Eight Important Quotes From Day One With Coach Pierce
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Lloyd Pierce, on building relationships with players:
This is a profession where if you don't have a relationship with players, it's not going to work. That's one of the first things that I was taught. Steve Nash was a teammate of mine. Obviously, he's had a pretty good career in the NBA. The first thing he told me when I got to Cleveland as a player development was, 'Just be true to yourself. The players, they'll take to that.'
It's important in our profession that you're authentic and genuine. And it's important. If you establish relationships, that's how you build credibility. Once you build credibility, players buy into anything that you're giving them as long as you care about their growth and development.
Pierce, on his 'Welcome to Atlanta' moment:
Being Mother's Day, I had an opportunity last night just to get out and surprise my mother and my wife and my sister. We went to the Anita Baker concert at the Fox Theatre. An unbelievable show, an unbelievable feel for the city and a unique opportunity. We met Anita Baker in the lobby of our hotel earlier that day. I told her I was bringing my mother to the concert. She went way out of her way. We ended up spending some time with her after the concert for about 20 or 25 minutes. We got some pictures with her. If that's my welcome to Atlanta, I'm looking forward to it.
Pierce, on his coaching style and the type of culture he wants to build:
If we weren't doing this press conference, I'd probably have these guys doing some defensive drills. That's who I am. That's how I grew up in the NBA.
I think that is an important aspect any time you're trying to develop a culture: what can you control? It's your effort. We want to attack the day, every single day from start to finish. We want to start building habits.
Schlenk, on knowing who was the right person to hire:
When we started this process, Jeff Peterson, my assistant general manager, he had never gone through a coaching search. I, fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you want to look at it, I had been through a couple in Golden State.
Jeff said to me, "How are we going to know?"
And I looked at him and said, "We'll just know. We'll be in that first meeting and the way they talk, their passion, what they're saying is going to resonate for exactly what we're looking for."
When we were meeting with Lloyd in the luxurious Philadelphia Airport Marriott about halfway through the process, I just wrote on a little piece of paper and slid it over to Jeff and said, "I told you. We'd know."
We both knew. The one thing Lloyd said that stuck in both of our minds is, "Good days add up." That's a mantra that he had. Going through this process where we realize that we're not going to win every game, but good days add up. That really stuck out.
Pierce, on coaching this summer:
I will coach the Summer League in Utah. We're going to Utah and Las Vegas, I believe. I plan on coaching the team in Utah. Many of you may not know, but my wife is pregnant. Our expectancy date is August 1st, so I plan to do Utah early then I'll probably spend as much time as I can preparing for that part of it before passing it on to someone else.
I've coached Summer League four times, three times with Philly and once with Memphis. It's just an opportunity, especially coming into this situation. It's an opportunity for the guys to hear your voice. It's an opportunity to put some of your defensive coverages and schemes in. It's an opportunity to put in a lot of your offensive concepts. But most importantly, it's an opportunity to get on the court and start working with the guys.
76ers forward Robert Covington, on what Pierce meant to his career:
From film to preparation on the court to preparation off the court, everything that he's done was to help me to get to the player that I am today – based on him just having that project (of helping me). I've been under his wing for the last four years, so it's been a blessing for us to see each other grow.
Kent Bazemore, on what he anticipates from Pierce:
It's the mentality. I remember when I was out in Las Vegas at Tim Grgurich's camp in my second year. (Coach Pierce) was there. You could just tell. He coaches with a different intensity and it's contagious. When you've got the man up front leading the charge that way, it's easier for us to relate. I think this relationship – not only between him and I but the rest of the players – will go over rather smoothly. We've got a lot of young guys that all they really know how to do is to play hard, so when you get a guy in here with a lot of intensity to help them channel it, I think we can make some strides in a shorter period of time.
Schlenk, on how the new coach impacts his larger vision for the team:
Our plan hasn't changed just because we have a new head coach. It hasn't changed our plan from when I sat here last year with (principal owner) Tony (Ressler) on this stage and gave the vision. We're going to continue to develop the young players that we have to make them the best that we can. We're going to maintain our financial flexibility until it's the right time to strike. We're going to continue to look to accumulate assets.
Our plan is the same. We have a clear path. We have a clear vision. We're going to stick with it; we just have a new head coach now.