Bits from Kevin O’Connor Interview, 5/13
What did you see during the draft workout?
Well, you know, what we saw was some older players, you know, juniors and seniors, that are in the draft. And when you do that, you always see a little bit more experience and you always see a little bit more focus on guys.
So you know, it went well, and you know, if you ask me about how this guy did or how that guy did, I’ll just say, “Ask Dennis [Lindsey].” Or “No comment.”
Is there a draft that was the one that got away?
You know, have you made mistakes? Sure. You know, I mean, I look, you look back on things, and you say, one of the things we do, which is an interesting, I think, it, at least we challenge ourselves.
We sit down each year, pull out all the stuff the first one or two meetings,* we pull out all of the stuff that we had from a year ago, and we go over the draft after it’s happened; after they’ve been in the league a year, and see how right we were, and see how wrong we were, and then challenge ourselves to how right or how wrong we were.
Example: Do you look at a player, oh, I don’t know, I’m just trying to think. You know, as far as players go. When we drafted Gordon [Hayward], we thought, you know, he was one of the top five or six players in the draft.
When we looked at that draft and we saw some of the players, and did we like everybody above us that, with a Paul George, who’s having a fantastic year. Where did he rate, on our draft board, and why didn’t we draft him when it was, when he was available? All of those things, we pick apart pretty good.
* UDQM: “We sit down each year, pull out all the stuff the first one or two meetings.”
Is it your job to find a good player, regardless of where you’re picking?
There’ll be a player there that hopefully we draft, but if not, maybe drafted after us that becomes a good NBA player. Our responsibility; our call; our job…and if we don’t do it right often enough, then we shouldn’t have the job.
On Jerry Sloan interviewing with the Milwaukee Bucks
If Milwaukee’s smart, they’d hire him, you know, if he wanted to take the job.*
* By the same token, not keeping Jerry Sloan is not smart.
On rule changes that benefit perimeter players and Alec Burks
Well, it, what it’s, what it basically has done, is you’re not allowed to put your hands on guys out on the perimeter and slow them up by, you know, by putting, you know, hands. So naturally, the draft becomes a little bit swayed towards getting a guy that is able to put it down and take it to the basket.
Like, hopefully, if he contin–as he continues to develop, Alec Burks is somebody that should benefit from that rule. You know, he’s not the biggest guy in the world. He’s, you know, but he’s got a nice body on him,* and he can really put it down and get it to the basket and get a foul. And that’s, you know, that’s one of the things that we like to see.
A guy gets to the free throw line a lot, especially a perimeter player, boy, it takes a lot of pressure off having to score all the time from the field.
What do you expect from players during the off-season?
Well, the, our philosophy has always been that you use the off-season as self-improvement and continue that through the season, but once the season starts, the coach uses, you know, before and after and a little bit during on one-on-one and individual self-improvement, but he works on team improvement during the season. So it’s incumbent on you in the off-season to improve hims–to improve yourself.
Now, we don’t leave them at their own devices. What we do is we use the human performance lab out in Santa Barbara, that we have the players go out to, and work on some of their physical, maybe, deficiencies, or add to their strengths that they certainly, you know, whether it’s the power that they jump with, whether it’s right-footed, left-footed, they evaluate all that stuff.
We send our coaches to work with them. They come back in here, and I won’t say on a regular basis, but they’ll come back in here a couple times during the summer for about three days, and then, you know, kind of an intense one-on-one, two-on-two, you know, skill workout.
So I would say we put our hands on them, especially the younger guys, seven or eight times a summer.* And then we bring them back, which probably people don’t know, is after September, right after Labor Day, we have the open gym and we work individually with ’em.
You know, it’s all, it’s all, you know, voluntary, but by the same token they know they need to do it. We stress the fact that they need to be here, and you know, we work with their agents, and themselves, and this is their job. You know, you can’t take five months off from your job and expect to come back in and have the same ability to do your job. (1280)
* UDQM; H/T JLT