When they opened up practice, they were running a three-team, five-on-five, winner's outs sort of thing. If your team scored, you took the ball back the other way at the third team - if you got scored on, you waited on the defensive end until a team came back at you. So you had to get a stop to get the ball, and as long as you kept scoring, you kept playing. Fun.
With Blake Griffin resting his 'sore patellar tendon'
- the first unit consisted of Baron, EJ, Thornton, Camby and Kaman;
- the second unit was Telfair, Butler, Ricky Davis, Smith and DJ;
- the third unit was everyone else - Collins, Anthony Roberson, Jerel McNeal, Kareem Rush, Novak, Taj Gray and Skinner.
At the conclusion of practice, CMDsr held forth for awhile. Dena from the Clippers was there with her brand spanking new HD Flip video camera, so his session will no doubt be up on the Clippers You Tube channel by the time I post this. Coach seemed genuinely pleased - he felt like it was very good first practice, and was particularly positive about how the new guys like Telfair, Butler and Smith were picking up their roles.
Among other statements from the coach:
- Conditioning is much better this season than last and almost everyone hit their targets for day one, or came very close;
- Kaman and Gordon are in the best shape of anyone;
- Coach relayed a comment from John Lucas, who was impressed by Kaman - as is often the case, he just didn't realize how skilled the guy is.
We got a chance to talk to Blake a little also (again, I assume the video will be up on YouTube soon). He's not worried about the knee - they had a precautionary MRI which revealed no structural damage. Asked if he was frustrated at the continued wait to get started, he said that the vets impressed on him how long the season is, and how long his career is going to be - he'll be out there soon enough. BG and MDsr have slightly different plans for the rookie for the rest of the week. Blake wants to get out there tomorrow. Coach is talking about having him rest for four or five days. I don't see that happening.
Other random observations:
- Lucas went into 'NBA training guru' mode after the practice proper had ended, running all of the threes (Collins, Thornton, Novak, Smith, Butler) through a series of drills. Shoot from this cone, dribble to this cone, pull up shoot, reverse pivot, post up, that sort of thing. As we've said before, he looks like a great addition to the staff.
- I mentioned in a comment that new assistant coach Tony Brown was not at Media Day yesterday. He's been out of town, and gets back some time today.
- Former Clipper Sean Rooks was acting as an unofficial assistant coach today.
- CMDsr told a couple great stories after practice about his personal history with advanced basketball statistics. Look for a thorough post from Kevin (it was his question, and I know he's planning a post about it, so I don't want to steal his thunder) on ClipperBlog.
The team has another practice late this afternoon.