* Wanted to include a note about how svelte Dion Waiters looked at Thursday’s practice. He worked extremely hard over the summer to drop some weight, though he’s not sure how much, given his avoidance of weight scales. (“I hate stepping on the scales,” joked Waiters after practice. “Plays minds games with you.”)
As good as Dion’s line was, Coach Mike Brown was one better.
“It’s my job and the staff’s job to continue pushing him as well as everybody else (to make sure) that you’re ready to play,” said Brown. “And not just play one game or ten games, but that you’re ready to play 82-plus games. And (Dion)’s taken it the right way so far. And he does look good. It’s evident by the skin-tight shirts that he walks around in when he does the media.”
Coach Brown also killed it when describing the nuances of giving Waiters one of his trademark man-hugs – describing how Dion “bows up” so as not to look soft. But it’s best to check out Fred McLeod’s feature on Dion’s new look ….
* From a media standpoint, Dion Waiters is leaps and bounds ahead of where he was last year at this time. As a rookie, Waiters seemed like he felt cornered when the collective media descended on him. Now, the sophomore from Syracuse holds court.
* Russian rookie Sergey Karasev might have the ugliest-colored shoes in Camp – (every color of the rainbow yesterday, a purple/green/gold/ motif on Thursday) – but the kid might already have one of the prettiest shooting strokes on the team. He was lacing lefty jumpers from beyond the arc with an effortless motion.
He worked with fellow freshman, Anthony Bennett, who also hit more than his share of shots from long-distance. The 20-year-old from UNLV also has an easy stroke.
I asked him what range he’s comfortable with.
“I feel like I can shoot NBA threes right now, but I know I need to get more consistent,” said the laid-back power forward. “Right now, I’m shooting it just to shoot, get my stroke down. But I feel like once I’m more focused and I have my technique down, I’ll be able to knock them down eventually.”
* Training Camp invitee Matthew Dellavedova prizes his pearly-whites. The native Aussie goes with the full-blown Rocky Balboa boxer’s mouthpiece and rarely removes it.
* It wasn’t that long ago that 26-year-old Alonzo Gee was struggling through a team’s Training Camp as a rookie. Now, he’s one of the team’s elder statesmen, taking the youngsters under his wing. I asked if the rookies are coming up to him with questions.
“I mean, I go up to them: ‘Do you understand this? Do you understand what’s going on?’ (They’ll say): ‘Yeah.’ Then I still try to explain: ‘Be at the nail, be on help-side, just talk, say what position you’re in.’”
Who were some of the vets who helped Gee in those early days?
“I was on a lot of different teams, but Antonio McDyess – he’s an Alabama guy,” said Zo. “He took me under his wing. He looked out for me. All those guys on the Spurs were pretty good. When I went to the Wizards, I had Mike Miller there, he looked out for me. Randy Foye, he was there as well. Then I came here to Cleveland. We weren’t doing so well back then, but the team played hard and stuck together.”