Clippers’ 2005 Post-Draft Conference Call Transcript

Posted: June 29th, 2005

Clippers Head Coach Mike Dunleavy

On the first time he saw Korolev:
“I saw Yaraslov play in junior national tournaments over in Moscow in May.”

On the reason for his trip to Moscow:
“Two reasons: the Senior European Final Four, which has a lot potential NBA players playing over there at that level. Also to see the B league, which is their juniors. It’s probably a better league than our high school players are playing in. They are more talented players. Their junior players are considered our high school or college type players.”

On what impressed him the most about Korolev:
“He’s a 6’9’’ small forward. He’s got good size and length for his position. He’s very athletic. The thing that he does very well is make plays in the open court. Also, he makes players around him better, and he has a low post game. His offensive skills are very wide and varied. He has a very big upside. The question always when you draft a young player, like Shaun Livingston last year, is physical maturity and the ability to step it up to the next level.”

On whether Korolev will play for LA in 2005-06:
“It really depends, because we have a lot of flexibility with our free agency this year so that makes our options open for the off season.”

On Korolev's summer plans:
“He will not play in summer league because he will be playing for his [Russian] national team, but he will work out with us and that will allow us to still have access to him and we’ll see how he progresses. Again, he is still 18 years old. There is a chance he could grow a couple of inches between now and the next couple of years.”

On Korolev's game:
“His IQ for the game is tremendous. He is a very unselfish and talented player. He can see the floor and can put up a lot more points than he does in games. He has a great all around game. If we get lucky, he might even grow a little bit. I know my son at that age grew another three inches. With that skill level and that size, he could be tremendous.”

On the Clippers' needs and Draft Night 2005:
“When making the decision, you think in long terms for the franchise. There were not a lot of players that would make a big impact for us right away. From a chemistry standpoint of our team, we wanted to get players that would mix. There was too big a question about two players, and for our team, I feel as though we have real chemistry, and we would rather build on that.”

On the decision to draft Korolev:
“We saw a great opportunity to fill a hole in our team.”

Clippers VP of Basketball Operations Elgin Baylor

On Korolev's versatility:
“He can eventually play several positions. He can even play at the one position. He would have difficulty guarding people, but he could definitely bring the ball up the floor. He can see the floor just about as well as any point guard.”

On other options with the 12th pick:
“It was surprising that [Danny Granger and Gerald Green] didn’t go earlier, especially Green. There were talks about a possible trade being made, but that didn’t happen.”

On the decision to go with Korolev:
“When we looked at the upside of the players, we felt that [Yaroslav] had the most upside.”

Clippers Draft Pick Yaroslav Korolev

On his relationship with the Clippers organization:
"I saw Mike Dunleavy in the Euro camp while he was in Russia. He seems to be a real good coach. I saw a couple of Clippers games and I liked the team.”

On playing for the Clippers vs. staying in Moscow next season:
"For every Russian player, coming to the NBA is a dream. The choice won’t be mine. I’ll be very happy to come to the Clippers so I’ll just be waiting to see what they think.”

On being the youngest Russian ever drafted:
"Right now I don’t feel any pressure, I just feel wonderful. I feel great that I set the record for Russian players in the draft. I can be proud of that and I’ll do my best when I come to the Los Angeles Clippers.”

On pre-Draft rumors
"There were teams that called my agent, but I don’t really like to read about what teams say about me and put pressure on myself. I saw on the internet that I was projected to be picked 12th, so I was just waiting to be picked.”

On LA vs. Moscow:
“Even though the weather was not that good when I was in L.A. [before], it was still better than the weather in Moscow. I am happy about the warm weather because I am tired of the cold. Whenever I miss the cold, I’ll just come back home to Moscow to visit.”

On being coached by his father growing up:
"I think it helped me because he paid more attention to me than other players. He could yell at me/. He knows me, he knows my strengths and weaknesses. He is always with me because he is my coach and my father. He is always around, and I know that what he tells me is from the heart and not about business because he wants the best for me.”

On preparing for the NBA:
"I think I have a lot to work on especially in the weight room. I think that the LA Clippers coaching staff will help me and I will be ready soon.”

On his familiarity with the Clippers:
"I have seen Corey Maggette and Bobby Simmons and I know they have a European player named Marko Jaric. I saw him play in Europe and I think that he can help me adjust to the NBA.”

Clippers Scout Fabrizio Besnati

On whether the Clippers should have traded down:
"We think that we’ve been following (Korolev) him enough to be confident that this kid is the one we’ve been looking for. That’s why we didn’t trade down. Korolev has a very good chance to become a good player in the NBA.”

On whether Korolev could compete in the NBA immediately:
"If he did come over right away, of course on a limited basis, he would be able to play some minutes and contribute in his own way. He has some work to do, but he’ll definitely get it done.”

On if Korolev is contractually bound to stay in Moscow next year:
"No, its pretty much going to be up to us whether or not we want him to come over right away or if we want to have him stay over [in Russia].”

On how long the Clippers have scouted Korolev:
"He has been on our radar for about three years. I have seen him play 15-20 times and have seen him practice seven or eight times.”

On comparisons to Andrei Kirilenko:
"Obviously you think of Kirilenko because they are both Russian. They come from the same team actually (Russia). But, I don’t think they are quite the same type of players. Kirilenko developed his skills a little later maybe when he was 18 or 19 years old, but he was longer and really athletic maybe a little more so than Korolev. I think Korolev might be a little more skilled than Kirilenko when Kirilenko was the same age. They are not the same type of player, though.”

On Yaroslav's physical growth potential:
"It looks like he could grow an inch or so. I wouldn’t doubt it. Definitely he could grow another inch or so. For his position he is already taller than normal players so its not going to be an issue if he grows or not.”

Clippers Director of Player Personnel Barry Hecker

On second round pick Daniel Ewing:
“One of the things that we like about him is we all agreed that we need a little perimeter defense on the ball. We got hurt last year defending the ball out on the floor and we thought that’s something he could really give us.”

On the decision to draft Ewing:
“We have to improve defensively and we think Ewing can help. He was one of the best on-ball defenders in college basketball and he comes from a great program with a great coach. He knows how to win.”