The desert sun beats down on the UNLV campus as doors to an auxiliary gym open. A cool, air-conditioned breeze rushes out and players, coaches and staff file in for the first practice of 2019 NBA Summer League.
2018-19 NBA Equipment Manager of the Year and Director of Team Operations Max Reza and his team usher in OGIO bags to the gym with treatment equipment, shoes and basketballs. The equipment is fresh off the team truck that made the trek from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
“Every year, we drive to Summer League in our equipment truck because of how close Los Angeles is to Las Vegas.
Once all of the bags are tagged and loaded onto the equipment truck, we depart Los Angeles in advance of the team so that all of the personal luggage bags are delivered to our players, coaches, and staff members’ rooms before the team even arrives in Las Vegas.
After we’re done sorting and delivering all of our bags, we’ll pull the practice loops for our players and lay them out in the training room. The players will come by and pick up their practice loops from the training room the next morning.”
HERE WE GO! Agua Caliente Clippers Head Coach Brian Adams and the coaching staff are upbeat during practice, pushing the pace of drills and perfecting the execution of plays and the game plan.
The group huddles at half court at the conclusion of practice — Clips on three… one… two… three… Clips!
In another gym on the UNLV campus a collection of vets arrive for an impromptu player organized workout including Patrick Beverley, Montrezl Harrell, Rodney McGruder, Ivica Zubac and Landry Shamet.
The group hits the weight room and then to the gym to get shots up, run drills and work on half-court sets. Second year guard Landry Shamet works the pick and roll with Ivica Zubac and tosses it to the corner for a Rodney McGruder three.
“I think it just goes to show we are all locked in. We have the right leadership and the right personnel to do something special this season, so it’s important to take it upon ourselves to get into the gym together as much as possible leading up to training camp and the season.“ said Shamet.
The “off-season” they call it… the switch to improve is always on.
The Strip strobes with flashing LEDs, advertisements, car lights as the sidewalks rush with tourists. It’s night time in Las Vegas and that can only mean one thing — basketball.
The Summer Clips sit idly by in a Thomas & Mack Center vom looking on at the game before theirs awaiting its conclusion. You never know who you’re going to see at Summer League, whether it’s Lou Williams, Doc Rivers and Jerry West sitting courtside or Vince Carter passing through.
The previous game concludes and the players take the court looking to showcase their talents in front of veteran players sitting courtside, coaches on the bench and scouts in the crowd.
Mfiondu Kabengele impresses on both ends of the floor, snatching rebounds out of the air, blocking shots at the rim, dunking in traffic and showing some range beyond the arch. Kabengele finished Summer League averaging a near double-double with 17 points and 7.8 rebounds.
The number 48 pick in the 2019 Draft Terance Mann takes on the point guard position during Summer League, a place he’s found success this summer, almost notching a triple-double with 15 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists against the Washington Wizards.
The final buzzer sounds, postgame handshakes commence and the day is almost done. Players file into their locker room, grabbing a seat on a folding chair next to their belongings, icing up, undoing tape and cracking jokes. Coach Brian Adams gathers his staff to collect thoughts and critiques from the game to deliver to the team.
Coach Adams addresses the team “I really like the effort from everyone. You guys put it all out there. This was a special week for me and I want to thank everyone. You guys are awesome. Your spirit. Your energy. I really appreciate it. Love all of you.”
Clips on three… one… two… three… Clips!
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