Points in the Paint

» September 30, 2009 9:13 PM | By Brandon Hoffman
  • Michael Lee has some follow-up to Flip Saunders handing out iPod touches bearing his 250-page playbook:  “On the second day of training camp, players again echoed Antawn Jamison’s sentiment that the new iPod Touches that Flip Saunders gave them before camp were awesome. Saunders credited his son, Ryan, the Wizards assistant coach for statistical analysis, for coming up with the idea to place video and diagrams from his 250-page playbook on the high tech devices. ‘Players are in that age right now, where they love an iTouch or whatever,’ Saunders said. ‘Talking to the players, they’ve all gone through it a lot. It’s another resource for them, besides having a playbook. They can see video. They can see the plays on paper. They can see a lot of things.’ Saunders told his players in the summer that he planned on doing it, but it still caught some of guys off guard when it really happened. ‘I was surprised. It was an expensive gift,’ Caron Butler said about the iPods, which retail at about $200 a pop. You factor in 14 of them and it was a pretty nice investment to spread Saunders’s message. Saunders will pass along updates throughout the season, and keep players on their toes from time-to-time with surprise entries, from what I understand. In addition to watching the players, Butler said Saunders has planned out the entire schedule, from traveling, bus rides, flights, all the way through June. Yes, June.”
  • Two days into training camp, Kevin Garnett is singing the praises of Rajon Rondo: “I’m telling you, man, he’s looking great. To me he’s the best looking person in here, and we have some (good looking) people from Ray (Allen) to Rasheed (Wallace) to Big Baby. Lester (Hudson) looks good. (But Rondo) looks razor sharp. If you were to slide down Rondo right now you’d probably be cut. Seriously, he looks that razor sharp. He looks that strong. Today he was coming down on a three-on-three and he pulled up at the free throw line, and was mad that he missed the jump shot. But he has the confidence. I love him right now. He’s salivating at the mouth right now. He’s like a pit ready to scratch. He’s on point right now. I like this cutting edge he’s bringing to the team.” Rondo reportedly spent part of the off-season working on his jumpshot with former Cleveland Cavaliers sharpshooter Mark Price.
  • On Celtics.com, KG talks about his conditioning:  “Where I’m most excited and uplifted is on defense. I’m able to move laterally, and recover when a guy makes a strong move,” Garnett said. “I can respond to that and react to that. Offense is just about mixing up schemes and getting people off balance. But it’ll come.”
  • I’ve read hundreds of articles this week, and defense seems to be the overriding focus of nearly every team in the league. From Phoenix to New York, well, maybe not New York, NBA teams are implementing their defensive foundations. According to Charles Gardner at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Bucks coach Scott Skiles “brought an impressive statistic to [his] players’ attention, saying that of the top 50 teams in defensive field-goal percentage over the past 10 years, only three did not make the playoffs.”
  • Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News:  “With a roster dramatically reshaped over the summer, Spurs training camp began on Tuesday with a heavy emphasis on teaching, but with a twist. Coach Gregg Popovich has shortened the team’s playbook and will rely on his veterans to ‘just play basketball’ more than at any time in his previous 12-plus seasons as head coach. Of the 18 players in training camp, eight are brand-new to the Spurs. Well aware that newcomers in seasons past have needed months to fully absorb the details of one of the league’s fattest playbooks, Popovich and his assistants spent much of the summer removing whole chapters. ‘It is true that guys we bring in usually do better the second year than the first year,’ Popovich said. ‘That’s been pretty steady. So because of that we really made a concerted effort this summer to cut the number of things we want them to remember offensively. We’ve cut back significantly in that regard so we can have a quicker learning curve with the new guys.’”
  • Ken Berger has a comprehensive look at the Delonte West situation, complete with quotes from Dr. Richard Lustberg, a New York based psychologist who offers some valuable insight into West’s condition:  “‘Bipolar disorder, I can’t [emphasize] how serious that is,’ Lustberg said. ‘At this stage of the game, Delonte West needs to be in treatment weekly, regardless of where he is. He needs to be speaking to a psychologist on a regular basis, and blood work needs to be taken on a regular basis.’ Though Lustberg has not treated West, he has treated numerous athletes with mood disorders and knows the common triggers and symptoms. West’s comments Monday about being ‘back to taking my meds’ rang true with Lustberg’s assessment that an interruption in medication often causes episodes like this one. ‘I can tell you right now he does not feel well,’ Lustberg said. ‘I don’t know how to say it any other way.’ One problem, Lustberg said, is that the common medications prescribed for depression and mood disorders have side effects that are crippling to athletes. They make you feel sluggish, slow you down, and often cause weight gain, he said.”

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