From yesterday's Timberwolves Media Day, in addition to some great quotes from new coach Rick Adelman, there were also some pretty interesting quotes from Timberwolves players. As an aside, this group of players has to be one of the most likable in the NBA. And Michael Beasley had at least three peanut butter cookies from the spread laid out for the Wolves media.
Below the fold are quotes from Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, Anthony Randolph and the rest of the Wolves roster.
On meeting with Rick Adelman:
"It was great. We just covered the basics of what this year's going to be like. Personnel and the foundation that we already have here, and basically my role with the team, how fast it's going to go and what you expect from the team and from me through camp. Just a lot of the basics."
On playing center:
"Yeah, we talked about that. We probably met for about an hour and a half a few days ago and that was one of the things that was brought up."
On the importance of defense:
"Yes, that was actually the first thing we touched on. That's something we drastically need to improve on, myself included, especially with a young team and having a coach like [Adelman] and the staff that he's brought in. I expect that to be the first thing we touch on in practice and we should start to improve by leaps and bounds rather quickly. We definitely have the tools. It's just like anything, having the will to win is the most important thing. Even outside of basketball. So, if we have that, we'll collectively get on the same page. I know I've said that for years, but this group just feels different and different in a good way."
On new start to the season:
"It's going to be an interesting start to the season. It is a very condensed schedule and there's not going to be too much practice time on the floor throughout the season because of the schedule. We have back-to-back-to-backs and so many back-to-backs on the schedule. 66 games in I believe 130-some-odd days. Its gonna be a grind, but I think, we just have to look at it like a challenge. With our fans, with our coaching staff, with our players and the whole organization, there's kind of an electricity around this unit. Hopefully, we can use that electricity and make leaps and bounds here on the court."
There will be some things that help us and some that hinder us. With these units, even throughout the lockout, we need time on the floor to be that cohesive unit. Find that chemistry out there and get the rookies - Ricky, Malcolm and Derrick - to learn from their mistakes early on. With a couple of preseason games, that's obviously going to be tough. We're expecting a lot from them very early because they are a big part of this unit. But mentioning the 5 or 6 games in 7 nights, it is also going to help us, because we have the fresh legs and a lot of the teams with veterans it's going to be tougher on. In some ways, we need time out there to become a better team."
On Ricky Rubio:
"He can pass the sh*t out of it. Sorry, if you're live [to cameras]. I hope I don't get a fine for that. No, Ricky can really pass the ball. He's very fun to play with and the type of player who you have to be ready at all times, because that ball is coming at you from any angle. Whether it's in transition, in open court or in half court as well, you have to be ready. He's going to make a few mistakes early on, and you have to expect that, but we think he'll take this period to really grow. We're happy to have him here."
"As far as leadership goes, I did a lot of growing up this summer. I don't want people to look at me like a 22, 23, 24 year old kid anymore because that really is just a number. It's something that Rick and I talked about that I really have to step up. First and foremost, it's to show it on the court night in and night out and in practice. Then begin to be more vocal. I know the players on the team definitely respect me, and I respect them, so hopefully we can all bring it together as well. Maybe its not just one core leader, maybe it is, but we just have to get collectively on the same page. I intend on stepping into that leadership role and being a big part of this team.
I went through a lot of things with my family this summer that helped me to grow up. My mom and dad really helped me as well. Trying not to get emotional here, but, that was a big part of it as well. I wish I could touch on some of the stuff with you but some of it very personal."
On Adelman's impact on this team:
"Yeah, I mean, obviously having, correct me if I'm wrong, the 8th winningest coach in NBA history is big for us. I've mentioned it all along, he's won with a different influx of guys everywhere. He's had superstars to a team where he's lost superstars in T -Mac and Yao and took them to 7 games with the Lakers. So he's proven that he can win with a different set of guys and different skill sets and we're looking forward to seeing what he can do with this team. It's all about the challenge and that's something he mentioned throughout our meeting. I think he's ready for this and we are too."
