John Schuhmann of NBA.com wrote:Today's feature is about LeBron James. I've mentioned already how he likes to tease his teammates a bit and is somewhat of a goofball, but the one thing that I noticed early on this week is that he has taken on more of a leadership role since the last time I was in the gym with this team (last year).
The goofball stuff has all been before practice really begins, when the team is shooting around or stretching. But once they really get started, LeBron gets serious. He's doing all the drills at full speed, his voice can be heard all practice long, and he's working his butt off.
It's great to see. And then you realize that Chris Paul and Dwight Howard are the only guys younger than him in the gym.
Today's practice was short and consisted mostly of two-man drills (pick-and-rolls, pick-and-pops, pick-and-slips, etc.) within their offensive sets, as well as some defensive positioning drills. Nothing exciting to write about, but essential stuff to build around.
There was a much bigger media presence at today's practice than there had been the previous two days. It looks like the local (and some not-so local) journalists are gearing up for the games tomorrow and Friday.
One photographer had a t-shirt with a photo of Kobe receiving his MVP award on it, a shot the photographer took himself. Not surprisingly, Kobe liked it.
We've talked about it in this blog quite a bit already, but there are certain (non-American) media members here who are focused on the number of bigs on the U.S. roster.
Chris Bosh: "Look at every other country, and if they have more big guys than us, I'd be surprised. Everybody has three big guys.
"Three guys is plenty."
Dwight Howard: "Look around at the rosters. Teams don't have a lot of big men. They have a lot of small power forwards. I guess now it's about how tall you gotta be. But it doesn't really matter. It's about how you play."
More on the bigs below.
Also in the building today: Sam Perkins, Willis Reed and Dominique Wilkins. They chatted with Coach K, Nate McMillan and Johnny Dawkins as the players stretched before practice.
'Nique looks like he could still play.
Dawkins too. The guy is still as skinny as a rail, and in a drill where the bigs were working on help defense, he fooled one of them with a slick crossover.
Carmelo, J-Kidd and D-Wade had a three-point shooting contest after practice, shooting from seven spots around the arc, with the first to 10 makes at each spot declared the winner. 'Melo was definitely the overall winner, but I think Kidd actually won a spot from the right wing. Really.
After the contest, 'Melo stayed on the floor for some extra shooting. It's not mentioned often, but he's got one of the prettiest (and most fundamentally sound) strokes in the game.
There is a video in the blog entry with footage of the team arriving Macao and footage of their first day of practice. There's no link otherwise I'd post it.