Saturday, June 6, 2009

ESPN: NBA's 65 in 65: Bruce Bowen

Welcome to The Show! On Saturday, we continue our 65 in 65. That's 65 NBA chats in 65 days. We will hold an NBA chat each day through the end of the NBA Finals. We'll bring you players, analysts, writers, anyone who can help you fill your NBA fix. Saturday's guest is San Antonio Spurs forward Bruce Bowen.

Known as one of the best defenders in the NBA, Bowen has been elected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team five times (2003-08) and the second team three times (2000-03). He was also a key contributor to three of the Spurs championships in 2003, 2005, and 2007.

Before joining the Spurs in 2001, Bruce made his way around the league playing for the Miami Heat (1996-97, 1999-00), Boston Celtics (1997-99) and the Philadelphia 76ers (1999-00).

Bruce Bowen: Hey, everybody. Bruce is in the chat building.

Terrance,MI: Hey bruce, has the window closed on the San Antonio Spurs? Or do they have another championship left in them?

Bruce Bowen: Of course we have another championship left in us. Part of it is everybody has to be healthy. If you're not healthy, it's a lot more difficult. That's why you play the game, so to say no that would be a disservice to everyone with the Spurs.

Jared (Edmonton, AB): Hi Bruce, if you were defending Kobe in Game 2 after the success he and the Lakers had in Game 1, what modifications would you make individually to keep Kobe more in check?

Bruce Bowen: I'd still work just as hard when he makes shots. Guys tend to let up because he makes shots. You have to weather the storm and try to deny him the ball. I think he got a lot of non-contested catches, and when you give someone of his ability those avenues he's going to take advantage of that every time.

Steven (NJ): How much longer do you plan to play in the NBA?

Bruce Bowen: As long as they'll have me.

derek, orlando, fl: Bruce, Have you ever thought about coaching in your future? You could become a great defensive mentor to young wing defenders.

Bruce Bowen: You know, my talent was playing the game. I'd like to be able to spend time with my family instead of being gone so much. Coaching requires a lot of time away from your family. I don't see it in my future. It takes a lot of time and effort, and a type of commitment that I'm just not willing to make right now.

Rye (Vancouver, BC): Bruce, huge fan of yours and the Spurs. Do you expect to return next season, if so how many changes do you expect? If not will you play elsewhere?

Bruce Bowen: I hope to be here. I expect to be here. I'm sure there will be changes, but I don't think there will be a truck load of changes. I think we still have key figures that you can still build around, so you don't need to dismantle the team. But I'm not trying to be a player and GM, so I just try to do the best I can. That's how I approach things.

Shayne - NY [via mobile]: Bruce... Who was the toughest player you've ever had to guard? Thanks!

Bruce Bowen: Michael Jordan. He really had an infectious personality with his teammates. He gave guys courage when they wouldn't have had it. Kind of like Kobe and his will right now.

Fahim (LA): Hey Mr. Bowen, who is tough to guard kobe or lebron?

Bruce Bowen: I see Kobe more than LeBron, but Kobe's resume has championships. And until LeBron wins championships, there's not much you can say to put them on the same level. Even though LeBron won MVP, there's still a gap between them. Kobe is getting a bit older and LeBron is feeling his way out. Kobe has been able to do a lot more with matchups, whereas LeBron is a facilitator in the offense. LeBron looks to get his teammates involved. And Kobe is looking to set up his shot while trying to find the passing lanes.

Bill (San Antonio): Some people view you as a dirty player, do you agree?

Bruce Bowen: That's so funny to me. I don't consider myself a dirty player. Everyone has an opinion. If you ask anyone in San Antonio or Miami and nine out of 10 times, they'll say no. But if you ask people in other cities, they'll say yes because of the success we had against their teams.

miguel (ny): Bruce, if you want one player from the NBA to be in your team who would it be.

Bruce Bowen: That's tough, because you don' get to know people unless you spend six weeks with them. That being said, it's hard for me to say who I'd like to play with.

miguel (ny): Bruce who do you think is going to win the finals?

Bruce Bowen: I don't have a pick. But the way L.A. came out, you can see that experience played a pivotal role.

Ariel (Los Angeles, Ca): Do you think ultimately the Magic have enough firepower for the lakers?

Bruce Bowen: Oh, yeah. They're a good team. They have quite the talent. It's just a matter of getting past what happened in Game 1.

Chris, Orlando FL: Bruce. What advice would you give Lee or Pietrus on defending Kobe? I thought in Game 1 they gave him too much respect and too much space. What are your thoughts?

Bruce Bowen: Kobe is a very good basketball player, so they didn't *give* him much of anything. But they have to continue to compete. Maybe deny him a bit more. Maybe don't let him get easy post-ups. Get him off the spot. Make him aware of you. Don't just let him get where he wants to be and go from there.

fahim (LA): Hi, why is it that you shoot better % of your 3s then your foul shots?

Bruce Bowen: That happened before, but that's not the case now. I don't shoot a high percentage of free throws. So if I got there with more frequency then I would be better. When I get into a rhythm I'm a lot better. There's no real excuses I can make. But other than my first year, it hasn't been as bad.

Amit Aggarwal (NJ): What do you do to keep yourself in such good shape while getting old? NBA years at least.

Bruce Bowen: It's important in the offseason to keep a solid regiment. Anything with the basketball is good. Not just shooting, but doing things at game speed. Exercising at game speed helps a great speed. I understand it's important that you don't want the coach to see that you're tired. I never wanted that to happen with me. I want them to see that when they give me an opportunity, I'll be ready and in great shape.

Kevin (San Antonio, TX): They say 70% of the earth is covered by water, and the rest is covered by Bruce Bowen. Is there anybody you can't guard?

Bruce Bowen: I think my competitiveness would say there isn't. I'm sure Tim, Shaq, Dwight Howard -- they would get their numbers against me. But as a competitor, I would say no. But I respect opponents, so it's not arrogance. It's all about how I prepare and the mutual respect we have.

Bruce Bowen: I appreciate the time, everyone. Chat folks, I am out of room! Take care.

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