A new NBA season is upon us.
For weeks now, energy has been high at the Honey Training Center and the gym has been packed with players and staff; building, bonding, preparing, and packing for the third annual training camp trip to Honolulu, Hawaii.
The Aloha State welcomes nearly 9.3 million tourists each year, offering powdery white-sand beaches, crystal clear water, beautiful scenery, fresh local catches, a plethora of outdoor activities, and for two days in October — NBA basketball.
To Head Coach Doc Rivers, this is the perfect recipe.
“It’s team bonding. Getting away from everything. Just eating together… riding the bus, it sounds trivial, but those rides are invaluable. Doing that two or three times a day, you’re just sitting there talking. That’s what happens at those things, it’s not even forced anymore, they do it on their own.”
While sunset boat rides and UTV off-roading on the countryside are for pleasure and bonding, second year man out of Wichita State Landry Shamet makes it clear, “this is a business trip.” Each practice on Hawaiian soil is addressed with a sense of urgency; not just to play, but to teach and to learn the system and language associated with it.
Come game time, the equipment truck is unpacked, players are shuttled in and a sold out crowd fills the stands at Stan Sheriff Center. You can feel the buzz of the Hawaiian fans talking, cheering, oo-ing and ahh-ing. This is a special time of year at the University of Hawaii. The rare chance to see NBA basketball in the flesh.
The team puts in two solid performances splitting a pair of games versus the Houston Rockets and Shanghai Sharks. Terance Mann mans the point in both contests and impresses on both ends of the floor, averaging 7.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG and 3.5 APG in 23.2 MPG. In the front court, Montrezl Harrell notches a team-high 17 points vs Houston and Moe Harkless goes a perfect 7/7 from the field and 16 points versus Shanghai.
As the sun sets on another training camp in Hawaii, the team heads back to Los Angeles changed in many ways. Preseason is about working on your craft, learning about your team and yourself, where you need to improve and, most importantly, building team chemistry.
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