Kings GM End-of-Season Q&A Part 3
In the third of a four-part series, Pete D'Alessandro discusses Jason Williams, the 2002 Kings roster and more.
Are there any unique or memorable stories from this year you could share with us?
“When [Chris] Mullin won the three-point contest! I expected him to win it… I really did. I sat there with Mike Bratz and told him Chris was going to hit every single one, and he was like C’mon… and I think he hit 14 out of 15. When he hit the 13th, I was like it’s done! He’s hitting them all, and then he missed the next one… It was the most surprising moment to me because I know the man and I know how he is locked-in. It was just really funny and we had a good time.
“I think training camp overall was a really special time for us as an organization. It was our first time coming together and first time coming together as a staff. Malcolm Gladwell’s book, David and Goliath, had just come out where Vivek was featured in the first chapter, so I gave it to all the players. I think my inscription was, “Let’s think like David,” because that’s who we are right now. Let’s think like David because we need to. We’re not there, but I think it was a really good starting point for us. This book comes out, the staff is getting together, the players are getting to know us for the first time, and it was exciting!"
Fan Question from Stacey Petit-Williams: Have you thought about bringing back players from the 2002 roster to work with the team?
“I’m really happy with our staff and what we have going on in terms of development, but we’re always open to having discussions with former players. I had lunch with Vlade and Peja and really hearing their thoughts on the team and the League and how it’s grown, it’s very impressive to me. I represented Jason [Williams] but had never met Peja. There’s a certain richness to what he has to say and he has a good perspective. He’s been through a lot. He came from a different country, to here and really started out slow. I talked to him a little bit about his first year in the League, and when you look at it, he did struggle. What he turned into was this incredible player. To just get this information and talk to him about it, to me as a GM, was really invaluable.
“We see this as a Kings family, and even to have Mitch Richmond working for us is incredible. He’s a great guy with an incredible amount of knowledge and the ability to connect with players in a way that only Mitch Richmond can. I think we need to look at it as a family, and there’s so much respect for that 2002 roster for me. Who knows what happens down the road? I would never close the door on anything.”
Jason Williams’ game was a little flashy in college, but what was it like for you when he came into the League and performed as he did? Did you expect it?
“I didn’t. I don’t know if anyone else in my office at the time may have, but it was exciting for us! Not just because he was playing well, but because we got to see this team come together, and all of the sudden, it was the first time they were on TNT and they were getting all this national attention. It was really exciting as a representative of a player to be focused on a team. I was actually focused on the Kings because it was so fun to watch that group play together. I always expected him to be a great player, but I didn’t expect it to happen that fast for him. He was ready.
“I keep talking about this community, but there was such excitement here at the time that all I could say was, ‘Wow!’ This place just erupted. We talked about it, and he can’t even believe it.
“As a player, he did all the things he did in college just at a higher level, and I think he’s still doing it now.”