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Pau Gasol is not turning into Kevin Garnett anytime soon


It’s amazing how many people want Pau Gasol to be something he’s not.

He is not a traditional, back-to-the-basket, power game center (and some Lakers fans criticized him for it). He doesn’t have a big ego and demand the ball, he gently reminds guys he’d like to touch the ball more (he gets criticized for that, too). He is not a black swan, he’s often a white one.

He’s not Kevin Garnett punching guys in the, um, family jewels, Phil Jackson told the Daily News.

“Pau knows who he is,” Jackson said. “He’s tenacious. I like him to be aggressive offensively. He’s always a willing passer. The one thing I’m on him about is getting that first rebound. Don’t let them knock it out of your hands. Don’t let them knock it away.

“Otherwise, all this talk about how aggressive he is or how aggressive he isn’t falls on deaf ears. He totally gets it. He is who he is. We’re not going to make him into (Boston’s Kevin) Garnett. He’s not going to go around and punch guys in the (groin).

“He’s too nice of a guy. This is an intelligent person who understands what this game is about. We’ve been to the Finals three years in a row, so that’s part of it.”

Gasol is one of the few classic intellectuals in the NBA. If you want to discuss the works of José Saramago, he’s your guy (although he prefers non-fiction).

He’s not overly aggressive by nature, but also knows when he needs to be and turn it on. And he’s got a couple nice rings to prove it.

Jackson, for all his poking at Gasol, knows people and how to motivate them. And he knows needling Gasol through the media washing off his target. So he’ll just needle KG instead. Classic Phil.

Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers dislocated shoulder in preseason game

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Solomon Hill
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Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:

A few hours after the game, the Hornets announced that Kidd-Gilchrist has a dislocated shoulder:

Depending on the severity of the injury, he could miss a few weeks or a few months. Hopefully, it’s the shorter end of that timeline. We should know more on Sunday.