Monta throws Curry under the bus; Manu promises less flopping

09.29.09 9 years ago 36 Comments

Yesterday must have been unofficial Sh*t-Talking Day around the NBA. With most teams kicking off training camp this week — check out the first installment of Dime’s team-by-team season previews HERE — most teams are having their annual preseason Media Day, and a few guys have been talking reckless. Monta Ellis raised the most eyebrows in Golden State. Ever since the Warriors took Stephen Curry and didn’t trade him to Phoenix, the rookie has been penciled into the starting backcourt next to Monta. But apparently nobody ran that idea by Cold-Vicious. “Us together? No. Can’t. We just can’t,” Monta said, sounding like somebody had asked him to film a Brokeback Mountain scene. Stressing that “you’re not going to win that way” playing him and Curry together, Monta said it isn’t nearly the same as when he and Baron Davis played in the same backcourt, because Baron was an experienced vet with the strength of a two-guard. “You can’t put two small guys out there and play the one and the two. You’ve got big two-guards in the league,” Monta said. “You just can’t do it. Yes, you’re going to move up and down but eventually the game is going to slow down. You can’t do it.” OK, so mark the Warriors down for having two very important players ready to sulk and coast throughout the season … If the Curry/Monta thing does become a problem, don’t expect Curry to go anywhere. By all accounts Nellie is infatuated with the kid, and by all accounts he isn’t necessarily Monta’s biggest fan. We don’t think Nellie would bench Monta, but he might ask the front office to trade him if it gets too bad … Another rookie everyone had pegged as an immediate starter is Blake Griffin. But now Clips coach Mike Dunleavy Sr. says he wants to bring Blake off the bench while starting Marcus Camby and Chris Kaman at the C/PF spots. No big deal — odds are Camby or Kaman will bust a kneecap or something before Christmas anyway, or even better if you’re an L.A. fan, Dunleavy Sr. will get fired if the team gets out to a slow start. Either way, Blake should be in the starting lineup soon enough … But what if he’s not? If Blake comes off the bench all season, the Rookie of the Year race would be wide open. Who would be your favorite to win R.O.Y. if Blake is out of the equation? … Just the other day we gave Phil Jackson pole position in the Coldest Public Insult By An NBA Coach contest when he took a dig at Sasha Vujacic and his hair. But then Larry Brown took the lead yesterday. Here’s LB talking about going to France this summer to watch Alexis Ajinca tryout for the national team: “He showed no interest in making their team or playing hard. I was going to drink the wine and eat the food and enjoy myself. After watching him, nothing tastes good.” Damn … Manu Ginobili says his chronically jacked-up ankle is fine going into camp, but admitted he might not be the same Manu you’re used to once the real games start. “I might be more cautious and take more mid-range shots rather than getting fouled every time,” Manu said, adding that he’ll probably go back to his instinct and play like his usual all-out self in important games. So, more jumpers and less fouls means less contact and less flopping. Manu might actually be kind of likable this season … Meanwhile, T-Mac‘s body is not feeling fine. Although Mac promised to play like an All-Star once he gets back on the court, it’s when he’ll actually come back that is the question. The latest out of Houston is that McGrady will be sidelined at least until late-November, when he’ll get another MRI on his knee to determine his status. While McGrady is down, who will step up as Houston’s go-to guy? Luis Scola is more of a garbage-points type than a primary option, and nobody knows yet if Trevor Ariza can handle a prime-time role. Right now it’s looking like Aaron Brooks is The Man … Did you hear about the New York Jets receiver who got benched in their last game when the coach found out he was complaining about his PT on Twitter? Q-Rich and Chris Quinn shouldn’t have that problem, seeing as the Heat recently decided to prohibit players from using Twitter in the locker room and issued a “Watch your mouth” warning for the rest of the time … We’re out like Ajinca …

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