Practice? 'Answer', Sixers agreeable so far

Updated: October 25, 2004, 4:46 PM ET
By Dr. Jack Ramsay | ESPN Insider
Editor's Note: ESPN's Dr. Jack Ramsay recently spent time in training camp with the Philadelphia 76ers, who are entering their first year under new head coach Jim O'Brien. Ramsay happens to be O'Brien's father-in-law. He provides this behind-the-scenes look at what training camp entails.

DURHAM, N.C. – Training camp is the most important part of the season for an NBA coach.

It is there that he establishes his leadership role with his players; where he organizes his team game on offense and defense; where he evaluates his personnel, makes roster cuts, creates roles for individual players, and decides on player rotations.

The coach will also get a sense of the mental and physical toughness of his players and discover which ones are willing to step up in pressure situations. He knows he must make every minute of training camp count because he'll never have this much practice time again during the season.

Training camp is also where the players learn about their coach and his staff.

They'll learn how demanding they will be about punctuality, energy levels expended, and the kind of play execution that is acceptable. Players like activities to be well-organized and under control. They will get an immediate sense of those qualities in their first dealings with the coach.

They'll learn about their own responsibilities – on and off the court – and how they fit into the overall game plan.

It's an important time for them too.

Legendary coach and Basketball Hall of Famer Dr. Jack Ramsay served as lead game analyst for The NBA on ESPN Radio. He also contributed to ESPN.com and ESPN The Mag.

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