Training camp update: Day 8.
The injury report for today:
- Dalembert was back at practice in a limited capacity. No scrimmage work but plenty of conversation with coach Carril.
- Darnell Jackson is still day-to-day. No scrimmage work but shooting and moving around.
- Hassan Whiteside is still out. He has spent the morning watching from the elliptical.
- Francisco Garcia is still away dealing with personal business. His availability for Thursday night game versus the Clippers is unknown at this time although Coach Westphal seemed to think he would make it.
Thoughts on Westphal’s post practice conversation:
- I asked Coach Westphal how many starting spots are still up for grabs and the surprising, or not so surprising answer was 3. Not speculating here- the two spots that are sewn up are the PG and SG (Tyreke and Beno) spots.
- Westphal was not so ready to talk about Donté Greene today.
- Coach had nothing but praise for both Thompson and Cousins. Regarding Thompson: “He’s still a young player and he’s making great strides. You take it for granted his- his effort, but every game, every practice, he’s going all out. He’s making a strong case for himself.”
- Coach was also asked about Demarcus Cousins- the person, not the player and he gave a glowing review: “He’s a great kid. He’s fun, he’s smart, he’s quick witted and he is young at the same time. He needs to be shown some things that doesn’t necessarily agree with but he’s here to learn and get better.” Having been around DeMarcus for a week and a half, I agree. DMC comes off as a little confrontational up front but he warms up quickly.
- The small forward spot is still wide open but when I asked if we should read anything into the fact that Omri Casspi has come off the bench in both the open practice and the first pre-season game, coach put it out there that Omri has been very successful in that role and that it is an important role for the team.
- Marcus Landry is still the leader in the club house for the starting small forward job. From talking with both Westphal and Landry, I get the feeling that this might be more than a motivational tool for Donté Greene and Omri Casspi as many have speculated. Landry is doing exactly what the coaches are asking- no more, no less. For Greene and Casspi to get back in the race, they need to stop trying so hard and listen re-read the job description posting.
- In case you missed the job posting by Coach Westphal from Monday, here it is: “We need the small forward to defend the best athletes in the world. It might be LeBron James one night, Kevin Durant the next night, Kobe the next night, Genobili the next night. They’ve got to be up for that challenge. That’s the number one thing, and the co-number one thing is that they need to be able to hit an open shot. We are looking for somebody that can answer that call in those areas. We don’t need somebody who is a #1 primary offensive option whether in reality or in their own mind.”
Once the curtain was lifted, practice became a nice free for all scrimmage. Team black- Wright, Cousins, Head, Greene, M. Landry. Team white- Casspi, Thompson, Jeter, Crawford, Atchley. Cousins jumped an inbounds pass and went coast to coast for a spectacular dunk. The action was back and forth but team black seemed to come out ahead.