On Chris Paul trade:
"I liked [Dan Gilbert's] Washington Generals comment. That was funny to me. But, it's interesting. I thought Chris Paul is a free agent after this year so he can decide wherever he wants to go. He could be a Laker after this year anyway. It'll be interesting to see the consensus around the league, but I imagine that a lot of people aren't too happy about it and this isn't a good way to start off the new CBA. I just thought Dan Gilbert, you know, he has a funny way of viewing things some times. That was a pretty funny comment though, regardless of who he was talking about."
Have things changed from old CBA to new CBA:
"As of right now, I think we have to let it play out more, but it doesn't feel too different at this point right now, especially talking about big name guys. At the end of the day, they'll go where they want to go and it's kind of the way of the world and the league."
On working with Jack Sikma:
"Yeah, I've met with him. I used to watch old tapes of him all the time, my dad would teach me his moves. I'm not as tall as him, but some of those things can be just as effective. Speaking of influx of guys, you know, I've worked with Bill Laimbeer, Kurt Rambis, Kevin McHale, and now to work from [Sikma], that's going to be big."
Expectations for ball to go through him:
"I would sure hope it would. Not only to shoot the ball, but as coach and I mentioned, to facilitate. Being at the high post, being able to make different reads, so the sooner we get out there and get playing together, the better, so we can start making reads and getting a feel from one another. I think it's going to be great to learn form a guy like Brad Miller who has been in this system and pick his brain for a while. I do intend on having the ball go through me a little bit to be a facilitator and get this team going in crunch time as well."
On seeing the court differently now:
"The game has slowed down for me. At first, coming out of college, obviously your mind just races night in and night out. I'm finally in my comfort zone and have become a consummate professional, that was the biggest thing for me. The NBA is a different speed and I've just needed things to slow down for me. The decision making has become a lot faster and that will only continue to improve."
On weight loss:
"To be honest with you, it wasn't a conscious thing to say, I want to lose a lot of weight or even to lose weight. In general, it was just me being a consummate professional and eating right, sleeping right, icing my legs, making sure I was getting the right work done on my body, doing the Yoga, the stretching and the strength and conditioning. That was really it. I feel good, I'm looking to get my legs back under me in this training camp. Long term, this will be a huge help for the longevity of my career."
"We have to push him. There's so much talent within Michael's game. If he just puts it all together, and we can stay on top of him as a player, we can all push each other. Its not just Michael, it's a group effort"
On rebounding stats dropping in order to become a more complete player:
"Everyone has to make a sacrifice. We played at a very fast rate last year - rate of play or pace of play, I'm not even sure if there is a stat like that, I'm sure there is in 2011. But we missed a lot of shots. On a given night, a team shoots 50%, that's really the best they're going to shoot unless they have a remarkable night. Everyone has to make sacrifices, and if my rebounding numbers and scoring numbers go down, that's fine. The biggest stat to look at is wins and it always should be that way"
On finally being here:
"It feels real now. Definitely. It's finally here. Since June 23rd, I've just been waiting. As soon as the practices start, that's when you know the season is right around the corner. With the lockout, the season is literally next week, so we have a lot to learn in a couple of days. I think we'll be ready. We have a lot of basketball IQ on this team, really smart players, and I think we can use that to our advantage."
I haven't talked to him too much. Haven't really seen him like that. I've only been here for a couple of days, but I'll see him a lot today."
On expectations for practice:
"Just going to have to wait and see. I don't think anybody knows what's going to happen. I do know we're going to compete and practice hard, since we only have a week to get ready. Everybody wants to get out there and show what they can do and impress coach. Try to get that starting spot. As of right now, even people on your team are your enemies until the games start. We just have to take each and every day like that and make the whole team better."
On lockout ending:
"The hardest part was getting all my stuff packed and moving. I had to go to store and get a whole bunch of boxes, pack up all my stuff, get my apartment, fly back home, and really take a couple of days to get out of my apartment in California. Get my cars here and all that. So everything should be here and ready by Monday."
On strengths and weaknesses:
"I think upsides of my game...I can knock down open shots. Athletic, and I use that to my advantage. Cause a lot of mismatches because a lot of 4s can't keep up with me. I have to work on more guard stuff. Coming off picks. One-dribble, two-dribble pulls ups. I'm still working on that today, and I've been working on that all summer. I'm ready to get out there and practice and see what I can do."
