Truth can go AWOL in Blazer Practice

Discussion in 'Portland Trail Blazers' started by Shapecity, Oct 21, 2005.

  1. Shapecity

    Shapecity S2/JBB Teamster Staff Member Administrator

    Jan 30, 2003
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    Portland Tribune

    <div class="quote_poster">Quote:</div><div class="quote_post">You may have noticed there was a bit of a spat during Trail Blazer practice this week. Apparently Zach Randolph and the coach had a little problem, with the player being expelled from the workout.
    First, I?d like to point out that these things will happen when you have a group of players who are unfamiliar with discipline. There will be some rocky moments as Nate McMillan settles in with his new team.
    But the real point of mentioning it here is that whatever happened during that practice, we?re not likely to ever hear the full story. And that?s because, for years, NBA practices have been closed to the media and the public.
    Oh, sure, media people still go to ?practice.? But in today?s world that means the last 30 minutes of a 21⁄2-hour workout. The last part consists mainly of free throws, conditioning drills and other harmless pursuits. This part of the practice is a brief charade ? a trailer for a movie that may or may not be what?s advertised.
    You may even see something like the McMillan-Randolph spat happen ? but you won?t know the practice-long context of it.
    These ?practices? are dog-and-pony shows, taking me back to the days when I was covering college basketball and players on the team once begged me and another reporter not to come to watch practice. ?Coach changes when you guys walk in,? they said.
    But I?m not sure coaches profit from barring people from practice. Seriously ? what are these guys hiding? You know we?re certainly not going to be selling secret plays on the Internet. The scouting in the league is so intense, there really are no secrets anymore.
    When Jack Ramsay coached in Portland, the Blazers practiced at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center. There was always a set of bleachers pulled out so media ? and even members of the MJCC ? could watch practice, start to finish.
    Ramsay always believed that having spectators on hand sparked his players to play harder. ?These guys have a great sense of pride,? he told me. ?They don?t want to be embarrassed in front of anyone, even in practice.?
    For seven seasons on the Blazer beat, I didn?t miss a practice. And it was worth the time. I had a chance to learn who knew the plays and who didn?t. Who responded to coaching and who didn?t. Which players cut corners and which ones didn?t. And I learned how hard it is to coach NBA players.
    I think Ramsay ? and Mike Schuler and Rick Adelman, who followed him and also held open practices in those days ? had enough confidence in what they were doing that they wanted the media there. One coach of another NBA franchise once told me, ?I want people there to see what I have to put up with.?</div>


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