On Wednesday night, the Nets were in Miami to battle the Heat in what ended up being a 103-73 loss for the Nets. Before the game, though, Nets general manager Billy King called in from Miami for an interview on ESPN New York 98.7FM with Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco.
King talked about everything from his teams early defensive struggles to how long he thinks it will take to get a good grasp of what kind of team he as and where he thinks they sit in the Eastern Conference.
Hit the jump for the complete interview transcript:
SAS – How do you like your team so far?
BK – Basketball wise – I like our team but we need to get better defensively. Avery went over some things at shoot around and made some adjustments. That part of it is gonna be a work in progress, I think offensively we can score with anybody. We just have to get that part of the game down if you want to be one of the elite teams.
SAS – How soon do you think that is going to transpire? How soon do you think it will be until you guys get it together defensively?
BK – I think we will get better. Losing Gerald hurts because he gives us the ability to play small. The other game in the 4th quarter Minnesota went small and not having Gerald we didn’t have out better defenders on the floor. Avery adjusted some things today and we’ll get better. I think in the NBA after 20 games that gives you a good gauge of who you are and how your gonna be. We are not in panic mode defensively but we know we’ve got to get better at it.
RR – Tonight not having Gerald especially because he would have been the guy to matchup with LeBron James. How much does it change the way you look at this game as a measuring stick game not having your best defender?
BK – Well, not having him due to an injury, so tonight we are playing a great team with LeBron so Avery has some things he is gonna try tonight . The key to playing Miami is you can’t put them on the foul line and you gotta not turn the ball over because they get out and run and their looking to push the ball. We have to take advantage of our situation with Brook inside and sometimes if you run good offense it helps your defense. I thought in the 4th quarter our offense hurt our defense and our defense wasn’t good in the 4th quarter. We have too run better offense and Avery addressed that today and what we are trying to accomplish offensively in the 4th quarter as well as defensively.
SAS – Right here in this town we saw the New York Knicks run roughshod over the Miami Heat. Give us some insight on how some teams approach playing Miami when you saw them getting beat the way the got beat? Do you pay attention to what the Knicks did and try to emulate that and use it against the Miami heat as well?
BK – The one thing the Knicks did, they were very good offensively, and they made shots. Miami is like Boston, their defense predicates on making you shoot jump shots and so when you do you gotta make them and thats one thing NY did. They made their shots and didn’t turn the ball over and thats what you gotta do because when your making shots it gives you a chance to get your defense set. Thats one thing we have done well is shoot the ball well so we have to do that tonight and not turn the ball over. If it goes into Brook Lopez and they come to help which I think they will he can’t give those cross court passes and turnovers where LeBron is stealing them and going for a dunk. Those possessions kill you when you play this team.
RR – Obviously in New York we are engaged in comparing your guys to the Knicks and we will be doing that throughout the entire season. If because of the vibe in the city and as the rivalry blossoms are you keeping a little closer on on the NYK than say you normally would?
BK – No I went in thinking the Knicks would be good. Carmelo is one of the best players in the league and I think they have a good supporting cast and Jason Kidd runs the point so I think they have very good basketball team and obviously you know when they beat Miami, you see that , and Philly, who I thought was pretty good team even without Bynum and they handled them pretty easily so the Knicks are gonna be a team to beat in this division. I don’t think its just Boston and we’ve got to look at Boston and New York and if we want to win the division we got to get last both of them.
SA – Its a guard oriented league and not as physical as the 90′s but you having Joe Johnson and knowing they were going to be a good team do you still not feel based on the way the league is today that you have a decisive advantage because of your backcourt alone?
BK – At this point we don’t have a decisive advantage because we aren’t clicking yet but I do feel that with Joe and Deron. Avery talked about it that Joe, Deron and Brook are taking the most shots on the team because they are the most gifted offensive players we have and then get other guys into their roles. I think that is why New York has been able to succeed because they understand who they need to ride offensively and get the ball to and the other guys are doing that very well.
RR – When we look at your team and we address the defensive inconsistency thus far thru two games and we know that was going to be an area of weakness that needs to strengthen throughout the year. We know that there aren’t necessarily individual defenders that jump out to us but conceptually, basketball wise how difficult is it to create good to great team defense if you don’t have good to great defenders?
BK – I think if you look at the Boston Celtics, Paul Pierce wasn’t known for his defense before Doc Rivers and Tom Thibedeau got there and installed their system. When you have a system and players buy into it and believe it you can cover up weaknesses of guys that individually may not be strong but I think every player can be a good defensive player by effort. They may not be quick and athletic but if they give effort and you run your system. I played for one of the best defensive coaches in America in Coach K, there were guys there that weren’t good defensively individually but the system allowed them to become a good team defense. What it comes down to is effort and mentality and thats what we have to develop is the effort and mentality on the defensive end.
SAS – I’m shocked that is has taken a little longer than expected considering the fact that Avery has already been here a couple of years and Avery came in as a defensive minded coach? It seems to be taking a little longer on the defensive side of the ball.
BK – There is a lot of different new guys here. He’s been here a few years but they are new to the system so your asking JJ, who came from Atlanta, for a whole new terminology on how we are going to do things. Your asking GW to come in and he’s been with Avery for 25 -30 games to understand the new system so it not just that Avery’s been here but there a lot of new guys that are understanding the concepts and have to change some habits that they may have had at other places. Reggie Evans and CJ are new so its understanding terminology so thats more or less the difference.
RR – The injury to Gerald Wallace with all of his hustle plays and putting the ball on the floor and creating offensively as the stretch 4 in that 4th quarter in the win against the Raptors, him going down obviously hurts you – how long do you think before she comes back for you guys?
BK – Right now he is day to day and I know the target date but we are going to keep him listed as day-to-day
SAS – When you scour the Eastern Conference , Boston, you guys , the Knicks and obviously Philly with a healthy Bynum . I don’t have Indiana in that equation without Granger. How you see the Eastern Conference?
BK – I had Indiana there but without Granger they are a different team and it just came out today he will be out three months so that will impact them. I think Chicago will be better than people think just because they have been together and have played in Tom’s system so I do understand but I look at Indiana as one team I had up there but we will see how they will recover without him in the lineup.
RR – How did u get CJ Watson on a vets minimum?
BK – Deron made the call to help seal that deal.