Trail Blazers Training Camp: Day One Notes And Quotes
It’s here! Woohoo! Jump up and down! Shout! Do whatever it is you do to celebrate actual structured basketball being played in Trail Blazers facilities after the long summer break. Training camp is upon us people, that means over the next eight days and into the preseason it’s time to get our minds back on hoops and warmed up for Opening Night on October 31st.
Lets dive right in, notes and quotes from day one.
Defense was the priority.
In the first workout of two days of doubles the team focused on defense. Tonight they’ll have a non-contact practice and start to instill transition offense and some of the half-court philosophy.
Lamarcus Aldridge on day one: “A lot of defensive drills, a lot of cardio type stuff, good energy in the building. A lot of defensive stance stuff, closing out, weak side, things like that... Everybody plays defense in training camp, we spent about an hour adjusting our defensive stance, doing slides closing out, so it was real tough today.”
Wesley Matthews on buying into the defense and making it fun: “Coaches and teams and schemes can come up with anything that you want as far as a defense, if we don’t buckle down and do it it’s not going to matter. You can spend 23 out of 24 hours a day trying to come up with a defensive scheme and if we don’t buy in and we don’t do it, it’s not going to work. I can tell that we’re buying in right now. You’ve gotta make defense fun, it’s gotta be fun to stop somebody, it’s gotta be fun to see the frustration on the other teams face because they can’t get off a good shot. Talking, telling, Nic telling me I can go gamble to get this ball because he has my back and I can tell LA, ‘Go hedge out hard on this screen, I got your man.’”
The three-point bell.
There’s a new addition to a wall in the practice facility, a brass bell. The bell rang out twice while the media was present triggering a curiosity, what is that for? It’s for recognition and awareness of successful three-point shooting, an aspect Head Coach Terry Stotts has expressed will be a major part of spreading the floor on offense.
Stotts on the bell: “You've gotta make 20 out of 25 threes to ring the bell. That's the goal."
It’s loud—guys are talking.
When you’re near the floor while guys are scrimmaging it’s not unusual to hear them talking to each other. What is unusual is hearing them yelling and clapping while running basic practice drills. That was the case this morning at the practice facility, a room filled with energy and enthusiasm.
Wesley on chatter: “It was a great atmosphere. Hopefully it’s not because it’s day one, the first session of day one. Hopefully we can bring that tonight, tomorrow morning, tomorrow night and sustain it throughout the season and I think we’ll be a tough team to deal with.”
Run, run, run.
The last time I saw a team run a full court layup drill was in 5th grade, and I was playing. That is until today. For the last five minutes of practice the media was able to watch every member of the training camp roster run full-court layup drills. Now when you think of a specific shooting drill you often think it’s executed for the sole reason of perfecting shooting, not this time. It was clear to all this drill was less for shooting and more for running, a demonstration that Coach Stotts intends to pick up the pace this season.