|While the Warriors are in Hawaii for the site of the 2005 Training Camp, warriors.com will be posting a daily journal of the days events. Your exclusive access to the Warriors 2005 Training Camp.||
October 10, 2005
October 9, 2005
That means little, however, when it comes to performing rookie duties during training camp.
Each of the Warriors' six first-year players - Ike Diogu, Monta Ellis, Chris Taft, Aaron Miles, Deji Akindele and Ray Young - spent plenty of time laboring on the court this past week at BYU-Hawaii. Running. Scrimmaging. Learning. But, unlike the veterans, each of the first year players also had a few additional responsibilities on their job description. There was Diogu, pulling bags off the bus and lugging them into the George Q Cannon Activities Center; next to him was Ellis, assisting Athletic Trainer Tom Abdenour with a large cart that needed to be delivered to the gym; Taft, despite suffering from a strained right groin during the early stages of camp, was still healthy enough to chase loose balls down after practice and deliver them to the team's equipment manager. And, as the team bus pulled into its resort hotel following practice each day, the familiar plea was echoed time and time again.
"Rookies, we need your help," shouted Abdenour. "All of you."
Accomplishments at the collegiate or high school level are virtually overlooked when a player reaches the NBA. It does not matter if you were the ninth pick in the first round or the 57th player selected in the second round, you should plan on a few certainties when you enter the league -- receiving a daily per diem on all road trips, a long and grueling 82-game schedule and making life easier for the veterans. All season long. .
During the first week of training camp in Hawaii, the veterans have attempted to return the favor, too. Derek Fisher, Calbert Cheaney, Jason Richardson, Baron Davis and Adonal Foyle have all been praised by the young Warriors for their willingness to teach and mentor. They have all been there before, pulling the bags and picking up the balls, and realize that the adjustment on the court for these players is extremely challenging.
"I think it is part of my responsibility to help the rookies or any young player," said Cheaney. "I had some guys who took care of me when I first entered the league and now I'm in position to do the same. Plus, we've got a great group of young players who are willing to learn and take our advice."
"I see myself as somebody who can come in and defend and rebound," said Diogu, who earned Pac 10 Player of the Year honors last season when he averaged 22.6 points and 9.8 rebounds. "We have enough scorers on this team, so I want to do the other things to help the team win."
Unfortunately for Diogu, the forward suffered a fractured fourth metacarpal in his left hand following the posting of this journal. He will miss the team’s first two preseason games versus the Los Angeles Lakers in Honolulu and will be re-evaluated by the Warriors’ team doctors when the team returns from Hawaii later this week.
Ellis, meanwhile, has benefited from the presence of Fisher, who has aided him on several occasions during training camp. The 6'3" guard has a multitude of skills, plays solid defense and has shot the ball extremely well in Hawaii. He even out-dueled former Warriors star Mitch Richmond in a three-point shooting contest after Saturday's evening workout.
"This kid is pretty good," said Adonal Foyle before practice on Sunday. "He's fearless. I've been really impressed with him."
After missing the majority of training camp with a strained right groin, Taft participated in Sunday's single session at Kuhuku High School. Prior to that, he had been relegated to working individually on the sideline with Director of Athletic Development Mark Grabow. The 6'11" center is long and athletic, which is a nice base to begin with for a player of his size.
"Aaron has played very well in camp," said Warriors' Head Coach Mike Montgomery. "He has natural leadership skills on the floor, which is a must for a point guard."
The Warriors will conclude their stint on the North Shore of Oahu on Monday with a long practice session at BYU-Hawaii. Prior to practice, the team will sit through an annual seminar with a group of NBA officials, who will inform the squad of any rule changes for the upcoming season and review many of the technical aspects of the game from a defensive standpoint (hand-checking, etc.). Following practice, the team will embark on a one-hour bus ride to Honolulu, where they will prepare for Tuesday's preseason opener against the Los Angeles Lakers.
And, you can probably guess who will be taking the bags into the hotel upon arrival.
October 6, 2005
Yes, Derek Fisher is back in familiar territory. Not with the Lakers. Not with Kobe Bryant. Instead, he's on Oahu in October with the Warriors, Baron Davis and with a squad that thinks it can be pretty special this year. Fisher, who signed a free agent contract with the Warriors last summer, has been one of the most impressive players in training camp, including Thursday's lengthy practice when he might have been the best - or second best - player on the floor. The 6'1" guard has done all of the little things Coach Mike Montgomery expects from his veteran in the early stages of camp --- make open shots, deliver the ball to his teammates and play solid defense. These are the intangibles the Warriors know that he will provide, along with the leadership that a player with three NBA championship rings can generate.
Despite the competition, Fisher and Davis are best of friends and have developed a strong sense of respect among their teammates. Davis, who has never been shy about expressing his opinion and imparting his basketball knowledge on his teammates, has been the most vocal of the Warriors in training camp. The players thrive on Davis' talkative nature and actually welcome it. During Thursday's scrimmage, Davis penetrated into the lane on several occasions and found center Adonal Foyle wide open for lay-ups and dunks. On one particular play, Foyle reacted a little slowly and was not in position to catch one of Davis' passes, which would have led directly to an easy bucket.
