"You see, that's the point. It's not like it's going to be a win. I mean, obviously it's going to be a great situation. Who doesn't want to get paid? But the thing is, I want to develop my game and be a better basketball player at the end of the day. Obviously, Orlando is going to give me a chance to develop my game but I don't know if they can give me the same minutes that Dallas will give me so we got to be honest about that."
-- Marcin Gortat, Orlando Magic
Ben Q. Rock and I covered the 2009 Orlando Pro Summer League at the RDV SportsPlex, this week. For the past few days, we watched the Magic play, as well as checked out the other teams in the event. Ben recapped the Orlando games and provided his usual insights, as he always does. Meanwhile, I chatted with various coaches, front office personnel, players, and others, gathering their thoughts on a variety of topics. I'm proud to kick off Day 5 of our coverage, concluding the week.
I was able to speak with Utah Jazz assistant coach (and fellow DePaul Blue Demons alum!) Tyrone Corbin, Derrick Brown of the Charlotte Bobcats, James Harden of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Jrue Holiday of the Philadelphia 76ers, Terrence Williams of the New Jersey Nets, Marcin Gortat, and Ryan Anderson.
Click after the jump for the full transcript.
How'd you like Eric [Maynor's] performance this week?
I think he did a good job. I think he broke down a little bit at the end of the week, but he understands a little bit about what kind of shape he has to be in to be effective in this league and the strength he's going to have to improve on to be able to pound it on the night in, night out with these big guys.
What, specifically, do you think Eric needs to continue to improve on?
Well, just that, strength ... one of those things and some of it, you just got to get stronger. Weight will come when it comes, but he can get a little bit stronger and his knowledge of the game, learn how to push the ball up the floor every time hard and then when they set those pick and rolls, learn how to attack the big guy a little bit more.
Do you think Eric needs to continue to work on his shooting, as well?
Oh yeah. He'll definitely need to get better. A point guard that can shoot the three and can handle it can just enhance his value in the league.
It's finally over for you this week, how would you rate your performance?
It's good to be out and be in the league. I'm just excited to be here.
Is there anything in the Summer League that you wanted to work on in particular during the past few days?
Just getting minutes. It's a different game so I'm just getting out there and like I said, getting my feet wet. Last year was my final year playing college so just getting that experience, I just appreciate the [Utah] Jazz giving me the opportunity to be on the team.
How nice was it to have Josh [Duncan] out there with you, another Xavier guy and your teammate in college?
Yeah, definitely. We played together for two years [at Xavier] so it was good to know somebody but at the same time, it was a good experience for me being with different players.
Have you been able to speak with Larry Brown about your role on the [Charlotte] Bobcats?
Nah, not at all. That's just so premature. It's just about working hard ... I need to work hard and do what you got to do and show yourself, for the most part so everything will take care of itself.
Have you been able to get advice from James Posey or David West, two alums from your school, about life in the NBA?
They come back every now and then [to Xavier] but the same thing, they can't play for me so ... just playing hard and getting accustomed to the game. It's a quick turnaround so you have to get accustomed to the game quicker in the NBA.
Was it a little tiring out there for you, 5 games in 5 days?
Definitely, but you got to be ready, everybody is going ... you're not the only one going through this.
How would you rate your performance this week?
I think I did average. I think I could have been a lot better. There certain things I could have done but like I said, this is a learning process and this week I just wanted to focus on more of a defensive mentality. My offense was second to my mind, just learning how to play defense on certain guys, guard pick and rolls, I think was my mentality and I think I did a pretty good job this week.
What techniques are you trying to master, defensively?
Just how to guard different players, whether it's a stronger player or a quicker player, learning how to get over ball screens or read different offenses, so it's a variety of things.
Has Scott [Brooks, the Oklahoma City Thunder head coach] been able to talk to you about those things?
The whole team, the coaches just been telling us how to read different plays and he said he was going to over it, but like I said, this has been a learning process.
Has it been cool to see Dwight Howard hanging around here?
Yeah, I got to be able to talk to him for a few [minutes]. He's a real cool guy, just out here watching basketball, enjoying it.
