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Bits from Walt Perrin Interviews, 5/14 – 5/28

May 29, 2015
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What is the first thing about a player that catches your eye or that flashes importance to you?
Well, the first thing is naturally the body. So, you just look at the body. You look at the athleticism, and then you, as the game progresses or as they’re in drill situations, you look at their mechanics.

Talk about the difference in draft process philosophy between Kevin O’Connor and Dennis Lindsey.
[Dennis Lindsey] has done it in San Antonio. He’s done it over in Houston, and, in terms of bringing in a lot of players. Especially with us having a D-League team, bringing in a lot of players.

Getting to know players, as people and as players. Looking at players for not only our draft this year; looking at players for the draft for the D-League. Look at possible trade scenarios, maybe down the road in the future. It’s just getting to know more and more information and more and more about what kind of players these people are.

How does the draft process work? Who’s involved?
Well, I arrange to bring in the players. I get, of course, input from our consultants, our college consultants, our people within the office, on who we would like to bring in. But I arrange all the, try to put them together the best possible way. Player versus player that we would, we want to see. It doesn’t always work that way, but sometimes it does come to fruition.

So I put it together. I bring them in. The people involved are the coaches — are on the court with the players — they coach them. They teach them. They put them through the drills. Sitting in the stands is Dennis, Justin [Zanik], Kevin when he’s in town, Coach [Jerry] Sloan when he’s around. Coach [Phil] Johnson comes in every once in a while. And then our media people.

And we just sit there — and Dave Fredman also. We sit there and watch them go through the workout process. We have interviews after our workouts, with the players. And then we’ll talk about each of them right after our interviews with them. Then we’ll usually go into the theater and start watching video tapes of players that may be coming in the future or players we’re thinking about drafting.

After all that is said and done, come the day of the draft or a couple days before the draft, we’ll sit down and we’ll try to prioritize players we like. We’ll try to look at scenarios in terms of who will be where if we want to make a trade…

And then we all get together the day of the draft. We talk it over again and decide on who we like and put them in a list and you know, wait for the draft. And then we take who we think’s the best player for us at that spot.

Do arguments break out? Is it a healthy debate?

Yes. We do have quite a few debates about players…Dennis does a great job of asking questions, making sure that we have a strong feel on who we like and who we don’t like, and why, what are the reasons why.

Who ultimately decides who to draft?

Well, it ultimately comes down to Dennis Lindsey…He listens to everybody. He weighs what we all say. But the final decision is always Dennis.

Which do you value more, years of game tape or interviews/workouts?
Well, I don’t know if you can put one above the other. I think it’s all part of the puzzle, as I’ve always said. The tapes, the live game action, the interviews, the workout if you can get it, the background and intel information that we try to gather on every player — so it’s all somewhat equal in regards to how we look at it.

And if we find out there’s something in that, in one of those pieces of the puzzle that is very glaring to us, then it may become more important.

What does “best player available” actually mean?
The best player available is the best player you think that will — over his career. Not necessarily this statistical year or next year, but over his career. You see growth; you see ability to — you see dedication in his game; you see a desire in him getting better and being able to work with coaches…

You try to find players who will be your core for a number of years and will help you become a, you know, championship-caliber team.

Does how a player will fit into your team matter less the higher your pick is?
No. Again, I think wherever you pick in the draft, whether it’s 1-60, I think you pick the best available player regardless of position. You try to bring in that player ’cause it’s, it gives you an asset in terms of going forward, whether he is with your team or whether or not you can trade him later down the road or trade somebody else at his position down the road, to get better.

Any–the only time you kind of look at position and draft by position is…if players are in a tier, and you’ve got them ranked one through whatever in that tier, that your one and two guys are so close that you might take the No. 2 guy in your tier because he does fit a positional need, versus the No. 1 guy who may be the best pl–available player, but he’s not that much better than the No. 2 guy.

What did Rudy Gobert show during his draft workout?
For us, it’s how well he goes through a workout. How well he pushes through fatigue in a workout, because of the altitude. Rudy came in in great shape. He worked extremely hard throughout our workout. He reacted extremely well. He ran the court well. He did a lot of things that we like to see in workouts, that a lot of times you don’t get the chance to see because guys get tired…

They may, I don’t want to say quit, but they may kind of lay down and not go as hard. They may not be able to push through the fatigue well enough, or hard enough for us. And with Rudy, it was, he was able to do all that, besides showing us, you know, a little bit more offensive skills than we kind of saw when he was in France. (1280, 700, 1320)

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