Wow - Fairly stunned at the inactivity today. I thought we had another masterful roundup working for us but only 7 responses. Wait until the season starts....
A fairly quick set of practice notes today followed by an article later tonight. Don't forget to check out www.supersonics.com for David Locke's live blog. That lucky guy gets to attend the closed portion of practice and gives some juicy tidbits from the full scrimmage. The rest of us were treated to the second consecutive day of weave drills and one interesting free throw exercise.
Robert Swift again played with the starting front court of Rashard Lewis and Chris Wilcox on the white squad but praise today went to Johan Petro. Coach Hill repeatedly commented that both Swift and Petro had shined, but Petro more so. Petro apperently displayed great athleticism and ran the court very well. The last bit of praise went to Chris Wilcox whom Hill describes as much better defensively and more assertive in the paint.
The players were noticably tired today. Body language and facial expression showed a lot of fatigue. While none were visibly much more tired than the pack a few stood out as a little bit more energized. In particular Earl Watson had a spring to his step and a wide smile that made it seem as if he hadn't been working at all. He was joined by Damien Wilkens, Rashard Lewis, and Ray Allen as guys who seemed to not notice the long day. In the case of Ray and Rashard it may be because everything they do seems effortless. In the case of Damien and Earl I am impressed with their conditioning.
People who don't think Danny Fortson has a real problem with his knee should probably note that the guy was limping like crazy as he walked off the court today. It wasn't a new injury, just the pain of his existing problems. David Locke notes in his blog that Danny looked great in practice.
The highlight of practice for me was again retired referee Mike Mathis who orchestrated the free throw drill. The point of the excercise and his instruction was that while league rules do not make a distinction between rebounding for free throws and rebounding in the course of the game the two situations are called extremely differently. Essentially referees are very hesitant to call fouls during free-throw situations. Mathis described the physicallity and increased pushing during free throw rebounding as "the law of the mighty" and advised that defensive rebounders must hold their position at all cost and offensive rebounders could get away with much more pushing to generate a lose ball. During this same drill Johan Petro failed to secure a single rebound(Mike Wilkes grabbed 4 in a row) but watching him box out Sene for position was interesting. Petro used his hips and legs to stay firmly in front of Sene and the rookie seemed to have no idea what to do. He will rely on reaching over people for a lot of rebounds this year.