Posted by: Kingsguru21 | April 22, 2010

Translating Geoff Petrie (and Paul Westphal)

You listen to Geoff Petrie talk, and you hope to gleam some information. Something, hell, anything from it, that will help you understand the Kings further. Good luck with that. (I’ll take notes and comment below afterwards.)

Here is the audio from the conversation Grant Napear and Mike Lamb had with Geoff Petrie. Here is the conversation earlier in the week with Paul Westphal.

First Paul Westphal.

* Exit interviews are useful in terms of coordination with players over the summer, but mostly what happened during the season was pretty much already known.

* Idea’s can come from people other than the players or coaches.

* International competition is better for the younger players than older players because younger player are less likely to break down. And, as PW said directly in the interview, competition doesn’t hurt players.

* You look at everything with players when you draft them. You consider all the information. More red flags makes talent less likely to succeed.

* The difference between working on a shot over the season and working over the summer is that you can fine tune your mechanics during the season. There is also a confidence issue as well. Over the summer, if you break down the mechanics and change the release point of a players shot, it will take time to become comfortable and become accustomed with a different shot.

* The summer is a great time to experiment and figure out different ways to utilize your talent. During the season you have to go with your strengths, but the summertime exists to work on your weak area’s of the game and improve on them.

* Tyreke has a “one of the players” attitude and works hard. (This is according to one of the players exit interviews that PW referenced.)

* Being able to compete, improve the rebounding and defense, and having won 8 more games was a start. PW mentioned turning the ball over 2 times less a game, and an increase of 5% in FT percentage, that would net the Kings 10-15 wins. But the real step here is to start competing and the next step, obviously, is to win the games you didn’t figure out how to win this past season.

* PW thinks that Spencer Hawes & Jason Thompson will help the team moving forward. They’re both smart players who will improve their games (and Spence will mature in terms of his body), and will help the team improve defensively and offensively.

* No changes within the coaching staff is expected.

* Competitiveness is as much a skill as running, shooting or jumping is.

* Coaches can’t (and shouldn’t) give explanations for playing time. There’s a level to where making a player look bad is counter-productive. Every coach has to consider how to dealing with the individual when disciplining and doling out playing time. Explaining this in the media every time there is an issue is not useful when building a successful and competitive team.

Now I’m not going to recap this because most of this is about Geoff Petrie. But, here’s a major difference between a coach and a GM. A coach is expected to be more frank and honest with the media. There is little advantage to being secret all the time as a head coach. That’s why Paul Westphal tends to be more frank with the media. Geoff Petrie is not big about revealing things in public interviews, but when he does he will do so when GP thinks it’s an appropriate time. The Tyreke Evans stuff that GP & Co sat on until the draft was completed was perfect example of this.

Paul Westphal, if you listen to him, has a clear idea of what he wants to help this team moving forward. You can’t ask more out of a head coach than that. There is a vision, and drive, too, to make this team better. Listening to the interview, you do get the feeling that PW knew that playing young players was not going to result in more wins this season. You also knew that he felt comfortable enough that if progress was shown that playing these young players would pay off down the line.

Again, this is where the trust between management and coaching staff is so critical. I can’t say it enough or too little: You won’t have a successful franchise without a working and professional relationship between the coach & basketball management. So, even if you disagree with Paul Westphal and the little things, you’re disagreeing with Geoff Petrie too. How many people actually parse the difference at this point? From my vantage, very few do. Moving onto the ubiquitous one himself.

******

I’m not going to recap like PW. Since I thought PW was more straight forward, and little mystery as to what this means, I’m going to write down the Q&A between Napear/Lamb and Petrie and offer a translation. Wall of Words commence!

Napear:

“So when you look back at 2009-10, in your eyes was it successful, so-so? Tell us your thoughts now you have had a week to digest it.”

