Fastbreak: Coach Brown Talks Nerlens, Leadership, and Competition for Minutes
Wednesday, head coach Brett Brown met with members of the local media, touching on a number of topics during a half-hour long question-and-answer session. Here are some of the highlights:
On Nerlens Noel’s demeanor and his role during recovery
“I look forward to him traveling with the team, and being part of the team, and being in team meetings and video sessions, and seeing a grumpy coach and a sad player, or vice versa. When I see him, I see a wide-eyed, bouncing, competitive, can-be-what-he-wants-to-be player, so now you feel the weight and responsibility to develop him and give him all that you can. I just feel like there’s a real freshness to his face, there’s a real bounce and a spark in his personality – he’s endearing. I think he’s going to be special. He has a chance to be really special.”
On leadership of Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young, and Spencer Hawes
“The thing that has impressed me the most is how curious they are on what I think about something, or ‘Tell me about this player,’ ‘What do you think about how we’re going to play offense?’ They’re enjoyable to talk to. I do look at them the way I used to with [Tim Duncan], Tony [Parker], and Manu [Ginobili].
“I want their opinion in a lot of different things. Obviously I feel strong in what I want to happen, but they know the lay of the land. They deserve to be heard. And their leadership is something we really want to cultivate.”
On having young roster and how it affects competition for minutes
“When there really is an abundance of minutes available, there is legitimate court time available – I look out there and see just a tiny handful of veterans, and those three guys (Turner, Young and Hawes) are going to play, after that, who knows? Michael Carter-Williams is going to play, but after that, you’re going to reward people who compete.
“We’re looking for energy-based players. People that play defense, get up and down the floor.”
On Temple rookie Khalif Wyatt
“I think he’s tempting. There’s a tantalizing part of him, you know, ‘Is he Gary Neal?” – a scoring point guard, or [something] very similar. Khalif passes very well, Khalif has a knack for scoring, Khalif’s got to get in great shape. There’s a part of his game that you get excited about. I am convinced that his fitness, because you can get into an argument with yourself about what is his natural position – is it scorer, is it point guard? I’m on the fence. We used to do the same thing with Gary Neal (in San Antonio).
“What I do see in him is he can pass and he has an instinct to score, so now you get down to a speed issue and an athleticism issue. For him to be as good as he can be, he needs to [be] thin, and [have] low skin folds, and [extract] as much quickness as he can. But he is of interest and he is one that we’re paying attention to.”