Sunday, February 3, 2008
Day One of the Chris Webber Minicamp had come to a close, and the man himself couldn't stop smiling. At long last, he had scrimmaged with both the A and B teams, worked out alongside Baron Davis and Stephen Jackson.
And when his first real session of Warriors' run-and-gun was over, Chris Webber offered a singular rhyme for how it all went.
"It's a lot of fun," he said Saturday. "I know there's more words to describe it, but it was just a lot of fun out there. They made it fun for me, and I think I made it fun for the guys.
"I felt it click with a lot of guys."
That, of course, is the point of Golden State's five-day practice set before Webber debuts against the Bulls on Thursday. Nelson wants to log 10 hours of workout time for Webber and the Warriors to get to know to one another - and more importantly, learn to read one another.
Nelson is starting the process by slotting Webber into the Warriors' set plays, using the 6-10, 245-pounder at both power forward and center. He plans to add new offensive wrinkles that take advantage of Webber's skills - particularly his passing ability - as the team moves forward.
"He's going to be my change guy, my screen-and-roll man, my high-post guy," Nelson said last week. "Now there will be more emphasis put on (Andris Biedrins) running the court, getting down through, establishing low, on (Al) Harrington running through, getting out, extending the defense - as opposed to those guys running the screen-and-rolls.
"That'll be Webber's job when he's in the game," Nelson continued. "We're not expecting him to be in the fastbreak. I want the other four guys to run."
Nelson envisions another playmaker to run his offense through, and Webber figures to be most valuable when the Warriors get stuck in a half-court game. The coach believes Webber can play next to Biedrins or Harrington up front, and admits that some of the high-post sets currently run by the Warriors were stolen from Webber's days in Sacramento.
"First of all, he made a lot of them up, so I guess coaches share them," Webber said with a laugh. "But for the most part, that's why I'm really excited.
"I think people are looking at all the wrong things in this situation. People said why'd you come here? I said because of the way they play. I can't break it down more simply."
Said Jackson: "We needed that inside presence, as far as we can give (Biedrins) some help on rebounds and have another guy to drop into that can score and also make plays for other guys.
"C-Webb sees himself in a great position playing with us, so we welcome him with open arms and so does coach."
Nelson says Webber can start or come off the bench, skirting the issue of playing time by saying that he'll use Webber anywhere from one to 30 minutes per game.
Where will those minutes come from?
"They'll come from the big positions, 4 and 5," Nelson said. "We'll be deeper automatically, and guys like Matt (Barnes) and (Mickael Pietrus) are going to be probably be moving more to the 3, and even the 2.
"Then they'll spell Baron and Jack a little more. That's what I hope. I hope it will push everybody back a little bit."
The trickle-down effect and re-setting of the Warriors' lineup, however, won't happen until Webber actually gets back on the game court. And despite concerns over his conditioning, Webber left little doubt Saturday as to when his first game will be.
"I can run all day maybe with someone that likes to run miles in the street or on the track, but as far as doing this, up and down, it is different because you're pushing, you're pulling, you're stopping, you're going and the recovery time is different," Webber said.
"But I figure by Thursday I should be pretty good."
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