Friday, October 17, 2008

Making progress in the preseason

The preseason means different things to different people. Here's a sampling of various NBA coaches, GMs, and players on what the preseason means to them:

Byron Scott: "The preseason is all about trying to get other guys involved so they can understand what we’re trying to do." [photo at left]

Nate McMillan, after the Blazers lost to the Warriors: "This is what preseason is about. With a new group like this, they have to learn. So you put them out there and this is a good teaching game, a good teaching tape."

Kobe Bryant: "It's an opportunity for Phil to see exactly what kind of combinations he wants to play."

Charlie Villanueva: "It's tough, because it's a new system defensively and offensively. And there's a bunch of new faces, guys we haven't played with. The preseason is getting acclimated with one another, and there are going to be little bumps here and there."

Vinny Del Negro: ''We're going to tinker with lineups a little. 'We're trying to get healthy, trying to find ways to get guys in shape, and this is another way.''

LeBron James: "The preseason is not about winning. You want to get some wins to feel good about yourself, but it’s about learning."

Danny Ainge: "We evaluate every game and practice. Practices are important. We are evaluating players every day, and not just the 14th and 15th guys. We are evaluating who is going to be the eighth and ninth guys. We are making all sorts of evaluations."

Lawrence Frank: "To me, what's most important in the preseason is the process, good habits. Do you want win? Of course. You're not going to do something at the expense that's not smart. But I think it's important to build and develop good habits. It's not important for us to be 8-0 in the preseason as it is to make progress every day."

Rudy Gay, after an exhibition loss: "This is what preseason is all about. We're trying to find ourselves. It's not about wins and losses. It's about what we get out of this."

Phil Jackson: "This is a time for us to play some younger players that we want to look at. Until the last of the exhibition games, I won't be playing the regulars in heavy minutes."

Danny Granger: "We have a new team, we got to get acclimated. We don't have time to just breeze through the pre-season. We're actually trying to win some games."

Eddie Jordan: "We need to use this time to give experience to some of our young players."

Acie Law: "I have something to prove. I know this is just the preseason to some people, but I want my teammates and coaches to know that they can count on me to be ready whenever things get tight."

Jerry Sloan: "It always matters because there's a lot of things that we have to try to get better at."

[And one from Wayne Gretzky: "Ten days from now, when the preseason is over, you're not even gonna remember it. You just try to work on things, you try to get guys comfortable, you try to get back into the flow of the game."]