Thursday, June 5, 2008

A Blogger Among Men

As I mentioned in the draft workout blog, yesterday I was an invited guest at the Grizzlies workouts with Omar Casspi, Devon Jefferson and Charles Rhodes.

I felt like a fish out of water. Like a child among men. I didn't exactly feel comfortable if you get my drift.

Here I was sitting next to Chris Herrington and Chris Vernon, just a few seats away from Ron Tillery, Jarvis Greer and a slew of other well-known journalists and media personalities watching these big, young men getting put through the ringers and thinking "what the heck am I doing here?" I write a blog after all. I am not in these guys league.

I have said many times that I don't really know how to judge talent coming out of college. Well in college at least they are playing the game of basketball. What these guys did looked more like some medieval torture drill or Navy Seal training exercises. What the heck can these people determine from watching someone running up and down the court dribbling a ball as fast as they can? How can they determine who is going to be able to play in the NBA this way? I can dribble the ball up and down the court and not lose control of it with either hand AND I CAN'T PLAY BASKETBALL!

I'm serious. I couldn't make my high school team. I did make the final cut once but these guys are supposed to be slightly better than that yet watching the drills I couldn't tell you who was better among the three men much less whether or not they could make it in the NBA. They were running from drill to drill, alternating from a rapid fire shooting exercise from the perimeter, to one on one 'contact drills' which was an understatement to say the least. Professional wrestlers don't make as much as much contact as these guys did.

And it never really slowed down. One drill ended and another began and I was trying to see something that would make me say 'AHA. That is what I want to see in someone trying to make the Grizzlies.' It never came. Sure I saw some incredible plays by all three of the players but whether that makes them more interesting than a Casey Jacobson or Andre Brown I have no clue.

It really is more art than science. Sure guys took measurements and kept times and supposedly the players took a psychological profile test earlier in the morning but Chris Wallace, Gene Bartow, Tony Barone Jr and Sr were watching these drills intensely. They weren't chatting with the media or talking on the phone. They were watching and looking for clues from how hard the players drove the ball to how hard they charged for a rebound to how many free throws they could hit and I have no idea what they are using as a comparison and how anything I saw could help them make a decision.

Then it got worse.

The workout ended and we were told the players were now available for interviews. What they heck was I going to ask Omar Casspi who plays in Israel? Chris Herrington asked if he had to complete his military service. I didn't know he had military service. Damn what should I ask? I just stood there like a slug on the sidewalk.

What was I doing here?

When Chris Wallace came out to field questions I suddenly found myself surrounded by cameras and microphones. Probably intelligently I stepped out of their way before I was run over. They asked Chris a number of questions about the recent comments from Heisley (Mr. Heisley is free to say what he wants but I am happy with the trade and believe the team got the best deal offered), how he thought the players did (all of them worked hard and showed us a lot. None of these players were being considered for the #5 pick but all could be taken in the draft) and the such.

It was very surreal.

I want to thank Chris Vernon, Chris Herrington, Chris Wallace and especially Dustin Krugel for helping as much as possible to make me feel welcome and at ease. It didn't help a lot but it was nice of them to try. I really am not sure I belong at these events. I have nothing to add. Maybe if MemphisX or Zack were there they could garner something from these workouts but I sure didn't.

Not that I won't be back on Monday watching Kevin Love, DeAndre Jordan, Joey Dorsey and Javale McGee battling it out. I may be a fish out of water but I'm not stupid after all!

BallHype: hype it up!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

So a fan gets into an NBA workout and is as wide-eyed as a child that gets into Disney World. The Grizz really are a joke! They apparently will accept ANY attention they can get. What's next? A local, unfunny comedian serves as the opening act and then goes on sports radio in the afternoon to brag about his lame jokes and access. Geez! You do a great job, Chip, because of your analysis. Don't start acting like a groupie!

Anonymous said...

what?

Sargent said...

Chip - nice job holding your own at the workout.

And how bold of "anonymous" to slam your access...

Richard Thompson said...

Chip.

Yes, don't go all groupie on us. It's unflattering to say the least for 3Shades as well as other bloggers who don't have that kind of access.

As an avid reader of 3Shades, your blog gives as much as analysis and good journalism as any other outlet covering that covers the Grizz.

That's not to say 3Shades doesn't have its negatives because you do but the point is that your work is comparable to anyone else's.

For what it's worth.

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