Some interesting Flip Saunders quotes:
One of the best stories going through the grapevine in Vegas was that at some practice, KG ripped into Pek for not getting back on defense — hit him with “************” and everything. And no one had ever seen anyone talk to Pek like that, because he’s Pek and he’s scary. Do you remember that?
That happened during the season, in his very first practice with us. People were talking about it in Vegas, because KG came out and did a shootaround with us there, and people couldn’t believe how energetic he was. And we said, “Well, you should have seen him when he ‘mother******’ Pek because he didn’t get back on defense during a dummy drill.” No one had ever seen that with Pek.
That’s KG. He always said that living up to his contract meant giving everything he had, in practices and games. He expects that from everyone on the team. A guy like Pek has never been pushed.
How did Pek react?
He put his damn head down and started running fast. That’s the thing about KG: He’s running back faster than anyone. If a Hall of Famer, one of the greatest power forwards ever, is doing that at 38, how can you not do it?
And here’s the thing: KG can still play.
Does that include Towns, or is he a center? A hybrid? Does it matter?
It doesn’t matter. He’s a player. Good teams have guys that can play multiple positions. It makes them harder to guard. Besides, it’s not what position you play. It’s what position you can guard. Some nights, Towns will guard power forwards and KG will guard centers. Some nights, it will be the other way around.
It sounds like you think post-ups will retain a prominent place in a league moving toward small-ball, passing, and 3s.
The reason teams don’t post up is that nobody can do it anymore. Teams would like to do it. The post-up is conducive to small ball. If a guy can score down there, the defense has to trap, and you can get open 3s. And that’s what we’re all trying to get — open 3s.
How often do you think about Sam Cassell’s injury in the 2004 playoffs — a hip thing, I think, right before the conference finals against the Lakers?
All the time. It was his hip. He made a shot out of the corner against Sacramento in Game 7 [of the conference semifinals], and he did his little Big Balls dance, and from that, he created a little avulsion fracture in his hip. No question, I think about that dance all the time. But that’s the NBA. I went to four straight conference finals in Minnesota and Detroit, and we had injury issues in each one. The team that wins the title is usually the healthiest team.
at Cassell injuring himself doing the big balls dance.