"Come on Adonal, you've got to be quicker to the ball," said Davis, who ranked fourth in the NBA in assists during the 2003-04 season (7.5). Less than five minutes later, Davis approached Foyle at midcourt during a break, slapped his hand and provided his positive reinforcement.
"Don't worry big fella," said the Warriors' point guard. "We'll get our timing down."
Davis' ability to communicate with his teammates has not gone unnoticed with the squad and the team's management. He simply has something special - leadership qualities, respect of his teammates, proven results, etc. - that commands their attention and does so in a most appropriate manner.
"That is what is so impressive about Baron," said Warriors' Executive V.P. of Basketball Operations Chris Mullin. "He has the innate ability to make a passionate remark to a teammate in the heat of battle and then follow that up with a pat on the back and an explanation. That is what great leaders do. I've seen him do it five times in training camp already."
"Come on Chris Taft, let me see what you have," shouted Davis from the back of the bus. "Monta, how do you 'all sing down in Mississippi? Ike Diogu, pull that iPod out of your ear and sing to us."
Unfortunately - or fortunately, as it might be - none of the rookies had the courage to provide any tunes.
Despite his failed to attempt to elicit a few notes from the newest members of the team, it's quite evident that all of his teammates and staff members are singing his praises.
"There is so much liveliness at this camp," said Mitch Richmond, the team's Special Assistant. "We did not have that last year. These guys really enjoy being around each other and I think you need to give Baron a lot of the credit for that. He has set the tone for everybody else, both on and off the court."
Both Davis and Fisher are expected to play a key role in the leadership department for Golden State this season. If the first three days of training camp are any indication, the Warriors are certainly in good hands.
October 5, 2005
They both play in the frontcourt.
They both have vast International playing experience.
They both are young and improving players on a talented Warriors team.
And, they both are inseparable.
On second thought, inseparable might be a little strong, because, after all, the two Warriors teammates did not lift weights together on Wednesday at BYU-Hawaii. Only Cabarkapa elected to remain on campus following the team's morning workout, the first of two on the second day of training camp.
"He's getting lazy," cracked Cabarkapa when asked why his best friend on the team did not join him for the lifting session. "And, I think he wanted to get some sleep."
"Those two share a unique bond," said Warriors' GM Rod Higgins. "I think it's great for both of them to have a teammate who they enjoy being around. Obviously, the fact that Andris and Zarko are International players in the NBA and living outside of their home country provides them a sense of comfort with one another."
A sense of comfort was certainly not what both players felt as the team arrived in Hawaii on Monday night. Neither Biedrins nor Cabarkapa had visited Oahu before, although Andris did enjoy a short vacation in Maui during last year's All-Star Weekend. The unfamiliar territory has piqued their interest, too. The two oversized visitors at the team's hotel resort have attempted to squeeze in a minimal amount of sightseeing between the draining practices sessions. Wednesday's short trip to the beach was intended to explore the beautiful surroundings and see if they could catch a glimpse of one of the mammoth turtles who live in the waters near the team hotel. They were 1-for-2 on their field trip, leaving without seeing the creatures of the ocean.
"I was really hoping to see one," said Biedrins. "I was going to feed him Zarko."
In addition to their growing friendship off the court, Biedrins and Cabarkapa have certainly continued to grow as players. During Wednesday's scrimmage, both players asserted themselves in different areas of the game. Biedrins had a huge impact on the defensive end, collecting any rebound in his vicinity, blocking shots and battling Adonal Foyle toe-to-toe. Cabarkapa, meanwhile, was the beneficiary of several Baron Davis passes that led to converted jump shots on the offensive end of floor. On several occasions, Davis penetrated into the lane and simply spotted a wide-open Cabarkapa for an open shot.
"It's amazing what Baron can do for a guy's shooting percentage," said Warriors' V.P. of Basketball Operations Chris Mullin. "He just finds guys."
"It is really impressive to see how far Andris has come in one year," said Warriors assistant coach Keith Smart. "He has improved so much."
Cabarkapa, who was acquired by the Warriors last January from the Phoenix Suns, will provide an offensive presence off the bench for the Warriors this season. He has regained the confidence that eluded him after suffering an unfortunate injury during his rookie season. That confidence is the result of not only the high-profile players who have helped make him a better player like Baron Davis, but also the fact that one of his best friends is always right next to him.
October 4, 2005
In his own room.
"What I like best about the NBA is that I have my own room," said the Warriors' wide-eyed 19-year old guard. "When we traveled in high school, I had to share a room with one of my teammates."
Based on his impressive play during the team's evening scrimmage on Tuesday at BYU-Hawaii, he might want to ask for the Presidential Suite. Ellis, who was selected by the Warriors in the second round of the 2005 NBA Draft (# 40 overall), nailed three consecutive jumpers late in the scrimmage and turned a few heads with a dazzling behind-the-back dribble to elude a defender at midcourt. Despite his inexperience and the fact that only six months ago he was leading his high school squad to the state Championship game in Mississippi, Ellis seemed unfazed about his initial NBA practice that included battles against the likes of Baron Davis and Derek Fisher.
