Flip Saunders Press Conference Transcript - June 24, 2013

by Mark Remme
Web Editor

Flip Saunders Press Conference Transcript - June 24, 2013

On Tony Mitchell's late scheduled workout

"We've got him in just kind of confirmed him late and came in, so we worked him out."
"Yeah, he's good. He's really athletic. 6'9, 235, athletic, can play a couple positions and so just to kind of cover our bases and I think now we have pretty much in one way or another had our hands on most of the guys that we think will have an opportunity to draft at either No. 9 or at No. 26 or second round picks."

Any other guys coming in?

"That's it. Just one guy, so we are done with our workouts."

Have you been offered any trades?

"Well, there's been offers, nothing has intrigued me enough to get excited about. So, some things will happen over the next 48 to 72 hours, nothing is really going to happen until the day of or the day before when we really have a better idea of where everything's going to be going."

What shooters have separated themselves?

"I don' think you can win in college or the NBA if you can't shoot the 3. The Finals is prime example. Usually the team that was more success either with the number of threes or the higher percentage was the team that was successful. You look at how (Shane) Battier shot in the last two games to how (Danny) Green shot the previous 5 games and that was the difference. Three-point shooting, what it does is you get three to two, but what it does by making those shots it opens the floor so much you get to have better inside play either off the direct pass here inside or off the bounce. Last year we were last in the league. That's a prime area we have to improve. Now do we think that will improve with Kevin (Love) coming back? Hopefully getting Chase (Budinger) back, that can improve drastically. You still need to have your wing people who can really knock down 3s. Especially if your point guard is not a 3-point shooter and Ricky (Rubio) , that's not really a main part to his game right now. Will that turn into? We'll have to wait and see."

What shooter did you like best?

"We had some guys different guys who shot... Some shoot better off the catch, some shoot better off the dribble, it's not even just watching them in their workouts, we watch a lot of film we have broken down a lot of heir film, studied their stats just to see where they're at. You kind of take a work in progress when you look at them. You look at their whole total package. The other thing is some guys it's a known fact when you get to our league you become a better shooter. You shoot more, you practice more. You get more shot opportunities. Guys will improve their shooting when they come into our league. It might not be the first or second year, but they are going to improve. Look at Magic (Johnson) came in and couldn't' shoot free-throws, couldn't even make threes. By the time he was the done with his career, he was an 85 plus free-throw shooter and was a very good 3-point shooter. Jason Kidd is a prime example... When left he was a very effective 3-point shooter."

"We need shooting, but we want a multi-purpose player. We don't want a player who's just a shooter, we want a player how can defend, shoot, make plays, get out and run on the open floor, so that's what you're trying to get. There's a few players who have the ability to do that."

Who can Ricky make better?

"He makes them a lot better, but we want players that will make Rubio better. That's why we get guys who can makes shots. They are going to make them stay at home to open up a lot more lanes for him, a lot more passing lanes, penetrating lanes and he'll be even a more effective player so it's not just making those guys, but what guys we bring in that can make him better. Guys that can shooter. Guys that can get out and run. Guys in the open floor. Guys that can do a multitude of things."

How often have you called for trades?

"I think anyone you talk to, everyone always asks 'are you doing anything?' So every call you make is potentially a trade call... We're talking to everyone every day whether they call us or we call them back, we're pretty much, our whole organization is touching base with almost everyone."

Do you think you'll make a trade?

"As I've said all along, depending on how much you want to give up you can always move up, but usually that price a lot of times get to be steeper and steeper the closer you get to the draft.

"I think it's just a matter of what you think you can get, where and what price you have to pay, We're not going to deplete our whole talent pool either, there have been talks about one of our guys except for probably Ricky for trades, but like Derrick Williams, if you had Derrick in this draft he'd be a top-3 pick right now based on what he did in college, based on his productiveness as a player in workouts, and so, when I look at things, I look at what the players potential is along with his talent, not just what he's produced in the past."

Do you think Andrei Kirilenko will give you an answer on whether or not he'll return next season?

"Don't expect to have an answer by Thursday. I have an inclination. Not going to tell you."
"It's just like trades that can happen, for the draft, usually they are going to happen late, everyone always waits to the end to see if they can get anything better or what develops."

So Kevin won't be traded?

"I think a lot of people because of where Kevin was this past year, some comments he made about him and being unhappy with the organization, when I first took the job everyone thought we were just going to give him away which was not the case. I said all along we were not going to trade him. He's one of the most unique players in the league because of his ability to rebound and be one of the top rebounders, a 3-point threat, you just don't find people like that... Kevin's been great. He's been committed to what we want to do. He and Ricky have gotten the guys together, about five to eight guys together this week in California working out together. They've done a lot of things to try to get this thing going in the right direction."

Will you take a point guard with the No. 9 pick?

"We're not going to take a point guard. That's the only position that we wouldn't think of drafting (in the first round.)"

Do you have a pretty good idea on where players are going?

"I think everyone right now, they know probably the players, they're not sure on where they're going, but they pretty much have an idea on what players are going to go there."

Will anyone drop?

"I don't think anyone will drop like say a Paul Pierce dropped way back when, when he dropped to no. 10 or wherever it was. There are some guys that are up higher rated, to maybe five or six, but I don't think anyone will go past that. And that's more of why there won't be trades because of that. I think the people who might be more willing to trade, they feel like someone will drop down to them so they are not as apt to pull the trigger."

What are you looking for with the 2nd round pick?

"Your second round picks, those are usually a project type picks. It's someone that probably is not ready so that's how we'll look at who has the best upside to be a player down the road."
"You take whoever you think has the most upside, whether he's a European player or you're not going to get him for two or three years then so be it."