On expectations to play 3 and 4:
"Yeah, definitely, I expect to play 3, especially on this team. We have so 4s that can play multiple spots and I really don't think you want to get caught up playing one spot. You're more valuable if you can play at more than one spot. Like K Love, he can play 5 or 4. Randolph can play 5 or 4. Beasley can play 3 or 4. It depends on who the matchups are. You have a lot of big 4s in the league and some small 4s. It really just comes down to matchups."
On similarities to Beasley:
"We really can play together. A lot of similarities. I'm a righty, he's a lefty, that's the only difference. We can both shoot really well, both can handle the ball, both can put the ball on the floor. It's going to be really hard to try and stop both of us at the same time. Not too many teams have two guys who are really similar on the same court at the same time. We can use that to our advantage. The disadvantage is that we're not the tallest people in the game. If some 4s are 6-11, 7-0, we'll have to see. It's more of an advantage, though, than a duplication."
On what he did this summer to work out and work on his game:
"I didn't do anything. (laughs) No, I put a lot of work in. Tried to stay in shape, especially since we didn't know when the season was going to start. Every day, I'm getting news from here. It's going to happen, it's not going to happen. The NBA doesn't exist anymore. We're going to court. Court can last for year or two years. So, I kept working. But I'm not going to say whether it's enough or not, but hopefully it's enough. I put a lot of work in and hope it's enough to be in great shape at the beginning of the season.
I played more than usual. A lot of players in my city didn't have a job, too, since a lot of American players came to Europe. So us without a job would get together and play 5-on-5. Did some running and lifting. I feel good, but these first few days will be tough for everybody. I have a good base."
"Everything I've heard is good about him. Good coach. He's in the league forever. All the teams that he's coached were good teams and had success, so I hope to bring that here and he can make us care about what we're doing. Right now, defense is going to be most important for us this year. It was last year, too. Last year, I talked about what we were going to do. This year, I don't want to talk about what we're going to do, or how we're going to do it, because every year we say we're going to do better and 'I don't want to go through this again', and then we end up doing the same stuff. I hope all the players are ready to work and we'll see how its going to look. In the Western Conference, we have to stop people, or we have no chance. I think every player can play defense, it's only if he wants to. We have players who can score, so if we can stop people, we'll have chances to score on the other end. Every player in the world can play defense. We just have to do it. I'd do anything for us to win. Every player on this team has a chance to start. Every player has good qualities and we're good players. We're going to fight from the first day for every spot. If I start, or if it's someone else, it doesn't matter as long as it's right for us. I don't care. Let's do this season better. Last season and the season before was unbelievable."
On shortened season:
"I don't know how things are going to go or how people are going to react. A lot of games in a short period of time. I hope things will go well for us, but I don't know. The toughest thing is getting to know new players and the new coaches in two weeks. We're going to do our best to put in our heads everything that coach says.
Sometimes our youth will help us, sometimes it will hurt us. In the beginning, we should use the young legs and young people to get a good start and win some games. Going on, it's going to be tougher and tougher. Some young players are going to do their best in the beginning and give 200%, but later on in the season, they'll be tired and have tired legs. Our rookies and young players can't wait for the season to start, so they go even faster than they should, and most people get tired. We are young but we're still people. We get tired, too. Young people get tired, too."
"He's a great player. He's going to do well here. People here are going to give him a chance to play, as long as he plays like he did in Barcelona and with the national team. He's going to be just fine."
"I like playing against tough teams. Last year, we had a few games against good teams that we lost at the end. We choke away those kinds of games against Lakers and Spurs, and next game we'll play against teams that are less better, and then we lose and don't even show up. We can't just show up and play great against great teams and then play poorly against teams we should beat"
On Kurt Rambis:
"We had a good year and a half. Just kind of didn't work for him, didn't work for us, couldn't win any games. It was tough for everybody. They made the decision. I was back home when I heard. It's a business, we have to move on and play."
