Locker Room Cleanout, Part 5 (Corbin)
** Looking back on this season, what’s one thing you would do differently as coach? Well, the first thing would, if I could have done it a little differently, is not have guys get hurt. I mean, I, you know, that throws a wrinkle in it. I mean, and then Mo [Williams] was one of the guys we were really counting on, to create the pace for us. We talked about pace at the end of last year, and we talked about pace at the beginning of training camp. And then we got the guy, and we’re coming along, and then he got hurt. And he was hurt for 36 games.*
* I’ve talked about this before but I have to talk about it again. Mo Williams was going to get hurt. He has only played more than 69 games twice in his 10-year career. He was going to get hurt. The coaching staff should have started preparing for Mo missing games the moment the trade went through. So for the team to be caught off-guard and unprepared when he went down is inexcusable. And don’t even get me started on how Alec Burks couldn’t step into playing point guard right away after Mo got injured because he needed to “get reps” playing point guard in practice first. They should’ve been getting him reps at PG from the first practice of the season. / end rant
** What was the biggest problem of the season? Well, we didn’t win some games we should’ve won, you know? You know, you, consistent play, had some ups and downs, had a lot of injuries. We had guys in and out. We changed the lineups a couple times to try and get something going. But you know, it’s NBA season.
** Did you seek any advice on managing so many free agents? Most guys I talked to just felt for me. Honestly, they just, you know, it’s a, they understand, it’s a difficult thing, position to be in.
** How many times this year did you have to focus on keeping a guy for 82 games instead of winning a game? It was more than normal, because of so many guys being free agents.
** You learned what most about coaching this year? How much more than Xs and Os it is when you’re dealing with eight or nine free agents, at one time, on the team. How much you have to pay attention to the other things, other than just the basketball part to get the guys to the basketball part.
** How hard was it for you to make this team play like a team rather than individuals? It was some work. But as I said before, man, we talked about it, and the group of guys were really good. And you know, I thought for the most part we hung in there playing for the team, and although guys had a lot on the line, and you can say, and you know, try and downplay as much as you want. The guys, it’s their livelihood and you know, they gotta stay healthy and they don’t wanna get hurt at this time in their career. Because if you hurt, you’re going into a free agent year, it could hurt you. So getting them to stay on the court, playing their way through it, is a juggling thing. And you had so many guys in it, that it’s hard to work around it at times, because the next guy was in the same boat. So it’s, it was a little difficult. But it was a learning experience, and the guys were great. So, I can’t say enough about how good this group of guys was.
** How much farther ahead are you and the team than one year ago? I think we’re much farther ahead. You know, the experiences that this, you know, you look at [Derrick] Favors, and Enes [Kanter], and Enes, and Derrick and Alec Burk*, the young guys we’re growing with, and who we know we have under contract, and you add Marvin Williams, who could probably be back, you know, I think the experience just put us further ahead because, we, you know, last year we were in the Playoff run. We made the Playoffs, and we lost in the first round there, but this year, the finish at the end, and every game, the last 11-12 games, man, was like a Playoff game, and do or die. You lose one, and you fall back. You win a couple on the road, and you’re back in it. And it’s wearing on you. And so, I think the experiences that we’ve had over the last two years will make us better down the road.
* People still calling Alec Burks “Alec Burk”: Tyrone Corbin
** On Randy Foye: Great, great, great pro for us. He was huge for us all year. Played all 82 games for us, and did some great things for us. Really, really enjoyed having him on this team. He was a great pro, a great guy in the locker room, ready to go every night. Ready and willing to do whatever he can do to help us win. So I really enjoyed having him on this team.
** Are Kanter and Favors ready for bigger roles? They’re better. You know, we’ll see where it goes. If that’s where things end up, then they’ll be ready to go. The experiences the last couple of years, that’s helping those areas. They’re still two young guys. They’re 20 and 21 years old. So it’s a lot to axe of them, but the experiences we’ve had the last two years will help in those areas.