- Samuel Dalembert- Out. The initial report was 4-6 weeks and that was almost two weeks ago. The word around camp today is that Dalembert will still be out for a while.
That’s right people, Hassan Whiteside is no longer on the injured list. He was able to go in the 5 on 5 scrimmage for the first time in a few weeks. Late in practice, Hassan grabbed a low pass that Cousins gambled on and missed. Whiteside was then able to spin around and hammer it down with two hands for a very impressive play considering the lay-off.
Camp had a strange feel today and for the first time since it began, Coach Westphal stayed on the floor and worked on basic offensive play sets with Pooh Jeter, Jason Thompson, Hassan Whiteside, DeMarcus Cousins and Luther Head instead of talking to the media like usual. When he was finally ready to chat, I was in the middle of an interview with Luther Head so I missed it. If I can get a transcript of the conversation later, I will update this post later.
This wasn’t the only odd occurrence. On the far court, Omri Casspi and Antoine Wright had a little three point competition going which is the first time I have seen Casspi shoot with another player since camp began. I had a chance to ask Casspi about this after practice and this is what he had to say:
“I’m going to start doing a little bit more competition. Tony’s a hard worker and he’s a great teammate. So maybe after practices, we are going to get some competitions going and it will get you more game shots. Usually I shot by myself and I’ve gotten too calm about my shots and when we shoot in competition, it gets you going a little more and you want to make more shots so there is more pressure. More like game shots, it was good.”
This development is a very big deal in my eyes. Casspi is so focused on working on his game that he isolates himself from others. Wright is a very strong veteran influence and right away, you could see Casspi respond to having someone push him. For me, this was as important a camp moment and maybe even a bigger moment, than the return of Hassan Whiteside. The following video clip shows some of the exchange:
Also, there was a Beno Udrih sighting. Beno is a player who does most of his work behind the scenes. Today, he hung out with Tyreke Evans instead and practiced shooting free throws. Afterward, Tyreke swung by and answered a few questions for the media before getting ready to board the plane to Utah:
- Tyreke on the Jazz, “They’ve got a different team. They’ve got Jefferson down there who’s a good low post player and they still have Darren Williams so they have a great team. They run their offense well so we just have to go in there and play defense.
- On his plantar fasciitis: “Pete (Youngman, Kings trainer) just iced it after practice, that’s the only thing I can do. I had it at Memphis and I played with it the whole year. I’ll just keep icing it and hopefully it will get better.”
It was a good day at camp. The coach was happy with the progress and from all accounts, he really focused his energy on simplifying the offense to make it more consumable for the younger players. With the start of the regular season only days away, I expect Westphal to continue to strengthen the teams knowledge base, one step at a time.