On his role in Adelman's system:
"I should fit in. Maybe I won't. Who knows? Let's go to practice. I don't want to talk about it. Maybe he's not going to like me. Maybe he'll like somebody else. It doesn't really matter. If it's going to work on the court, I'm not going to say one thing. If it doesn't look good, then I'll ask what is up. I'll put in hard work and I hope it's going to be enough"
On being in shape:
"For sure, the extended lockout made it harder to get in shape. It's not the same working by yourself when you work with a team. There's not as many people to push you all the time. It feels like it's my first club in Europe with the short offseason.
I feel more comfortable. Last year, everything was new for me from basketball and from everything. At some point, it's easier for me because I've seen a lot of familiar faces and it's more comfortable for me.
I didn't really keep in touch with anyone from last season due to the lockout. I didn't really talk to any coaches or David Kahn."
On what he learned last year:
"I learned most of the rules, especially the three seconds rule, and I know I got called on that a lot and hopefully I can do that better. I think at the end of the game, I figured out how I'm supposed to act. Sometimes, you can't do nothing about fouls being called. I try to adjust and all that, but we can't really talk about it until we see that on the court."
On his fit with the team:
"I have no idea. My plan is to just do whatever coach says. Whatever he tells us, we're going to try to do that and push ourselves"
On improving last year's defense:
"We will get better through hard work in practice. That's what you need to do. Go downstairs [to the practice court] and just work harder. Of course, we have the ability. We have a lot of talent and potential. I think we can do a lot of good things."
"We played a couple of years ago when he was in Barcelona, I was in Greece. He's a good player. His biggest strength is his passing and all that. Like me and every player who comes from overseas, it's a lot of work to adjust. I can give him pointers and for sure help him like Darko helped me last year. Show him things about what to do, both on and off the court. I think he has more of ability to score here because he can penetrate easier. Because of the three second rule, you can't pack the paint like in Europe. In Europe, if you want some guy not to score, you can just pack the paint and they can't get a layup. So here, he'll have more opportunities for scoring."
On finally being here:
"When I got into the locker room and saw my jersey, I took a picture of it and sent it to my friends to tell them that I'm finally here and I have my jersey and I can play here in the NBA"
"No, I don't know what to expect of him. I just met him about 5 minutes ago and he says that he wants to talk with me and see what we can do together to help the team. I really don't know him as a person but I've seen him for when he was in Sacramento and all those teams. He did a great job over there."
On comparison to Jason Williams:
"Kind of. He loves to run. He used to be a great point guard. Crazy passes and that. I think that he did a great job in Sacramento with Coach Adelman so that can help me a little bit in understanding what he wants"
On who he emulated from the NBA growing up:
"I watched a lot of games from NBA since I was a kid. Not live because it was like 2 AM or 3 AM and my mom didn't let me watch those games, but when I was watching on the internet or something like that, I'd watch Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Westbrook, Rajon Rondo, we could be here all day and tell you about which point guards I watched and all of them have good things to know and to learn."
On fans in Minnesota and fan excitement:
"I can feel the excitement. It's amazing. Maybe last year was not a good year for Minnesota because they didn't meet their expectations, but the fans continue to support the team and they're crazy in a good way for this year. That's going to make me, and make us, more impassioned to play"
On learning on Darko and Pek to transition from Europe:
"I haven't talked to them about that yet, but I know they are from Europe and I played against Pek a couple times and know him well. I've heard good, good things about Darko from Marc Gasol and Pau. They're from Europe and understand how to move from Europe to here. They said they're going to help me and maybe I can be help for them too. I have two big guys who can walk around and if some American guy comes, I can have my European guys here to help me"
On biggest on-court adjustment:
"I don't know yet because I haven't played an NBA game yet. I've been playing with NBA guys in L.A. and in practice with them. I feel that I can play here. In Europe and NBA, its a lot different, but in the end of the day, it's basketball. I think I can bring some things from Europe to help the team, too."
