I’m debuting a new feature. You may not know that media is allowed to view the final 15 minutes or so of practice before being allowed to do interviews. After practice, preferrably sooner than today, I will fill you in on the day’s practice. Anything interesting, anything informative, anything odd, I will bring it straight to you.
Today was all about Monta Ellis. He danced with his teammates for the first time all season. He didn’t do anything especially physical. He just ran up and down the court with us and got off some shots.
Nelson: “That’s not a practice and it was very little contact. It’s probably the lightest (practice) that we do.”
As he has whenever I’ve watched him, Ellis looked excellent. Though he’s not doing much, he doesn’t look limited at all. He’s got a bounce in his step gait and, even at less than 100 percent, his quickness stands out.
Nellie: “Way better than I thought. He’s an amazing athlete. … Very encouraged … He really looked good. He’s quick. He can do things normal guys can’t do. Not many people can play at his level.”
After getting a light run in with his teammates, Ellis went back to shooting on the side. I’ve been watching him a lot, every time he’s working out and I’m there. Today was the first time I saw him struggle with his shot. Especially when he got to that 20-foot range in the left corner. He couldn’t buy one.
He probably was a bit tired from, as it was towards the end of practice. But until today, his J had been looking super smooth. You know his midrange was already solid. It has looked even better, and his 3-point stroke looks far more comfortable and fluid than it did last year.
Little used PG Marcus Williams was not at practice, and is not making the trip, because of the flu. I talked to someone from his camp. Apparently, he really has the flu and not the Al Harrington bug.
Mags hurting – emotionally
Swingman Corey Maggette lost a friend. He left the team to attend a wake and will miss the game while attending the funeral.
Slim at 4
The Warriors are hurting at PF with Brandan Wright out at least three weeks with a dislocated shoulder and Maggette on personal leave. That leaves rookie Anthony Randolph, whose just working his way out of Nellie’s doghouse, and rookie Rob Kurz, who Nellie disclosed has been dealing with knee issues. He said Thursday, Kurz looked 100 percent for the first time.
Nellie said Randolph had another good practice and he think the lesson is learned. Good bet Randolph will be back on the rotation.
Nellie: “I think we got his attention. He’s playing the way we want him to play.”
What Nellie said he didn’t want to do at the four is play Ronny Turiaf. If you remember, earlier in the year, Ronny and Andris together on the court proved to be productive. But Nellie said that tandem only works as an occasional gimmick and not as a steady plan.
Reason 1: Ronny doesn’t score well enough.
Reason 2: Ronny doesn’t rebound well enough.
Reason 3: He likes having Ronny backing up Andris, giving him what he thinks is a solidified center position.
Nellie: “I really need him as the back-up. Not saying I won’t do that (play Ronny with Biedrins). It’s been successful at times, but on a limited basis, and unsuccessful at other times because he’s just not a scorer. … When we try to overdo that and think that he can be the PF alongside Goose (Biedrins) a long period of time, it backfires.”