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CLIPPERS FYI

Marcus Camby is impressed by Blake Griffin's attitude

No. 1 pick wants to be on the court. Former No. 2 overall pick knows what he's going through.

October 02, 2009|Lisa Dillman

Look at it this way:

The Clippers' training staff and Coach Mike Dunleavy are going to get in excellent shape if the first few days of camp are any indication.

How so?

Chasing after rookie and No. 1 draft pick Blake Griffin, who supposedly is limited in camp because of his injured left knee.

"He's a guy you can't keep off the court," teammate Marcus Camby said after practice Thursday. "I mean, he's not supposed to be shooting and you've got Jasen [Powell], the trainer, running out on him and telling him, 'You can't be out there.'

"Blake is huffing and puffing and he's upset."

That is mostly a good thing, an old-school attitude where so often so many players don't want to play at this stage of training camp.

This was a couple of days after Dunleavy had to bang on the glass of his office and dash downstairs at the training facility when he spotted Griffin on the court, jumping "five feet" off the floor.

"They are on him," Camby said, smiling. "That's good. It's good he has that work ethic . . . and he's very humble."

Camby, 35, has taken a certain proprietorial interest in the rookie, and the Clippers' youngsters. In fact Camby has been having many meals with Griffin and last season's rookies Eric Gordon and DeAndre Jordan.

He joked that they use Twitter so much that he doesn't have to do so, that his whereabouts are constantly being updated.

But his link to Griffin is more like the High Draft Pick Club.

Camby understands the pressure of going high in the NBA draft, and the accompanying expectations. He was selected second overall by the expansion Toronto Raptors in 1996. Allen Iverson went first to the Philadelphia 76ers.

That draft, of course, was one of the best in NBA history, with Kobe Bryant going 13th.

This June's draft was not considered an especially deep one, and Griffin was long ago projected as the top pick.

"I just told him that I was the No. 2 pick and he was the No. 1 pick, so I know about all the pressure and the hype," Camby said. "And then being in L.A. and coming to a Clipper organization which hasn't had a lot of success and coming from the season we had, I said not to put a lot of pressure on yourself."

As for Camby, his presence with the Clippers goes against the conventional wisdom having him traded seemingly every other week last season.

"I know I was a wanted man last year," said Camby, who is in the last year of his contract. "I haven't heard those talks [lately]. My preference is to stay here.

"The best thing now I see is guys are playing hard, playing together and playing for each other, which is a good sign after last year. Guys know what we went through and everybody to a man spoke up and said: 'We don't want what happened last year happening this year.' So far so good."

Injury update

Backup point guard Sebastian Telfair, acquired from the Timberwolves in July, suffered a left mid-foot sprain early in the morning session.

He is listed as day-to-day and X-rays were negative.

The injury occurred when Telfair stepped on a teammate's foot during a fastbreak drill. Griffin and free-agent forward Taj Gray (knee) remain sidelined.

--

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

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