Keeping in mind that I arrived in Richmond from DC at 11:25, the only thing I saw the team doing was running through Flip's offensive sets. No defenders. Just five guys running through pick and roll plays, screen plays, post plays, etc.
Randy Foye spent the entire time I watched playing as a point guard. When I asked Flip Saunders about it, he said that while Foye's role is likely to evolve as training camp and the season progresses, "right now, we're playing him at the 1 to give him an opportunity to learn that spot."
Gilbert Arenas reportedly looked good during the scrimmage, with the only limitation being a jammed finger that didn't really seem to be bothering him. He wasn't made available after practice, but others spoke pretty glowingly about him.
Saunders said Arenas been through every practice and scrimmage thus far without any ill effects, adding that "one of the main comments that came out from our meeting afterwards with the coaches was that they didn't realize how well he can really see the floor, push the ball and create."
Antawn Jamison said Arenas is "trying to dunk on people. I don't know where that came from." Jamison added that Arenas "has that bounce to his step. He has that confidence, cockiness. That's something we haven't seen or heard from the last couple seasons."
Brendan Haywood was the only person who didn't go all ga-ga over Arenas' performance, but even he admitted Arenas looked pretty good. "It's been real early, so I can't say that 'Damn, he looks like the same Gilbert Arenas,' but he's looked very good so far and I'm happy with what he's done."
Dominic McGuire said he's been placed at the shooting guard, small forward and power forward positions at different points in camp, but added that "it's not too hard" to pick up all the responsibilities.
Flip on McGuire: "I felt how he played last night [was] the best I've seen him play. He's a structure-oriented player. When he knows what his role is and what he can do, he plays at a very high level." Am I the only one who's wondering why Flip seems to be running him around in a zillion different positions then?
Flip's motto has been positivity, so I found it particularly striking that he had something slightly negative to say about JaVale McGee. "His biggest thing is, when he gets a little tired like anyone does, you mentally become a little shut down and don't react quite as well. Your mental alterness goes down a little bit," Saunders said. "I think [JaVale] played extremely well early last night and got tired and lost a little bit down the stretch." However, Saunders did say McGee "played well" and has "done everything we've asked."
Speaking of McGee, Haywood continues to give him tough love. "I'm not really worried about showing him anything," Haywood said, in response to a question about what he's been doing to help McGee. "He's a professional. Once you get to this level, you go to worry about himself. I think he's making strides, [but] like I said, he just has to do what he has to do. It's more on him than anybody else." I hope Haywood realizes that type of treatment is pretty similar to how Eddie Jordan treated him.
What does Antawn Jamison think is the biggest thing in picking up Flip Saunders' offense? "It's just understanding terminology," Jamison said. "Being in the spots is easy, you just got to know the terminology [so that] when he calls something out, you gotta know where you gotta be." Jamison added that "it was more difficult learning Eddie [Jordan's] system than it was learning this system."
I've been told that the coaching staff will be administering pop quizzes based on what plays were uploaded to the iTouches in a given day or week.
Comcast SportsNet's Chris Miller joked that Assistant Coach for Statistical Analysis Ryan Saunders, Flip's son who came up with the idea of administering the players iTouches, should get a raise if the move results in better player performance. Saunders' reply? "They all want one, don't they?"
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