The Clippers morning practice session was a little shorter than usual today. It wasn't just a matter of coach MDsr giving the guys some time off for working hard so far. It also had to do with the simple math of having fewer players practicing. Blake Griffin continues to rest his bruised knee, and Taj Gray sat out for a second day in a row. But near the start of today's session, during a fast break drill, Sebastian Telfair stepped on someone's foot and rolled his ankle. It was wrapped and elevated when I first saw him, and although he was walking on it after practice (a good sign), he was doing so quite gingerly (not so good a sign).
The fact that he was hanging on the sideline, and hobbling around the gym, tells you this isn't one of those Keyon Dooling 2001, gut-wrenching sprains where the guy misses most of the season. Bassy's 'day-to-day' at this point. But ankles are always problematic, and he's definitely going to miss some days, which is unfortunate because the more time he spends on the floor, the more time guys like DeAndre Jordan have to get used to catching his other worldly passes.
(I didn't mention this before, but when I walked in the gym on Tuesday, the first play I saw was a Bassy to DJ lob. Let's face it - I was geeked about Mike Taylor throwing lobs to these DJ and Blake Superior in Summer League. With Bassy throwing the passes the Clippers could lead the league in alley oops.)
Perhaps owing to Bassy's injury, CMDsr seemed a little more reserved in his post-practice comments today.
One irony of the Dunleavy era in LA is that the team has always shot so poorly. Over the last few days, coach has ragaled us with stories of devising a statistic specifically to point out the value of the three point shot, and how John Lucas dismantled him on the tennis court in order to exact his revenge for losing two years worth of shooting games to Dunleavy. The guy could shoot the ball. And he loves shooters. Three of the four guys he invited to camp (Anthony Roberson, Jerel McNeal and Kareem Rush) are hanging around the NBA for pretty much one reason - because they can shoot. And yet, the Clippers have been at or near the bottom of the league in three pointers attempted, and three point percentage, and most any other three point category, for most of the time that MDsr has been the coach.
Last season, with the addition of Eric Gordon and Steve Novak, there was an uptick in those stats. And when asked who looked good in practice today, CMDsr focused on shooting, singling out Novak, Gordon and Ricky Davis for lighting it up. (He also praised DeAndre Jordan for the second day in a row and gave props to Chris Kaman.)
At the mention of Novak, I asked the coach where he thought his shooting specialist could get sustained minutes this season - at the 3 or the 4. His response validated what I've said before here at Clips Nation. Novak's minutes will likely be situational and opportunistic. He's an incredible weapon on the offensive end, but the limitations in the rest of his game make it a challenge to keep him on the floor. Expect CMDsr to use Novak when he feels there's a matchup that allows him to get away with it - whether that matchup is at the three or the four. Most of those opportunities came at the four last season. It remains to be seen with the number of quality bigs on the Clippers roster (barring injuries) if Novak can get even those opportunities this season.
Last thing - at the end of practice I interrupted Ralph as he was working on his blog post to plug the "Blake Superior Campaign." He liked the nickname, but didn't make any promises. Those of you on Facebook might casually mention it as well - keep it in front of him.