Petrie:

Well I think in general it was certainly a better year, in certain respects. In times in a frustrating sort of way for a lot of us, and I think that includes coaches, players, fans, whatever, the rest of us. Just in the sense that we did get off to such a terrific start which was way beyond expectations at that point. I think the energy from our younger players and the way some of our younger core players, that are already here, was a pleasant surprise from everybody. You can’t deny that we struggled in the last 35 or 40 games. Even with that, I think the team continued to compete. We were competitive even in the losses. We did improve in a lot of area’s beyond 8 more wins. Which, is of some significance, but we need to get alot further than that obviously. It was a great draft for us. We became a better rebounding team, we really sliced into a lot of the statistical area’s that we needed to improve, but we need to continue to improve from there too. We obviously had a tremendous season out of Tyreke. He’s still the leading candidate to be Rookie of the Year based on the merits. There’s a lot of positives, some to build on for next year, I do think we’ve turned the corner as far as being able to hopefully move incrementally forward off of this season. A lot of that is going to be based off the young core players we have, our draft, our trading, and all of the things that may or may not happen down the road.”

Lamb: Are those increments always the same size or is there a possibility–this year or next–that you get somewhat of an exponential jump?

Petrie:

Well, that’s just so speculative for any of us to make including me. I don’t know. Obviously the bigger incremental improvement you can make the happier everybody would be, and all that kind of things. We’re going to certainly do our best in the draft to get another potentially great player or best player available or whatever we think the right thing to do there. Then, trading opportuniites, free agent situations; that all remains to be seen. It’s really hard to say today what that part of the future may or may not hold for us.

Napear: There’s a lot of uncertainty as we look ahead past next year with the collective bargaining agreement. There’s been talk that some teams may hold pat this summer. Have the Maloof’s given any indication at all to giving you any latitude to spending money on Free Agent’s this summer?

Petrie:

Not specifically. But I do think that whatever we would consider doing it would have to get back to Mike’s question. We would have to feel that the incremental improvement would be very very significant. That in-of-itself those kinds of decisions are going to have to be moderated to some extent by the short term and longer term future of flexibility that we have and those types of things. So, it’s gonna have to be, you know, let’s see what types of opportunities they are and how far ahead they can push us. As opposed to continue building through the draft. To try and follow the models, in some ways, of what Portland and Oklahoma City over the last 4-5 years with their franchises where they basically built their new core out of their draft picks.

Lamb:

What factors went into trading Kevin Martin to Houston?

Petrie:

I think that, you know, that we had an opportunity, number one, to get a high quality player in the frontcourt at the 4 position that was young, under contract, and had improved every year in the league. Number two, we were able to free up a lot of future salary that already had been committed through the contract that Kevin had. Number three, we just didn’t get the bump in performance overall after Kevin came back from his injury. In all fairness to him, coming back from a sustained period of time off and trying to make all those adjustments are difficult under any circumstances. But, I think, all those things figured in there. We got a very high quality player that’s 26 years old. You can pretty much put it in the book every night he’s going to get ya 20 & 7. I think going forward he’s a great player to have as a piece of our roster along, hopefully, with the continued improvement of Jason & Spencer and whatever else we can do. You may be able formulate a frontcourt there thats gonna be consistently productive night in & night out.

Napear:

Geoff, I gotta be honest with you I’m really disappointed that Mike didn’t answer me that question because I thought I was the one who caused Kevin Martin to be traded. Lamb in background (Petrie also chuckles): You caused it; you forced it.

Napear:

Jon Brockman is a Free Agent. Do you envision bringing him back this year? Obviously Paul Westphal loved what he did. I know you were extremely pleased with his performance. But, yet he is know a free agent.

Petrie:

I think our intention right now is to qualify him and make him a restricted Free Agent before the end of June when Free Agency starts with the intention of keeping him. I think everybody is in agreement that we want him back and would like to have him back. He’s just a good spirit, uh, player and on any given night in 5 minutes of playing time can change the tenor of the game in your favor. We certainly going to plan on working on that.

Lamb:

But he’s just not that popular with the fans Geoff, that’s the problem. GP: What’s that? Lamb: He’s just not that popular with the fans. (Petrie chuckles.) I mean, they love that guy. I know that really come into your decision making process, but you know he just fits this town I think. He’s such a blue collar guy; he’s always very sanguine. I think a lot of the intangibles he has this city is hungry for. I don’t know if you were thinking about that when you picked him. Which brings us on to the other thing: You got 3 piicks that were productive this year. That’s pretty unusual to get 3 guys that are gonna contribute from 1 draft.

