What's piqued your interest right now?
One thing we've been doing since the season's been over is evaluating who we are, what we have, the things we want to do better next year. We've been busy between that and going to the combines in Minnesota and Chicago. In the last few days, we've had 16-20 young men come through and work out and visit our beautiful city of Toronto and see a lot of different things about our program, and give us the chance to get to know the kids personally. It's important from my standpoint to get the right fit, (players) that fit our chemistry and fit our program going forward. It's been a busy few months. Everyone calls it the off-season, but really in our sport you don't have a chance to have any off-season.
How much does character and getting to know a kid matter?
It's huge. You'll know what'll fit in your locker room, what type of personality will fit you as a coach and be able to accept his role and fit in. It's amazing when you interview these young men in Chicago. Also we do psychological testing. A kid like Austin Rivers who's from a great pedigree, I know Doc personally, just sitting and talking to him, you see the difference in the depth they have in terms of the knowledge they have of the NBA, their knowledge of the city of Toronto and our country here. There's so many things you learn. One kid, it's not funny, but one kid didn't know that Toronto was in the country of Canada. It's amazing what you learn, what these kids do know and don't know. That's why the evaluation process is so important.
What kid surprised you the most?
It's hard to say one guy. But it's two-three guys that really piqued my interest. One is Jeremy Lamb, the kid from Connecticut. The other is Harrison Barnes. The other I mentioned, Austin Rivers from Duke. And Dion Waiters from Syracuse. Those have piqued my interest. At the 8th pick, those guys are in my area and guys we're all looking at.
There's numerous, too many dimensions for our 37th pick. At those picks, if we decide to keep it, there's a lot of talented players in that mix that we're going to look at as an organization and make sure they fit our needs.
If you could improve one spot on your team, where would you look?
Our 3 position. Our 3 position we've shown we're below the NBA average in a lot of categories. I think it's really important we fit that need and find another guy who can create off the dribble, can shoot the 3 and can help other players and teammates. I think that's one of our glaring needs.
We have Valanciunas coming over at our 5 position. If we can improve at the 3, maybe get another backup point guard, get a young player in that position or a veteran player, but the glaring need right now is an upgrade at the 3 position.
That 8 pick first round. Internally, how much debate is going on concerning what to do with it?
A lot of debate. We've gone back and forth and Bryan, we've argued the point and he challenges us to make sure we know what we want to do. It's such a deep draft that if we do draft at 8 we'll get a good quality player who can help us, whether that guy can come in and start, I don't know. But we're going to get a talented asset at that position. But from a stepping right in and taking over standpoint, I don't know if the guy's there or not. Projecting forward, he can be because it's such a deep draft.
Does watching the OKC Thunder do what they're doing with 3 guys they drafted under the age of 24 kind of make the draft mean a little more?
No question. That is the model for me that I'm really, really looking at. I know Scotty Brooks and Sam Presti, matter of fact I interviewed in Seattle when they were still in Seattle before they went to OKC. I saw the vision, the blueprint that Sam had that he wanted to implement, and I've seen it grow from scratch from Durant to Westbrook to Harden. I saw that program. We're modelling our program after that.
They drafted some key pieces that can help them, and that's the format and program that I'm going forward with here. And yes it does put the premium on that pick and the growth internally they made. We've got three or four guys in town right now that we're working with. DeMar's here getting ready to go to the Olympic program in July with Jerry Colangelo. And that will give him a great experience this summer going against LeBron and Dwyane Wade for a month.
(he talked more about Presti and San Antonio but it wasn't particularly interesting so I gave my fingers a break)
David Stern did an interview with Jim Rome, kinda making some headlines. You've been there on lottery night. Have you ever been present for the actual lottery?
No I have not. And fortunately for me guys, that was the first time I've been to the lottery the other night. That was my first experience. But I wasn't in the back room where it took place. They had media members, different front office people there, but I wasn't present there to see what goes on adn how it's done.