You are fit enough to play for the Clippers if...
That you need to be in outstanding physical condition to play in the NBA is no secret. But should you be at all curious as to what that means in practical terms, Clippers Coach and General Manager Mike Dunleavy laid it out Monday afternoon, speaking at the team's news conference to introduce recently acquired swingman Rasual Butler.
"We do a three-man weave, which is three passes down, three passes back, 10 layups in 60 seconds. You need to do that three times. I know for the last 30 years- I did it as a rookie- that if you can do that, you're in shape," he said. "It's kind of old school. Forget about all the different techniques and apparatuses that you use to do whatever it is you're going to do. Bottom line is it's on that court, and it's running. You do it for time, and if you can get that time done I will bet you you're in shape."
For the record, I cannot do that. I am a shape, but not in shape.
But as long as I can type without panting (Check!) I'm good to go. For the LAC, the fitness of their team is no small issue. "Last year, I don't think we ever got to it with some of our guys. Period. From the first day of camp on, I don't know if we ever got to that," Dunleavy said. The team was ravaged by injuries before the season started, and things didn't improve from there. Baron Davis played 65 admittedly awful games. Chris Kaman suited up for 31, Marcus Camby 62, Ricky Davis 36. And so on. Not all of that can be attributed to players starting the year out of shape- basketball is a physical, rugged sport wherein players can be injured in myriad ways having nothing to do with fitness- but given the spotty health history of some of the team's big guns they can't afford to give anything away.
That which can be controlled must be.
"Guys," Dunleavy said, "have the onus on them to get it right."
Photo: Mike Dunleavy disagrees with an official's call at the Staples Center on November 29, 2008. Photo credit: Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times.