Petrie:

I agree. I agree with pretty much all of the above there. I didn’t mention Omri before, but he really had a great year overall when you think back to summer league and training camp and really for both him, and Donte in some respects. They both improved and played really good stretches during the regular season, and they’re both still promising promising young talents. I think for someone like Omri in his rookie year to play 28 minutes a game during his rookie year and make the rookie game and all that, there’s just a lot to work with there. He should continue to get better.


Napear
:

Last year at this time, it was Ricky Rubio mania. And we all know what happened with that. In otherwords, that’s all anybody talked about. Not only here in Sacramento, but also around the league. Most observers say that John Wall and Evan Turner will be the first 2 players taken in the draft regardless of what order. In your mind right now, would you say that? Would you say that’s an unknown? Would you say those 2 guys are head and shoulders above the rest of the field?

Petrie:

Well, you know because of our rules I can only talk in constructive ambiguity about the draft. (All 3 chuckle. Plus all 3 chatter for awhile.)


Napear
:

Here’s where I want to ask you. When a player declares himself eligible for the draft, at that point in time aren’t you allowed to talk about that player? Or are you not allowed to talk about that player?

Petrie:

Not until they actually are in the draft for sure.

Napear:

Let me ask the question again this way, if I may. Last year, I think we would all agree was an unbelievably talented draft when we look back on it. Not only the 1st round, but the 2nd round as well. When you look at the draft right now, looking at just the top 10 picks, would you say that it has a chance to be a pretty good draft?

Petrie:

I think so. Grant, we’ve been around each long enough. I’m always a little more sanguine about the draft’ at least at this time of the year. This draft is not as good in Point Guard’s. There’s a lot of fairly talented wing players, and there’s probably 4 or 5 or 6 frontcourt players–4 or 5 players–that show a lot of promise. It’s a still a long way until June 26th or 27th whenever the draft is, but while we may have certain preferences right now those are still subject to change. There’s still a lot of work yet to be done in terms of workouts, interviews, and physicals and all the other things that getting you to the moment of the truth.

Napear:

Isn’t that what happened last year? I mean, you already knew he was good, but didn’t he blow you away with his workouts before the draft?

Petrie:

No he did, he worked out very well. The other thing about Tyreke was that he had an individual workout by himself, but he wanted to come back and play against other players that were technically considered up there as well. He did very well in those workouts as well too. Again, when you get to the moment of truth you have to go with what you think is right. Sometimes what you think is right is when everybody else thinks it is right also, and sometimes it’s not.

Lamb:

Grant & I had heard it suggested elsewhere, I don’t recall where, that you were a little hasty in your decision to pick up the option on the 3rd year for the head coach, Paul Westphal. So what did go into that decision? Was it an easy decision? A tough decision? What went into that?

Petrie:

I don’t think it was hasty in the sense that this is something Joe, Gavin & I had been talking about for quite some time and something we had intended to do. With the feeling that Paul came in and really has provided the type of leadership and maturity and spirit, particularly with the young group of players that we had, and he played young players a lot of minutes. There is a lot of coaches that wouldn’t have liked that, or would have grown tired of it, or would have become frustrated with it. I think he kept the focus going even through some really rough stretches through the latter part of the year as far as winning goes. It’s gonna take some time, yeah, where we can get us a core; that can get us to the playoffs and hopefully grow forward from that. It was a question of continuing to support him and going forward to continue building on where we are right now.

******

The rest of it you can listen to. I hope I rendered the statements accurately. (I missed a few things here & there. They are, as I hope because I’m not going to listen to Napear & Lamb for another minute, as accurate as I can get them.)

Let’s get a couple of things out of the way. The dig at Ailene Voisin is totally talk show host worthy, but it was a reasonable thing for a columnist to do. I recognize that Voisin is not a perfect columnist, but she is hardly the worst thing of all time either. To me that showed exactly why so many Grant Napear and Mike Lamb are often referred to as douchebags. (Yes, that was lame what Lamb did.)