On mental preparation for potential disappointment of losing:
"I hope we don't get disappointed because we win all the games. Of course, you can't win all the games and sometimes you'll lose like 2 or 3 a row in the same week. I came from Barcelona where we only lost like, I don't know how many games, but like 12 games in two years and it's going to be different here I know. I talked to Pau, when they were in Memphis, he came from Barcelona where he'd lost like 4 games all year and in ten days with Memphis he had more losses.So, you have to only think about winning, but when you lose, you can't be mad or disappointed, you have to learn from what you did wrong to improve for the next one."
On last year's poor defense with the Wolves:
"Well, we don't have the same coach, so maybe they'll change, too. I'll bring what I know to help them win more games. Of course, defense is one of the more important points to win the games. I think I'm ready for NBA defense. We're going to see"
On other players' expectations for him:
"I've only been here for two days, but it's been amazing. I can throw the ball whenever and wherever and they catch it, so it looks like I pass well. It wasn't me, it was them, but they can jump and catch it. I think we can do great things this year. Yesterday we played 5-on-5 and I saw the team can do great things"
On attitude towards being a playmaker:
"Maybe its European style playing more as a team. I don't know. Sometimes, there are some guys who only focus on scoring and if they score 25-30 points, they are happy. But I'm not. I don't care about scoring. If I score 2 points, and my team wins, that's the most important thing because we are team. 12 players plus the coach. We're all here to do one thing and that's winning. It doesn't matter who scores, who's playing where...we all have to do what to do to win."
On preparation for the season:
"It will be hard. My first year here is a short time with a lot of things to do. I came as a six year professional in Spain and I learned a lot of things there that can help me here. We played two-a-day practices in Europe. I don't know how physical its going to be, but we'll see."
Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph
(they did their interview together)
On peanut butter cookies:
Beasley, "Man, these peanut butter cookies are good."
On Adelman's expectations:
Beasley, "I know he's a great guy. I know he has winning aspirations. I feel like what he did in Houston was really commendable with the players he had to deal with. I mean, for the most part, I don't know what to expect. I hear all great things aboutt him. But we're our own team."
On shorter training camp:
Beasley, "we all just have to be focused and determined. Honestly, I feel like shorter training camp will be better for us since we won't be as tired going into the season."
On Love's weight loss:
Beasley, "Oh, Kevin. You see that guy? He's sexy, huh? I actually didn't lose that much weight. Last year, I played around 240. Right now, I'm about 235. I didn't lose that much weight. But Kevin is a lot learner than he was."
On defense last year and Adelman's 'horrendous' description:
Beasley, "I wasn't too happy with how we played defense last year. Myself, Randolph, Kevin, Wes, we're way more athletic, way more smarter then what we showed last year on the defensive end. If we apply ourselves, there's not much you can do against us."
Randolph, "I think horrendous is the best way to describe it. We have to communicate better and talk more on defense. Everybody has to learn their role on the defensive end. We have the physical ability to do it. We have a lot of athletic guys on the team so there's no excuse for not being a decent defensive team."
Beasley, "I feel like Rick knows what he's doing. I can play at 2-3-4, well, I'm not a 2, but at 3 and 4 I can play. We have enough talent to all stay pretty untired I guess. Is that a word?"
Randolph, "No, that's not a word."
Beasley, "The more players, the better off we'll be coming off of the bench."
On similarities with D-Will:
Beasley, "Derrick can jump higher than I can. I might be able to shoot a little better than him. But we're pretty much the same player. That's great. We can play both help us get wins, both dominate the block. We both command a double team. We can help each other out."
On Randolph or Love at the 5:
Beasley, "It will make us a lot faster. With Derrick at the 3 or 4, it'll make us shorter than most, but we will be quicker than most teams."
On ankle injury:
Beasley, "From January 6th on, it was tough to play how I wanted to play. I did whatever made my ankle comfortable. This past offseason, I took on a variety of different stretches. Yoga, ballet, jujitsu, boxing to kind of ensure a long season and career. I feel like I came back too soon. I think I twisted my ankle three games in a row. So, I definitely came back too soon. Hopefully, it doesn't happen again this year, but now at least I know how to handle it if it does."
