Thursday, February 22, 2007

Now Let’s Talk About Practice

(Boulder-CO) I have to admit it was a little bit different than I expected it to be. When I arrived I was greeted by a friendly security officer and had to sign in as a “Guest”. After being cleared I took a short elevator ride up to the practice facility. I had no idea that there was an entirely different gym in the Pepsi Center where the Nuggets practice, (I guess I always suspected they had an off location practice facility), but there certainly is. After stepping out of the elevator I had the opportunity to meet and chat briefly with Mark Kiszla and Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post, and Aaron Lopez of the Rocky Mountain News before the final twenty minutes of practice was opened up to media types.

Once inside I got a glimpse of a live practice. AI and DerMarr Johnson were working on their perimeter shot. Each would shoot until they missed as a coach would feed them passes and then switch after a miss. Nene was on a different basket working on his post moves and Yakhouba Diawara and ex-University of Colorado forward Jamahl Mosely, (a player development assistant), were playing a modified game of one-on-one on their own goal. On the opposite end of the gym, Linas Kleiza and Steve Blake were working on their deep ball. I expected to see much more team oriented stuff, but maybe that took place before hand.

As for any commentary… It may seem obvious to say this, but Allen Iverson is serious about his jump shot. After making six, seven, or eight in a row, usually never touching anything but the net, a miss would come off the rim and Iverson would growl in displeasure. I was thinking to myself, “Damn, you just dropped however many straight, take it easy”, but I guess that type of work ethic is why he is going to be considered one of the best players ever to play the game and I’m banging away on a keyboard right now.

His shooting mate DerMarr Johnson was also impressive. DJ’s services are definitely going to be a hot commodity in the next month with J.R. Smith out with the knee injury and I think that Johnson knows it. DJ’s three was dropping consistently from the corner and the top of the arch and if he can translate what I saw today into tomorrow’s game. The Nuggets will feel his much needed relief at the guard position.

As practice ended Marcus Camby and George Karl addressed media, but unfortunately I was not permitted to take a sound byte. My contact felt it would be better for me to just get a feel for my first practice rather than to jump in head first. And due to my journalism ethics, I am not going to paraphrase what was said because I do not have the proof of such statements. I apologize for not doing so, but trust me when I say it is for the best.

As I was leaving I had the chance to be introduced to Assistant Coach Adrian Dantley. I told Dantley about my Historical Glimpse dedicated to him and wished him luck this year with the Hall of Fame. AD is one of my favorite small forwards of all-time so to final meet him, shake his hand, and express my sentiments to him was something that I will always remember.

In a final note, I have to extend a big “Thanks” to Director of Media Relations Eric Sebastian for giving the green light to my contact and allowing me to attend practice. Hopefully I made the professional impression I set out to and said impression will result in further opportunities to get behind the scenes with the team. Until then, Go Nuggets!

7 comments:

Seth said...

Sounds fun. Did you snaggle me a sock?

Nugg Doctor said...

I didn't see Eduardo (He could have been in the weight room with Melo), but I will definately keep that sock in mind if the opportunity presents itself.

Thanks for reading,

The Nugg Doctor

Natalie said...

Nice......

TheHype said...

Good job! Can't wait to see future installments!

(ooh how I would love to have a pay-per-view of AI and Arenas having a shooting contest broadcasted...)

btalk said...

I was wondering what kind of "vibe" you got about team unity? Were you able to get a feel for chemistry? I realize the Nuggs were working in pairs but was there an air of working together for a common goal? Who stayed after on their own? Pleas tell me you saw Evans shooting free throw after free throw!!!

Nugg Doctor said...

btalk,

The vibe I got was that everyone was working really hard. I do feel that today was a major work day. Guys were lifting in the weight room, sneakers were chirping on the wood, and guys were really focused. I can say this though, Yakhouba was the last guy off the floor and was working up until the last of us cleared out.

Thanks for reading,

The Nugg Doctor

nanananana said...

Nugg Dr! That is super fantastic! What a treat for anyone to have that opportunity and experience. I imagine your excitement and joy of it all. Will you have more opportunities? Of all the ones, to get to address A. Dantley in person, what a treat! Congrat's to you with more to come I am SO sure! Nice going...