The other part about Napear getting Kevin Martin traded was either a very thinly veiled shot at Tom Ziller, or I’m just a monkey’s uncle biding time as a fat asshole carcass of a human. (Not that TZ needs me to stick up for him. He doesn’t.) What irritates me, again, is the unnecessary shot that Napear & Lamb took there. Makes me glad I don’t listen to their show more often to be truthful. (Not that this is news.)

What did strike me though, when the immersed duo wasn’t displaying their well rounded douchebaggery (I would say it’s diverse but no douchebag is capable of such), the questions were professional and excellent in the overall tone.

As far as what’s “worth” out of what GP said, he basically talked about the young players as being the future. (Not that we didn’t know that.) He mentioned Omri & Donte exceeding expectations. (Again, no surprise there.) GP mentioned, no doubt he had to, that he thought Reke was ROTY.

One nugget that should be gleamed is that right now GP & Co. is certainly planning to offer Jon Brockman a Qualifying Offer. This means that Jon Brockman will end up being a Restricted Free Agent, and the Kings can match any offer Brockman might receive on the FA market. (Which isn’t likely to be much or very enticing.)

Let me highlight and parse this particular paragraph cuz I see people talking about it already:

Not specifically. But I do think that whatever we would consider doing it would have to get back to Mike’s question. We would have to feel that the incremental improvement would be very very significant. That in-of-itself those kinds of decisions are going to have to be moderated to some extent by the short term and longer term future of flexibility that we have and those types of things. So, it’s gonna have to be, you know, let’s see what types of opportunities they are and how far ahead they can push us. As opposed to continue building through the draft. To try and follow the models, in some ways, of what Portland and Oklahoma City over the last 4-5 years with their franchises where they basically built their new core out of their draft picks.

A couple of things. First, neither Seattle/OKC or Portland had cap space until last summer. (Which coincidentally was true of the Kings, technically, too.) Two, Portland and Seattle/OKC bought picks in multiple ways. Portland bought theirs using cash, and Seattle/OKC bought theirs using the TPE they got in the Rashard Lewis S&T to get Kurt Thomas and 2 unprotected 1st rounders from Phoenix. Since 1 of those 1st rounders netted Serge Ibaka, that’s a substantial investment. Then, in 2008 during the trade deadline, the still Sonics traded Thomas for another 1st rounder from the Spurs. Last trade deadline as the Thunder, they traded that 1st rounder in the 2009 draft to the Bulls for Thabo Sefalosha. None of this mentions the money the Thunder took on with Matt Harpring to acquire Eric Maynor (who still runs the universe at every moment in case you’re wondering) during mid-season.

I re-iterate: Both of those teams spent money. Both of them spent money buying picks in the draft process which is something that the Kings have never done at any point. Given that the Kings traded Ron Artest for Donte Greene and the draft pick that became Omri Casspi, I have a feeling that buying up a pick or two down the road is not likely going to happen with all the other young players the Kings already have.

I do think that what Petrie was referring to was how the development of players over time and letting them grow together is something they will absolutely look at. To me, this is for casual fans who really don’t understand Petrie. If I was a rival team, and I listened to this, I’d roll my eyes and basically think to myself: “God, Geoff Petrie is good at spouting bullshit so those yahoo’s out in that cowtown who will eat it up.” (Apparently, Jason Jones believes this too.) Nobody on the Kings is untouchable, I would imagine, unless you’re talking about Tyreke Evans.

Here’s what I do think (and it’s pretty simple): Petrie is non-committal. He’ll go with a young team, or he’ll trade a young player (or two) to get a veteran he wants (Chris Bosh, Davie Lee, or Troy Murphy come to mind). He’s not going to commit to one line of thinking because then you end up like the Knicks or Heat. (Who have mortgaged everything to hit home runs this summer.) The Kings can’t afford to strike out in Free Agency. Most of the core asset’s the Kings have ever had have come through the draft. That isn’t going to change, and Petrie knows that.