On untapped potential:
Beasley, "Honestly, I'm not really worried about that. My main focus is doing what I have to do to get as many wins as possible for our team. If they don't think my game is developed enough, that's just what they think. I'm here to play for the Minnesota Timberwolves and not for myself."
Randolph, "All I can do is work as hard as I can and continue to get better, which I think I have, and become smarter in how I play the game. I worked on everything this offseason. I feel there's no area that I don't have to work on. I wanted to get in the best condition as I could, especially at center, where I'll go against stronger guys."
On trouble over the summer:
Beasley, "I'm not really here to talk about past issues. What happened in the summer happened in the summer. I can't do anything about it at this point. I'm just here to play basketball and to help the Wolves make the playoffs."
On contract extension:
Beasley, "I haven't given any thought to my contract. I'd love to sign back with the Wolves. But right now, I haven't thought about any of that and this will be my last time saying this over the year. Hopefully, I want to get the Wolves into the playoffs, and everything will fall into place. I love this city. The different views of the city. Downtown. Orono, where it's kind of quiet. I love Minnesota and I'd love to sign back, but I'm not worried about that right now."
On parallel between Brandon Jennings and Ricky Rubio:
"It's a little bit different, since Brandon grew up in the states, and Ricky, I'm not sure how much time he's spent here. I'm sure it'll be a transition, but I'm excited for him, because he gets a chance to play his dream. Any rookie coming in, it's something that you work so hard and then you get here, it'll be fun for him. I just got in last night, so I haven't talked to him much, but I'm sure we'll get a lot of time together soon. Not just me, but everybody is kind of a mentor. It's like a family because you're around your team so much. There's so much bonding on the plane and off the plane. Trying to get used to a new coach and playing so many games in a short amount of time, we'll all need help through this situation."
On what he did during lockout:
"I didn't play much basketball to be honest with you. I was in the hospital, my son was in the hospital, from May 9 to September 9th. We got him out of there and God's been really good. Almost lost him for a little while, so to get him back and get him home - I'm going to get choked up right now - it's just been something so special for my family. We had twins, so to get them home and back to Seattle in September. Just to see my wife and how strong she's been, it's been more about family for me than anything this offseason. This break, this long offseason, has been much needed for my family. He's doing well now. He's at home now. He's there and doing well, so just to have them all under the same roof for the first time is such a good blessing. God is so good for what he's done for our family."
On playing his own game while being a mentor:
"The whole teaching, mentoring thing, I just come out and play. The NBA, you kind of have to figure out as you go. I'll be there for whoever needs advice on what they're doing. Not just Ricky, but Malcolm, Derrick and anyone else. We can use our youth to our advantage this season. I'm just going to continue to play the game and continue to win. I'm at the point of my career, where I'm tired of losing. I've had success in the playoffs before, and what happened last year, I don't want to do it again."
On defense last year:
"Horrendous is pretty apt. We had no consistency. Night in, night out, we didn't know what we were doing. With a young team, there's no way to win games being like that. Guys not knowing what they're supposed to do and what not to do. They couldn't figure it out. It didn't work at this level. Everyone on the court is so good, you need a fundamental team defense. I've played for defensive-minded coaches like Scott Skiles and to go from that to this was just totally different. So, I'm excited to get back to good team defense. A lot of it is practice and drilling what we're going to be doing. Biggest thing is to be held accountable. If you don't do this, you don't play. That's going to be huge. It was a little bit of everything last season. You can't put everything on coaching. As players, we just didn't do a great job. People scored pretty much at will. It's not like our offense was that bad, but our defense was pretty bad."
On new system and shortened schedule:
"We play enough basketball, I think we'll be able to pick it up pretty quickly. Teams with the same coach will be farther ahead. We have a lot of youth and guys who are hungry to play basketball. We can use our youth to our advantage. Older teams are more tired, and we have young guys going full tilt around here. Picking up what we're supposed to do and getting better and better at it is important. It'll be tough. Just getting everyone in game basketball shape. It's hard to stay in shape in the offseason. It's my 9th year and probably my 7th or 8th coach.
