Posted: Friday July 15, 2011 10:22AM ; Updated: Tuesday July 19, 2011 10:18AM
Sam Amick
Sam Amick>INSIDE THE NBA

Pros at Drew League dish on league happenings, teammates, more

Story Highlights

Dorell Wright said the Monta Ellis rumors are expected for top NBA players

Tyreke Evans is 100 percent; he has hope for Kings draft pick Jimmer Fredette

DeMar DeRozen approves the Dwane Casey hire, says Raptors needed defense

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Drew League action
Source:SI
Sam Amick visits one of the best summer pro-am leagues in the country, the Drew League in Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES -- Detroit small forward Austin Daye had grown accustomed to getting the inside scoop on Pistons news.

General manager Joe Dumars was always a quick call or text away, meaning he didn't have to rely on those of us who spend our days hustling for the very information that he could always get. At least, that was the case before the lockout.

With all lines of communication cut off between players and team officials, Daye is left to browse the Internet for updates on his team's coaching search (And for the record, Lawrence Frank and Mike Woodson are reportedly neck-and-neck for the job.)

"I'm looking at RealGM.com more than I ever have before, looking at all the websites, just to see what's going to happen," Daye said. "But whatever Joe Dumars decides, I'm sure it's going to be a good decision."

Daye -- who, as I mentioned a while back via Twitter, is in the process of finding a new agent -- wasn't the only one eager to talk about how his team might look once the games begin again. In between games at the Drew League in South Central L.A., a number of players who would normally be chatting with their bosses about the offseason action dished on their respective teams and other NBA goings-on.

Golden State small forward Dorell Wright

On new owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, who recently hired Lakers legend Jerry West as a consultant, former point guard and television analyst Mark Jackson as coach and former agent Bob Myers as assistant general manager, in addition to extending incumbent Larry Riley as general manager:

"[Lacob and Guber] are definitely showing that they're serious about being new owners and getting the right personnel around there. With coach Jackson, you can't take 17 years of [playing] experience at the highest level away from him. I'm really looking forward to playing with him. They're making the power move to get guys in the right situations so we can be the team we know we can, and that's to be a playoff team."

On teammate Monta Ellis, whose future with the Warriors is once again in doubt:

"[Trade rumors] are part of it. I spoke to him recently. It's part of the game. Your name is always going to be talked about when you're one of the best players in the league. It's just part of the business, and I think he's pretty cool with that."

On draft picks Klay Thompson (taken at No. 11 out of Washington State) and center Jeremy Tyler (No. 39 pick):

"I liked [the draft picks]. Jeremy Tyler is a friend from L.A., and Klay Thompson is a shooter who will definitely help us spread the floor, so I think it's going to work out real well. I think [Tyler] can [reach his potential]. He brings toughness, and that's something you can't teach. Everything else you can teach. He's very fundamentally sound. There are still some things in his game he needs to work on, but the toughness he brings is definitely going to work out."

Sacramento guard Tyreke Evans

On the plantar fasciitis in his left foot that kept him out of 19 games late last season after he underwent a laser procedure in mid-February:

"I'm 100 percent. My foot is fine. I'm just looking for this year to start and to go out there and play. When it's time, I'll go out there and just play like I played my first year in the league. [Last season] I was [always] thinking about it."

On the new-look roster, which now includes veteran small forward John Salmons, young big man J.J. Hickson and rookie guard Jimmer Fredette, and no longer includes veteran point guard Beno Udrih and two-year small forward Omri Casspi:

"It's a great look. Young team, up-and-coming. We had a knock on us that we're always young, but you don't want to always keep hearing that. We want to be a winning team. We just added pieces to the puzzle.

"We've got Jimmer, who's a great player and can shoot from anywhere if you watch his highlights. We've got J.J., who's a great player from Cleveland, and we got Salmons, a great '3' man, a great wing man to have out there."

On whether he can blend his offensive style with that of Salmons, Fredette and guard Marcus Thornton (who is a restricted free agent but is expected to be re-signed):

"Definitely. I can score and I pass. I can do it all. I don't need to score. As long as we win, I'm happy. I've been winning all my life, and I'm not used to losing. We don't know yet [who will be the point guard]. The point or the shooting guard is good for me. I'm good at either spot, so if I get the ball on the rebound if I'm at the '2,' I get up and go and bring it up. Whatever coach Paul [Westphal] wants me to do, I'll do."

Toronto guard DeMar DeRozan

On the recent hiring of former Dallas assistant/former Minnesota head coach Dwane Casey as Raptors head coach:

"I knew [Casey] from when I used to work out in Vegas during the summer. He was always there working out guys. He helped me out a lot. I've known him for the last two summers. He's definitely a good dude, a humble dude. I can't wait to get out there and work with him."

On the organization's shift to a defense-first mentality that was reflected in the Casey hiring:

"[Defense] is what we need. I think last year we could score with the best players in the NBA, but the only thing that killed us was the defensive end. That's a critical part in the NBA. Once you get that down and are a top five, top 10 defensive team, that'll take you far.

Toronto forward Ed Davis

On playing in the Drew League and the importance of getting time with Raptors teammates DeRozan and Amir Johnson while training in L.A.:

"[The Drew League] is tough for big guys, but just to get in shape it's good. You get to do something other than working out and playing pickup. It's fun, man. I like it. It's top three [among non-NBA sanctioned summer leagues in the country].

"I'm feeling good. One of the main reasons I'm out in L.A. is so I can be with DeMar and Amir and all the L.A. guys, just to be sort of like a [bonding] thing for all us Raptors guys to spend some time together."

PHOTOS: NBA players, celebs flock to Drew League

Austin Daye

On playing in the Drew League:

"I really like it. The community is coming together to watch us play. It may not be to see one person play or two people play; it's people coming out to see their cousin play, their friend play, so it's a little more rowdy in the crowds. People are passionate out here, and they like to see close games. You can tell, with coaches talking smack back and forth to each other, it's really competitive.

"No one wants to be shown up by an NBA player, and no NBA player wants to be shown up by someone who's not in the NBA. So when I get the ball, when I get a possession, I make it a point to show that's why I'm in the NBA."

On his offseason plans, which include working out with trainer Joe Abunassar at Impact Academy in Las Vegas and renting a house in the desert with friends Rudy Gay (Memphis small forward) and Kyle Lowry (Houston point guard):

"[Abunassar] is one of the best in the business. I love working out with him because he has been with me since I left [Gonzaga] my sophomore year [in 2009] and I plan on working out with him for the rest of my career. He has just been great to me.

"Rudy Gay and Kyle Lowry, we're all good friends. Of all the guys who come there, I think us three are really close with [Abunassar] and it's really like a father-son relationship. We're really good friends, so it's really fun, especially when we compete against each other in games or when we're on the same team."

 
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