I caught up with rookie Charles Jenkins, who is in his native New York working out, often playing with his buddy Kemba Walker, the former UConn star drafted No. 9 byCharlotte.
Jenkins, who the Warriors happily selected in the second round in June, said he is working on every part of his game. But he did single out one part.
JENKINS: “I am working on the defensive end a little more.”
Thank Monta Ellis for that.
Last month, when the Warriors showed up 10 deep to Impact Basketball inLas Vegas, Jenkins found himself defending Ellis. Keep in mind, Jenkins played at Hofstra for four years. Last year, he was one of the best players in the Colonial Athletic Association, if not the best. Chances are, he’s never defended someone of Ellis’ caliber.
I wasn’t there, but I’m told it wasn’t pretty.
JENKINS: “You heard about that?”
Of course, few in the league can adequately defend Ellis. Most rookies, especially guards smaller than Ellis, don’t stand a chance. I think it says something about Jenkins that he was willing to take on the task and he can be honest about it afterward.
JENKINS: “It was tough. It was real difficult for me.”
Usually, those who defend Ellis well are bigger and stronger but still have the athleticism to at least keep up. But Jenkins – at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds – is roughly the same size as Ellis. Without a size and strength advantage, Ellis’ speed and quickness is usually too much.
JENKINS: “I’ve seen him play before. It’s one thing to see it. It’s another thing to experience it. But he didn’t really use his speed. He was so crafty. No matter which hand I tried to block, he would get around it.”
Jenkins said he was better for the experience and he eagerly awaits his chance to defend Ellis more in training camp. That’s why defense has become a priority for him during offseason workouts.
With Acie Law not under contract, and my guess unlikely to be retained, Jenkins has a clear path to becoming the back-up point guard (though Jeremy Lin may have something to say about that).
Jenkins is known as a scoring guard, averaging 19.6 points over his four years. He said he certainly intends on showing that element of his game to the Warriors coaching staff. But he said he’s also going to show off his passing skills. Another thing he learned inLas Vegas: the game is easier when you play with scorers.
JENKINS: “In Vegas, I had so many guys who can get buckets. I had four guys on the floor with me who you knew it was a guaranteed finish. I never had that in college. I look forward to camp. I can just find guys and you just know it’s a guaranteed bucket.