What I’m saying is this: Don’t be surprised if the Kings stay young and take a DeMarcus Cousins or Derrick Favors in the draft. Don’t be surprised if the Kings were to trade Landry, JT or Shawes for a big player up front over the summer using their cap space. Right now I’d think Petrie will look at every option to improve the Kings, and he wants to remain non-committal.

As far as how the Kings work out draft prospects, what PW said was more interesting regarding the red flags and how that may downgrade talent. I see a few people saying, ” Well didn’t the Kings know about Tyreke Evans being involved in that drive-by?” The answer is yes. Tyreke told them about it during the pre-draft camp in Chicago. He told every team about it, and his side of the story. Rather than blind siding them with that type of news, he looked to get ahead of the news coming out. (It was also old news by that point. It was a major news story the year earlier when he committed to Memphis.) The Kings certainly never saw what happened with Reke’s past as a red flag. If they did, they certainly have not let it slip publicly that’s what they think.

I bring this up because of DeMarcus Cousins (who I’ll be getting into later this week actually) and Derrick Favors. Both have each sides of their arguments, and I’ll get into that later, but for right now I see the Kings looking at each with as much as a clean slate as possible. Think of the stuff leading up to now as Round 1. Round 2 & 3 are coming up, and those may swing 1 or the other into the Kings favor. It’s also possible the Kings end up picking 5th or (with a small possibility) of picking 6th.

I bring this up because GP basically said this was not a year for great PG’s (oh damn!) and this draft had depth up front and at the wing positions. (Shocking!) Because of this, I think the Kings will consider multiple options when taking players. (Another piece that’s on tap.)

Also, remember that the Kings have the 33rd pick too. This could net a rotation player up front or in the backcourt. Anything is possible. That’s what Geoff Petrie really said. That, and the QO is going to be picked up for Jon Brockman.

I know: 35 words is a lot less than 4500. But, if nothing else, I do pontificate right?

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Responses

  1. I can’t lie. I love this time of year. I love trying to read into GP’s comments to capture some tell, or some info that he is hiding. I love anticipating the draft.

    Thanks for this, Pookey. This is great. I can’t wait to see you really evaluate Cousins and Favors as well.

    • It’s gonna be over the weekend sometime. I gotta take some time to think how I’m gonna do it.

  2. […] https://evilcowtowninc.wordpress.com/2010/04/22/translating-geoff-petrie-and-paul-westphal/Two, Portland and Seattle/OKC bought picks in multiple ways. Portland bought theirs using cash, and Seattle/OKC bought theirs using the TPE they got in the Rashard Lewis S&T to get Kurt Thomas and 2 unprotected 1st rounders from Phoenix. … Then, in 2008 during the trade deadline, the still Sonics traded Thomas for another 1st rounder from the Spurs. Last trade deadline as the Thunder, they traded that 1st rounder in the 2009 draft to the Bulls for Thabo Sefalosha. … […]

  3. […] https://evilcowtowninc.wordpress.com/2010/04/22/translating-geoff-petrie-and-paul-westphal/Two, Portland and Seattle/OKC bought picks in multiple ways. Portland bought theirs using cash, and Seattle/OKC bought theirs using the TPE they got in the Rashard Lewis S&T to get Kurt Thomas and 2 unprotected 1st rounders from Phoenix. … Then, in 2008 during the trade deadline, the still Sonics traded Thomas for another 1st rounder from the Spurs. Last trade deadline as the Thunder, they traded that 1st rounder in cheap flight Darwin to Alice Springs the 2009 draft to the Bulls for Thabo Sefalosha. … […]

  4. & we all look forward to your evaluation, great post, pookey.

    • Thanks as always Rhondda.

  5. My gosh you are a prolific mofo but then you knew that. So glad you took the time to transcribe as there was no way I was going to listen to the dang thing. Looking forward to the Cousins/Favor thing but what I really want to know about is your hang up with Troy Murphy.

    • Heh BJ. Part of the love for Murphy is that he fills a need (he can shoot the 3 and defensive rebound), and part of it is that he doesn’t have a long term contract that is ornery.


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