Notebook: Rose expands his game; Gay prepared to handle pressure
LAS VEGAS -- Since coming to the NBA after being the top pick in the 2008 draft, the Bulls'
Next season, however, Rose could be even tougher to defend. A consistent three-point shot has been the one missing weapon from Rose's repertoire. In his first two seasons, Rose attempted just 132 threes and connected on 32, a low percentage (24.2) that encouraged defenses to sag off and dare him to beat them from the outside.
With that in mind, Rose has made improving his jumper his top priority this offseason. Working with longtime trainer
"It feels great," Rose said. "I'm not scared to shoot it anymore."
Rose's motivation to become a better shooter has been fueled by the offseason addition of
"If I can shoot the three, it will open up our game," Rose said. "Now that I'm playing with Carlos, when the kick-back comes, I want to be ready to shoot."
While the changes in Miami have created a clear pecking order in the Eastern Conference, Rose believes the additions to his team (Boozer, forward
"We have the right pieces," Rose said. "We have guys who have been in winning programs. We're not [intimidated]. We're ready to play right now. It's going to be a fun year in the East."
The offer even took Gay himself aback.
"I was surprised," he said. "Actually, I was
With more money comes more expectations, pressure Gay says he is ready to accept. He is encouraged by the Grizzlies' offseason -- highlighted by the drafting of guards
"We needed a bench and we got one," Gay said. "As for me, honestly, I play with pressure on my back every day. I'm going to continue to do the same things. The team showed that they really wanted to keep me, so it's up to me to show them that I was worth it."
The notion has taken root that
There is a reason for that, Rondo says, and it has nothing to do with not wanting to represent the U.S.
"It wasn't that I didn't want to be here," he said. "It's the wear and tear on my body. I played  games last year. I was pretty banged up after the season. It was the same thing the last couple of years. I'm young, which is probably the only reason why I'm here. If I was a little older, I probably wouldn't have done it."
Rondo has been among the standouts in camp, drawing praise from USA Basketball officials for his decision-making and ability to run a team. Should he make the first cut -- the roster will be sliced to about 15 when camp picks up in New York early next month, and 12 players will represent the U.S. at the world championships in Turkey beginning Aug. 28 -- Rondo says he will continue to try to make the team.
"I definitely want to be there," Rondo said. "This is a unique experience."
"They [the New York media] have to make some kind of story; they lost out on
One reason Billups hopes Anthony signs the extension is so his pending free agency doesn't become a distraction.
"Nobody wants to deal with that all year," Billups said. "Cleveland had to deal with that. Definitely, nobody really wants that for us."
"That's as important as everything else," said the Warriors' forward, who injured the middle finger on his right hand on Tuesday and will miss the world championships. "I know one of the most important things about New York is being able to fight through criticism and fight through tough times, because that stuff will happen up there."
Lee says he harbors no animosity toward the Knicks for replacing him after his first All-Star season.
"Amar'e is an unbelievable player," Lee said. "I know the Knicks' overall goal was to get LeBron James, and they signed Amar'e as an avenue to get LeBron. You can't blame them for that. The chances of signing me and getting LeBron were worse than signing Amar'e and getting LeBron."