Locker Room Presence
As far as his work on the court, Pollard has been the solid, steadying performer that he was brought to the North Coast to be.
“I’m coming in as the back-up to the back-ups,” Pollard said. “Coach told me when I came in that Donyell and Andy are going to back up Z and Drew. I’m going to be more looked to as a locker room guy, a guy that’ll come in and do the right things. I’m not late. I don’t cause problems. I work out. I do the right thing and it’s one of those things that you need on a team.
“You don’t want your veterans or your not-big-minute guys to be a distraction in the locker room.”
Pollard spent the 2005-06 season with the Pacers and pretty much matched career numbers of just under five points and five boards per contest. Over the course of his nine-year career that includes stops in Sacramento, Indiana and Detroit, the man known for his exotic and ever-changing hairstyles has played in 57 career playoff games.
“I'm going into my tenth year and I've come off the bench for most of it,” said the 6-11, 265-pounder. “And the older I get, the more I realize that I'd rather be on a winning team as a backup than a heavy-minutes guy on a bad team.”
Pollard has gotten some good run during the preseason, averaging just under 19 minutes per game in three appearances. While Mike Brown continues to preserve his starters for 82 games – and more – of action, the former Jayhawk gets his opportunity. In 18 minutes of play on Wednesday night in Rochester, Pollard snagged six boards in only 18 minutes of floor time.
Pollard made a name for himself on another up-and-coming team that went from NBA also-rans to eventual challengers of the heavyweight Lakers and Spurs in the Western Conference: the Sacramento Kings of the 1990s.
The Kings toiled in Western Conference obscurity until the nucleus of Chris Webber, Vlade Divac, Peja Stojakovic, Mike Bibby and, of course, the free-wheeling Pollard arrived in California’s capital. Pollard was one of the characters on a squad that was full of them.
“Off the court, I see a lot of similarities,” smiled Pollard. “The guys get along very well from top to bottom on this team and that’s rare where your superstar is a very approachable guy and talks with guys and jokes with teammates.”
Pollard is going to keep the club loose, vying with Damon Jones for the title of class clown in Cleveland’s loose, but professional, locker room. The DJ is a one-man show; Pollard brings the wry humor. But don’t mistake his comical veneer off the court with any type of docility on it. Pollard is a banger who will knock an opponent on his butt. That’s part of the reason he was brought here.
In between the lines and in the locker room, Pollard will be a solid cog in what looks to be a well-oiled machine.
“The chemistry on this team is like it was in Sacramento,” recalled Pollard. “Even if you don’t have the best talent, sometimes having the best chemistry makes you the best team.”