The things you see and hear
|Rashard Lewis sets a familiar pose during a workout yesterday.|
Okay, don’t get used to this timing, please.
Yes, we’re posted bright and early (depending on your time zone, of course) with this offering; no, it’s not likely to become a habit. It’s a function of the off-night before a game day, a bit of quiet before things get really busy.
How busy? Well, we’ll be back at noon for a little chat (I cannot think of a better way to spend to a lunch hour so feel free to stop by) and then there’s that whole game thing tonight.
So have fun with this and we’ll talk to some of you in a few hours.
Only in L.A.
The NBA final always attracts a rather disparate group of, um, journalists when it’s out here and this one seems to be no exception.
There used to be a dude, not sure if he’s still around, who’s called Vic The Brick or something like that, apparently some radio, er, host, who used to show up all decked out in Laker paraphernalia and ask rather, ah, fawning questions of the Lakers.
Stuff along the lines of “you guys are so good, how can you lose?” Or, and I paraphrase here, “how come you guys are so good?”
Didn’t see him yesterday but there was a moment.
Some fella representing the Jimmy Kimmel Show, which is to sports reporting like I am to entertainment reporting, had the following verbatim exchange with Laker coach Phil Jackson
Entertainer: “Who will win the game, the Los Angeles Lakers or Orlando Magic?”
Phil, perplexed: “The game?”
Entertainer: “Yeah, who will win the game?”
Phil, more perplexed: “Game No. 1? Well, I hope it’s the Lakers, obviously. It’s a big plus for any team to win the first game of the series.”
Entertainer: “What about Game Dos?”
Phil, seeming to be almost out of patience: “We want to win Game 2, also.”
Entertainer: “And Tres?”
Phil, reaching exasperation: “We’ll cover that when we get through one, okay?”
And we now return you to legitimate stuff.
There’s all kinds of pressure and intense preparation and video work and business, business, business to be done when teams get ready for the NBA final, right? Not so much.
Sure, there are moments of very hard work but also moments of levity, especially when practice is done.
It was kind of heartening to see a group of Lakers – Luke Walton, Sun Yue, Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic, Adam Morrison, Trevor Ariza and Shannon Brown – goofing around with a spirited game of “bump” at the close of practice. Just like a bunch of kids in the playground.
Walton won the game I saw.
Guess we know how Stan Van Gundy’s enjoying his first foray into the NBA finals.
Part of the gig for head coaches, and top players, is that they have to sit through interview room sessions every day. Coaches have it a bit worse, since they’ve got to do it every off-day and pre-game and post-game every game day (NBA-TV has to have programming, after all) and Stan was pretty clear on how he felt about it during his first stop yesterday, when he was asked what he was learning about being in these parts.
“What I basically learned in a half an hour of being here is that it's hard to do your job because I want to go practice; okay, enough of this stuff. So that's basically what I've learned ... You guys make it tough for us to do our job. After practice (in the regular season) you meet with the media a little bit, but I want to get out on the court. That's what I mainly learned.”
I’ve got to get away from the stuff out here for a quick minute:
You know what I love about all the draft claptrap that’s going around? All this fascination with the numbers from the draft workouts: the “verts” and the “lateral quicks” and “lane agility.”
Gimme a break.
If you think a guy who can jump 36 inches from a standing start with no one around him is appreciably better than someone who can jump 33 inches from a standing start with no one around him, you’re nuts.
And lateral quickness is all well and good when you’re doing light basketball drills unguarded with no pressure. Same with “lane agility,” whatever the hell that is.
The numbers are just that, numbers. They are a small part – a very, very, very, very small part – of the equation. I’m pretty sure a guy like, for instance, Jerome Moiso had a great “vert” and some impressive “lateral quicks” and was most likely quite agile in the lane.
But he couldn’t play a lick.
So go and read the numbers and crunch them as you will But, please, don’t take them out of context. They are a part of it. That’s all.
News before it happens. Not big but what the heck.
Chris Bosh is going global. No, not in search of comedy bits or budding music stars but to spread the word of basketball. The NBA is going to announce sometime today that Bosh will be in Johannesburg, South Africa, in September as part of its very cool Basketball Without Borders program.
I’m told he’ll be joined in South Africa by Masai Ujiri, Toronto's assistant general manager of player personnel, who is a staple at the African portion of BWB, and a handful of other NBAers, including Dwight Howard.
What's it all mean?
Probably not a lot to a lot of you but I guess it does speak to the way the NBA thinks of Bosh, that they’d invite him to one of their most significant events.
And, yes, he’ll probably still get some work in the gym during the week he’s away, lest any of you think he should pass up the opportunity to “work on his game.”
Things you see but you can’t understand.
Hanging around the lobby with the cronies when an interloper sidles up and specifically orders a “vodka and sugar-free Red Bull."
Yeah, missing that extra jolt of sugar’s really going to make a difference.
But I digress.
Yes, the Raptors have cancelled the scheduled pre-draft workouts scheduled for today and the story is there were some travel problems with some of the kids they were expecting to have in. Yeah, right.
Okay, that may or may not be true (or it could have just been an excuse offered by antsy agents who don’t want their players to go to many workouts) but it speaks to the biggest problem with this workout period. Because teams can’t be sure that players will eventually show up, it becomes more obvious that the work they do in the NCAA season – the countless hours watching conference games – is the most important work that scouts do.
It’s long been held, here at least, that the individual workouts mean much less than many think and now, as more get cancelled because agents are afraid their players’ weaknesses will be exploited, that’s becoming much more of a reality.