NBA veteran Steve Blake ready to mix it with Sydney Kings young guns

Old head: Steve Blake in action for Detroit against Matthew Dellavedova’s Cavaliers. Photo: CARLOS OSORIOA question about the age of Sydney’s latest NBA import, Steve Blake, was delicately put to their coach ahead of his anticipated arrival on Wednesday.
Nanjing Night Net

“36, I don’t see that as being particularly old,” said Kings coach Andrew Gaze.

“Certainly you’re closer to the end of your career than the start of it but it’s not to say you’re not capable of playing at a very high level.

“Let’s not forget, as short a time as seven months ago was running around with the Detroit Pistons playing 17 minutes a game.

“My experiences in the NBA are very, very brief. But if you’re playing 17 minutes a game in the NBA, you’ve got some skill and you’re still capable of playing at a very high level.”

Blake has played 870 games, plus a further 53 of the playoff variety, for nine NBA teams including the Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trailblazers, Washington Wizards and the Golden State Warriors. His time at the Lakers didn’t quite coincide with the championship-winning stint of another Kings import, Josh Powell, but between them they boast enough big-game experience to raise hopes Sydney may retain its position on top of the NBL ladder for some time yet.

The addition of Blake continues Gaze’s honeymoon period as a rookie basketball coach. The Kings have won three of their first four games, including Monday night’s hammering of arch rivals Illawarra, to mark the club’s best start to a season since 2007-8. They will get a chance to avenge their only loss, to Brisbane, with the addition of Blake in front of their home fans on Sunday.

Corporate Sydney is also coming to the party, with the Kings announcing on Tuesday that The Star has joined as one of the club’s foundation partners.

Blake will have little time to acquaint himself with his new surrounds or teammates. Asked if the veteran guard, the 38th pick of the 2003 NBA draft, was a chance of facing the Bullets, Gaze said: “He is going to play this weekend, he’s not a chance to play. He will play on Sunday.”

Blake, who has averaged 6.5 points and four assists during his regular-season NBA career, has played alongside some of the game’s biggest names. Kobe Bryant, Stephen Curry, Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony and Draymond Green are just some of the superstars to have called him teammate. He has also played alongside Australian Andrew Bogut at both Golden State and Milwaukee.

The Kings have struck up a chemistry that has not been evident in sides wearing the purple and golds in recent campaigns. Gaze is confident his newest recruit will add to, rather than disrupt, it.

“Steve brings awesome experience, 13 years in the NBA with a variety of different clubs,” Gaze said.

“The more experienced the players are, the less ego involved, the more team-first type mentality. Sometimes imports come over here and are under enormous pressure to carry the team. We’ve got great depth and it’s about playing a role and sometimes that requires sacrifice from some of the players.

“When you’ve got experienced guys that have been around, they understand team success outweighs individual success. There’s far greater enjoyment when there is team success involved.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.