No, there were no big revelations at Clippers Media Day. There was a lot of reinforcement of things we've suspected, known, and heard before.
I won't try to give you a play-by-play of what went on. I will say that the event had an inauspicious start when a power outage hit downtown LA at 11:57 AM (the official start of media day was set for noon). It was hard not to think of the Clippers as a cursed team as we sat there in the dark of Staples Center - Kevin suggested that it must surely have been the Hebrew God smiting the Clippers for planning their Media Day on Yom Kippur - but after six minutes the power was back on and the festivities got under way, so I guess Yahweh wasn't so pissed after all, just a little irked.
Unfortunately I was never able to connect to the wireless network. Maybe the power outage fried the wireless router. Maybe I was told the wrong password. At any rate, I wasn't able to connect, which is why you guys didn't get any updates during the day.
As I mentioned in a comment, although I did not receive an actual press credential today, it seems as if it is going to happen. The Clippers photographer (the same one taking publicity shots for the players) took my head shot for a badge. So that seems like a good sign.
I got a chance to talk to some interesting media types. I spoke to Mike Smith a bit, and introduced myself to J.A. Adande and Dan McLean among others. I spoke with Dain Blanton for awhile (he's a fellow Wave). Of course all of our favorite Clipper/LA bloggers and beat writers were there, like Kevin Arnovitz, the Kamenetzky brothers, Eric Pincus, Lisa Dillman and Ramona Shelburne.
I followed the press gaggle around for awhile. Listened to Baron's spiel (he's very good with the press, very polished), listened to the coach, listened to a little of Griffin's bit, caught some of Chris Kaman's. But for the most part, I could have answered the questions myself, because everyone is giving pretty safe, pat answers (with the exception of Kaman, I guess). There's nothing wrong with that. And the writers have got to get their quotes. Baron wants to "Work hard and have fun." That's fine.
One theme of the day was the training center (and of course the team will be there the rest of the week). It remains to be seen how it translates in the season, but it seems significant that this is the first off-season that the team has had a dedicated facility. And it's pretty high tech - Lisa asked if Blake had a key to the place so he could let himself in, and coach nonchalantly mentioned that he can get in with his fingerprint. Biometrics baby! So that's pretty cool. But it does seem to give the team a leg up, when 10 to 12 of them have been showing up every day for weeks and playing 5 on 5.
(By the way, I've been wondering a bit about the distinction of the 'start of camp.' I mean, if the players were in the facility last week, and the coaches were in the facility last week, how was last week different than this week? I suspected that they weren't really allowed to 'coach' by rule, and indeed that is the case. Neil Olshey told me that coaches are allowed to work with individual players in small settings - like Kim Hughes working with DeAndre Jordan on post moves, or even Jordan and Kaman going against each other - but that the player's union specifically forbids any interaction between the coaches and the players regarding 5 on 5 prior to the beginning of camp. It seems like a bit of an arbitrary distinction, but of course the players union doesn't want the players to be compelled to work out in the off-season, which makes sense.)
At any rate, many members of the team have been in and out of the training center all summer. It's got to be a huge boost to team chemistry, especially as opposed to last season. There are ten returning players from last season, and the four new guys have been in and around the training center for months now, led by workaholic Blake Griffin. And as of now, knock on wood, everyone is healthy. Even Ricky Davis has been playing 5-on-5, and by several accounts seems to be 100% for the first time in years.
After I quit following the gaggle around, and gave up on trying to connect to the wireless network, I ended up talking with Olshey and Mark Heisler of the LA Times for a while, and that was the best part of the day. If I could just talk NBA with Mark Heisler all day, I'd be very happy. As an aside, Olshey saw me coming and somehow knew that I was going to talk to him about Sofo. I'm already the "crazy blogger who obsesses about that guy we drafted 6 years ago" to him. Lovely. I can say with some confidence that the Clippers are less geeked about Sofo than, say, Citizen Zhiv. They're monitoring him, and hopeful that they might be able to work out a contract next season (although they're a little worried, as apparently the Greeks can be difficult to work with on these things, and Olympiakos is one of the few European teams who has plenty of money). But it seems like we can officially put to rest any hopes of having MBFGC come in as a mid-season reinforcement.
I mentioned already that coach said his starters going into camp would be the starters from the end of last season. At first I wondered who last season's starters were, and then I realized that with Randolph gone, the question wasn't complicated - Baron, EJ, Thornton, Camby and Kaman. Of course this kid Griffin has arrived in town since the end of last season, and there's little question that he should start at power forward. That leaves Camby and Kaman to fight it out at center. Kaman, in his typical unfiltered manner, made it clear that he did not want to come off the bench, by the way.
So if you're looking for a controversy for the start of camp, that's probably the one.