Adelman's teams get up and down the court. Pick and roll stuff. Moving without the ball. He knows what it takes to win, he's won a lot of games, and I've played against him a lot in Sacramento and Seattle. It'll be fun to play for him now. They've always played fundamentally sound defense. Help the helper. That's what has made them good."
Wayne Ellington and Anthony Tolliver
On offseason preparation:
Ellington: "It feels great to be back. It was a long offseason. Spent my time just getting better. A lot of time in the weight room. A lot of ball handling. A lot of repetition with jump shots. Becoming more and more consistent. Going back and looking at coach Adelman's teams in the past, it's a lot of moving without the ball. It's a lot of team oriented basketball. I feel I definitely fit in well."
On CP3 trade:
Tolliver: "What can I say? It's weird. But they're the owners of the team. So, the NBA owns the team, which hasn't happened before, I don't think. So, for something like that to happen, I guess they do have the right to void it if they're the owner. But now it's just going to be way more complicated, I think, for them and for the Hornets and for everybody to figure out something that's going to work for everybody. Now, if Chris Paul goes to another team, it will look like the NBA dictates where he goes. If he doesn't, it's like, what were they doing in the first place? So, it's kind of a weird situation and I guess it'll all get worked out sometime. It was definitely one of the more different situations probably in NBA history for something that bizarre to happen right after all this drama of the CBA. It's just really weird.
The CBA still would've passed. This has nothing to do with the CBA. It literally is the fact that the owners have ownership of that team, so they can make the decision that a regular owner would make. Just like Glen Taylor makes decisions here. If there were a trade he didn't want to happen, he could figure out a way to get that voided if he wanted to. It's just such a different situation, it's hard to articulate, because there's nothing been done like it before. The first thing I thought was like, okay, we just got done arguing for 4 or 5 months or however long it's been, and everybody just wants to see basketball, and now this. Huge controversy with NBA owners. I don't know, I just hope it doesn't damage everybody and doesn't effect everybody and the whole league. I think it possibly could because it's a big deal. It's everywhere. All over ESPN, CNN, everywhere. It's a really big deal."
On shortened training camp:
Ellington: "It's going to be tough for us. We have to learn everything and pick it up pretty quick. Adelman brings a whole new ball game about what he wants to do offensively and defensively. We all have to be quick learners. I think our youth will definitely help us. Especially on those back-to-back-to-back nights.
On last year's defense:
Tolliver: "It was pretty bad. We couldn't get timely stops ever. In the NBA, that's what it's all about. You're not going to stop every team every time. You're not going to shut a team down all the way. The main thing in this league is that your defense has to be good enough to buckle down and get a stop when you need a stop. And we struggled really bad with that last year. So, I think that it will take a commitment from each one of us as individuals and then, once we get into practice and everything, we have to say this is something we take personally. We have to trust every one of our teammates to have our backs if our guy does get by us. We never developed those relationships last year. It was just a perfect storm last year of several different things. Experience is one. But defense is not something everybody wants to do. So, it becomes a commitment from each individual player wanting to be a good defender and a good team defender. It's contagious. It something that you get 2-3 guys on the same page, and coach notices it, then he plays those guys, then others notice, 'hey, they're getting on the court because of defense', and then they play defense.
Ellington: "We have to go 180 degrees defensively. How we do it is listening to coach Adelman and have a defensive attitude and mindset. We have to want to be better defenders and help each other."
On playing the Rockets last season:
Tolliver: "They just played harder and playing hard covers up a whole lot of mistakes. Even if you're not a perfect defender, and you don't know the position to be in, if you're playing hard, that will cover up a lot of those mistakes. The Rockets weren't the greatest defensive team ever, but every single person did play hard.
Ellington: "I actually was more fortunate. One of my best friends is Kyle Lowry, who was Adelman's point guard last year. I asked him a bunch of questions about expectations and got a pretty good response out of him. I think I have a little advantage, but you can also just watch film and go right on YouTube and watch the way Houston did things."
