For a group of young, hungry players, there probably couldn’t be a better mentor than a future Hall of Famer like Tim Duncan. So when Hurricane Isaac forced the New Orleans Hornets to relocate their volunteer workouts to San Antonio for a couple of days, they jumped at the opportunity to work with one of the NBA’s grand masters. (Or, as the Wu-Tang Clan might call Timmy, a battle-scarred shogun.)
John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune recounted their experience yesterday, in which nine players — including top draft picks Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers — went through a battery of informal workouts and drills at San Antonio’s practice facility. Even Ryan Anderson, a grizzled vet compared to his teenage teammates, said it was a thrill to work with Duncan.
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New Orleans Hornets players gained valuable experience in San Antonio
Although the workouts were volunteer, New Orleans Hornets rookie Anthony Davis got a chance to work against San Antonio Spurs star Tim Duncan while a majority of his New Orleans’ teammates met their objective to build chemistry last week.
Unable to use their practice facility at the Alario Center because it was used as a Hurricane Isaac food stamp card distribution site, Hornets players paid their own lodging expenses and airfare to San Antonio to use the Spurs’ practice facility.
Players went through volunteer pickup games and conditioning drills that went unsupervised by coaches because they are not allowed to put players through organized offseason workouts.
Among some of the Hornets players taking advantage of the work in Texas besides Davis, the No. 1 overall pick in June's draft, were rookie guard Austin Rivers, center Robin Lopez, forward Ryan Anderson, forward Hakim Warrick, forward Jason Smith, point guard Greivis Vasquez, rookie forward Darius Miller and shooting guard Xavier Henry.
"Obviously, Tim was around, and there’s not a better guy to learn from,’’ said Anderson, a 6-foot-10 forward whom the Hornets acquired in a sign-and-trade deal from the Orlando Magic in July. "He is such a great leader and just talking with him was a positive experience in San Antonio.’’
In an offseason that already involved Davis gaining valuable experience as the youngest player on the gold-medal winning Team USA at the London Olympics last month, it was the first time he got a chance to work against Duncan.
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