Once inside I got a glimpse of a live practice. AI and DerMarr Johnson were working on their perimeter shot. Each would shoot until they missed as a coach would feed them passes and then switch after a miss. Nene was on a different basket working on his post moves and Yakhouba Diawara and ex-University of Colorado forward Jamahl Mosely, (a player development assistant), were playing a modified game of one-on-one on their own goal. On the opposite end of the gym, Linas Kleiza and Steve Blake were working on their deep ball. I expected to see much more team oriented stuff, but maybe that took place before hand.
As for any commentary… It may seem obvious to say this, but Allen Iverson is serious about his jump shot. After making six, seven, or eight in a row, usually never touching anything but the net, a miss would come off the rim and Iverson would growl in displeasure. I was thinking to myself, “Damn, you just dropped however many straight, take it easy”, but I guess that type of work ethic is why he is going to be considered one of the best players ever to play the game and I’m banging away on a keyboard right now.
His shooting mate DerMarr Johnson was also impressive. DJ’s services are definitely going to be a hot commodity in the next month with J.R. Smith out with the knee injury and I think that Johnson knows it. DJ’s three was dropping consistently from the corner and the top of the arch and if he can translate what I saw today into tomorrow’s game. The Nuggets will feel his much needed relief at the guard position.
As practice ended Marcus Camby and George Karl addressed media, but unfortunately I was not permitted to take a sound byte. My contact felt it would be better for me to just get a feel for my first practice rather than to jump in head first. And due to my journalism ethics, I am not going to paraphrase what was said because I do not have the proof of such statements. I apologize for not doing so, but trust me when I say it is for the best.
As I was leaving I had the chance to be introduced to Assistant Coach Adrian Dantley. I told Dantley about my Historical Glimpse dedicated to him and wished him luck this year with the Hall of Fame. AD is one of my favorite small forwards of all-time so to final meet him, shake his hand, and express my sentiments to him was something that I will always remember.
In a final note, I have to extend a big “Thanks” to Director of Media Relations Eric Sebastian for giving the green light to my contact and allowing me to attend practice. Hopefully I made the professional impression I set out to and said impression will result in further opportunities to get behind the scenes with the team. Until then, Go Nuggets!