The Sounds of Silas
Posted Sep 25 2003 1:15PM
Cavs coach Paul Silas gives rookies insight on the player-coach relationship
TARRYTOWN, N.Y., Sept. 25 -- Being the new kid on the block never is easy. From media requests, to two-a-days in training camps, to learning the plays and the tendencies of new teammates, the transition to the NBA can be overwhelming for rookies.
And what to think when you meet your new coach? You know, the coach who stands 6-7, but whose imposing presence makes him seems taller than he is. That, and he has three NBA championship rings from his playing days when he admitted his best skill was -- and we're paraphrasing here -- kickin' butt.
Paul Silas may have been a rebounding grizzly bear during his 16 seasons in the NBA, but the Cavs coach took the tough love approach when he talked this week about the finer points of the player-coach relationship in the NBA to players attending the NBA's Rookie Transition Program.
"Whatever you're thinking of doing," Silas said, "I've done it."
"Coaches are under a lot of pressure," Silas emphasized. "So, if it looks like I'm in your [personal] business, I am."
Silas then became more specific regarding the player-coach relationship when it comes to the player's dedication to the team. In asking a player whether he would marry the woman he loves, Silas used an anecdote that proved coaches can be both altruistic and full of self-interest.
"If you're not going to make a commitment to someone you say you love and respect," Silas explained, "how are you going to make a commitment to me?"
If anything, Silas emphasized to rookies the NBA is about devotion -- to the game, to your teammates, to your coach and to the league itself.
Silas also made numerous points about what he expects from his players:
-- If you want to talk, don't go to the media first, go into the coach's office. "Every coach in this league has an open-door policy," Silas said. "If you need to talk, we'll do it behind closed doors."
-- Don't complain about not getting enough "touches." "No, no, no, no," Silas said. "I don't want to hear it. Go to your point guard and let him know that you need the ball. They'll find you. I used to do that with Jo Jo White. 'Jo Jo, give me the ball.' And he would find me."
-- Hone your NBA skill. "What is your NBA skill?" Silas said. "Everyone in here has an NBA skill? Mine was whuppin' ass. You are all special or you wouldn't be here, but you need to hone that skill."
"It was interesting just to hear his philosophies, how he thinks his players should act and what he believes he's going to be able to do with the Cavaliers," Blake said. "It was great to hear a guy who has been around for so long speak to us." And finally, SIlas noted every player has a duty to be himself, but mind the generation gap.
"I don't get hip hop," Silas said, "but I realize that is what you like. Styles change. I have pictures of me in a dashiki, with a big ol' Afro and a beard. But one thing I don't like is the use of the 'N' word.
"I don't understand why or where [it's popularity] came from, but you have to study the history. People died because of that word. A lot of old timers from the South or who grew up in California in the '40s, '50s or '60s realize how harmful that word is. Think it through."