Monday, October 5, 2009
McMillan Mix And Match
If you want to draw Nate McMillan’s ire, try making a distinction between the starters and bench players based off what jersey’s they’re wearing. Typically, the guys in black jerseys are the starters, with those in white jerseys comprising the second-string. But this early in the season, according to McMillan, those standards don’t apply.
“It’s not a first unit,” said McMillan when asked about Rudy Fernandez dawning a black jersey on the fourth day of training camp. “We mix up the team. Did you see where Brandon was at? I don’t think I’ve said that the black is the starting unit or the white. I was prepared for you guys coming in here. I knew you would look over and say ‘Brandon is with a different unit’ not necessarily the white unit. We’ll do that. We’ll mix up our rotations during practice and during preseason and look at some different combinations. Today we did that.”
Turns out McMillan has been doing that more often lately. The media was allowed for the first time Friday to see Fernandez play alongside Steve Blake, Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge and Joel Przybilla, the black unit, while Roy played with Andre Miller, Martell Webster, Juwan Howard and Greg Oden in the white unit, but according to Roy, today’s run wasn’t the first time McMillan switching things up.
“I didn’t do anything with the first unit since the second day,” said Roy. “I don’t even know if there is a first unit/second unit yet. I think me and LaMarcus are pretty safe. I don’t think there is a first unit/second unit. And I don’t think guys care. Guys are just competing right now.”
Roy plays so much that he’s sure to overlap with just about every rotation player during the course of the season, probably one of the reasons McMillan doesn’t keep him on one scrimmage squad for too long. He recently played on a team with Andre Miller, Joel Przybilla, Juwan Howard and Nicolas Batum and he’s sure to play with other permutations as well.
“I like it,” said Roy of the jersey swapping. “It was different because usually me and LaMarcus are always on the same team, so (Friday’s practice) was a little different. He had his squad, I had mine and it was fun. I enjoyed it. I’m just like that. Who ever you put me out there with I try to build something.
"I’m sure in preseason he’ll start different lineups because in the regular season there could be injuries. Some games guys don’t have it so coach wants to have lineups that are comfortable playing with one another."