Thursday Summer League Practice Report

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Click through for today's Summer League practice report.  Nate talks Team USA and free agency, Bayless talks NOT working out with Greg Oden and who the best point guard in the 2009 draft was... plus a whole lot more.

UPDATE: If you would like to hear Bayless's interview in which he denies working out with Greg Oden twice, listen to this MP3 FILE.  The first question comes from Joe Freeman at :20 seconds into the tape.  The second iteration of the question comes from Kerry Eggers at 3:43. More tomorrow.

-- Ben (benjamin.golliver@gmail.com)

Notes

  • If you want to watch a brief youtube wherein Jerryd Bayless unleashes a profanity after missing a jumper and then responds by making 4 in a row, click here. NSFW language
  • You might have read last week's report that Coach K has agreed to stay on with Team USA until 2012.  I asked Blazers coach Nate McMillan whether he'd been invited back yet as an assistant coach.  Nate said...
I haven't. Coach K did re-sign. They are basically working on the staff.

If [being an assistant coach is] presented, we'll see. I'll talk to them and see what is all involved in that.

[The 2008 Olympics] was a great experience, time that we went through. The gold medal. It was an opportunity for you to get better, working with the best players, some of the best coaches, it's a great opportunity and I would certainly consider that.
  • Kevin Pritchard and Nate McMillan both stated today that they were looking to avoid making moves for the sake of making moves and that making moves don't necessarily make you better. I asked Nate whether he thought any of the teams that had already made moves had improved their chances.  His response...
You look at the teams that have made some moves... Cleveland.  Phoenix has made a decision to go a different way. It looks like Rasheed will sign with Boston. Detroit signed some free agents. Those teams' opportunities for those players are there.  

To make a move [for us]... it takes two to tango. 

Until you get on the court a lot of things look good on paper. It has to work out on the floor. I remember a couple of years ago L.A. had [Karl] Malone and [Gary] Payton and all of those guys. It looked good. It sounded good. But it didn't work out. I never go about who's grading it, who's bad. Because once you get out on the floor it's about who wants it. 

San Antonio has made some moves. But I don't think it's over. Summer is just beginning. The signing period has just started. We've got the whole summer and a lot of things won't get done till late.
  • Nate on Hedo...

"I never get my hopes up in situations like that. Until something is done. Until it's completed. There's so many things that can happen. You can't get your hopes up in situations like that. Was I surprised about that situation? No. Until a player signs that deal it's not a done deal."

  • Monty Williams on how his interview for the Timberwolves head coaching position went: "I don't know. It's not like they send you a report card."
  • Perhaps the biggest revelation today came when Jerryd Bayless stated that he had not earned a vacation this year so he's been working out all summer long... but he hadn't worked out with Greg Oden as previously reported.  Asked again by Kerry Eggers how workouts with Greg had been, Bayless stated, "I didn't work out with Greg at all. I don't know where this is coming from." He didn't appear to be joking.  So either he played everyone present for the fool multiple times, he forgot his team-issued talking points, or the previous reports of Bayless and Greg training together were incorrect. Bayless said he had been working out down in Arizona but did not mention working out in Ohio.
  • UPDATE: If you would like to hear Bayless's interview in which he denies working out with Greg Oden twice, listen to this MP3 FILE.  The first question comes from Joe Freeman at :20 seconds into the tape.  The second iteration of the question comes from Kerry Eggers at 3:43. I will follow up on this tomorrow.
  • Maybe the funniest moment of practice occurred when Bayless, reigning Summer League MVP, was asked whether he would be a "mentor" to his teammates.  Bayless practically giggled when replying incredulously, "most of these guys are older than me" drawing a number of laughs from the media. A check of the information packet reveals Bayless is, in fact, the youngest member of the Summer League squad, just nine days younger than Australian second round draft pick Patty Mills
  • Asked if he was looking forward to any particular matchups down in Vegas-- perhaps Ty Lawson who is playing for the Nuggets? -- Bayless responded, "I don't even know who we're playing yet." Not to put words in his mouth and not to unnecessarily hype him up more than usual, but his response came off something like, "No one is matching up with me." 
  • That brief exchange was indicative of how Bayless is stuck between the Summer League world and the "Real NBA."  He seems to be wholeheartedly embracing the opportunity to improve this summer but last year's MVP coupled with the large skill gap between himself and the rest of his teammates (he's the only first round draft pick on the roster... let alone the only lottery pick) makes things a little bit awkward.
  • Jerryd Bayless on who is the best point guard in the 2009 draft: "Jonny Flynn."  Period.
  • Bayless on Cunningham: "He has a chance to be very good."
  • Bayless of Pendergraph: "I've known him for a long time. I know what Jeff can do. Jeff is inside/out and he can shoot the jumper, he can bang a little bit. Next year hopefully he can contribute. He can bring a little bit of toughness."
  • Bayless on his approach to Summer League this year: "Run the point the whole time. Get better. Get more comfortable with the nuances of the offense. I'm going to take the open shot. If the shot's good I'm going to shoot it. Getting people involved means staying aggressive. I'm not just going to be passing the ball around the perimeter. I'm going to take the ball to the middle and try to make the right decision."
  • Bayless on running the Blazers next year if Blake were to go down and he was the only point guard left on the roster: "I'm 100 percent comfortable. I'm ready for that. Of course I don't wish anything like that to happen to Steve. But I'm ready for it -- you know what I mean."

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  • During the scrimmage drills that were open to the media, Bayless matched up against 2nd round pick Patty Mills, implying Mills would be playing a backup role at the point. I asked Nate whether any decision had been made yet on Mills' role -- whether he would backup Bayless or move off the ball into the starting unit. Nate said ultimately that would be a decision for Coach Prunty to make but he still sees Mills being used in both roles. 
  • Patty Mills looked to be a shooter, draining shot after shot from mid-range. I vote for starting him at 2 and going really small.  Why not?
  • Most of the open session today was shooting and conditioning drills. Hopefully we'll get a more extensive look tomorrow. Much more on the rooks coming tomorrow.

-- Ben (benjamin.golliver@gmail.com)

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