Paul McCartney

Monday And-1 links: Patty Mills got to lift weights with Sir Paul McCartney

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Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points like your grandmother loves CSI: Miami reruns…

• San Antonio’s Patty Mills tells the story of when he got to lift weights with Paul McCartney. The Spurs were staying in the same hotel as the Knighted former Beatle. “They knew we just wanted to get a lift after our practice, so they let us in,” Mills said. “We walked in, and there he was, Paul McCartney. Before we could say hi or anything he said, ‘Go Spurs go.’ It was one of those rare moments when I didn’t know what to say. A special moment, and now I can tell everyone I lifted weights with Paul McCartney.” (Hat tip to KD at Ball Don’t Lie.)

• Speaking of the Spurs, some guy started a controversy around Tony Parker not getting into a restaurant, which annoyed Parker because he was never actually at the restaurant. Nice gimmick to drum up business, though.

Happy 75th birthday Jerry West.

A look back at the long run of Geoff Petrie as GM in Sacramento.

• A report the Nets think they can move the $12 million, last year contract of Kris Humphries. Maybe they can. But they better not expect any quality  players back.

ESPN’s draft expert Chad Ford reports that there are some teams whose doctors think Nerlens Noel could miss the entire next season recovering from ACL surgery. Would the Cavaliers really care that much? He still probably goes No. 1.

• Gonzaga’s Kelly Olynyk’s 6’9 3/4″ wingspan measured at the combine was shorter than swingmen Otto Porter and Shabazz Muhammed.

• Here is a great post about the flaws of trying to make player comparisons when talking about draft picks.

• The Wizards say they are going to focus on character and attitude with their draft picks. Of course every team says that. What really wins in the league is talent, they should just take the best player.

• San Antonio’s Tiago Splitter with a great explanation of why he is laughing at the rumors he could leave the Spurs to play for Real Madrid: Every four years the major clubs have presidential elections, when they do there are wild promises that have no chance of coming true. Wow. Thank God we would never have anything like that in this country.

• John Wall’s three-day holiday weekend was better than yours.

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: Can Thunder win 60 games?

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Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka are healthy — just how good will the Thunder be?

The bold prediction in this PBT Extra preview with Jenna Corrado is that the Thunder will win 60 games, something they have not yet done. I wouldn’t bet on them hitting that number — with a new coach, and them making sure Durant and Westbrook get rest coming off injuries, plus the fact they’re in the deep West, that number may be high.

I think they have a better chance to come out of the West than win 60 games. I think they have a good shot to come out of the West.

Gallinari ready to take big role in new Nuggets offense

Danilo Gallinari, Jimmy Butler
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DENVER (AP) — Danilo Gallinari wants everyone to know this: His surgically repaired left knee, the one that took three procedures to fix and nearly two seasons to fully trust, no longer bothers him.

The Denver Nuggets forward doesn’t need to be on any sort of minutes restriction. He doesn’t need days off during the season. And he certainly doesn’t need to be coddled.

He’s Gallo again, the hard-to-guard Italian playmaker who can knock down the 3-pointer just as easily as drive to the hoop or even post up. He believes he will fit in quite nicely into new coach Michael Malone’s system.

“The thing I’m focused on is trying to get (this team) back to the same level that the Nuggets were when I got to Denver, when we were going to the playoffs easy. When we were clinching a playoff one or two weeks before the season was over,” said Gallinari, who was acquired in the 2011 blockbuster deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. “We need to get back to that level.”

Almost seems so long ago, given that the Nuggets have missed the playoffs two straight seasons after consistently making it for nearly a decade.

Gallinari returned last season for the first time since blowing out his knee in a game on April 4, 2013. His minutes were closely monitored early in the season. He never really got completely on track until late last season, when he averaged 20.5 points over the final 10 contests, including a career-high 47 against Dallas. He’s hoping to carry that kind of confidence this season.

“I’m good to go. I was good to go as soon as the beginning of last year,” Gallinari said. “I was not on the same page with the coach that we had.”

That would be Brian Shaw, who was fired last March after 1 1/2 seasons in charge and going 56-85. Exactly why he wasn’t on the same page with Shaw, well, Gallinari preferred the past remain the past.

“I’m ready to play the new season,” he said. “We need to win games, and get back to the same level we were before.”

Gallinari thinks the Nuggets have the personnel to do just that, especially with a rookie point guard in Emmanuel Mudiay and Gallinari’s knee feeling better than it has in a while. He feels like he has some ground to make up, too, since he said that knee robbed him of some of his prime.

“Playing my best basketball right before I got injured,” the 27-year old said. “Now, we’re back to the same level, hopefully better.

“My knee has been feeling great. It felt great last year. Feeling great during the summer. Feeling great now. I just feel good.”

He spent the summer playing for the Italian team at the EuroBasket tournament, where he averaged nearly 18 points a game. In those games, Gallinari saw quite a bit of time at the four spot on the floor, forcing teams to either use a bulkier big man to cover him and risk getting burned on a drive or a smaller player that Gallinari could simply shoot over.

Malone plans to employ a similar type approach, something they discussed over gelato when the coach visited Gallinari in Italy soon after he was hired.

“He’s 6-foot-10. He can handle the ball. He can play pick-and-roll. He can stretch the floor and shoot the 3,” Malone said. “There’s not a lot he can’t do offensively.”

Gallinari wants the responsibility of being the go-to player for the Nuggets this season, especially at crunch time.

“I’ve always been trying to do that, since I came to Denver,” Gallinari said. “That’s what I like to do. I feel good filling those shoes.

“I want to have the ball in my hands. I do want to have the ball in my hands a lot more.”