Steve Blake Press Conference
With L.A. General Manager Mitch Kupchak to his left, newly-signed Laker Steve Blake addressed the Los Angeles media for the first time on Wednesday morning.
Below is a summary of the Q&A interchange, which will be available this afternoon on video:
Mitch Kupchak Opening Statement: "Everybody knows that last week we signed Steve Blake to a multi-year contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. We watched Steve play at the University of Maryland, winning a National Title. We've known him since we brought him in to work out prior to the (2003) Draft, and his numbers were very impressive. In fact, he may have tested out as one of the best players we've ever had in terms of physical ability. Of course we've followed him throughout his NBA career, and this is not the first time we've talked about acquiring Steve. After all these years we're happy to welcome him on board."
Steve Blake Opening Statement:
"I want to say that I'm extremely excited to be coming here with the Lakers as a player who wants to win. (I've) won championships at every level except the NBA, and I think (L.A.) is the best place to be. As a point guard, (I'm excited about) being able to play with the best player in the world in Kobe Bryant and other players like Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, Ron Artest ... and to play for the best coach, Phil Jackson. I'm extremely excited. There couldn't be any better opportunity for me out there than to come here. I'm extremely happy that Mitch wanted me here and I look forward to playing my role to the best of my ability."
- Blake was asked if he plans on starting or playing major minutes, and he said that he wasn't sure, and didn't really care (Kupchak later said that he expects Fisher to remain the starter, while it's of course Phil Jackson's decision). Blake spoke to Jackson "a little bit," and didn't go into details about his exact role. His focus is to "be productive" no matter what his role, as he knows it's "about winning" in L.A.
- On his outlook: "I'll just play my game. I've always been a guy that likes to set people up first, get everyone involved and be a scrappy defender. Knock down open shots because we have a lot of guys on this team who get doubled. Just be an intelligent player out there on the court. I've tried to play that way my whole life."
- On putting up a triple-double against the Lakers while playing for the Clippers in the regular season's final game: "You know, I think after the game was over, I was very happy that I did that against the Lakers (laughter). But I wasn't thinking about it during the game; I was focused and trying to help my team win." Kupchak followed up that it wasn't just like Blake had that one good game against L.A., and that the Lakers had admired his game for years now.
- Kupchak said that while Fisher is expected to start, he is soon to be 36, and that the Lakers needed another player in the backcourt "to spell Fisher in relief and also going forward." Blake will spend plenty of time on the court.
- Blake on the free agency period: "It was a very short process. I think I came to them on the second day. My agent told me that there were a lot of teams called right off the bat, and the Lakers were one of the first teams. I was really excited about that when I heard that. I was really happy that it happened quick. I wanted it to be quick, wanted to go to a team that would win, and there's no better place for me to be."
- On fitting into the triangle offense: "I think I'm a pretty intelligent player. I haven't played in the triangle system before, so I hope to figure it out very quickly, learn from players like Derek Fisher coming back. I think I can pick it up really fast. You never know until you get in it, but I think I'll have a chance to be really successful at it."
- Kupchak said that they had Blake in mind as a player who clearly had the skills to fit into the triangle. He mentioned that since Phil Jackson will likely not return after the coming season, the team could still run the triangle, which came into play while considering Blake.
- Kupchak also made specific mention of the fact that L.A. really likes Blake's defensive ability.
- Blake on having a bevy of low post talent: "When you throw the ball down to Pau and Bynum ... when it's in the post a lot of it is about spacing and knowing where to be. I think I've done a good job at finding my way to that corner, or getting open when (the bigs) get doubled. I think I'll be able to continue to do that. I've played with some other good low post players that get double-teamed - in Portland LaMarcus Aldridge got me a ton of shots. But it's not about just me getting shots out of the post, it's finding the next guy that's open if I'm not open.
- Blake on Derek Fisher: "Over the years, Derek Fisher has been so huge. A lot of places I've been, they've (been like), 'Oh you're not the best point guard in the league, you probably won't be able to win a championship.' I've said, well, look at guys like Derek Fisher, who's been so successful, won five championships. He's a great player, but he's not the best point guard in the NBA. I think it's important to know that it's not about me, the point guard, doing everything. It's about the team.
- Blake on if Fisher is a role model: "Absolutely. I've always looked up to him. He's a winner, and I've always respected winning."