October 6, 2022 | 10:34 am EDT Update
Was there a point where you thought about a possible return to the NBA? Have you had offers or contacts with any franchise? Walter Tavares: No, no. I always try to focus where I’m at. Now I’m very comfortable at Real Madrid. I’m developing a lot as a player, enjoying basketball. Whatever comes, it will come later, but now I am focused on helping Real Madrid to the best of my abilities.
How is it possible that the most decisive center on the continent only played 13 games in the NBA? Walter Tavares: I think it was the lack of opportunity. I was practicing and sweating, trying to prove that I could play and have a place there. I haven’t been as lucky as Rudy Gobert, who ended up in the Utah Jazz that trusted him from the beginning. I was unlucky enough to get into a bad team. I was in Atlanta that didn’t compete for the playoffs, and the coach didn’t trust me that much either. It’s not just a question of timing or the time period. I just didn’t have a chance.
Did you feel uncomfortable being there? Walter Tavares: Yes, I did. All the players want to practice, and then look forward to playing. You’re not there to practice all the time and never play. So, you end up getting frustrated and not liking basketball so much because you feel like you can’t take that step further to be able to play, or prove that you can be in this league.
In recent years, the club seems to prefer players who have tried to play in the NBA to those who are eager to leave. By the way, was there something that Luka Doncic wanted to know and asked you before he left? Walter Tavares: Well, he wasn’t asking much. Luka was too calm. I always said that he was born to play basketball. He didn’t need anyone to teach him what to do. He has an incredible talent. I just told him that in the NBA, things are going to be very easy for him with the court vision and the height he has playing as a point guard. Luka has a similar style as LeBron James, who is physically superior than him. But in terms of how they both control and dominate the game, they’re very identical.
Scoot Henderson is the rare American teenager who is not heavily into social media. So when 7-foot-3 basketball phenom Victor Wembanyama boasted Monday that Henderson would be selected No. 1 in the 2023 NBA draft if Wembanyama hadn’t been born, the G League Ignite star missed it for hours. Henderson’s teammates, however, showed him the quote while attending a reception that also included Wembanyama and his Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 team on Monday night, sources at the event said.
Mere moments after Henderson saw the quote, he was scheduled to swap autographed team jerseys with Wembanyama in a ceremony in front of players and coaches from the G League Ignite, Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 and G League officials. The uber-competitive Henderson was stone-faced, gave a quick smile for the cameras, swapped jerseys, and didn’t shake hands with Wembanyama before departing on the eve of their highly anticipated televised showdown, sources said. “I don’t listen to that. I don’t pay no mind to that,” Henderson told Andscape of Wembanyama’s quote before Tuesday’s exhibition game. “You can talk all you want. That’s it. No added fuel. I’ve had the same fuel. I was going to come out and kill regardless.”
“We know Victor is going to be top pick as he possesses generational talent and skill,” one NBA general manager told Andscape. “He moves like a small forward. Many teams will be positioning themselves all season to have a shot at drafting him. But Scoot is a very talented player who is more score-first point guard at this stage. “I really like his competitive spirit and he appears to be coachable, which is important for that position. He seems to embrace big moments and challenge. Very good athleticism and strength for a young player. I would like to see him improve his one-on-one defensive focus, given his physical tools.”
How will being part of the Ignite help you off the court when you enter the NBA? Scoot Henderson: I don’t know too much about how guys are off the court stepping into their rookie year coming from college. I feel like the Ignite program is perfect for me to get ready for that. I may be alone, have my family away, shopping on my own. Things like that. It forced me to grow up. It’s easier for me this year. I am not going to say it’s always easy having my family away, since I grew up with family. But it’s getting easier. I am cooking. I can cook a good turkey burger. But they got Uber Eats here and they give us meals.