Crawford wins, McMillan preaches that it's uncool to be cool: Blazers practice report
The newest Blazers look solid in their first workout while Nate McMillan lectures the younger players
Saturday, December 17, 2011
TUALATIN, Ore. — Jamal Crawford is now 2-1 as a Blazer. In his first workout with his new club, the 31-year-old helped lead the third unit to two wins in three tries against the starters Saturday morning.
Crawford was teamed with fellow newcomer Craig Smith, Armon Johnson, NBA Development League player Jeff Foote and "someone else," as Crawford said. But that was enough for the "red team" to earn two victories.
Obviously, there is no significant conclusion to draw from such scrimmage results, just as it is clear that Crawford will not be part of the third unit once the season begins. But if anything can be taken from Saturday, it's that Crawford and Smith will not take long to acclimate to their new surroundings.
"Seamlessly," said Crawford, when asked if he's going to blend in well with the Blazers. "I haven't done a 5-on-5 in a while. It was really interesting and fun to be out there...I've been welcomed with open arms."
But Crawford's interactions with one new teammate has been particularly unique. Luke Babbitt wore No. 11 last year and expected to the same this season. However, given how Crawford, an 11-year veteran of the league, has donned that same number for about half of his career, well...a discussion came up.
Babbitt now sports No. 8, although it came with an undisclosed price.
"Luke could be a lawyer," Crawford said. "It was tough to get. He drove a hard bargain."
NOTE TO YOUNG PLAYERS: DON'T BE 'COOL'
The question posed toward Blazers coach Nate McMillan seemed innocent enough.
Was there anything that you liked about last night's scrimmage?
His answer didn't make it seem like there was much to appreciate.
"That I liked?" McMillan said. "That no ice bags on the floor, that (trainer) Jay (Jensen) didn't have to run out to the floor."
After Saturday's practice, McMillan could be seen dissecting game film of Friday night's scrimmage at Fan Fest. He said that the younger players didn't play well together and were thinking "me, me, me."
"They have to understand that for them to get out on the floor, cool basketball isn't going to get it," McMillan said. "Sometimes you can get lost in what you need to do."
LaMarcus Aldridge took part in his first practice since training camp open. He participated in some three-man weave and 5-on-0 drills, but nothing that involved contact.
He said he was pain-free, is hoping to partake in a full practice Tuesday, and aspires to play in the Blazers' second preseason game on Wednesday.
Matt Calkins can be contacted at 360-735-4528 or email@example.com