Portland's 2018-19 Season Starts With Media Day
After roughly five months of offseason, the Portland Trail Blazers officially started their 2018-19 season Monday afternoon at their annual Media Day at the Moda Center. While what happens on the court is by far the most important variable when it comes to running an NBA franchise, there's a whole lot of off-court work that has to be done in order to prepare for the next eight months, and a large chunk of that gets squared away at media day. The team will also have their first official practice, but before that, there's photos and videos to be taken and item to be signed.
There's also the interview portion, where collected media get first crack at players, coaches and staff before training camp gets underway. Between players being more accessible during the offseason than they've ever been thanks to social media and the fact that nothing of substance has happened since summer league, this year's media day interviews didn't really produce much news, but it was a good opportunity get a baseline for player and coach mindset at the start of a long campaign.
So here's the 2018 batch of Trail Blazers Media Day interviews (Caleb Swanigan, Nik Stauskus and Gary Trent Jr. didn't get around to the media portion)...
On the increasing trend of star players demanding trades...
"I think what we're going to all have an open discussion about at some point is small and mid market teams and the challenges we face and the opportunities that are afforded organizations in big markets that aren't necessarily afforded small markets. We talk all the time, we have draft, player development, trade and free agency. The studies we've done, we've got almost two-thirds of the league that really don't participate in impactful free agency to a degree it can change the course of their franchise the way some other markets do. I think when you are in a small market and you're lucky to have drafted star players, you're lucky to have a coaching staff that has developed them and maximized their abilities, that you do need to keep them happy and I think they need to know you're committed to winning. But we're very lucky that the guys that we have are incredibly bright. They have great league-wide knowledge and they understand there are just certain realities in smaller and mid markets that you've got to be more patient. Their aren't the quick fixes, you can't buy your way out of mistakes the way you can in some other destination markets."
On the new rule that only resets the shot clock to 14 seconds after an offensive rebound...
"The shot clock reset rule, I think, is a good rule. I don't think it will really have much of an impact on the game. I know there have been studies, I think they did in the G-League, they've been doing it in Europe. I like the fact that there's no reason to back it out, 24 (second) and run a play. I do think it will speed up the game, but I'm not sure. You look at how many times there's offensive rebounds, they put it back up. You get an offensive rebound, you kick it out for a three and there's only 10 to 15 offensive rebounds a game. So I don't know how much of an impact through the course of a game it will have, even though I do like the rule. Where I think it is going to have an impact is the end of games and possibly end of quarters where a shot goes up and instead of backing it back out -- if you're ahead, you get a rebound, back it out and run some more clock -- now you've got to shoot in 14 seconds, so that's when it's going to have its biggest impact, end of quarters, end of games."
On how he approached the offseason...
"I think this year I sat still more than in the past. I wasn't traveling as much, I relaxed at home. I spent a lot of time with my son and my family, I did a lot of stuff around Portland, but the training was the same. I trained hard, I'm prepared for the season, but I relaxed. I just kicked back, took care of my body. I was banged up toward the end of the season, had some injuries, so I got all of that checked out and got my body right, then the training was the same."
On his news-making summer
"It was a productive summer. There was a point where I was like 'I can't really tweet because people are reading into everything.' KD and I were really just joking, he helped me from a standpoint of figuring out a strategic way to build the numbers. He's a forward thinker, people think that we don't get along but we actually do, I was just with him last week. So I think it's hilarious that people can grab a story and run with it, but that's the power of social media. I was working out and doing a lot of stuff, people pitch me things, want me to do stuff. There was a point where I was like 'Nah, I can't do anything else. I'm done.' My podcast is all I'm doing and working out, no appearances. I almost covered the US Open, but I decided not to. It was fun, it was a productive summer. I think I was in the headlines a lot, probably too much, but c'est la vie."
On rehabbing a knee injury this offseason and not yet being fully healthy going into training camp...
"This offseason was a little bit different because I was trying to get back to 100 percent most of the summer. Early in the summer I was here for the first month and a half, just doing my rehab. It took me a while to be able to really be back on the court and be able to go full speed, I had to take things slow. It's still a process now but it's been a different summer this year. I've never been into that posting videos and stuff on social media anyway, every guy is different. For me this year, it was a lot more of being careful and trying to make sure my leg was 100 percent before I could go full speed again. It's still something that I'll keep a close eye on and have to monitor even now."