"This has been great so far," he said. "It is a whole lot tougher than high school. But overall, the first day was not too tough, not too easy, just about what I expected. I'm really not nervous, because to me, this is just another level and these guys are just basketball players. Why should I be nervous? Baron [Davis] and Derek [Fisher] are my teammates. They are here to help me."
"Do you see him wearing my wristbands (one with the M.E. initials)," Elie joked during Tuesday's practice. "He knows what is good for him."
"He did a great job today," said Elie. "What I like about the kid is that he plays hard on every play. We kind of got a glimpse of what he can do late in practice with his speed and quickness. Plus, he listens to everything we say and responds with a "yes sir" to anyone who addresses him. He's very respectful."
Ellis will have additional opportunities to earn the respect of the coaching staff and teammates on Wednesday, when the Warriors will once again hold two practices at BYU-Hawaii (10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.). On the first day of the seven-day camp, the team focused primarily on teaching, defensive sets and rotations during the morning session (non-contact drills) and did more running and scrimmaging during the evening practice. Coach Montgomery has indicated that the team will follow that same outline for the majority of the camp.
At the conclusion of Tuesday's second practice, the team went through its first extended running session of camp. Mark Grabow, the Warriors' Director of Athletic Development, had the players run several sprints end-line to end-line after the team finished scrimmaging. The players labored through the necessary drills and were reminded by Coach Montgomery exactly why all of the running would be beneficial as the regular season approaches.
"We plan to run 80% of the time this season," said the second-year head coach.
October 3, 2005
Prior to putting the finishing touches on the day and turning back the covers on their beds, the entire team convened in a ballroom at the team's training camp resort, where Executive VP of Basketball Operations Chris Mullin and Head Coach Mike Montgomery addressed the squad at their annual Team Dinner. This dinner, which is standard for every NBA team the night before training camp opens, provides the staff the opportunity to welcome the players, share a few thoughts about the upcoming season and address a few team rules and regulations. Then, of course, the players have the chance to enjoy a much-deserved meal together for the first time during a new season.
Fortunately for the Warriors and Coach Montgomery, it's quite apparent that most - if not all - of the players spent more time adhering to their off-season workout regimen than enjoying additional much-deserved meals during the off-season. On the eve of training camp, several players appear to be in extremely good shape, including Mike Dunleavy, Adonal Foyle and Andris Biedrins. Foyle, for example, reported to camp in the best shape of his career. In addition to watching his diet throughout the summer, it was also revealed during Monday's team physicals that he added 12 pounds of muscle since the end of last season (best on the team). Biedrins, meanwhile, packed an additional 10 pounds of muscle on his 6'11" frame and now weighs 245 pounds. Dunleavy, who like Foyle and Biedrins, spent a lot of time at the team's practice facility during the summer, is in "great shape" according to John Murray, the team's Strength and Conditioning Coach.
Davis and the 17 other players on the Warriors' training camp roster were subject to extremely thorough physicals prior to the team's annual Media Day on Monday in Oakland. The physicals reveal not only a player's body fat, muscle mass and weight, but also include tests on just about every other part of the body (eyes, back, knees, etc.). In general, each player spends about 1 1/2 hours going through the entire physical "circuit."
The Warriors will hold the first of several two-a-day practice sessions at BYU-Hawaii on Tuesday (10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.). The campus is located approximately four miles east the team's hotel resort and serves as a perfect location to hold an NBA training camp (i.e. nice facility, privacy, proximity to hotel). Due to the remote location of the team's Oahu hotel, the players and staff are virtually assured of eating together each day during breakfast, lunch and dinner (there are no major restaurants or any form of nightlife within 45 minutes of Kahuku). This provides a great opportunity for players to bond and find out more about their teammates, especially the rookies. Plus, the Warriors realize they are in Hawaii to work and accomplish a lot on the basketball court, which this setting certainly provides.
In addition to reading about the team's training camp progress on Warriors.com, two of the club's beat writers - Marcus Thompson (Contra Costa Times) and Janny Hu (San Francisco Chronicle) - have arrived in Hawaii and will file reports each day. Additionally, Chad Ford, who writes for ESPN.com in a limited role after becoming a professor at BYU-Hawaii, is expected to attend a few practices, including Tuesday's initial session. As is par for the course during most training camps, the Warriors will allow the media to watch the last 30 minutes of the morning practice each day (from a balcony overlooking the court) and conduct interviews at the conclusion of that session. The second session each day is closed to the media.
The Warriors broadcasting crew (Bob Fitzgerald, Jim Barnett and Tim Roye) will arrive in Honolulu later this week and conduct several interviews in preparation for the preseason opener against the Los Angeles Lakers in Honolulu next Tuesday (9:00 p.m. on FSN Bay Area and KNBR 1050).