Is there anyone on your own team that stood out, in terms of play this week?
Oh, Russell [Westbrook] did what he did. Serge Ibaka, who's really improving, he's been playing better. I think our whole team did a pretty good job of staying together and playing within our roles.
Do you think Otis [Smith] is going to take his time figuring out whether or not he's going to match the offer sheet from the Dallas Mavericks?
Yeah, for sure. He has to take his time because I got my training camp with the kids in Poland and I told him, that even if he's going to know his answer, I asked him to do me a favor and just hold it for seven days. Otherwise, I'll have to come back for physicals and a lot of kids will be disappointed back in Poland and that'll be really, really bad.
Either way, do you think it's going to be a win-win for you playing in Dallas or Orlando, given that you're going to be playing with a good contract?
You see, that's the point. It's not like it's going to be a win. I mean, obviously it's going to be a great situation. Who doesn't want to get paid? But the thing is, I want to develop my game and be a better basketball player at the end of the day. Obviously, Orlando is going to give me a chance to develop my game but I don't know if they can give me the same minutes that Dallas will give me so we got to be honest about that.
Is that something that concerns you, if Orlando decides to re-sign you, as to where the minutes will come from?
Obviously, I don't think I'm going to be a point guard but I'm definitely going to be a back-up for Dwight [Howard] and I'm going to fight to be a back-up as a 4 guy so we'll see what's going to happen. Now, with Brandon Bass here, I don't know. Playing so much money for a back-up at center, I don't know how that's going to work.
You stated that you wanted to continue to work on your offensive repertoire and develop a shooting touch, if you were to play with the Magic still, would it be nice to be able to have that so that you can play alongside Dwight more?
You know what, I believe my offensive game is on a good level right now. I just didn't get a chance to show this in the league. My role on the team was to get rebounds, play defense, and block shots, run the break, put as much energy in the game as I can. I still believe my offensive game is pretty good. It's not great, maybe, but it's pretty good and obviously I'm going to work on my game and if I'm going to get more chances, I'm going to show it.
So you feel teams haven't been able to really see how you play, offensively?
Offensively, yeah. I don't think so. I think there's a couple of teams that have seen me play back in Europe, national teams, summer leagues, and certain tournaments in Europe but I don't think all the teams have seen me play as an offensive guy in the NBA.
Has Eddie Jordan been able to speak with you about your role as a point guard?
Really, just to be more aggressive. That's really what I try to do, especially the last two days. When he came back in, he told me to be a lot more aggressive so I tried to do that the last two days.
How would you rate your performance this week?
Not good. Whatever it was, it wasn't good enough to lose 5 games.
Are you frustrated about that, to lose all 5 games this week?
Yeah, I like to win so definitely, I'm frustrated.
What's it like being able to play with Jrue Holiday. I know he's not going to be your teammate in New Jersey but what was the experience like?
It's okay. At the end of the day, we're all basketball players but like you said, I'm not going to play with him so my thoughts and hopes on that don't really get too high because at the end of the day, he's not really my teammate. I think he's a good, young point guard.
How'd you like being able to play with CDR [Chris Douglas-Roberts]?
Good, because he's my teammate.
Were you unable to implement many offensive sets because of the split-squad setup? Was it really basic stuff?
It was basic. We took a couple of stuff and used them in practice and things like that, but at the end of the day it was mostly basic.
Are you excited to being able to play with Courtney Lee? He's someone that just got traded to the Nets so are you looking forward to that?
I'm looking forward to playing with everybody. He being a Net, most definitely.
Was it a bit of a grind, 5 games in 5 days? At the end of the week, it looked like fatigue was starting to set in for you.
Yeah, I mean, for me, definitely. I was playing like 32 minutes a game so yeah, by the last game, by tonight, I was pretty tired. It shows, really. 5 games in 5 nights is tough.
Are you going to be able to start contacting some of the guys on the team?
I don't really have a great connection with the guys on the team, yet. But most definitely Vince [Carter], I'll keep in contact with him. We've talked throughout the whole summer.
Stay tuned for Ben's recap of the Magic v. Pacers game.