HIS FUTURE IN DENVER ASIDE, IGUODALA SHOULD HELP NUGGETS THRIVE

A day after Andrew Bynum talked about staying long-term in Philadelphia, the other All-Star in the Dwight Howard trade did the same in Denver.

“We aren’t coming in to this thinking this is just a one year deal,” Andre Iguodala said at his introductory news conference on Thursday. “We are looking to the future and definitely looking ahead looking to see how we can go forward so this isn’t a quick stop for me.

“This would be a great place for me to have some great years ahead of me and possibly ending my career here.”

Iguodala is under contract for the next two years, but with an early termination option that can make him a free agent next summer. Contract extension talks don’t need to take place for a while, but there’s reason for Denver to be excited about some continuity with a young and talented core, asBenjamin Hochman of the Denver Post writes

Ujiri already has said he wants to sign point guard Ty Lawson to a long-term deal, and Lawson told The Denver Post last May that he was excited about that possibility. If Ujiri and team president Josh Kroenke can re-sign their backcourt, that will give Denver a thrilling nucleus going forward, knowing small forwards Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler and center JaVale McGee are already signed for years to come. Meanwhile, power forward Kenneth Faried is entering the second season of his rookie contract.

“My focus,” Iguodala said, “is to help our team, not only to go out there and to play at the best of our abilities, but to believe that we’re going to make ourselves in contention to be at the top of the West. No matter what anybody else says, we are going to go out there and play for one thing and that is a championship.”

Come November, we’ll see just how well Iguodala fits with his new team. But given his strengths and the Nuggets’ weaknesses, he’ll clearly help.

The Nuggets were a poor defensive team last season, ranking 19th by allowing 103.4 points per 100 possessions. Iguodala, of course, is maybe the best perimeter defender in the league. Over the last two seasons, the Sixers were much better defensively when he was on the floor…

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PBA draft trivia

SUNDAY, August 19, is D-Day for the 57 prospective rookies in the PBA annual draft to be held at the Robinsons Midtown Mall in Manila.

This is the 28th edition of the PBA draft which was first held in 1985, 10 years after the league was born, with Shell naming Sonny Cabatu as the first-ever No. 1 overall pick.

Since 1985, 20 of the previous 27 No. 1 picks were all big men. The only seven (7) exceptions were JVee Casio (2010), Mike Cortez (2003), Willie Miller (2001), Paolo Mendoza (2000), Vergel Meneses (1992), Apet Jao (1990) and Allan Caidic (1988). Noli Locsin, the 1994 top overall pick, stood probably just 6-2 or 6-3 but was considered a big man during his time while 2008 No. 1 selection Gabe Norwood now plays mostly as a guard even at 6-4.

If Petron Blaze names 6-10 June Mar Fajardo as this year’s top draft pick, he will be the tallest No. 1 pick since 6-10 1/2 Andy Seigle of Mobiline in 1997.

Only nine of the 27 previous No. 1 picks went on to win Rookie of the Year honors at season’s end – Norwood (2008), Kelly Williams (2006), Rich Alvarez (2004), Danny Ildefonso (1998), Andy Seigle (1997), Marlou Aquino (1996), Jun Limpot (1993), Benjie Paras (1989) and Caidic (1987), with Paras becoming the only rookie in league history to win Most Valuable Player honors at the same time.

At 5-9 3/4, Casio was the shortest ever No. 1 pick when Powerade selected him last year.

This year’s 57 is the most number of prospective rookies since the 59 two years ago when Nonoy Baclao and Rabeh Al-Hussaini were selected Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, by Air21.

This is the first time Petron Blaze is picking first in the draft, a pick which it acquired from Air21 in a previous trade. The Boosters’ previous highest pick in the draft was second overall which happened twice — in 2007 (when it selected Sam Eman, behind Welcoat’s Devance) and in 1998 (when it selected Noy Castillo then traded him for No. 1 pick Ildefonso of Shell).

In the draft’s history, Air21 and defunct Sta. Lucia have the most number of No. 1 picks with four each. The Express have Baclao (2010), Japeth Aguilar (2009), Jay Washington (2005) and Yancy de Ocampo (2002) while the Realtors had Williams (2006), Mendoza (2000), Dennis Espino (1995) and Limpot (1993).

Air21 always went on to trade all its four previous No. 1 picks and even its two previous No. 2 overall selections —  Al-Hussaini (2010) and Arwind Santos (2006).

The Express and Talk ‘N Text are the only two teams without a first-round selection in this year’s draft.

For the second straight year, the draft will have no limit as far as the number of rounds for the teams to make selections. From 2005 up to 2010, the draft was limited to just two rounds.