Fantastic Lionel Hollins interview

This is a really great interview with Lionel Hollins in which he is extremely candid with his thoughts about basketball,  his players, and other stuff. While reading it I couldn't help but think of a number of parallels between what he was saying/observing and our squad. I highly suggest you take 15 minutes and read through it, but I've posted some interesting excerpts below.

Also, any bolding or italics you see are not original but are my additions (things I think pertain to us).


Makes me think of the Wall/Turner debate (among other things - Al Jeff too), and ultimately why Wall might be better than Rose:

GC: He’s [Rudy Gay] been in the league longer than Kevin Durant, longer than Derrick Rose, and yet those guys seem to be elevating their franchises in a way that, with Rudy, it’s still, let’s wait.

LH: Well, you’ve got two different talents there. Derrick Rose is a point guard but he’s basically a penetrator/scorer and he’s been that way his whole life. Durant has been a 30-point scorer his whole life. You know, Rudy has been an athlete his whole life. There’s a big difference in all of that.

GC: And yet we’re saying that Derrick will continue to be what he’s always been, that Durant will always be a 30-point guy, yet Rudy the athlete will become something other that what he’s always been?

LH: Durant led the league in scoring. He probably led his fourth grade team in scoring, too. He led Texas in scoring. He’s always been a guy that could shoot the ball and score. And so his growth is going to come outside the scoring. He showed that this year with his shot blocking, his rebounding, his passing. That’s all going to get better. Derrick Rose has improved his shot. He’s improved a little bit on making other guys better but that’s not his game and that’s probably why he’s struggled a little bit with how far Chicago has gone, that’s just my opinion. Whereas, Rudy has just been one of the guys and when the game goes up and down he excites you. When it’s a half-court game he doesn’t excite you, but he’s getting to the point where even in his half court play, he’s getting better at it. When you’re young, your focus is real narrow and it’s usually on you. Versus seeing what the team needs and when it needs it. The guys who are super duper stars, they have that vision at a younger age.

[This made me think of the Al/Love debate, and even about Jonny Flynn:]


GC: It’s exacerbated by Mike’s physical limitations. You have two guards right now who are, combined, on the low end physically. O.J. is small for his position and Mike is small for his position. Can you win that way?

LH: Can you win with Derek Fisher?

GC: If you’ve got Kobe.

LH: We were talking about Mike Conley first of all, but now you’re expanding it. So let’s expand it even further. Are we overmatched at the 4 position athletically? Are we overmatched at the 5 position? Yeah.

GC: So what do you do?

LH: We’ve got to go get better. If you go back to the Detroit Pistons before they became the Bad Boys, I happened to have played with them. (Bill) Laimbeer, Kent Benson, Kelly Tripucka, every night, were overmatched. What did they do?

GC: They got Isiah?

LH: Nope. They had Isiah already. They went and got John Salley and Dennis Rodman and those guys blended in and became the athleticism that helped balance their team. That’s what it’s about, you don’t have to get a guy to replace a guy, you’ve just got to get guys that can help. You go back and look at the Lakers when they beat Philadelphia and Allen Iverson. The guy that was a big part of them winning that championship was Tyronn Lue. All he did was chase Allen Iverson all over the court for 48 minutes and made the guy shoot 38 percent.

GC: But you just said that you’re overmatched at the 1, the 2, the 4 and the 5. At the 3, there may be other issues. Don’t you need guys who don’t just come off the bench to play that role of chasing people, but people in the starting lineup? [Sound like us, anyone?] Dennis Rodman was on the court all the time. John Salley was on the court much of the time.

LH: Neither one of them were starters. [Kevin Love, anyone?]

GC: A lot of minutes. Dennis Rodman played a lot of minutes.

LH: Whether they played a lot of minutes or not, they balanced the team out. Dennis Rodman eventually became a starter and then he goes to Chicago and he is the starter. The Chicago Bulls didn’t do anything until they got Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant.

LH: You see guys that are 6’2 or are 6’1 and they can never play the point. Why can’t they play the point? It’s the mentality of it. It’s the mentality. O.J. has been a scorer his whole life. Now, can he [play point] at some time in the future? That’s up to him and how he opens and grows mentally into the game. But the point guard has to make decisions for everybody else, not just yourself. The point guard has to know when to shoot and when to pass. Guys who play the two, they never think like that. They think the next shot is their shot.

[This is part of a really interesting exchange about whether Thabeet was a bust, about passing on Jennings and Collison. Well worth reading the whole thing to get an NBA HC's perspective on these kinds of issues vs. our cherry picking point of view].


LH: And you don’t think that Hasheem contributed to us winning?

GC: In one or two games.

LH: That’s all? Just one or two?

GC: He was barely on the court.

LH: But even in those minutes that he was on the court, he changed momentum and affected other teams.

GC: You sent him to the D League.

LH: And you know what? I guarantee he won’t be the last guy. You know why?

GC: Because it worked?

LH: Right. Right! That’s all it was, was PR. In fact, Chris (Wallace) didn’t want it, Heisley didn’t want it.

GC: Because it looked bad.

LH: It looked bad.

GC: But it was clearly the smart thing to do.

LH: I mean, the guy needs to play. And if we were a 16-win team, he would have played 30 minutes a night. [Flynn, right?] And he would have had six or seven or eight rebounds, he would have had more blocked shots.

GC: Here’s the other thing that bothers people about Hasheem. They don’t get the sense that he wants to be great. From the outside, he seems to take a very casual approach to the game. Even you have questioned his intensity at different times.

LH: We have the same issue with the majority of our team. [Seriously?! I find this answer incredible, but probably true. Makes me appreciate what Turner and Wall might bring to the table, as both seem super competitive and with enough internal motivation and desire to be great. Also makes me think of Love vs. Al's workout plans for this summer. OK, back to Lionel:] It’s the new wave of player. It’s not as important to these players anymore. They’re already going to get paid. They’re going to get a second contract before they’re the player that they’re going to be. So what’s the motivation for you to go out there and bust your (butt) extra? We set up times before practice for guys to work and we set up times after practice for guys to work. Why do we have to set times? Because none of them will be in gym once that two-hour block of practice is over. They’re not going to come early unless you make them, they’re not going to stay late. That’s the whole group, that’s around the NBA. There’s very few where you see guys like LeBron is in the gym four hours before a game. That’s the exception, that’s not the rule. We’re dealing with a whole new group of young people who think they’re entitled to stardom and money just because they’ve gone through the process. And it takes a few years to get them to play together and understand it’s not about your numbers or his numbers but about the team’s wins and losses and going out there and playing every night.

This answer made me think straight up of Kevin Love:

LH: I just don’t think that a lot of these players have any idea what respect is. I gave [Iverson] his respect. He didn’t think I did. He said I never talked to him? He didn’t want to talk. Just like Jamaal Tinsley. Jamaal’s people would call up and say, “You’ve got to talk to him, he’s struggling, he doesn’t know his role.” I’m like, “that’s BS.” He didn’t want to accept his role. That’s when they go out and start talking that crap. I’ve been a player, I know how guys react. It has nothing to do with whether they’ve being communicated with, whether they’re being coddled, whatever.

There's more, but you'll have to read it for yourself. Any thoughts? Stuff you disagree with?

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