ON SUMMER LEAGUE
Spo and I just met with him for a half hour. I think one of the only things that he heard . . . was hard work. We started that whole process. He knows about it, obviously. All the young players know how hard you have to work and he was explaining to me some of the practices that he had gone through where his head coach was somewhat like me. That his practices were 3.5 to 4 hours. Great. Love that. I don’t know if you’re going to get that today, not in this league, but he understands what hard work is all about. Now it’s just about taking that hard work to conditioning and player development. It’s just a great process for him to start in the Summer League and let it fly because we’re not going to try and overcoach him in a week. He’ll start learning from that standpoint.
WHAT POPPED ON FILM
I think the overall skillset. When you talk about a player being a complete player, that’s what we’re talking about. How good is that completeness will come with development. What is a complete player, someone who can pass, who can dribble, someone who can run pick-and-rolls and shoot the ball. He’s a long-range shooter, a mid-range shooter. He scores well with the layup. He’ll take the ball and dunk it over somebody. He has those kinds of offensive skills that he can get better at. And then he’ll found out some new things that he’ll be taught where he’ll say, ‘Wow, I can do these things.’ That comes with development.
From a defensive standpoint we’ll start from Day 1, from a weight training standpoint and footwork drills and all those things. Stance. That’s more of a coaching, technique, how we play defense, how you should play defense one-on-one. How you play defense on the perimeter, how you play defense in the post. How do you guard pick-and-rolls. The whole thing. His overall game and package of skills shows versatility. We like that.
Now how far is it going to go is going to be dependent on Nik.
ON ROTATION MINUTES
That is something that right now he should not worry about. We’re not going to worry about. The whole concept is he’s here and to get him ready for Summer League. Get himself mentally ready for it. Because it’s been a drain. This whole year. This whole draft process and working out and coming across and going back and forth. We’re trying to freshen him up this week so he can get ready to go out to San Francisco. Whatever happens from the standpoint of playing time, he’s got a training camp to go through. We’ll see what happens here. Those are won, you have to earn that and he knows that.
ON MEETING WITH RILEY AND SPOELSTRA
I mean we talked a little bit about everything. One thing I immediately learned is I’m going to need to work. That’s the first thing I’m going to do for sure. I’m going to try and do it the best that I can. I hope it’ll turn out good.
ON THE DRAFT PROCESS
I enjoyed really everything about this process. It’s my first time doing something like this. It’s been hard for sure, but mentally I’m really good right now. I can’t wait to play. I love the game of basketball. Mentally it’s never been a problem for me, so I just can’t wait to play Summer League.
ON FACING DIFFERENT DEFENSIVE COVERAGES
I think it helped me a lot. Playing pick-and-roll throughout the year, I played in a really tough league against some really rough guys. They’re really physical. From pick-and-roll I can do a lot of things and I showed I can do a lot of things. I’m not sure if out here I’m going to play that much of pick-and-roll but the pick-and-roll that I played helped me in everything for sure.
ON PLAYERS THAT HE HAS STUDIED
I don’t have one guy that I watch. I watch a little bit of everyone. If it’s Luka [Doncic] pick-and-roll, if it’s [Nikola] Jokic low-post game, if it’s Jimmy [Butler] defense. Something from everyone.
DOES THIS FEEL REAL?
I still don’t believe this is happening. Especially this franchise, they’re known for everything they did. Walking down these hallways and seeing all those symbols of championships, you just want to work. I still don’t believe what’s happening. Now it’s just a dream come true.
ON JOINING A TEAM COMPETING FOR A TITLE
It’s a perfect fit for me, especially because they’re really competitive and I think I can learn a lot of things from them. Of course I’ll do anything I can to help them do better than they did this year.
ON HIS POSITION
I consider myself positionless. I think I can play multiple positions.
ON WHEN BEING A FIRST ROUNDER BECAME REALISTIC
I would say halfway through this season. There’s a lot of kids that from 13-14 years old, people are talking about them being Top 10, first-round picks. I kind of was a late bloomer. Probably two months before I came here, I was really thinking, ‘Wow, maybe this is going to turn really good.’ I would say halfway through the season I was really considering myself a first-round pick.