right verdict,” he said. “They were on the side of truth and justice today. I’m happy this is over now.”

Sefolosha, a 31-year-old native of Switzerland who has played in the NBA for nine seasons, thanked his family, attorney Alex Spiro and the Hawks organization. He singled out coach Mike Budenholzer, who testified on his behalf Thursday.

“I’m thankful to the American justice system,” Sefolosha said. “Justice was made today.”

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No. 4: Mavs’ injuries dampen Dirk’s moodDirk Nowitzki and Deron Williams participated in their first contact workouts of the preseason Friday, but the overall health of what’s projected to be Dallas’ starting lineup still is a work in progress. Wesley Matthews (Achilles tendon) and Chandler Parsons (knee) still are rehabbing from offseason surgery, and center Samuel Dalembert has been hobbled this week by a swollen knee. Nowitzki apparently was pretty candid, according to Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News, when he spoke of the effect such injury absences have on October enthusiasm:

The plethora of injuries, combined with the light workload for Nowitzki early in camp, has made getting a handle on these Mavericks impossible. They have been beaten soundly in two exhibition games, but with four of their projected starters yet to play, that’s understandable.

“It’s disappointing,” Nowitzki said. “Honestly, you’d wish more guys would be doing more, at least more contact or run more. But that’s not the case. Some of these guys have had major, major surgeries. And whatever the doc tells them, you got to take it slow.

“Obviously, Parsons and Wes are both guys that want to be here for a lot of years. It would be wrong to push it too much in October and not have them later in the season. You want to take it slow and progress week to week, and whenever they’re ready, they’re ready.”

Carlisle, by the way, said Parsons and Matthews are on similar timetables. Neither is close to playing in the preseason, and both players have said their only goal is to be ready by opening night Oct. 28 in Phoenix. Playing exhibitions is not a prerequisite for being ready when the games count, although it wouldn’t hurt.

At the least, it would help foster some chemistry with so many new players in the rotation.

“It’s not optimal, especially when you have a new point guard [Williams] trying to learn the system,” Nowitzki said. “You can run all the five-on-oh you want, but until you practice and play with each other, it’s not going to help much. But we’re doing all we can to get everybody used to the plays and the calls.”

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: When The Logo speaks, real NBA fans should want to listen. Here’s an ESPN.com Q&A with Hall of Famer and current Golden State advisor Jerry West. … LaMarcus Aldridge‘s adjustment to his new job in San Antonio is proceeding as methodically as his selection of the Spurs as his free-agent destination, per our man Scott Howard-Cooper. … Our own Steve Aschburner talks with Milwaukee’s Jabari Parker about his rehab methods and his coping techniques in coming back from ACL knee surgery. … Dallas owner Mark Cuban, never shy about speaking out, obviously has at least one qualification for the job. But Speaker of the House in Congress? Really? … Members of the Warriors staff would love to seek out coach Steve Kerr for input on various preseason issues, but they’re consciously avoiding that so Kerr’s aching back can recover (second item). … ICYMI, as folks say on social media: Bill Bridges, a 13-year NBA player and three-time All Star who died in late September at age 76, was a pro’s pro and formidable rebounder.

15 Comments

  1. Franck says:

    YES YES YES more bickering
    Bickering needs to come back to the NBA makes it that much better

    James Harden play some defense then we talk MVP
    I need to see the clippers vs Warriors in the confrence finals ASAP!!!! we all want it MAKE IT HAPPEN DOC! dont choke this time!

    Curry was MVP, Best player on the best team. End of Story. !
    NEw season starts! forget about last season but keep up the bickering!!!

  2. juancho says:

    the golden state warriors is the greatest team ived ever watch,,,,they are complete package the best shooter in the worl is with them,stephen curry & clay thompson,,,, who do u think to compare this 2 guys from other team,,, nobody,,,u james harden u are not the type of player thet win m,v,p, ok,,,dont be jealus to stephen curry, he is deserviing than u harden,,,

  3. Drago says:

    The previous season played out the way it played out .In my mind GS was the best team the entire season and they deserved the title.Even if the other team’s where fully loaded and injury free i highly doubt they would win out against GS They really have a large team with almost 10 great players that could make a difference and two all stars and the runner up for defensive player of the year.They have the most balanced roster and they are paying Curry peanuts for what he DOES .He is probably the lowest payed MVP in the last 20 years.

