NBA

Mitchell chooses toughness with Sam's Club inductees

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TSN.ca Staff
2/13/2014 7:57:52 PM
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The weak and weary need not apply for Sam's Club.
 
TSN basketball analyst and former Toronto Raptors' head coach Sam Mitchell announced his midseason inductees to the illustrious self-titled club Thursday, and they all had one thing in common.
 
“Sam's Club members come in, we punch the clock, we do our job and we go home,” he told TSN's Cabrel Richards. “We know who and what we are. We're dirt diggers, we're grimy, we get in the dirt, we can take it. You know why? Because we're mentally tough and we won't give in.”
 
The midseason entrants are not among the NBA's elite and none of them were invited to the All-Star Game in New Orleans on Feb. 16. Here are the selections for Sam's Club through the first half of the season.
 
Amir Johnson, PF, Toronto Raptors: “The most important things that Amir Johnson brings to Toronto are mental toughness, rebounding and defence. He's added the three-ball to his game and you look at Amir Johnson, he had a stretch where he averaged about 18 points a game and shot way over 50 per cent.”
 
Tony Allen, SG, Memphis Grizzlies: “Tough, single-minded, a defensive guy, a guy that fights through screens, a guy that don't need the basketball. He's been out, missed some games, but there's no better on-the-ball defender than Tony Allen.
 
Lance Stephenson, SG, Indiana Pacers: “He's in the club because he's tough. He's not an all-star to me but he's the most improved player. But Lance Stephenson brings a certain toughness, he has a certain bravado that he gives to the Pacers.
 
Taj Gibson, PF, Chicago Bulls:Taj Gibson is mentally tough. He's a great defender, shot blocker, takes the toughest four or five every single night. Carlos Boozer has been complaining recently about his minutes in the fourth quarter. Taj Gibson has taken those minutes because he plays defence, rebounds the ball, and now lately he's scoring the basketball.”
 
Nicolas Batum, SF, Portland Trail Blazers: “He takes the toughest offensive player every night, whether it's point guard, two-guard or small forward. Very unselfish guy, doesn't call for the ball, excellent shooter, just plays his role.”
 
P.J. Tucker, SF, Phoenix Suns: “Just tough. Just put him out there. See, part of being a part of Sam's Club is you have to get better every year in and year out. Now P.J. Tucker is over a 40 per cent three-point shooter, a guy that can shoot, but he's the best defender on this Phoenix team. You talking about tough, gritty and grimy, there's nobody in the United States that I would rather walk down a dark alley with.”
 
While Stephenson looks to be the front-runner for the NBA's Most Improved Player award, the other new members of the Sam's Club will likely not see any league-wide recognition for their efforts.
 
Mitchell, though, doesn't think a lack of attention will bother this group of “dirt diggers.”
 
“We don't want it.”
Amir Johnson (Photo: Canadian Press)

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(Photo: Canadian Press)
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