First off, many thanks so much to Raymond Ridder and the Warriors for letting Golden State of Mind attend the Warriors Media Day. Hopefully we can set up some more things like this in the future. I'm sure all of the people here at GSoM appreciate the exclusive access.
Nervous? Definitely. I've never interviewed a player before and didn't know what to expect especially with tons of other media members running around trying to get quotes.
Fun? Most definitely. Getting to interview and talk with these guys was a blast because it puts them on a different level. Usually we just see these guys as players on the court, not as people just like you and me. We put them on a higher pedestal because they can do things that I can only dream of. But getting a chance to sit down and talk with them, you see their personalities come out. They're no longer just basketball players, they're just guys like you and me who happen to be really, really, really good at basketball.
Here's basically how it all went. Each player would sit down at a table fit for 8 people and just answer questions as they came in. All of us would put our digital voice recorders close to the players and get sound bytes (I'll work on digitizing the audio). Being a rookie, I wasn't supposed to interrupt the flow of the interview with any of the media members around so instead observed the veterans in action. When players were by themselves I was allowed to ask them questions. I pretty much went around to each player and either got to listen in or ask a few questions. The only player who wasn't there was Mickael Pietrus. I bet he's a fun interview, maybe next time.
The international crew having fun during the photo shoot
In addition to the interview tables, there were a bunch of photography areas where the players would pose and take promo shots with a green screen in the background. There was also a table for players to say record sound bytes like, "Whassup, this is Matt Barnes of the Golden State Warriors, rockin with MindMotion on 106 KMEL." It truly was a media day.
I'll start with some big news: In his interview session today, Baron Davis said he is not opting out of his contract next year. Check out OptionZero's diary on the topic, Baron Davis: NOT opting-out. OZ copied and pasted Tim Kawakami's transcript, basically exactly what I heard today. I think the only person there who would ask that question was Tim.
Update: Make sure to head on over to Warriors World to peep their coverage of the day. James Venes has done a great job on the transcription of most of the interviews that went on. That saves me a lot of work! But I'll get up the transcriptions I have soon to pair with James' coverage.
My takes on the individual interviews after the jump.
I'll put up part 2 in the next day or so, but I wanted to get these up for everyone to read.
Troy seemed like a genuine good guy excited to be playing for the Warriors. He mentioned that his ankle is feeling 100% and he's just happy to be able to play again at the level he knows he's capable. The last 2 years he felt as if he couldn't play at that level because of health and injury problems. To me, that's great news because he has seemed to struggle in the last couple years and I think Minnesota was frustrated as well. Troy is a solid player and will be a great veteran backup. He's been in the league 10 years, so he knows how to run a team and he knows what his role will be on this team. He knows Baron is the man at PG and wants to contribute by doing "whatever they need me to do."
What I like about him was that when he was talking about Nellie, he seemed to get excited talking about the freedom Nellie gives his players on the court. Basically, if you take a shot and it's your shot, then it's okay. Doesn't matter if it's too early in the shot clock. If you prove you can make that shot, then Nellie doesn't have a problem if you take it.
I walked away from the interview with one thought, this guy is happy to be here.
Brandan was a fun interview. He has this eagerness to the way he talks about basketball where it seems like he just wants to get out there and play. He's confident but certainly not arrogant. When asked what his goals were for the year, he said all the right things. He wants to just come in and be the best player he can be. Another goal of his was just making the team better. And lastly he wanted to get better to be able to best show his talents.
He mentioned that he watched every single Dallas-Golden State playoff game and that the Warriors were definitely a team that he'd like to play for. In fact, there are a lot of guys that want to play for the Warriors because they run up and down. It was just a fun series to watch.
Regarding his injury, he said he was at 100% in mid-August. So, he's been good to go for about 2 months. The injury that kept him out of the summer league isn't bothering him anymore and he's ready to get to training camp.
I was also glad to see that off the court he's pursuing his degree. He'll be taking online classes and going back to Chapel Hill during the summer.
Al was the first interview I got a chance to observe and this guy just looks like he always has a lot of fun. He's got an infectious smile and he's a guy that you want to do well. I was in the back, so it was a little hard to hear, but when asked about the Warriors opponents this year, he mentioned that they're not going to be able to sneak up on anyone this year. Teams are going to be ready for the Warriors this year.
When asked about the JRich trade, he said it was tough because JRich was such a good teammate.
My highlight of the interview was when Nellie came over and asked him why he doesn't rebound.
What I also noticed about Al was that he is noticeably slimmer than last season. You can tell he's been working hard in the offseason to shed the extra weight and really be ready to run n gun. Does that mean he's not going to match up on D against the likes of Yao Ming again? Probably. But that means he'll be lighter on his feet and hopefully his jumping ability has become more explosive. I'm excited to see how much he worked on his game and his conditioning for this year. Will we see a new and improved Al Harrington who as Nellie requested, can rebound for his position?
I only got to talk to Carlos for a little bit since I got to him with about 2 minutes left in the session. I'll be honest, I didn't know much about him, but wanted to find out some more. Only if I had the time to read Pree's training camp updates! Anyways, here's a transcript of the brief interview I had with him today.
Carlos Powell (CP): Make the team.
FJ: What do you have to do to make the team?
CP: Play hard, play smart, play basketball, play how they like to play. Run n' gun.
FJ: You watch the playoff series last year?
CP: Yea I watched a lot of it. I got a couple games on DVD.
FJ: How do you think you'll fit in?
CP: Oh, perfectly. You know, this is what I like. I like to run. Run, get out, get deflections, stuff like that, play defense. That's fun basketball.
FJ: What have you heard about Nellie?
CP: I think Nellie's a great coach. He's a coach that gives guys chances to prove themselves and make the team. He showed that with Matt Barnes last year. He came in worked hard and played real smart and made the team. From what he's done last year, that's motivation for me.
Just want to thank Carlos for sitting down with me at the end of his session and wish him the best of luck on making the team.
I met up with GSoM friend, Pree, who was there covering Media Day. It was nice to put a name to a face. He was awesome giving me tips and some advice. Really nice, humble guy who I hope keeps covering the Warriors. In addition to Pree, I saw lots of the local media there, Tim Kawakami, Janny Hu, Marcus Thompson, Geoff Lepper, Eric Gilmore, Vernon Glenn, Bob Fitzgerald, a couple guys from the Examiner showed up, FSN reps, local tv stations, and even Wild 94.9 and 106 KMEL along with other radio stations.Anyways, Pree, Janny (which I found out is pronounced Jay-nee, my bad!) Hu, Geoff Lepper, and Marcus Thompson (I think) are off on a grueling trip to cover training camp. I felt bad for them. They all have to fly to Hawaii and cover the Warriors. What a bum deal.
I also got a chance to hang out with James aka Flashfire of WarriorsWorld.net. We were both first timers and it was nice to talk to someone in the same position I was in. He's a cool guy with a very nice camera. Here are his photos from the event. I think his recap is coming soon.
More Warriors Media Day Coverage