Interview: Webster on Batum, not starting, pride and human nature
Transcript of an interview with Portland Trail Blazers small forward Martell Webster following Wednesday’s practice at the team’s workout facility in Tualatin, Ore.
Webster on whether the transition from a starting to reserve role has been tough:
Yes. Yes, it has. But that’s just one of things that come with the territory. I’m not — I’m not upset about it. (Nicolas Batum) has been balling … he’s doing a great job. I always support my players and my teammates; we’ve been doing a good job. But, I don’t know. It’s just — I’m a creature of habit. We go out there and play. And it has nothing to do with me wanting more attempts. It’s just me being out there and trying to help this team win in whatever way possible. And, I don’t know. It’s always hard to do. Especially when you’re used to playing a lot, and you want to be out there, and you want to feel like you’re contributing. For me, right now, it’s just, I’ve got to go out there and contribute with the time that I have. So, I’m not going to complain about my minutes or anything. I’m just going to try and go out there and be productive in the time I’m out there. And that will determine whether coach (Nate McMillan) is comfortable in me being out there in certain situations, and being able to look down the bench and see me and know that I’m ready for him to call my name.
On the mental transition:
In my head — no, seriously — in my head, I always think of myself as an NBA starter. Because for me, that just gives me a chip and a competitive motivation to try to get better everyday. I don’t see myself as anything less. And with that, I could be coming off the bench. But still in my mind, I feel like I’m supposed to be out there. I work my tail off, and I’m studying the game. All the above with that, I feel I have the confidence and motivation to know that I am an NBA starter in this league and I have been.
On McMillan’s recent comment that Batum was made a starter because he is the a key part of the team’s future:
Take it with a grain of salt. Nic is. He is. And that’s why he’s starting, and I’m very proud of him and he’s playing great. And he definitely deserves it. He’s worked his butt off, and he’s proved that he’s a starter as well. So, there’s nothing — I have nothing against that. But that’s not going to keep me from getting better.
On balancing winning with pride:
You set it aside. Set your side pride aside. The great teams that have won championships sacrificed a lot (of things), pride being one of them. It’s giving in to the bigger picture. That’s what you have to do to when.
On whether he’s seeing the bigger picture right now:
No, I see the bigger picture. I know what it takes to get there, so I definitely understand. But, like I said, just the human nature; creatures of habit. So, it’s not going to be let down easy. Just be, ‘Look, I’m going to set my pride aside so we can win.’ It’s something that takes repetition and trust. All those things play a big part in building a championship team. It doesn’t happen overnight.
Webster following the Blazers’ 88-81 victory over Sacramento on Tuesday night at the Rose Garden.
On how it felt to score 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting following a rough 10-game stretch:
It feels like I feel every night. I haven’t been able to do it, though. I do that night in, night out. When your time comes, you try and get in there and you try to contribute. Whatever you have, you have to go out there and make the most of it. That’s what I have to do, is be consistent with that and do whatever I can to help this team win.
On McMillan recognizing his defensive effort during a postgame interview:
It’s 100 percent. Just 100-percent defense. When you go in there, you really don’t have much time to work. You go in there and basically leave it on the floor. It’s just playing it all out and giving it your all. There’s no need on trying to reserve yourself, because you don’t know when you’re going to go back in. You’ve just got to go out there and try and be productive every second that you’re out there.