Paul Silas Interview
Cleveland Cavaliers coach Paul Silas spoke with InsideHoops.com and other major media outlets in a teleconference. Here are the questions and answers:
Opening Statement: We had a really good camp. I was very satisfied with the way the guys performed, their attentiveness. The chemistry is good and I think weíre looking forward to a real good year. We added a lot of people this year: Lucious Harris, Eric Snow; Scott Williams; Robert Traylor; a kid by the name of Anderson Varejao that we got from Orlando along with Drew Gooden, Sasha Pavlovic; along with the guys we already have -- Jeff McInnis, LeBron James, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Ira Newble. Itís been a very good preseason. Weíve played three games so far, won two. Weíre learning. Theyíre learning my system, and things are going well.
Q: How has David Wesley, a guy you coached for several years, been able to hang around the NBA and do well as an undersized shooting guard?
Silas: Heís very smart and heís tough. He really found his niche when I put him at two-guard because he could shoot the ball so well. We also didnít have to make special defenses for him because of his toughness. He could front down low when he would get posted up. He could lay his body on people and cut off lanes to the basket, forcing players into tougher shots. He just found his niche feeding off the point guards we had, Baron Davis in particular, who could penetrate very well and kick it to him and he could make baskets. I think itís his intelligence thatís kept him in the league so long as an undersized two.
Q: Can you talk a little about the acquisition of Eric Snow?
Silas: Weíve been starting McInnis and Snow together and thatís worked very well, but what Eric brings is another veteran player thatís been to the Finals, who can play some backup point when need be. Last year when McInnis went down, we lost seven out of eight. I donít see that happening with Eric Snow on our team. Heís a leader on the court and off. He brings vast experience to our ball club, and thatís what we needed. We needed some leadership guys that know the ropes and have been around. And he can certainly provide that for us.
Q: Is there a concern about frontcourt depth with this team?
Silas: We have Drew Gooden, Robert Traylor, Anderson Varejao, who is a rookie, but will have a chance to play, as well as (Zydrunas) Ilgauskas, DeSagana Diop and Scott Williams. The nice part is, Traylor can play four or five. Gooden, of course, has had a terrific preseason, averaging close to 12 rebounds per game. I think weíre covered. Diop has had a hand problem. If he canít come back by the time the season starts, then perhaps weíll look to add somebody.
Q: Can you compare/contrast Carlos Boozer and Drew Gooden?
Silas: Drew is about 6-10, whereas Carlos is about 6-8. Both go to the boards exceptionally well. Drew surprises me with his athleticism. I didnít know he was as athletic as he is. Heís a little bit better outside shooter than Boozer. The main thing with Drew is that his mind is right. He wants to be here. He knows heís going to be our four. Weíre not going to change him from four to three. Thatís what happened in the places that heís been. I look forward to him having a successful year. Everything is pointing toward that. Heís in the last year of his deal and has something to prove, and so far heís doing that for us.
Q: What do you expect from Anderson Varejao this season?
Silas: Iím just surprised and happy with him because he works so hard at his game. Heís a relentless offensive rebounder. Heís picking up the other parts of the game. His shooting is a lot better than it was when he first came here. He blocks shots, he runs the court. Heís not fast, but heís quick. He anticipates getting up and down the floor. Because of his work ethic, I think he has the chance to be a really good player. He has the kind of body that can fill out. Weíre just expecting great things. He wonít have to get in the fire right away, but he will command some time, because he works relentlessly, but in another couple of years, he has a chance to be a really good player in this league.
Q: How will the loss of Eric Williams affect your team?
Silas: Eric played the three spot for us last year, while Carlos played the four. I donít think it will affect us that much. We have LeBron playing the three now, with Ira Newble backing him up. We signed Lucious Harris. We have Eric Snow who can play the two, as well as Dajuan Wagner, who had a sensational training camp.