Q: One of the real challenges for an NBA rookie is to get used to the schedule, road trips and being away from home. What advice does a veteran give to help with this?
I played with Kevin Garnett and some of the biggest advice he gave me last year was just to take care of your body, give it good rest and go out there every game and just play as hard as you can; leave it all on the floor. It helped me a lot because when I look back on my rookie season I see that I learned a lot from not only playing with Kevin Garnett but learning things on and off the court.
Q: What are you looking to get from this experience?
A: There are a lot of new guys on this team so it's going to be good for us to be able to get out here and just get away from everything and just play. And I think that's important because everyone on this team is new. So I think just getting us out the States and getting us over there to Istanbul is going to be great for us as a team.
Q: You started the last couple of games last season with solid numbers. Are you expecting to become the Timberwolves first choice at point guard and start?
A: I'm not going to say exactly what I'm expecting to do but I'm expected from my coaches and my teammates to go out and be very aggressive, because we lost a big part of our team. But we got a lot of good young guys and talent. But on my behalf, on how I played last year and how I played throughout the game, they are going to need me to do that more.
Q: After Kevin Garnett's departure do you see yourself as the new franchise player?
A: No I don't look at myself as a franchise player as I haven't really done anything yet. I played last year with Kevin Garnett and since he's been gone I've had to take on a lot of leadership roles here but I look at myself as being a young player who is humble and hungry and is looking to go out there and play hard every night for his teammates.
Q: You've been to Turkey before. What were your impressions, what are you going to tell your other teammates about Turkey.
A: Turkey was great when I was there. It was two years ago. I had so much fun. It's just a beautiful place. Already people on my team have asked me how it is and I've just told them itís a great place and people embrace you so well there that I just told them they're going to love it when they get there.
Q: What do you think is a realistic goal for the season with this new team?
A: I think the biggest goal is for us to just go out there and try and win as many games as we can. We have to go out there and just play together as a team. We have to be athletic on the court but at the same time we have to not just use our energy on offense, we have to also use it on defense to play against all the teams.
Q: What are your personal goals for yourself and for your future?
A: Personal goals are just to go out there and be aggressive, be competitive, which is taking the ball to the basket and for my other teammates to be there to help.
Q: What's it going to be like facing Kevin Garnett in London when he's on the opposite side of the court?
A: I think it's going to be fun to play against him again. It's just going to be fun because there are a lot of new guys playing for the Celtics as well.
Q: He's obviously been a great influence on you, what do you single out as being the biggest attributes that he's helped develop in your game?
A: One of the biggest things is he's told me to be more aggressive. I tend to not be that aggressive but he would tell me during a game to not be afraid to take a shot just, to do what you do and that's what I think he helped me most on last year.
Q: You spent time with Kevin Garnett on the practice court every day, what sets him apart from pretty much every player in the league?
A: One thing that makes him special is his work ethic. I've seen Kevin Garnett work out for 2 Ĺ hours on the practice court, then go and work out for an hour in the weight room, then come back and shoot for another hour. Not only one day would I see him do this, in a month he probably does this 20-24 times Ö with the traveling. He's just so gifted. That's why he's never hurt. He just takes care of his body and on the court he gives it his all. He never slacks.
Q: With Kevin Garnett moving to the Celtics is it justified to say that they are now the favorites to win the East?
A: Yes. I feel that Paul Pierce is a really good player on that team. Ray Allen is a great shooter and Kevin Garnett is a great Mr. Everything, so I think that the way they play and the way he plays, he's going to fit everybody in and they're going to love playing with him. He's so unselfish, so I think they're going to go really far in the East this year.
Q: What part of your game did you develop this summer during the offseason?
A: This summer I can't pin-point one part of my game that I worked on, as I worked on my overall game. I think I was working on my game so hard preparing to play with Kevin Garnett. Once the trade went down, then the reason I worked this hard and didn't go on any vacations was because I knew this was going to happen and I needed to be ready to perform without Kevin Garnett. So when it happened it was towards the end of the summer. I was upset at the time as he was just a great friend and like a big brother to me, but at the same time I said to myself: that's the reason why I worked that hard this summer, as I know there's going to be a lot of tough obstacles to come this season and what I did this summer is going to prepare me for it.
Q: The Timberwolves have an incredible bunch of talent. Are you telling yourself you can be a surprise in the West this year?
A: I love it when people don't look at us and say they can do this but not that, as we haven't done anything yet. The fact people say things like that is good, as we could be one of the teams to surprise everyone.
Q: You had International tournament experience before. For you, what is the biggest difference between the American game and the international game?
A: I played against international players when I was out there in Turkey. But I think one of the biggest differences between international players and American players is that international play is based on finesse and the American game is more aggressive -- we like to take the ball to the arm and dunk it. International play tends to be more shooting off threes, come off screens and just play hard as a team. I think one of the ways you play against international teams is you try and take away the three. But that isn't even going to make it tough now as they're starting to pick up on our game and mix both. But just to separate the two, we are more aggressive and dunk a lot more and international players shoot so many threes.
Q: How do you describe the situation of the franchise now? Is it still weird after the Garnett trade?
A: Yes it definitely feels weird because he was the face of the Timberwolves and now we're a lot of young guys all trying to be just one. So it's kind of weird but at the same time I think everybody is ready for the challenge.
Q: Could it be a great chance for the franchise that Garnett is gone to build a new legacy?
A: Yes. Either way, for me it was going to good either playing with him or playing without him, because I was going to be one of the main guys and I'm still going to be, so itís an opportunity for me to go out there and do something special.