Larry Brown Interview
The 2005-06 NBA season starts soon. Here's what New York Knicks head coach Larry Brown said about his team and the upcoming season on a recent conference call:
Q: What are your feelings about how training camp has been thus far?
Larry Brown: Campís been okay. The effortís been great. I think our young kids are going to make a contribution. We think we had a great draft with Channing Frye, Nate Robinson and David Lee. Include Jackie Butler in that draft. We got him late at the end of last year, a high school kid that didnít get drafted. The one drawback is weíve had some serious injuries. Allan Houston has been unable to play, and Quentin Richardson has had hamstring problems and has missed a lot of time. Jerome James has missed a lot of time, and [Antonio] Davis hasnít reported. Heís about to report today.
Weíre very young and inexperienced, and some of our older guys really havenít been a part of this, so thatís set us back a little. It might be a good thing, because the young kids have had the chance to probably get a lot of work done, and thatís probably been helpful to them. But we are very young. Getting Eddy Curry I think is going to be a big thing for our franchise. I donít know how quickly weíll see him contributing like he can, but he definitely has a huge upside and he wants to learn, so thatís a good thing. But weíve got a lot of work to do, especially on the defensive end and rebounding the ball. We really have to make a lot of progress if weíre going to be competitive in this league in those areas.
Q: What has been your impression of Nate Robinson so far?
Brown: Heís been a lot of fun. Heís been well-coached. Heís an unbelievable competitor. I donít think heís a point guard right now, and thatís going to take some time but he can defend, he can shoot the ball better than I expected. Heís got some unbelievable athleticism and heís been a joy to coach. Heís played great in both our exhibition games.
Q: What are the main things youíve been trying to get across to Stephon Marbury?
Brown: Stephon can score. Heíll do that by accident. He can defend. I think heíd tell you that I just want him to be perfect every night and every practice.
Q: What do you think about the depth in the Eastern Conference right now?
Brown: I remember in 2001 when we reached the Finals against the Lakers. Everybody was talking about the East being the JV and then lo and behold, we won in Detroit in 2003. Most people commented that it was because the Lakers didnít play well and had problems. Then last year, San Antonio was a great team and Detroit gave them a great one. It wasnít easy for us to get out of the East. Thereís more and more quality basketball being played in the East. Thereís a lot of great young kids in the East, and a lot of guys that have been traded from the West that have made a positive impact on their new teams.
Besides for everybody saying San Antonio is the clear-cut favorite, as they are the defending champs and they picked up [Fabricio] Oberto, Michael Finley and Nick [Van Exel], I think a lot of people would tell you there are a lot of great teams in the East now that not only can fight for a playoff spot, but also can contend for the championship.
Certainly, Detroit, Miami and Indiana are teams that youíd talk about right away, but there are a lot of good young teams in Orlando, Chicago and obviously New Jersey with three of the best perimeter players in the league. Thereís also Philly with Allen [Iverson] and when Webber gets healthy, and I think their young people are very underrated. So, the depth in the East is much better than it has been in years, as far as Iím concerned.
Q: Whatís Eddy Curryís condition been like?
Brown: Heís way behind where he will be, but heís worked very hard and heís getting better every day. Heís nowhere up to the level of conditioning that Channing Frye, David Lee and Jackie Butler and the rest of our young kids are at this time. But I always think that it takes bigger guys longer. I have been encouraged by his effort everyday, and his willingness to learn. I have been surprised by the fact that there are a lot of things that weíve been talking about that I think he hadnít heard before. Itís fun, because with this team itís kind of like coaching a college team.
Q: Would you be in favor of DNA testing for players?
Brown: If the DNA testing was conclusive, I would definitely be in favor of that, but from what I understand, not everyone agrees that itís something that you can count on. I sometimes wonder about peopleís privacy then. But if they used it for the right reasons to help a kid if there was an obvious problem that could arise from that, and they knew that DNA testing would protect that, then sure. But from what I understand, thatís not the case right now. I donít think when you applied for your job that they asked you to go through that test, and I donít know how other people would respond to that in their particular fields.
Q: How important is having a dominant big man in this league?
Brown: Allen [Iverson] was dominant in his own way without being a big guy, but I think on the offensive end anyone that commands double-teams really makes it easier on everyone else. Allen did it a different way than a true center would. I think the big guys rebound the ball and correct any mistakes made defensively you might make in their ability to block a shot or change a shot or rebound the ball effectively. That improves you on the defensive end. And most of the guys that can do that effectively can affect the game on the offensive end as well. I think you win with rebounding, shot-blocking and defense. Most of all, if you have a dominant center who can do those things, it makes it easier for everybody.
But teams have won in this league in the past without a dominating big man. There havenít been as many dominating centers in the recent past as weíve had before when I was growing up, but certainly when youíve got Duncan and Shaq, and the depth in size in Detroit, and when you look at Indiana with their center and Houston with Yao Ming, those teams stand out, and with very good reason.
Q: Do you see scoring to continue to rise like last season?
Brown: The only difference I saw last year was there were more fouls called. The same number of shots were taken. I saw that stat. There were more fouls called and maybe a few more three-point shots taken, but many more foul shots taken. I donít know if that helps the flow of the game at all. Weíve got to find ways to get more shots. I think that would really help the game a lot. I think anybody on the rules committee or any people that really want to improve our sport should figure out ways that give us more opportunities to shoot the ball more.
I think there are probably things that would help our game in that regard. Defenses are always going to get better and better. The more athletic guys become, the better defenders I think they become. We have so many young people in the league. I think youíve got to realize that young people arenít as fundamentally sound as you may expect them to be. If thatís the case, I think the offenses are going to suffer a lot.
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