I thought that NBA teams might be more relaxed on the road. That might be true, but it also might be true that they are also a bit trapped on the practice floor and that allows the media to get a little closer than usual. Big thanks to Ty Lawson for taking a few minutes to talk about tonight's game against the Suns.
Here is the George Karl shootaround presser. A bit of a more relaxed environment, really cool, today as Karl spoke with the media at the scorer's table area on the main floor in Phoenix. This is standard stuff for road teams in the NBA, but a first experience for me.
Karl on Lawson's 2013 performance and if it's more of what we should expect to see from the point guard:
"He became a starter probably, 100 games ago. He's only been a starter in the NBA for probably 100 games. He had 25 games [approximate] after the [Billups] trade, you had a lockout year last year, and then you have a full season this year. The end of the trade and the lockout year were [misleading] in a way - they had meaning, but the subtle meanings were tough to figure out. I think he's just establishing himself. He's becoming more consistent, the demand to be aggressive, and in a lot of ways the team now knows he's our guy.
"For half those games it was Raymond Felton, Ty Lawson. Half those games it was Andre Miller, Ty Lawson. Now we know Ty Lawson is going to finish the games. There was always a guy next to him -- he didn't have to be 'the guy.' I think now he realizes, for us, we want him to be the guy and for us to be really good he has to be the guy."
Karl on the eight game win streak:
"I mentioned it yesterday at practice. I don't know if I've had a 10 game winning streak here. I don't know if we've ever gotten to double digits since I've been here. Winning 10 games, it doesn't happen as often as people think it happens."
Karl on a follow up question asking if the Nuggets are chasing down Miami's steak:
"That would be wonderful, but we are not using it as a goal."
Karl on coaching this young team:
"I think young teams, just teaching them professionalism is always a tug-of-war between coach and player. The coach always wants more. The coach always wants more time to practice, more time to get them better, more time to talk to them, more time. We're at the point in the season where players want the time for themselves. It's just a tug-of-war. The guys at the bottom of the totem pole are really sustaining and working hard; guys like Timo, Anthony Randolph, Jordan Hamilton, Julyan, and Quincy has done a good job too.
"I still think JaVale, Kosta, and Kenneth are young players and there's a tug-of-war: "Ah coach, we need some rest. We need to relax." And I say, "You're a young player, I'm sorry. I'm old school and you're supposed to be in the gym working." That's it. The youthfulness, the negative of it is: there is a experience factor in NBA games that has a value. The positive about this team is: they have a lot of mental courage and toughness and they have very little fear. They have very little fear of the challenge. I probably fear, when we play Oklahoma City, I fear them more than these guys fear them."
Karl on Kosta Koufos:
"[He] won the job in training camp and hasn't let up. he's consistently getting a little bit better. He protects the paint on the defensive end of the court. He's our best big in the pick-and-roll coverage. He's a low maintenance offensive guy. We don't ever give him the ball unless he cuts or moves underneath the defense, or runs the court, gets the offensive rebound. I think he's having a really solid to good year for us. What I like about him is that he has worked hard to get better. He is not letting success stop him from continuing to work hard."
Karl on closing games recently with Kosta:
"It's a competition every night for me to figure out who to play down the stretch. Do I play small? Do I play JaVale? Do I play Kenneth? Do I play Kosta? I can't tell you tonight who that's going to be. Some of it's going to be dictated how they [Suns] are going to play down the stretch, some of it's going to be dictated on who is playing well, and some of it is going to be dictated on defense."
Karl on playing a hockey-esque rotation pattern:
"I got eight guys that I want to give an opportunity to play and from nine to 12, I don't use it very often, but I can use it. I like all of them to feel like they have an opportunity to be a major factor in the game - with Wilson actually nine guys."
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