What are the chances you stay at No. 9?

"I'm at No. 9 right now. All I know is that's the only pick I have . I have no other pick. I'm not going to come out and say, could we move up? Sure we could probably move up but not what people want us to give up.... There are good players in this draft, but right now, there are not impact players. What I mean by that is that there's no one you look at tin this draft that within two years will be an All-Star, say like Kyrie Irving was. Players like that and so in order for you to move up and dilute your talent pool and your roster you've got to get in an impact type player, and I just don't believe... There's good players, probably pretty good players in this league, but are they going to be that impact player who's going to be an All-Star or future Hall of Famer? That's what you don't see. And sometimes that's something you don't see for two or three years in a row."

How nice is it to be back making these kinds of decisions again?

"I think what you enjoy is you're able to kind of mold the type of team that you want, and we have a lot of dynamics going all it the same time. You have uncertainty with Andrei Kirilenko not knowing what he's going to do. You kind of have to anticipate what can happen there either way. We have an unbalanced roster where we don't really have any 2s or 3s on the board... You always a couple extra bigs especially if you're in the Western Conference. You look at the Clippers and Memphis and San Antonio and Denver and some of these teams that have bigs, you have to make sure you have enough bigs. We have a lot of different dynamics... Besides the draft are the two free agents that we have potentially have in both Pek and Chase is going to be a free agent. We have a lot of different dynamics which is very interesting. Every day you have to spend a little bit of time to prepare for each one of those situations that's going to arise here in the next 10 days."

On the last time he made these decisions with the team

"Last time we drafted (Kevin) Garnett and that was pretty good. People say, our drafts before we had the situation where we lost four first rounders for a number of years, but then when you win your draft goes down when you're getting picks in the 20s normally those guys from 20-35 that's about a 25-35 percent chance they are going to pan out. Some do, some don't. I've always felt drafting Garnett and (Stephon) Marbury at the time that was a great pick. You look at what we did we went from a 20 win team to a 41 win team in one year. A 20 game jump. Of course down the road, (Wally) Szczerbiak. Three of those picks that we were involved with were first-team all rookie teams, all of those guys, all three of them made an All-Star team and so I have approached this draft just as we always have. We go through and pick our players, we have a list of 60 players, a list of 75 players, all of those players are based on our roster on how it is, when the times comes, 'who are we going to pick, who's the best pick?’, we determine right now. They hay's kind of in the barn already right now. So we go through it and guys get picked we take them off, the top guys that's there, that's the guy we are going to go with. We are not going to make a decision in five minutes, our decision will be made in the preparation of film we've watched, the player's evolution, the background check. Some guys have been rated higher and they've got bumped down because of red flags that could maybe be medical, character, it could be age, it could be their style of play, their basketball IQ, all of that is that kind of played into where we think guys wiill fit in for us."

How much does personality play into it?

"You put a lot into it. That's part of their character, and so it's like I said, it's all part of the body of work.. Normally when you guys talk to him and when we get them they are a little bit different for us. I believe that especially one of my strengths is maybe my ability to let them let their guards down a little bit, maybe that's dealing with four kids going through teenagers and kids in their 20s you learn a little bit of that. All of those guys, they've been pretty open with us and we've been pretty open with them. We know pretty much about everything about them, there have been times when we mention one thing and a guy talked about and spilled his guts about what happened in high school, or got caught shoplifting or whatever so, they are pretty much prepared of everything that could be asked of them and pretty open and honest, they know that nothing is really going to slide by."

How was Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in his interview?

"He was good. We dint' have anyone in here, maybe two guys, one guy in particular, not going to mention him, just based on his character, just wouldn't touch him based on how he interacted with not only myself, and what I do a lot is I have a lot of our people, some of the younger people in our organizing interact with them a little bit in individual situation, because they will treat those guys a little different than they might treat me... All the guys were, Caldwell-Pope was good, all of our guys have been overall pretty open."

Do you use advanced stats?

"We use that, but advanced stats it's information confirmation. I don't think that you can use that a lot to see where players are at, usually good players will always have good statistics, but I don't think you can put your whole weight on that. Look at the two teams in the Finals. When I look at Pop's organization and Pat Riley and Pat Riley at said one time, 'statisticians make me squeamish.' And Then you look at Indiana with Donnie Walsh and Larry and Memphis prior to hiring Hollinger, those organizations were built on basically the eye test, and basketball instincts, stats give information, you can look at someone, like them, look their stats, and you will either become more enamored or you might get a little bit more questions, I don't think stats can you get you the whole true test. If that was the case (Mike) Muscala would be the No. 1 pick because statically he ranked out higher than anyone probably in rebounds, points, and you but values on all of his statistics."

What are the differences between Caldwell-Pope and McCollum?

"Both good players. Both have the ability to knock down shots. And both are pretty much multi-dimensional players, both players played where teams really didn't' get a lot of publicity. One, McCollum's team because he got hurt and Pope's team because they weren't an elite team in the SEC."
"You'd have to come watch and see them."

"They are different. McCollum has better range, has been a more consistent scorer in his two years since college and has had some big games, but, like I said, I don't think you can just look at one factor when you're taking somebody."

Is perimeter defense a need?

"It's a need. The reason it's a sense of need is because we don't have a great ability to protect the rim above the rim. Our protection of the rim with Kevin and Pek, hopefully Pek back, is going to be on the ground taking charges, doing your dirty work early defensively, making the team give the ball up, so when you don't have that rim protector, the best way to protect that is to not let them get there, that's where perimeter defense comes in."

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