MIAMI , Florida ( November 22, 2005)
Piculin confirmed heís willing to play in the national team. How likely is it that youíll play with the national team in international tournaments?
Every time thereís an international tournament where Puerto Rico participates, I want to compete with the national team, and always say ďhere.Ē Last summer I wasnít able to be a part of it because my daughter was born. It was a valid excuse, I understand that my family comes first. But from now on, Iíll always be ready to compete with Puerto Rico and as along as weíre invited next year, weíll prepare adequately to compete in international tournaments, which are highly competitive. It makes me very happy to hear that we can also count on Piculin as part of the team.
Carlos Arroyo (Rocky Widner/NBAE)
How has your adaptation process been with the team this season, where youíre off to a great start?
The adaptation process has been easier than last season; the team has had a great start. I think we should maintain this level by continuing to play as a team like weíve done so far. And although those of us coming from the bench play few minutes, weíre also contributing to the teamís success. We should stay positive; we have the talent and the experience to make the playoffs again and finals.
Thereís been a lot of talk about the Pistonsí change in style since Larry Brown left and Flip Saunders moved in. Can you tell us, from your perspective, about this change and how it has affected you?
Itís been an excellent change for the team. Flip is a great coach. Heís more flexible, recognizes the teamís strengths, understands weíre a strong offensive team, and also knows that we are a team that is recognized for its defensive level. The flexibility he gives us as players to demonstrate our individual talent in certain moments of the game, wasnít there last year. That is something thatís highly positive and allows many players to demonstrate a lot more than they have these past few years.
What is your role with the team? Has it changed from the system the team had last season?
My role with the team is coming from the bench, along with my other teammates that come from the bench, and control our playing time, maintain the same level/potential and allow starters to rest. In my specific position, that would be Chauncey Billups, center starter for the team whoís had excellent seasons with the team. I have to understand that I wonít be playing the minutes I want to play, nor will I have the numbers I want to have, so my role is to allow Chauncey to rest and perform well. I think that the most important thing is to understand that role and thatís what Flip Saunders always encourages amongst our team. Thatís what we have to do to win, so weíre all on the same page and we play as a team.
What player, other than Manu Ginůbili, so you think deserves to be selected for All-Star?
I think that Manu is the best Latin player and is most likely to participate in All-Star. I think Pau Gasol is also playing well, and should also have that opportunity Ė I know he deserves it.
At this time in your career, do you prefer to be in a winning team, as a back up player, or on a team that doesnít have Detroitís potential, but where youíre playing as a starter?
Thatís something thatís hard for me to say, but I really have a great opportunity now, to be in a winning team and make it to the championship, an opportunity that many players donít have. Winning almost every night is something I have now. I canít deny that I want to be a starter and play a lot of minutes, I have the ability to do that, and when I was given the opportunity I took advantage of it and demonstrated my talent. I know that many Puerto Ricans want me to play more minutes and want for me to have more of a starting role on the team. But I also understand that thatís something that comes with time Ė Iíve been very patient with things in my life and so far, everything has turned out well. For now, Iím fine with the team, I canít ask for more minutes when the team is playing so well. As long as we continue to win Ė weíll all be happy.
How is your relationship with Carlos Delfino, both on and off the court?
Itís very good. Carlos is a tremendous player. Unfortunately he had a knee injury last year, but he is one of the best players from training camp during preseason. Like others, he needs to play more minutes to be able to excel and to demonstrate all his talent, but he is in the same situation that I am in, leaving the bench, where we have the opportunity to play several minutes and allow starting players to rest. Carlos definitely has the talent to play many minutes and on any team in this league.
What do you think about the good performances shown by the Hispanic players in the league?
As Iíve said the past few years, the opportunity that new Latin players have in the league will continue to grow. Those of us that are now competing in the league have the responsibility of continuing our success and opening more doors for new talent from Latin America that dreams of playing in this amazing league.
When your contract with the Pistons expires, will you remain with the team or will you look for another team where you can be a starting player?
Iím living the present right now. Itís obvious that in two years anything can happen here. I have always complained about wanting to play more minutes and having the opportunity to demonstrate my game. Once again this year, Iím not playing too many minutes, about 13 or 14 minutes per game, and itís obvious that a player always wants to play more. Whether or not I will continue to play with the team in a few years is something Iím not sure about right now. At this particular moment Iím focused on my role with this team.
How can Detroit maintain the same physical and mental strength to have a significant advantage with such a long season ahead?
For us, maintaining a good record and good health means a lot. We know that we are responsible for our fatigue, so we must eat right, rest, and sleep well because for the long season ahead. Especially because all the teams that play against us play extremely hard Ė they are prepared for our playing level and understand the importance of our game with our winning streak Ė so they all want to win. Chemistry within the team is very good. We are one big family. We are an extremely different team, a team that understands what it takes to win without focusing on who takes credit.
What do you recommend to the young players who want to play in the league, like Peter Ramos and Ricky Sanchez, and are now in the D-League"? How can they stay and last longer in the NBA?
Well, Iíve had the opportunity to stay in the league playing several years and to sign a great contract, which is something very difficult. From the beginning when I had my ups-and-downs I stayed positive. I always understood that to be able to remain in the league it meant to work harder than the others, and I always understood that it is a privilege to be here and not a right. That helped me very much. I stayed positive throughout, and I continued to work with modesty. So I recommend that remain positive and continue working hard.
Who are your strongest rivals in the East Ė teams that can play at the same level as Detroit?
Miami is a very good team; New Jersey is also a great team, although they still havenít gotten used to each other, but they have good players. Boston has been a strong team every time weíve played against them. Those are all teams that would be big rivals for us.