I imagine a lot of you tuned in to the NBA.com Real Training Camp stream of today's practice. For those who didn't, you will be able to check it out on NBA.com after it airs on NBATV tonight at 10 p.m. I didn't get to watch any of it, but from what it seemed, they were actually showing some hoops, as opposed to just having two people talk for an hour.
Some quick notes on today:
- Today was the first time we saw a semblance of a first unit. At one point, Mike Miller and DeShawn Stevenson were rotating in at shooting guard with the starting unit of Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison and Brendan Haywood. Rick Kamla seems to think this indicates that Miller and Stevenson are the favorites to play as the starting shooting guard. I don't think this is totally fair, because Saunders continues to mix and match his units, but it certainly should give you some idea.
- Saunders himself continued to not give anything about where he's leaning at shooting guard away, joking that he'll select the starter tomorrow by "maybe rock, paper, scissors, something like that." He also pointed out that whatever decision he makes with the rest of the coaching staff tonight will have "no bearing" on who starts on opening night.
- However, Saunders may have provided a clue into his thinking when he began discussing the importance of having a strong bench. "Tomorrow's a prime example. You have a team that might bring Allen Iverson off the bench to play at 2. You might be in a situation where you'd have a better defender like DeShawn [Stevenson] matched up with him coming off the bench." It's not much, but it's something.
- Fabricio Oberto went the full duration of practice after missing some time the past couple days with a pulled hamstring, but Saunders said he's still a game-time decision for tomorrow.
Jump for more about Mike Miller's LeBron sneakers and more.
- You'll remember on media day that Mike Miller showed up wearing a pair of LeBron James' signature sneakers. Well, he still had them on today, but likely not for long. DeShawn Stevenson said that several players on the team have talked to Miller and are getting him to switch. "Me, Twan, and Caron told him about them LeBron shoes," Stevenson said. "We're off that. So he'll get it switched. I told him we already got war against them, and we play them, what, the third, fourth game? See he can't do that. It's beef right there."
- Miller's response to his teammates' prodding: "I told them that, when you're unathletic and white like me, you gotta have the lightest shoe out there."
- In all seriousness, Miller just switched from Adidas to Nike (so no Gil Zeroes). "It's no disrespect, guys. I didn't know you hated him like that." Miller said he might have to switch to Caron Butler's Nike shoes (apparently he has a Nike signature line, which is news to me). "If they're light enough and they fit my feet right, I'll do it," Miller said. "I'll go in Chuck Taylors as long as they don't hurt my feet."
- Miller continued to be a bit evasive about what happened to him last season, when his scoring was way down from previous years. "I don't think you judge a season on scoring. If you do that, then you'll think that some guys on this team will have a down year." Later, he said, "Everyone puts too much of an emphasis on scoring." It's a bit ironic, then, because last year, he was brought in to be a scorer and didn't do it, while this year, his scoring is not necessarily needed as much. Now, we're hearing as much about the other things he does as we hear about scoring.
- Brendan Haywood and JaVale McGee were playing a bit against each other on the far side of the court after practice. I didn't get a good look at what they were doing, but it's the first time I've seen them paired up working with each other this week.
- Dominic McGuire continues to stroke the mid-range jumper with proficiency, and Saunders has been noticing. The buzz around here is that McGuire is having one of the strongest camps thus far, and that's on a team with a lot of standout camp performers. "He's had a great camp," Saunders said. I said it before and I'll say it again: don't count out McGuire in this battle for spots in the rotation.
- Saunders said that while they've been running Randy Foye mostly at point guard thus far in camp, he expects that they'll give him a chance to play more off the ball in the preseason.
I'll have more on DeShawn Stevenson later, as well as a breakdown of the shooting guard battle as we stand today.