Interview: McMillan on Roy, Camby, Fernandez and not overreacting
Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan was interviewed by the media about a variety of Blazer-related topics following the team’s Saturday morning practice in Tualatin, Ore.
McMillan on the team’s two-hour practice and what was worked on:
… The offensive end of the floor; the defensive end of the floor. With our guys — (Marcus) Camby being in the lineup — we’ve got to get a rhythm and build a rhythm. And it’s not going to happen right away. But we’re better than what we showed last night. And we started to get some things going late. But we gave up another 30-point quarter, defensively. And offensively, we just seemed to be a little out of synch. So, we’ve got to work on it. If it would have (worked) right away, I would have been somewhat surprised. But you can almost expect it not to go or flow with the situation that we had last year. Brandon (Roy) coming back — he’s been out for five weeks. Camby in that lineup. Now, (Juwan) Howard is back on the bench. And getting a rhythm and getting these guys comfortable with where they’re playing; who they’re playing with; and what they’re doing out there.
On the second unit struggling and being undersized:
Well, they are undersized. And I think we’re adding some things for them to try and take advantage of those guys, and the fact that we are a smaller unit. That unit has to play different than the first unit. We want to add some offensive sets to try to take advantage of those guys.
On taking advantage:
Just movement. We don’t have the post-up game, so it’s going to be a lot of pin downs and motion sets, where they’ve got to use each other; set screens and do all of that. But more movement than the (isolation plays) and the post ups that we run with Brandon and LaMarcus (Aldridge).
On Roy, Camby and a new team, and making the pieces work:
Well, we’re going to have to do that. That’s just — when you make changes like that, you’ve got to do that. … It’s not almost, it is starting over. And now the sets that Brandon was running earlier when he was playing, we’ve got to get him back involved. And now LaMarcus back involved. And guys have to got to understand who we want to get the ball to and play off of those guys. Now, Camby — so it is starting over. But that’s where we are. We’ve just got to work on it. Last night was hard, because I just felt like we were going to play well. I don’t know why. I (had a feeling). And we didn’t play well at all in that game. So we’ve just got to get in here and work on it.
On finding a balance between reacting and overreacting:
Yeah, we do. We’ve got to react. Overreact? We can’t do that. Because they can, I think the players can get frustrated and get confused. And they’ve got to understand that it’s going to take some time. But we’ve got to work and we’ve got to make this thing better as quick as possible. So, yeah. We want to react, and you’ve got to react. But overreacting — especially after the first game; Boston is a good team, we have to look at all of that. They have the No. 1 defense in the league as far as points allowed. And we’ve got another one coming up tomorrow. So, we know we didn’t play well. We can play better; we’re going to have to.
On the team’s slow starts and whether it is a major concern:
I haven’t felt in the locker room that our guys weren’t ready. We’ve gotten off to some starts that surprise me. Twenty-one to 2, and I think, like, a 23-8. We gave up a 32-point first quarter last night. And we can’t do that. That happens, but it shouldn’t happen as much as it’s happened to us.
On Roy obviously not being 100 percent and being able to rely on him right now:
Well, he’s been off for five weeks. So, again, we’ve got to react, but we can’t overreact. Being off for five weeks, it’s going to take you some time to get your rhythm and get comfortable and confident out on the floor. And really, it’s a day-to-day situation with him. How he feels and where we go from there. He came in today and got in another practice and should be ready for tomorrow; we kind of go from there. But he’s on the floor and he’ll get his rhythm as he plays more.
On whether it’s rhythm or his hamstring being the main issue:
Again, all that should come with more time on the floor. That’s just like being off for the summer. And normally your (shooting) percentage is about 40, 38. And by November, December, you get it back. And he’s been off for a few weeks, so sometimes you get that rhythm right away, and sometimes it takes a bit of time. It may take some games for him to get it, but he’ll get it.
On whether the team is better having a less-than-100-percent Roy in the lineup so he can get his wind and find his rhythm, and if that is the main theory supporting why Roy is playing, rather than being held off the court:
We can’t put a time limit on it, whether it’s a week or two weeks. … He’s at a point now where he feels he can play, and that’s what we’re doing. We’re not — if he felt he needed more time, then we would give him more time. But he feels that he can play right now, and he knows that he’s got to play to (find) rhythm. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Or next week after those five games on the road? So, we’re where we’re at. To say, ‘Should we give him another day or another week or two?’ We have to listen to Brandon and his body. And, as I said before, when he feels he can go, we’re going to put him out there.
On Rudy Fernandez, what he brought to the team last year, and whether he is in a slump:
I wouldn’t say being in a slump. I’d say it’s a different game for him than it was last year. And to evaluate our guys, it’s so difficult, because we haven’t had our team together. ‘Cause it’s hard to say, you know? And last year, he had a guard out there; we had a rotation, and guys were setting him up. This year, we’ve gone more — because of our guard situation; the plan was to have (Andre) Miller play with him and Miller setting him up. But we never got to that. And so, when he has played, he has been a guy that has had to create on his own … and run more pick-and-rolls and play with ball a little bit more. So, we’re trying to add to his game, but that’s a different game for him. I think he’ll get better at it. But it’s going to happen. He’s playing a different game than he was last year.
On Camby not starting the second half against the Celtics:
We needed to be able to run more of our stuff to see if we could get something going. So, I went back to Howard.