Our good friend David Berri has some interesting news regarding Kyle Lowry on his recent post titled "Future NBA Stars". Please read the post in full and then go to the table he has posted here about "Distant Future Stars", where he has Lowry listed as having the highest WP48 stat of guys who have played limited minutes to this point. Of course, we all know that Lowry only played in 10 games last season before suffering a broken wrist. It's a good read, as always, and is yet another encouraging thing to consider going into this pivotal season.
Yahoo! Sports has an article about Darko Milicic on their NBA page. The theme of the missive is "Darko's Resurrection" and it contains some interesting quotes from the Serbian Gangster, teammate Pau Gasol, coach Marc Iavaroni and GM Chris Wallace. It would seem that everyone is being very supportive of Darko in Memphis -- hopefully that will translate into on-the-court success for him and the Grizzlies.
I don't know that we can truly appreciate the level of rock star fame that Pau Gasol and his Spanish teammates enjoy in their home country. This article from globeandmail.com gives a better idea of just how much celebrity status and clout they carry in Spain. Pau is one of the "Golden Generation", which is the group of players born in 1980-81 who have carried Team Spain to worldwide prominence in international basketball.
"Back in the day when we were 16, 17, 18 we won the gold medal in nearly every championship we played," said Pau Gasol, the Memphis Grizzlies forward who some consider the best player in Spanish history.
"We beat the [United] States on different occasions; we were European [junior] champions and world [junior] champions at one time."
As you can see, they are Spain's version of the Dream Team in terms of winning and expectations. Oh yeah, and when it comes to adoring fans as well:
The Spanish players on both NBA teams have been swarmed by media in Madrid. Gasol is featured in an advertisement three storeys tall around the corner from the arena. Everyone wants to touch the players.
"They're like rock stars," Raptors president Bryan Colangelo said. "When we landed there had to be 30 attendants for our airplane wearing these fluorescent vests and as soon as we came off the plane they were just standing there. The second we hit the ground they hit them like a swarm of bees: pictures, autographs, you name it. These guys are larger than life here, and deservedly so."
Don't forget that today's Open Practice starts at noon (doors open at 11 am) and it is free, so you have no excuse not to get your lazy butt down there to see the only professional sport in town ply their trade. I'll have pictures and commentary posted later this weekend about the event. Get out there and support the Grizzlies!