The first day of Blazers training camp is in the books. No major injuries to report, no big time stories, and not even a lot of “Rudy at media-day” fallout.
We’re lucky here in the Rose City to have a diligent crew of scribes following the team’s every move, which covers well for the one or two writers that have full time jobs to work around.
Here’s what happened at training camp according to those that were there to see it:
Joe Freeman of the Oregonian mentions in his piece about the state of the team at the start of training camp that it is the same five starters beginning 2010-11 that closed out 2009-10. A welcome change from one season ago. But before you get worried that the newbies won’t get a chance to prove themselves now that there are no roster spots available, Freeman added this:
No one is suggesting that the competition level will drop in training camp because the rotations are firmly established. The bench players insist they will push the starters and force them to keep their spots.
Blazersedge broke down training camp’s first day in a nice set of bullet points. Maybe the most important bullet of the early going this season is the emerging one-two punch of Brandon Roy and Nicolas Batum. During media day Batum was clear that he is interested in showcasing his offensive abilities as a complement to his defensive stopper-ness. With Martell Webster out of the equation and the starting three position, most likely, his for keeps, everyone is expecting big things from Batum. Think all the way back to 2008-09, when Batum was a rookie nobody had every heard of. Who was the first person to give him his blessing as the Blazers starting small forward? Brandon Roy. Starting to get a clear picture of what’s going on here? With Roy and Batum, Portland might have the best two-three combo in the West, and Blazersedge has the pictures to prove it.
Over at the team’s official site, they’ve supplied a transcript of Greg Oden’s comments to the media following the first day of practice. There is some good video footage over at the team’s homepage and a collection of photographs. Here’s a sample of Oden’s interview, further evidence that GO is trying to have his head in the right place before he gets his body there too:
Question: Spirit-wise, your spirits holding up pretty well? Yesterday you were smiling and today you’ve got a little smile going on.
GO: Yeah, you’ve got to. You know, you don’t want to bring no bad energy around here. You’ve got to keep on smiling. It’s the beginning of the season and I’m excited for it to start.
Oregonlive’s Blazerblog grabbed some video footage and a collection of good quotes. Brandon Roy on the two absent seven-footers:
Even though I don’t think they’re going to be playing for a while we wanna make sure that they’re still around the team and going through drills. It’s just always fun to see everybody healthy.
Training camp rolls on for the rest of the week, with Fan Fest happening this coming Friday. Stay tuned, because I’m sure there will be plenty of stories every day. If this photo is any indication of what’s going on with the Blazers there could even be a sequel to Rudy’s media day video in which he claims that the whole “wanting to go back to Spain” thing was just a joke.