Q&A with Peja Stojakovic
To what do you attribute the improved talent coming
Stojakovic: I would say a lot of guys in the past opened
up the doors for us. They made our transition easier
and I would say some of us like myself and Dirk Nowitzki
will help other guys come in the future. I would say
lately, the players are more talented. Maybe its
not that common, but Im looking forward in the
future having more players from Europe.
Q: Why are the Kings playing so
Stojakovic: Togetherness. That was the key even in the
past. Now with the addition of Mike Bibby and knowing
each better after three years and maturing as a team
we show that on the court. We know how to finish
big games. But we still have a long way to go before
the end of the season to play better on he road
and to improve our defense.
Q: What is your opinion on Chris
Stojakovic: Chris is an unbelievable player and hes
one of the best all-around players in the league right
now and hes our leader. Hes one of the reasons
why we are doing so well.
Q: How have you improved as a
player this season?
Stojakovic: It is my second year that I start. I just
feel comfortable on the floor and I feel comfortable
with my teammates. We know each others games and
we know how to communicate on the court. Its really
nice to play with guys that youve known a long
time and understand each others games.
Q: Do you feel the Kings can beat
the Lakers in the playoffs this season?
Stojakovic: I think last year we didnt play our
best against the Lakers. I think we have the potential
and talent to beat the Lakers and be the best team in
Q: How big is the difference between
European basketball and the NBA?
Stojakovic: NBA basketball is much harder to play because
you compete each and every night against the best talent
in the world. But a lot of Europeans are having successful
careers in the NBA.
Q: What are the most important
things European players have to learn coming into the
Stojakovic: Transition for European players is tough.
You have to adjust yourself on the style of play and
playing so many games in a short period of time. But
playing professionally at an early age is helpful to
better understand the game. But it takes some time because
the NBA game is more physical and the guys have to prove
themselves to receive some playing time.
Q: Has the style of play in Europe
changed over the last several years?
Stojakovic: No. The style in Europe is pretty much the
same. Its pretty much like college basketball
here. They run a set offense. If its possible,
they will run the fast break, but its not exciting
like NBA basketball.
Q: What will it take to beat the
Lakers in the playoffs?
Stojakovic: I think the main thing is to be focused
right now on the rest of the season and try to get homecourt
advantage. We have to improve our game on the road and
our defense. If we do that, I think offensively we have
much better options right now. With the addition of
Mike Bibby and the way we play, I think we have a good
Q: Who is your favorite European
player and why?
Stojakovic: Vlade Divac. He was one of the guys who
came here at an early age and made a really great career.
Hes not just a great sportsman, hes also
a great man off the court and doing a lot of good stuff.
Q: Why do you feel the Kings play
so well at home?
Stojakovic: I think we get that extra energy from our
fans. We feel we can make any kind of shot we throw
up there. Its should be the same way on the road.
We have to ask ourselves why we are not playing the
same way on the road and we are so good at home. But
thats our goal in the future: to be almost as
good on the road.