  4. jake s. says:

    Doc Rivers is so charismatic, that sometimes we forget what a mediocre coach he actually is. Sure he shows conviction and accountability, but he is basically a Scott Brooks type that luckily managed to squeeze one out of the Celtics. If the Clips don’t make it past the second round this year, someone is going to leave.

  5. eazee-b says:

    Dirk if you feel bad smoke a cuban

  6. IONWINTEr says:

    After losing to Rockets last year I thought Clippers would fire Doc Rivers he led series 3-1 then he lost 4-3 then Rockets were crushed 4-1 so Doc you cannot suppose that Warriors are lucky because they did not face you they may be lucky when they did not face San Antonio but still even if San Antonio faced Warriors they would not win last year but this season I think San Antonio will win the champion easily like 2014

  7. Crow Dawg 41 says:

    The Warriors were easily the best team all season long last year.
    I don’t think any team would have beat them in a 7 game series even if they were completely healthy. It was their year.
    And this is coming from a die-hard Spurs fan.
    As to Doc’s comments, he has no room to talk when his team chokes away a 3-1 lead… They blatantly gave up, and some of that has to fall upon him.
    The way they stunk it up, they should be ashamed.
    As to this year though… The West should be a dog fight, top to bottom (playoff-wise)… Anyone is capable of beating anyone in that conference. It’s going to come down to health, match-ups, and who’s hot.
    The East should should be its typical snooze-fest until the Semi’s.
    I can’t see anyone knocking off LeBron in the East except for maybe either the Heat (on paper they look tough) or the Bulls (depending on Rose and how Hoiberg can amp up the offense).
    My prediction: whoever comes out of the West should win the title

  8. NBAfan says:

    Lost a lot of respect for Doc Rivers as a coach/person last few years because of the things he says and does as a leader, he comes across as a bad sport. Obviously luck is always involved in winning a championship for a team sport with such an incredibly long and grueling season..
    But anyone totally loses all credibility when they say that GSW title run was all luck of the draw.. this team completely dominated all 82 games and post season start to finish, its also by far one of the toughest west conferences ever and they had a historic season record compared to MJs Bulls and Birds Celtics.
    Oh sure thing ‘Doc’ sounds like self prescribed luck…

  9. MONROE says:

    Those who say that golden state got lucky last year, are just jealous plain and simple. They are something that you not. ……nba champions respect them.

  10. Drift Gangsta says:

    clips got lucky with the spurs.
    but the rox got lucky with them. lol.

    don’t forget that taykor swift has a banner at their homecourt.

  11. Stanley J says:

    The stupidest part of Doc’s words is that he still doesn’t seem to get Memphis was a more worthy opponent than the Rockets and Clippers for the Dubs. They just had an insanely great matchup against the Spurs with their 2 bigs so they won’t stop about that incredible (in my mind inexistent) chance for a title. Memphis has already proved they can take down the Clips and they probably would have again provided that team couldn’t even beat the Hardens. This year they have a full team, this is the best chance they’ll get to ditch the loser label from them with 8 playable players- including 2 all stars. Judging from how much the Hollywoodians are already talking nonetheless, they are on their way to once again fail. They are not going past healthy OKC, healthy Warriors, maybe not even healthy Spurs if Parker returns to form. Ironically for Mr. Rivers, the only way for this team to reach the finals, is that they themselves get stupidly lucky.

  12. Orland says:

    I do hope they will get lucky for 5 more years.GSW they have talented player but you still need luck.

  13. sasoneji says:

    Tell Doc he got lucky having 4 all star in his team. Besides that single achievement, he hasnt done anything great. I guess its in the family, his son said he was better than those in US camp while he cant even dribble the ball well to save his game. So it’s no secret Doc talks without thinking well too

  14. stevenadamsfan says:

    i too agree last years championship was the least exciting one for me

  15. Harriethehawk says:

    Let’s Go Hawks!!!