Fellow Baseliners, I knocked off work early, leaving loose ends untied, in order to bring you some observations and thoughts on the Bobcats open practice.
To summarize: I came, I yawned, I played Bejeweled on my phone.
Got there a bit late. They had about the first 15 rows or so blocked off, presumably so the players could still curse without offending the young ears in attendance. The rest of the lower bowl was surprisingly full of folks enjoying the free popcorn and soda. The team was running full-court five-on-five at about 75%, roughly starters vs. second team (except with Ajinca in Chandler’s spot, and guys like DJ and VladRad did time with both squads).
As anyone who has ever read anything about Larry Brown would expect, he stopped the action about every 7 seconds to point out mistakes and demand perfection in every offensive set. If I had the graphic design skills of my brethren here at the Baseline, I would have mashed up some picture of Larry Brown in practice gear with a big giant stop sign to lead off this post. Alas… (UPDATE: Photoshop added. Thanks, D)
It’s ironic though, as Brown’s main issue with the replacement officials was that they stopped the game so much that no flow was ever established and he wasn’t able to fully evaluate his young guys. I can identify. I realize it’s practice, but still, would it have killed anyone to let the guys scrimmage freely for a few minutes for the fans?
So with everyone at least 15 rows back, and the seats full of murmuring people, you actually couldn’t hear anything that was being said down on the court. I might have tolerated all the stoppages if Larry Brown had been wearing a mic and I could hear the teaching he was doing.
At about quarter til 7:00, people started peeling off. Kids were either bored out of their minds or on the verge of a fit, no doubt due to the absence of Rufus. A few minutes after 7:00, practice wrapped up and folks were invited to come down courtside for autographs. I’ve never seen a player as seemingly excited to sign autographs as Derrick Brown.
A few other items:
- Nazr sat out; he looked left out and bummed on the sidelines.
- Chandler sat out; “brooding” and “chomping at the bit” come to mind — he looks like he’s dying to get back on the court.
- Diaw participated fully and looked great; so sneaky and fun to watch.
- Ray finished as poorly in practice as he does in games.
- No one respects Gerald Henderson’s outside shot. I’m guessing they do, however, respect his dunking ability. Guy has instantly supplanted Crash as our most exciting player and will hopefully get into the dunk contest.
- After stoppages for teaching moments, the possession would often be wrapped up by token free throws, generally by the poorer free throw shooters. Gana Diop was a frequent recipient of these extra practice shots.
- There were two guys that played with the reserves who I didn’t recognize. One was Antonio Anderson. Absolutely no clue as to who the other one was.
- The team store was full of the same drek from the end of last season, save for the new jerseys. And all they have of those are the chintzy replicas — no swingmans or authentics yet.