A: I’m very, very, very excited to play for Nate again. It’s a very, very comfortable space that I find myself in. We know each other very well. We had a successful season together until we made it to the playoffs. And having a coach who believes in you, a coach who knows what you love to do and puts you in positions to succeed, is something very, very exciting. So, I’m happy to be back with Nate and hope good things happen.
Q: As a veteran, what do you hope to teach the youngsters and help this team take it to the next level?
A: I mean, I’m going to try to be an example in how I do my job, how I approach each day, how I am in terms of being a teammate, encouraging and pushing everyone players. In fact, I’ve probably experienced everything you can as an NBA player other than being on a two-way deal. So I have a lot of experience dealing with a lot of ups and a lot of downs. And I think I’ll be able to help in those spaces and kind of give them my, my two cents. And giving them my opinion on certain things, as well as listening and being a sounding board for certain young players who are new to this or have experienced things that are a little different or new. And again, just being able to help with confidence. Because a lot of the things that I’ve learned in this league and trying to be able to keep your confidence and stay in this place of being mentally free and focusing on what you’re trying to do, it’s going to get tough sometimes when things are not going to go as you wish.
Q: What do you expect to be on the same team as your brother, Aaron? Also, how do you expect your game to co-exist with Trae Young’s game?
A: Yeah, adding another layer to the comfort of having my brother with me. You know, other than the year I won a championship with the Warriors, probably my favorite year playing basketball was when I was with Aaron. And to be able to harness that again and hopefully have a better year than we did that year (in Indiana) is something very, very exciting. Being able to play with each other when it comes to chemistry, there’s not much, I don’t think there’s a better situation to have your brother, who you know, the ins and outs and, you know, grew up with and know them personally, on a different level than others. If something is going to be good, it is something that will be seen and brought to court effortlessly. And again, having someone that, you know, I’m very, very comfortable with, so when I’m on the road, you know, not that I don’t have friends and teammates , but I have my brother with me. Like, if you have a good relationship with your brother, with a family member, think about having them at your job, and being in the space playing basketball as a job, it doesn’t really get better than that. So, I’m very excited about this.
And as far as being able to play with Trae, I’m thrilled about that as well. You know, we know that Trae is a great player, an All-Star player and the attention that he’s going to bring, he’s going to open up a lot of things for other players, and the rest of us are going to be ready to step in. and to do our jobs in that position. And I think I’m a perfect person to fit into this space. I shoot the ball well, very well. So when it’s doubled up and things like that, guys like me left open or Aaron or the other guys on the team that can shoot the ball, I think that’s going to be very, very important.
And you know, the way I think about the game, I think about ways to get it open, to make it available, I think that’s going to be good. You’ve probably seen me from afar. But you know, Nate knows and you know ex-teammates and my brothers know the type of player I am. I am a very, very cerebral player. So I think a lot. I try to make smart games. I try to make good games. And I think that’s going to help Trae and the rest of the teammates in what we’re doing and moving forward. And like I said, defensively, I’ll be able to keep you, you know, one, two, you know, and my brother can also allow Trae not to have to do that as much.
And I mean, I haven’t even talked about (recently acquired) Dejounte (Murray) yet, so we know he’s going to be taken a lot too. So add a lot of defense and the things that I bring to the game and Aaron brings the game, that Dejounte brings to the game, shoot that Moe (Harkless) brings to the game, that’s going to be, I think, very, very helpful for Trae to allowing him to focus on what he does best, which is getting that ball in the basket, involving his teammates and, you know, hopefully helping win more games.
Q: How do you really deal with that anticipation and expectation of a new season, and coming back to the playoffs as an outsider watching?
A: Yeah, from the outside, you know, this team has always been a team that I think has a chance to do well and go far in the playoffs. And they showed it, you know, with their courage. What I loved about the playoffs they had was how brave they were. I actually think about Trae Young playing in (Madison Square) Garden, and how these guys all went over there, like dogs, man, and went and tried to take what they wanted. So, it’s very, very exciting, and it’s very, very exciting to have those expectations of wanting to win. I want to be part of a team and an organization that wants to win and expects to win. Because if you don’t have those expectations, then there’s really no problem.
And so, I’m at a point where I want to win. And I’ll do whatever I can to help make that happen, no matter what. I’m going to give everything I can to do this and it’s my mind, you know, my body, of course and I’m sacrificing myself just for this team to do it. So I’m very, very excited to have those expectations. I am thrilled to be part of this team and to add to what they have. Because I feel that I can help in many areas. And I’m excited to see the special things that we’ll see from this team and the pairing of Dejounte Murray and Trae, the pairing of myself and Aaron, and then, you know, obviously we’re all together. So it’s very, very exciting again, and hopefully we’ll come here and do some special things.
Q: With your experience, are you at a point in your career where you are looking to add more to your game or is it better to just hone the skills you already have?
A: I feel like as a basketball player or whatever you do, you’re always trying to add, you’re always trying to improve. You become smarter and wiser in the things you need to be able to do and the things that can help you advance in your craft. And so I always try to improve myself. I don’t think anyone is in a space where they can’t improve or focus on the things that I do well. So I work on my whole game as always every season, every summer to try to be the best I can be. Because you know I’ve been in this league for 10 years. Everyone knows very well what I do. And they will try to take these things. So I must be able to do something else. I have to be able to put myself in my teammates’ shoes to be successful too. And if you’re one-dimensional or can’t do certain things, you can’t do it. So I worked on everything.
I want to improve even with things that I do well. I’ll shoot the ball better. I’m going to defend better and a lot of that sometimes comes from getting smarter, understanding the game better, having years under your belt where you see everything and focus on those things in the summer and the vacation some situations that I have been and could be in, and again now in those team situations I will be with a different type of person than we have now. So I’m working to improve everything to become the best possible player to help the team.