Of defence, dinner and no talking in school
Man, these two-a-days (files, not practices) can tire a guy out.
And make a fella go deep, deep into the mind and the notebook to come up with moderately interesting items.
The defensive buzzwords this year?
Shrink and contain.
Talking to Marc and Jay yesterday about basic defensive philosophy and that’s pretty much what it comes down to.
|THE CANADIAN PRESS|
|The Raptors get started at training camp on Tuesday.|
Shrink the court, contain guys on the perimeter.
Sprint back to elbows and boxes and make sure the rim’s protected.
It’s not rocket science, which I guess is why I was able to understand it, but it’s something that’s going to be hammered home incessantly every practice.
It’s a style that lots of teams use and its lineage to here traces back to Pat Riley, as a matter of fact.
It’s something Marc used to drill when he was with Riley and the Heat, it’s the same style KO used when he was in Toronto (and if nothing else, that team wasn’t too bad defensively) and Jay liked it then and likes it now.
With the size of the Raptors – and going with 6-3 Jose, 6-7 DeRozan, 6-10 Turk, 7-0 Bargnani and 6-11 Bosh makes this team as big as any starting unit in the league just about – it probably had a chance to work quite well. Put those five guys on the boxes and the elbows and there’s not going to be a lot of room.
And they should also be long enough to get out into the corners in a couple of steps to contest shots.
Now, all they had to do is do it well and they’ve got something. Whether they can or not is something we’ll see as the games start.
Did something last night I don’t remember ever doing before.
Sitting at dinner with a gaggle of grunts, had to ask a server to change over one of the many televisions from something (it was Canadian sports television, it was likely poker) to the WNBA final.
Glad I did.
Heckuva game, no?
Mercury in OT, in case you weren’t watching.
I’m sure you saw Chris Young’s piece on tweeting and twittering and whatever else you have.
He’s got the Raptors rules in there and there’s something else, too.
No Blackerry or cell phone use in the gym.
For everyone. Like presidents and general managers and reporters and anyone who’s in the gym.
Yes, you can have them, no you can’t use them. You can look at ‘em but if you want to use ‘em, you have to leave.
Trust me, the GM likes to use his Blackberry every now and then so I have a feeling he’s going to feel it even more than we do.
The way Jay sees it – and it’s his rule – if you’re in watching practice, you’re watching practice.
It’s a respect thing.
A cellphone-in-the-locker room story:
It’s post-game one night a few years ago and we’re all standing around waiting getting ready to interview Antonio Davis, a group that has to be 12 or 15 of us, all close to or on deadline, and just when the questioning begins, a guy’s cellphone goes off; it’s got the Elephant Walk as its ring tone and it’s a wee bit loud so you can’t miss it.
The guy (hi, Stumpy!) looks a bit sheepish and he’s going to ignore it so we can get on with our jobs, which is the right thing to do.
Oh, no, says AD. Tells the guy to take the call and he’ll wait to start his scrum. Deadline writers unimpressed.
Call’s from an off-spring and we get to listen to dad talk to daughter for a minute or so.
Call done, interview commences.
Thanks to all who suggested Pub Italia here in Bytown.
Stopped by for a wee bit on my own last night to check it out, had a fine Pedavena, a Krombacher and a Czechvar, all quite tasty, and some mussels done in Sambuca with pancetta and fennel.
Good call, folks.
Digression to another sport:
As we’re watching Tammy against Diana, the big Tiger fan at the next table to us makes sure we know not only that Detroit got a much-needed split but he tells us to make sure to check out the Jays screen ‘cause Lind has three homers and has an at-bat coming in the ninth.
So we do and when Lind gets drilled, we’re riveted for a while because Surely To All That’s Good In The World whoever pitches the ninth for the Jays is going to throw the first pitch under someone’s chin and we might see one of those baseball brouhahas.
First pitch is a fastball away, the next one’s the same and I’m thinking, “wow, what kind of teammate is that?”
Back to the Raptors for a second, if you don’t mind.
Lots of people want to know how these guys spend their time when they’re not in the gym.
A bit of it these days up here is spent in the classroom.
Jay’s started something new for this team: Before every practice, they get together for 15 minutes, maybe half an hour, maybe longer to sit in a classroom set up and go over stuff.
It’s teaching and talking, about philosophy, systems, how practice went, whatever he wants.
The thing is that it’s more formal than usual.
Jay’s got the room set up with seats in a row, like a class, there’s a whiteboard for showing plays and the like.
It’s something he picked up from Coach K and the USA Olympic team the past few summers and something he thinks works pretty well.
“Some guys don’t pick it up on the floor, they need to see it on the board.”
I am a fan of Ottawa, it’s a nice city of good people but, really, you folks here gotta do something about the cabs.
Long waits seem to be the norm, they seem quite hard to find and, yes, I know Preston’s being ripped up for construction but the dude who tried to take me to Pub Italia last night couldn’t find it with a search warrant.
Took the guy in the back seat to spot a sign.
(Lots of digression today, no?)
In the bit of the scrimmage we got to see yesterday morning, it was Reggie Evans and Antoine Wright who filled in on the nominal first unit with Jose, DeRozan and Bargnani.
Not that it means anything, but I’m sure people want to know.