NBA Roundtable

Peja Stojakovic’s Summer

In General NBA on September 30, 2009 at 5:01 pm

NY Times reports

Peja Stojakovic’s summer on the beaches of Greece wasn’t all about relaxation.

”You think I was sitting over there drinking cocktails? Yeah, I was doing that, too, but I had to jump in the water once a day to refresh myself. It’s too hot,” joked Stojakovic, a native of Serbia who makes his offseason home in the Greek city of Thessaloniki.

Of course you weren’t just sitting on the beach partying and drinking tequila Peja … so what was he doing out there?

When the New Orleans Hornets’ sharpshooter waded into the Mediterranean Sea, he did so with a purpose — conducting a series of low-impact exercises while immersed in salt water he believes can be therapeutic.

Getting serious, he explained that his aquatic workouts helped him strengthen his chronically ailing back in ways ”I wouldn’t be able to do on the ground.”

Stojakovic never recovered mentally from his injury last year + that he feels a lot better nowadays.

Stojakovic said he allowed his back to bother him mentally even when he was fit enough to play.

”The main thing is for me to stay healthy because that was the most frustrating thing for me, not being able to focus on basketball when I’m on the court … thinking how to step, how to land, how I’m going to feel at halftime or how I’m going to feel when I get up from the chair after sitting seven minutes. Those are things that I’d rather not have in my head.”

Stojakovic said his improving health during the summer allowed him to get in plenty of traditional workouts on the court, and he did a lot of shooting. He said the only thing he avoided was playing high intensity scrimmages in which there was bound to be some banging near the hoop.

”It’s been, what, four-and-and-a-half months since I played any organized basketball,” he said. ”But I needed that to recover from last season. And I feel right — pain-free — which was important.”

Peja Stojakovic also noted that:

  • He was willing to come off the bench next season if Coach Byron Scott does indeed plan to go that way — with Mo Pete and Julian Wright starting.
  • He doesn’t feel capable of being the player he was prior to the surgery, but that he still feels he can still play good NBA basketball.

Thoughts

Peja Stojakovic is the key to New Orleans being a very good-to-elite offensive team. The Hornets desperately need his ability to be a good third scorer capable of putting up 16-18 points a night. Without that third threat, the team’s offense becomes overly dependent on Chris Paul and David West.

  • Peja Stojakovic scored around 17ppg two years ago after a shaky start to the season.
  • Stojakovic only scored 13.3ppg in the same minutes as the year before last season.
  • The Hornets need the Peja of two years ago … it looks impossible for Peja to get back to the heights of Sac-town days, but hopefully he can get back to where he was two years ago. That would make a large difference to the Hornets offense.
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