Tolliver: 'That's funny, our source is the same, Kyle Lowry. He played down in Houston, a lot of pick up ball there this summer, and I got a chance to talk to him as well about Adelman's personality. Kyle said we're going to love him. He's a great coach and allows players to play and use their abilities to make plays. I was really excited about that. Like Wayne said, you can watch film and videos. I remember last year, every time we played Houston, I was always confused. Cause its so, the offense is always moving and you don't know where they're going to go. You're never in the same place two times in a row down the court. You're always wondering where the ball is going to go and how they're going to score. So, I'm glad that's going to be us that year. I want to confuse the crap out of everybody."
On getting minutes this season:
Tolliver: 'I still, to this day, think there isn't a player on this team who does what I do. That's just how it is. So, it's going to be up to coach to put whoever will help the team most out there. If he calls my name, I'll go out there and do what I do. If he doesn't, I'll take it like a man and move forward. Continue to work hard and battle for those minutes. It's always a battle to get on the court, especially with this particular team in that range of position that I'm in, it's definitely going to be tough but I don't feel like it's an uphill battle. I feel like if I do what I'm supposed to do, I'm going to get on the court."
Lazar Hayward and Wesley Johnson
On Rick Adelman:
Hayward: "We know Rick's history. We know he's a really good coach who likes to play fast and up tempo. I think his career speaks for itself."
On making the jump in his second season:
Hayward: "I just thought with the long lockout, it gave me more time to work on who I was as a player and a person. I worked on things off the court like Pilates, yoga, trying to work on all facets on my game so I'm able to be on the top of my game when we do start."
On all the new faces here:
Hayward: "I think my defense will get me on the floor. I think they'll see that great passion and a lot of coaches appreciate that. I think we have gotten faster, so we'll be doing a lot of running, which plays into my hands. Rick seems like a fair guy, so hopefully I'll get my chance."
On issues last year:
Hayward: "We had a lot of mishaps. We weren't on the same page all the time. A lot of guys were doing different coverages. It was a lot of confusion and us not being able to hold each other accountable for that. We have to do a better job next year. Guys weren't familiar with one another. It should work out better this year. With the lockout being so long, I was able to get more connected off the court. I got to hang with this joker [Wes} and we had a place out in California, all those things really helped. I think we have to communicate a lot better with one another. We have to really focus on defense a lot more. the more repetition, the better we'll be"
Hayward: "We all have a job to do, so we all have to hold ourselves accountable. Every person is accountable for himself and we have to hold each other accountable. If Wes isn't doing right, and I don't think hes doing right, then I have to be able to tell him. Now, Wes is more familiar with who I am as a person, so now I'm able to say, 'Hey, you're BSing.'
Johnson: "I mean, I hope if I'm not playing how I should be doing, somebody does speak up and says something. I think that'll be making steps in the right direction if everybody does that. Coming from me, from Darko, from everybody. The coach can only say so much. It comes from teammates to be the voice of the team."
Johnson: "My ball handling. Attacking the basket. Being more assertive. I think my confidence has boosted al little bit this summer. Just repetition, getting in the gym a lot, and just doing a lot of drills to help me be more effective. A lot of that is geared towards playing the two. I grew up playing two all my life, so really, I'm just getting back to doing what I used to do. Ball handling, pick-and-roll, so this whole summer was geared towards that. There's going to be a lot of movement. Especially with Ricky as the point guard, I think that will help out a lot in getting everybody involved.
I think with us being young, we'll be able to recuperate faster than older players in the league. We can outrun them and I think with the fast pace of the guards pushing the ball up, we can beat teams down the floor."
Johnson: "I saw it and I thought, 'really?' It's a welcome back. This is going to be fun. The first couple weeks are going to be fun. Its going to be a test for us that starts with practice tonight, and throughout training camp, I'm excited to start stuff back."
Hayward: "I think it'll be a good test for us. We'll be able to look in the mirror and find out what we're made of. With the team that we have, we'll have our tough patches, but if we do things right and hold each other accountable, we'll be able to create a snowball effect and become better. If you look at our roster, we have a deep bench, and like Wes was saying, that'll play into our hands. We have that type of depth. Even though we're a step behind in some areas, we're a step ahead. I'm just happy to start talking basketball instead of BRI."
Johnson: "Enough of basketball-related income."