August 28, 2008
With Charlotteís 2008 Training Camp on the horizon, the players canít wait to get things going as the franchise enters its fifth season, and first under new Head Coach Larry Brown. Over the course of the summer, the Bobcats commitment to improving has been evident at Time Warner Cable Arena, with all 14 players under contract having been seen in the weight room and out on the practice court getting a workout in. Through it all, bobcats.com has been there catching up with the players as they prepare to head to Wilmington, NC, on September 29 for training camp.
Here is what Jason Richardson had to say about his offseason regimen and how he hopes to help make the Bobcats an Eastern Conference playoff contender in 2008-09
bobcats.com: What are your expectations for the upcoming season?
Richardson: We have a lot to prove this year. This year, I want to make it the first time in franchise history we get to the playoffs. We have a new coach. Iím just excited about the season. I usually start maybe in July or August (working out), but this year I started in June because I wanted to come in and be ready and have all aspects of my game ready for the season.
bobcats.com: What have you been working on during the offseason?
Richardson: Iím doing mostly mid-range (work). In my exit meeting with Michael (Jordan) and Rod (Higgins) thatís one of the areas they wanted me to focus on on the offensive end. Iíve just been doing ballhandling and mid-range jumpers. I feel like I can get to the basket and I feel like I can shoot the three, but just that in-between area where I canít always get to the basket and I canít always shoot the three. Iíve been working on that and Iíve been doing a lot of slides to work on my defense also.
bobcats.com: How much more dangerous is this going to make you if you start putting these pieces of your game together?
Richardson: I think it will make me a complete player. I think that was the only aspect of my game that has been missing. Iíve really worked on my shooting and really worked on my ballhandling, but it was always that mid-range game, that in between game, that Iíve had trouble with. If I can get this down and have a successful season, I think they will label me as a complete player.
bobcats.com: We also know your taking on more of a leadership role this summer, trying to get guys in here working out. Is that the case?
Richardson: Thatís the case. I feel like the earlier we get together the better it will be for us when we go through adversity during the season, when guys get hurt, when we are losing a game or on a losing streak. Weíre trying to get that team camaraderie, trying to get everybody together and get used to playing with each other and being around each other. We have a whole new system thatís being put in. We have new guys and young guys coming in. Iím just trying to get everybody together to get ready for the season.
bobcats.com: How much more comfortable are you feeling around these guys this summer and around this team as you start to put things together?
Richardson: I feel very comfortable knowing that Iím one of the top guys on this team and one of the leaders on this team. Iím taking more of a leadership role. I think last year coming in, I didnít want to step on anybodyís toes. I kind of picked it up mid-season. This season, Iím coming in off the bat, trying to lead these guys and do what Iím capable of doing and leading these guys to win games.
bobcats.com: Have you had a chance to talk to Larry (Brown) about what he expects from you this season?
Richardson: I talked to Larry a little bit. We didnít get that much of an opportunity to talk, but when we talked, I know the things that he wants me to do. He wants me to be a leader, he wants me to be the go-to guy and he wants me to get to the basket. He feels like I settle for a lot of threeís, which I do. I told him I would try my best to work hard this summer and get to the free throw line a lot more.
bobcats.com: Obviously Coach Brown is one of the best coaches in NBA history. How excited are you about playing for Coach Brown?
Richardson: Iím very excited. Going into my eighth year, this is my eighth coach, so eight years with eight NBA coaches has been a struggle for me. I think this year going in healthy with a veteran coach is just going to take my game to a whole other level. Iím excited about this year.
bobcats.com: From what youíve seen from the guys and from yourself, you said playoffs is the expectation. Do you think that is something that is attainable with this group?
Richardson: I think so. You look at our roster and you see the guys and the talent that we have, weíre very capable of being a good team. I think we just need a little bit of leadership from above, from the head coach. I think the game plan, Larry (Brown) has for us, as far as what we are doing on the offensive and defensive end, is going to be set. I think that will help us get to the next level.
bobcats.com: Is Charlotte starting to feel like home to you?
Richardson: Charlotte is home to me. Iím looking forward to getting more involved in the community, going to places, doing fundraising things and doing community things. Iím very excited about being in Charlotte.
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