Warriors.com (DotCom): What is keeping you busy these days?
Tyrone Hill (TH): I’m still working for the Atlanta Hawks. We’re still having meetings and we’re still getting prepared for the upcoming season. I have a speech coach to help my speaking when I’m doing my pregame stuff with the guys. I’m trying to be more of a delivery person on and off the court.
DotCom: When you were playing, did you see yourself as an NBA coach?
TH: I never thought about coaching until I got away from the game. I always mentored the younger guys who came in behind me, and I always looked at the older guys when I came in the league when I was a rookie and how they mentored us and how they groomed us. I was very fortunate to be in some good situations in my young career.
DotCom: What do you remember about your rookie season (1990-91) with the Warriors?
TH: I was playing with three All-Stars in Tim, Mitch and Chris. Just being around them and being around one of the best coaches in the league in Nellie, it was definitely a good mix. I remember one game in Seattle, we were getting blitzed in the first half. Mully said and Tim said that we’re all right, but I’m thinking, “No we’re not, we’re down by 30.” We come out and in the first five minutes of the game, Tim hits a three, and then Mullin comes down and hits a three, and Mitch comes down and hits a three and all of a sudden we’re only down by 15. It was just an unbelievable game. The heart that those guys had kind of rubbed off on me. Sometimes I wish some of the young guys are around veterans when they get to a new team. As a coach, we can only do so much. But when you have a good veteran team or have two or three good veterans who know how the game should be played, that’s a valuable asset. That’s what this league is lacking.
DotCom: There were a lot of personalities on that 1990-91 Warriors team. What was that like?
TH: It was nothing but different personalities. I think we picked up Vincent Askew the following year, so just imagine that personality. My first year was a good experience. My whole career at Golden State was a good experience. When I got traded, I was more hurt than anything. I learned a lot (with the Warriors). I learned how to win and I learned how to pick up good work habits … When (people) ask me about my favorite team that I ever played on, I tell them my best experience was when I was at Golden State with Tim, Mitch, Chris, Rod Higgins and some of those other guys. Those guys, they weren’t just professionals. They enjoyed winning and they knew what it took to win.
DotCom: What was the collective thought of the team heading into the first round of the 1991 NBA Playoffs against the Spurs?
TH: We went into that series like we were going to win that series. There was no doubt. It was just a positive atmosphere. Any kind of game you go into, you want to go into it feeling good not just about yourself, but the rest of the guys. You just knew that these guys were going to go to war with you. It was just that kind of atmosphere.
DotCom: If the nucleus of your Warriors teams had remained together and stayed healthy, do you think you guys could have had a nice long run together?
TH: Injuries can damper a team. It’s almost like your car catching on fire. If that car wouldn’t have caught on fire, you could have had it for another five years. But injuries happen, it’s part of the game. If we would have stayed healthy, I think we would have had a five or six-year run pretty easily.
DotCom: You were traded from the Warriors to Cleveland. How was the transition of playing for Don Nelson to Mike Fratello?
TH: It was like night and day. It was like running with a bunch of deer with Nellie and then coming to Cleveland where we had to slow it down. Mike Fratello was more half-court. He was more controlling of the offense, and Nellie was more, “Hey, you guys go play.”
DotCom: What satisfies you about being a coach?
TH: The development. When you explain something to one of the players and they go out and do it and it works, they come back and say, “I appreciate it, thank you.” And you see the development in them and they continue on to try and do things the right way, that’s the satisfaction that I get. I really get sparked up on walking them through things that they weren’t clear on.