Knowledge Is Power
Austin Daye, Eric Bledsoe, and Josh Selby learning while they ball out at Impact.
by Brendan Bowers / @StepienRules
The mix of emerging NBA talents with well-schooled veterans has led to not only competitive on-court action thus far at Impact Basketball, but also an opportunity for the young guns involved to learn from players who’ve done their thing in the Association for a decade-plus as well. Something guys like Josh Selby, Eric Bledsoe, and Austin Daye have both recognized and taken advantage of while they’ve been there, in addition to showing out on the floor.
“These games have been a great experience for me,” Selby said. “Anytime you can come out here and play with guys who’ve been in the League, or who are still in the League, it’s just a great situation to be able to learn from these guys who’ve been playing for so long.”
“Just simple things like making one move and go, or not dancing with the ball, or reading defenders when you’re coming off a pick and roll, are some of the things I’ve really been able to pick up from these guys,” Selby added. “And they’ve all been great as far as being willing to teach me too, which has really helped.”
The Rookie from Kansas has been able to get some practice runs in with his new Grizzlies teammates Rudy Gay, OJ Mayo, and Allen too, which is something that Eric Bledsoe has also been taking advantage of in his own right playing alongside fellow Clipper Mo Williams.
“It’s been great playing with Mo [Williams] out here,” said Bledsoe. “We started to get a little bit of chemistry last season after he was traded, but we didn’t have that much time left by then. This summer though, we’ve had a little more time to hang out, workout together, so that’s been real fun. We’ve also had the chance out here to get on the floor together, and really learn each other’s tendencies on the court too.”
Bledsoe also said that Mo’s been able to really help him with what he’s specifically working on this summer too, that being his jump-shot.
“I’m just trying to get out there and play, but really keep working on getting more comfortable with my jump-shot in the process,” Bledsoe said. “That’s what I’ve been working on this summer, and I’m just trying to get more confidence when I’m taking my shot. With Mo being a great shooter, he’s been giving me a lot of pointers too as far as being confident when you’re taking a shot, and I’ve been taking those pointers from him.”
With two years in the Association already behind him, Austin Daye has brought his focus on improving his shooting percentage inside the arc with him to Impact. And who better to work on scoring over up near the basket than a guy like K-Mart, who hadn’t quite left to patrol Chinese baskets just yet.
“My Rookie year I shot a better percentage from two than I did my sophomore year, so I didn’t like that at all,” Daye told SLAMonline. “I’ve been focused in on that this summer, and that’s one of my main things I’m working on out here right now. I moved my three point percentage up in my second year, which is great, but to be an elite scorer, or good scorer in the League, you need to shoot a good percentage, so my in-between game and post-game are a couple things I’m trying to work on out here.”
As far as progress is concerned over the last couple months, and how he feels the games have gone for him out in Vegas, the Detroit Piston said it’s been going pretty well.
“I feel like I’ve been playing really well out here, and all the hard work this summer is paying off for me,” Daye said. “I’m making tougher shots, and I’m making more of what I’m working on this summer which is the one dribble, two dribble, pull-ups. But I think this summer has just been a good learning experience for me, and it’s been teaching me really how to work hard for the whole summer.”
I imagine that when this lockout ends, next off-season will seem like a weekend for these guys. In the meantime though, Austin says he’s just focused on learning from this extended break and get better because of it.
“I think of the Lockout as a learning opportunity,” Austin added. “Not too many times will you go through a Lockout, but when you do you gotta know what to do. You need to know how to keep your body in shape, stay fit, and keep your game sharp. So that’s all I’m trying to do is get the best out of my abilities, and I look at this experience as an important part of that.”
An experience that will hopefully pay off for all players involved on an NBA stage near you sometime soon, without actually having to go overseas to find out.
Brendan Bowers is an NBA writer from Cleveland, OH. You can follow him on Twitter @StepienRules.