The Blazers had a low-key practice today. They huddled at the beginning and end but mostly just shot around in between. The coaches seemed to sense that the guys were tired after two games straight. Also last night's game was so funky with the missed points and all it was hard to draw real lessons about winning and losing from it.
Still, even seeing these guys shoot around reminds you of the difference between players at this level and mere mortals. I doubt there's a one of us who has not thought, after hitting 13 straight shots in a pick-up game, "Hey...I might have some real talent! I wonder..." Stop wondering. Watch a practice like this and you'll see guys who couldn't hit the ocean with a catapult in a game drain shot after shot in practice or a light scrimmage. The best shooters on the team barely miss. Add in their athletic ability to defend, rebound, and leap and you start getting into truly scary territory. Yes, even in Summer League.
Another thing this highlights is that the difference between making it into the league or not depends on small margins. A guy's a split-second slow or just a shade off on his shot rotation. Other things being equal, somebody else is going to make it. Court smarts, aggressiveness, and heart also play a role...a reality that's easy to miss when you're young.
Let's not kid ourselves. We're not looking at a dozen Brandon Roys here. But these guys can all play and they're all trying to get picked up somewhere. It'll be interesting to see how it filters out.
P.S. That Channing Frye Marcus Camby (!) trade was quite the buzz here last night. It shows the potential value of cap space beyond just signing free agents.