Exit Interviews 2018 | Player Quotes

by Brian Seltzer
Sixers.com Reporter

On the heels of their season-ending loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the 76ers conducted their exit interviews at the team training complex in Camden, New Jersey on Thursday, May 10th.

Below, find select quotes from players, compiled in chronological order of appearance:

Jerryd Bayless (7.9 ppg | 2.1 rpg | 1.4 apg), on providing leadership on young team:

“Different guys call for different situations. Most of the younger players did a really good job. This program has a bright future moving forward.”

“With the personalities that we had on this team, they just meshed. When you have a group of guys who click together, it makes it easier. So, luckily this year, we had that, and it was a fun experience.”

JJ Redick (17.1 ppg | 193 3fgm | 42.0 3fg%), on his first season with 76ers:

"I don’t really set goals, because I recognize year to year, your role can change. My mindset is always just to be my best, whatever that may look like. For me, I think I did that. I’m proud of the individual season I had. From a team perspective, we far exceeded any expectations I would have - wins and losses, seeding, advancing in the Playoffs, and probably, most importantly, the culture here. That’s probably the biggest reward for me, being part of the culture here.”

"This was probably my favorite year of my career. Playing in Philly is its own experience, and our fans, the city, the buzz about sports and about this team was amazing. I think I said this on media day that it’s the first time I’m playing in a real sports town. That definitely lived up to those thoughts."

Ersan Ilyasova (10.8 ppg | 6.7 rpg | 30 3fgm), on rejoining the 76ers, and reaching second round of Playoffs for first time in his career:

“It was an amazing experience. I didn’t expect it to turn out the way it turned out. I know tthe team was special. As far as I was part of it, winning 16 games in a row, ending up in 3rd seed of Eastern Conference, and being part of second round of the playoffs, it was amazing.”

Marco Belinelli (13.6 ppg | 57 3fgm | 38.5 3fg%, on signing with the 76ers, and playing for Brett Brown:

“I think everybody is a little bit mad about the Playoffs. At the same time, I think for myself, it was really important to be here.”

“This organization is great. It has the mentality to improve every day, and try to win something. I’ve been in great organizations, because I was in San Antonio, [and] this organization is really great. Everything’s good, we just need to be better, and we will see next year.”

“Coach Brown is great…[I felt] really born again. [He] gave me the possibility to be myself. That, to me, was really important.”

Justin Anderson (6.2 ppg | 2.4 rpg | 33.0 3fg%), on reflections on second season with 76ers:

“Unbelievable season from so many different standpoints. The ups and downs, the farthest I’ve been in my short NBA career so far. Everything shaped me to who I am. I was talking to someone about these years of your life. These are the shaping years of your life. Being here in Philadelphia, this city is shaping me right before your eyes.”

“It was a close group. A lot of ‘I love yous’ flying around. Coming into every team I play on, I don’t take the college element away from it. I look at it like a band of brothers. You might as well get comfortable as soon as you can. It was just fun. We respected each other, each other’s craft, each other’s work ethic. I just draws you closer together.”

Robert Covington (12.6 ppg | 5.4 rpg | 1.7 spg | 203 3fgm | 36.9 3fg%), on lessons learned from first post-season run, and areas for personal improvement next season:

“We can take a lot from this. Overall, we have a lot of playoff experience to be had. This is not the end of it.”

“This summer, I’m going to focus on ball handling, quickness, explosion, finishing at the rim. My trainers already have a game plan.”

“This summer’s going to be big for everyone. We don’t want to have this feeling this early again, because this team is capable of so much.”

Amir Johnson (4.6 ppg | 4.5 rpg), on his first season with 76ers, and working with Brett Brown:

“Unbelievable. First class organization. It was probably one of the greatest seasons I’ve played through my 13 year career. It was awesome, it was fun. It was great.”

“Great coach. I like how he had everything in order right away. It was just set in stages for us. He just had everything planned out. He definitely had his preparation on point, from the summer time, to training camp, to the season, all the way to the end. To have all the players buy into what he’s preaching, he’s definitely a great coach.”

Richaun Holmes (6.5 ppg | 4.4 rpg), on focusing on making defensive progress heading into fourth season:

“Just locking into game plans, locking into defensive schemes, and using my athleticism better in spaces where I’m needed. I’m just coming back next year looking to produce and show results.”

