One might assume that pregame drills for an NBA game follow a regular, business-like program. Certainly, many parts of warm ups follow that mode.
But there are just as many irregular, fun drills and games in which certain players will participate.
The one I spent a few minutes watching in Cleveland was a 1-on-1 drill involving Chris Mihm, Jordan Farmar, Sun Yue and assistant coach Brian Shaw. In essence, whoever is on offense gets a pass from an assistant from the perimeter (Kurt Rambis in this case) and goes at their defender. If the offensive player scores, he goes off the floor as the defensive player braces for the next guy. So, if Mihm scores on Shaw, Shaw stays on D to face Sun Yue. If Sun scores, enter Farmar to go at Shaw. If Shaw stops Farmar, then Jordan goes on defense. And so on and so forth.
It’s a fun drill to watch and play due in part to the mismatches. When would Mihm guard a point guard? How is Sun going to body up on a center? What tricks does a savvy ex-pro like Shaw use to his advantage? Why is Farmar shooting fadeaways over Mihm instead of crossing him over (because it’s fun)? Well, at least for the five minutes I watched, guess who led the group in scoring?
Sun Yue, baby. The Chinese rookie was dropping fade-away J’s, flipping in finger rolls and even pulling out turnaround jumpers.
Fun things, right?
Lakers coach and former Ohio State star Jim Cleamons is the main man in Ohio, as witnessed by the 15 tickets he gathered for various family members and friends for today’s game. Each coach and player gets two tickets to each game (it is their show, after all), and for certain road games several players and coaches won’t use their tickets. So, when someone has a particular need on the road (i.e. Chris Mihm in Milwaukee, Kobe in Philly, etc.), the rest of the crew will often chip in. Clem was the beneficiary on this occasion.
Cleamons also told me that he was quite satisfied by having Frosted Flakes and grits for breakfast at the hotel, and explained that if the Lakers get everybody involved against the Cavs, they’ll win the game. Alas, the main point here is that Clem’s the man.