NBATV runs an annual series called Real Training Camp where they send their version of MacGyver, Rick Kamla, into a location, he interviews the teams TV color guy all while broadcasting the practice for the world to see. It is a very good series and it is fun to see the different drills and points of emphasis for various teams.
NBATV always comes to Denver and this year I utilized the impressive technology I have at my disposal to record the proceedings. I have transferred the most interesting clips to YouTube and now it is your turn to view the fun.
The first video clip shows the Nuggets practicing transition defense. Once you get over actually seeing Steven Hunter running, a shocking thing to behold, and Kenyon Martin wearing his jersey like a teenage girl working it for tips at a charity carwash it is a pretty interesting video.
The drill entails four players scoring in the early offense twice and then retreating back to play transition defense against five players. The four on five forces defenders to rotate and communicate, two things that are vital for an NBA team to play even passable team defense and two things the Nuggets have not been so great at over the past few seasons.
You will probably notice the five offensive players are coaches and not other NBA players. I guess you have to walk before you run.
The second video focuses even further on transition defense. If a team scores the defense goes into “green” defense which is a ball pressure, deny the passing lanes intense defense. Once again, they are playing four on five although this time the offense only has four players and the defense has five. This allows the players to get used to trapping and working to force turnovers, although you wonder what they will do once they are playing against five players. Oh well, there is still time before the season starts to worry about that.
The third video is more defensive work, but this time focusing on half court defense. Once again the players are organized in teams of four and they are working on doubling in the post and rotating back into position. The initial pass of every possession goes into a coach pretending to be a post player worthy of a double team, he passes the ball back out and the possession goes forward from there. In the middle of the clip there is some intriguing discussion of Linas Kleiza and what role he will play for the Nuggets this season.
It is interesting to see how the Nuggets are focusing a great deal of their time on defense. This practice they really emphasized playing defense in transition and rotating all while communicating with each other. I do not think you can completely alter the personality of a team in just a few weeks, but the increased emphasis on defense will pay some dividends come the regular season.
Coming soon video of the five on five scrimmage.