Kwame Brown's media day Q&A
(UPDATE: Here's the transcript from today's chat. Forty-five minutes of the hour either WERE or WERE NOT devoted entirely toward analyzing the potential impact of Andre Patterson. No hints, so the only way you'll know for sure is by reading.)
For Kwame Brown, save a dome now free of braids, media day pretty much picked up where his 2007 season left off: with him trying to heal a bum right shoulder and left ankle. Both required off-season surgeries, and the former is closer to 100% than the latter. Fingers crossed, Kwame will be able to take in a little preseason action during his bid to remain the team's starting center (a mission I doubt will be affected by news of a recent legal matter). It's gonna be an interesting season for Kwame. Can he develop into more than just a "body up big dudes" defensive specialist? Can he display any aptitude at the four, which would help alleviate a front-court logjam, allow Lamar Odom to start at small forward and open up mucho options in general for Phil Jackson? Will his expiring contract worth 9 million clams (1930s speak for dollars) make him part of a deal? No matter how these questions shake out, it's safe to say Kwame will be an important part of the mix while in a purple and gold uni. Here's what he had to say.
Andrew Kamenetzky: How are you feeling at this point, physically?
Kwame Brown: I'm OK. My shoulder is a lot better than my ankle. My explosion is not there. That comes with me playing, and I haven't been playing. Hopefully, I can use training camp and this whole month as a time to get ready for Oct. 31. My shoulder feels pretty good. I'm starting to trust it a little bit when I'm in the post. But my ankle is a little tender. I notice when I try to show on screen and roll and stuff like that. But it'll get there. I've only been playing for two weeks, and three of the days I couldn't play.
AK: Have they given you a timetable, in terms of actually being ready for the opener?
KB: The doctor said that once I'm playing for a month, I should get used to it and should be able to start exploding again. I just gradually have to work my way into it. I think (during) the first week of training camp, I'll be limited to half-court stuff. The second week I should be doing full court.
AK: Did you spend the entire summer rehabbing?
KB: The whole time. One operating table to the next and then rehab.
AK: What's that like?
KB: Terrible. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy.
AK: Is it just a lot of laying around before you're even strong enough to do anything?
KB: The shoulder wasn't as much laying around as the ankle. The ankle was a lot of laying around. I'm tired of looking at a trainer table. Hopefully, I can get on the court (soon). A lot of band work. The same stuff over and over and over. You really have to be patient. As soon as they tell you to get on the court, you never wanna go back in the training room again. You sure have work to do in the training room.
AK: Is it just something you have to work through? Are you going to be limited in practice?
KB: It's gonna be something where I'm gonna have to get with Gary Vitti and just be smart about it. There's gonna be a point in time where I'm just gonna have to soldier through it, but now I just gotta be smart. It's too early to aggravate anything on that ankle. Just bring it along slow so it can be ready for the season.
AK: Ideally, would it be nice if you had an additional two weeks before the season began?
KB: Yeah. Time is always not of the essence (laughs). But like I said, I'll just bring it along slow and listen to the doctor. He and Gary Vitti have a plan in place for me. Hopefully, we'll just follow that plan, and it'll all work out.
AK: Do you think you'll be 100% by the start of the season?
KB: If all goes right. I hope so. That's what I'm hoping for. The plan is to try to get me a chance to be out here for an exhibition game, so I can know where I'm at, so I don't hinder the team during the regular season.
AK: What are you looking for out of yourself this season?
KB: I'm looking to win. That's the cure-all. Once we win, we don't have as many problems. We don't have as much confusion. We don't have as much arguing. We just gotta win. That's all that matters.
AK: Andrew Bynum is a player that came to the NBA right out of high school, just like you. Do you give him advice on making the transition?
KB: Yeah. I just give him a lot of positive reinforcement. Everybody wants to be so negative all the time when you're dealing with professional sports. I just try to give him positive reinforcement because coming from high school, there's probably going to be a lot of scrutiny and a lot of negativity.
AK: Do you see any of yourself in Andrew, in terms of your situations with entering the NBA.
KB: Oh, no. He has a totally different situation. He has it made (laughs). Our situations were totally different. He had a chance to sit back and learn without a lot of extra scrutiny. That wasn't the case for me (laughs).
AK: So you envy him a little bit?
KB: No. Everybody gets their own little scrapbook of things to talk about. I took my lumps and it made me a better person, so I can't ever envy anybody else. You never know what's gonna end up for him and what's gonna end up with me.
AK: Have they talked with you at all about playing some power forward this year?
KB: Nope, but I've thought about it. Now that we have three or four centers this season, that's definitely a possibility. As far as my thoughts on the four spot, whatever they ask me to do, I'm gonna do. I've played that position (with the Lakers). I think I know it a little bit better than the first time. I'm definitely more comfortable closer to the basket.
AK: Your first year with the Lakers, the comfort level was obviously higher at the 5 than the 4. But you said that could be less of an issue now. Why is that?
KB: Because a lot of it was learning the offense. Any time you ask a basketball player to think the whole time he's playing, on where to be at, then it's gonna look bad. Now I think I know a little better where to be, where to set my screens, where to pop back to and all that stuff. It may be a little easier. Who knows if they'll ask me to do it? I'd have to get the reps in again and try again.
AK: But all things being equal, you're still more comfortable being closer to the basket.