T.J. McConnell (6.3 ppg | 4.0 rpg | 1.2 spg), on 76ers’ success this season changing perceptions of team moving forward:

“I think the bar is at a new level. And we’re going to have to perform the way we did this year. Anything less than what happened this year would be a disappointment for next year. We have to have a big summer for all of us, get in the gym, and get ready to go for next year.”

Ben Simmons (15.8 ppg | 8.1 rpg | 8.2 apg), on his first NBA season, playing in Philadelphia, and what it would mean to win Rookie of the Year:

“Overall, I had a solid year, ups and downs like everything. I think I learned a lot. There’s a lot of room for improvement.”

“I think offensively it’s going to be tough to stop me [with a jump shot]. I think it’s going to be scary.”

“[Rookie of the Year] just means I have great teammates who can knock down shots. It would mean a lot, but at the same time, I don’t really judge my success on one accolade. Whatever the decision is, it is, but, obviously, I’d take myself over anybody.”

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (5.8 ppg | 53 3fgm | 33.5 3fg%), on outlook for next season, and areas for improvement:

“I’ll probably come here, fight for my role. The perfect thing would be coming off the bench, play hard, play for the team, have good minutes.”

“Be more consistent with my shot, play better defense, be better with the ball, work on my vision, work on my handle. Just be better everywhere.”

Dario Saric (14.6 ppg | 6.7 rpg | 2.6 apg | 157 3fgm | 39.3 3fg%), on his off-season to-do list:

“What I should work on is more footwork, how to guard smaller guards in some situations with the switching, how to defend a quicker guy. If I talk about my offensive skills, I think I need to improve again more shooting, more one-on-one in the low post, more one-on-one facing from the 3-point line. I think I need to really bring my game, if it’s possible, one level up.”

Markelle Fultz (7.1 ppg | 3.1 rpg | 3.8 apg), on his feedback from the front office, off-season plans, and being integrated with teammates throughout the season:

“I got a lot of positive feedback. The grind starts now just to keep working, and get better each and every day.”

“My off-season looks like a lot of reps in the gym, doing everything from conditioning to basketball workouts. In the gym, grinding. Off the court, my eating habits, and getting my body right.”

“I think it’s one of the biggest things that helped me get through this year, really just having all the teammates from T.J. all the way down to the starters - Ben, Joel - everybody on the team, we talked everyday. We had a close relationship. It almost felt like I was in college just being able to hang out with guys off the court, go out to eat, stuff like that. The relationships I built with these guys, they’re lifelong relationships that I have now. They know I have their back, and they have my back. I’m very glad I had a chance to be on this team, and be with this group of guys.”

Joel Embiid (22.9 ppg | 11.0 rpg | 3.2 apg | 1.8 bpg | 66 3fgm | 30.8 3fg%), on reflections from season, and future goals:

“This is my first year going into a summer healthy. I think next year is going to be an MVP type season for me. I don’t feel like taking any time off. I already miss basketball.”

“Me setting that goal kind of takes that team to the next level. I want to be a leader. Being an MVP candidate shows you bring your team to where it has to go, and I want to be that type of guy.”

“It starts with my body. I need to get quicker than I am. My conditioning definitely needs to get better, because I feel at times I can be dominant. You got to be able to do it every time you’re on the court. That’s what takes you to the next level. I have a lot of room to grow - post moves, ball handling, passing. But I think it starts with my body.”

“At the beginning of the year, if you told me I would have played 71 games...I’m happy about it.”

“[Playoff success] starts with toughness. You got to be physical. Both series were really physical. And then, everybody got to show up. We all got to play well together. It takes more than one guy.”

“Next year, I’m definitely going to be a better shooter, but the biggest part of my game is to be a low-post dominant scorer.”

“Adding new free agents can definitely help, and there are a lot of them out there that we can add that can help. You kind of feel like you need something, especially after losing to [Boston] without [Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward]. As long it’s the right fit, they’re called 3-and-d players...I think that’s what you have to be looking for. Anybody can help. Hopefully they’ll come and be ready to win a championship.”

“Everything I do i try to make [the fans] happy, and they make me happy too.”

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