Ernie Grunfeld gave his final remarks to the media today, and while I missed the beginning of it (damn Jim Larranaga), I did get a chance to sit in on most of what he said. There really wasn't a ton of substance to what I heard, just because it's Ernie and he's an NBA GM, but he did say some things that we can parse through.
Key quotes after the jump. Here's video.
Grunfeld on how the team closed the season
"In the last 20 games or so, I think you could see some real improvement. The team played with a lot more intensity, a lot more ferocity, which we liked. You could see the chemistry was coming together."
Grunfeld on whether the goals change next season
"Are we going to stop developing? No. That's going to be very important for us, not only this summer, but next summer and the summer after that. It's going to be an ongoing process for us to continue to develop our players, continue to work with them, continue to try to improve them and continue to try to keep a core together we think we can win with."
Grunfeld on John Wall's season
"Obviously John Wall showed this year that he's a legitimate player. He improved as the season went along. He started off well, then had some injuries and had to come back from that. But after the All-Star break, you look at his numbers, he averaged close to 19 points, his shooting percentage was higher, he rebounded the ball extremely well for a guard and he had eight assists or more towards the end of the season. He played with a lot of intensity and he showed a lot of leadership for a player his age."
Grunfeld on Andray Blatche
"Andray had his best numbers of his career. He was playing with injuries for most of the year, but I think he showed what he could do when he's healthy when he came back at the end of the year."
Grunfeld on Jordan Crawford
"He showed that he not only is a scorer, but he can also make plays. He can play the backup point guard role if we need him to or full time if we need him to. He also showed feistiness and competitiveness, which I think rubbed off on the rest of our team."
Grunfeld on John Wall's comments that the team needs a big man and a wing player
"John is a student of the game. He studies the game, he knows the league very well. He follows the colleges, and he watches the game when he's home. So he's a student of the game. Some of the points he made are great. Being a leader and taking ownership of the situation is great, and he's done that."
Grunfeld on Flip Saunders
"I'm very happy with Flip and his staff. He was hired to coach a veteran team, but that's why he's a professional coach. Flip and I work very closely together, we talk a lot, and it's evidenced by the way our players improved as the season went along."
Grunfeld on having cap space
"The worst thing you can do is spend all your money on a free agent who might not fit in so well just because you want to get a free agent on the roster. It has to be the right player. Ted's laid out the plan very clearly, and just because you have the cap room doesn't mean you have to spend it right away."
Grunfeld on the 2009 trade for Mike Miller and Randy Foye
"Looking back on it, obviously it didn't work out great. But at the time, it was what we had to do because our mandate was different. At the time, we had a veteran team who wanted to do damage in the playoffs, and we had a couple of holes that needed to be filled. At the time, we felt like [Randy Foye] and [Mike Miller] were going to come in and contribute right away, whereas if we waited for a draft pick, it might be 2-3 years, especially on a veteran team, before a rookie could come in and help you. Obviously, it didn't work out that way. The things we had to go through last year, not many teams in league history had to go through that."
Grunfeld on how Crawford's play affects Nick Young
"I don't think that affects [anything]. I think it was a good sign from Jordan's standpoint. He got an opportunity and took advantage of it. He showed a lot of versatility and tenacity. He's what we call a 'baller.' He likes to play, he's a fan of the game, he has a good feel, high basketball IQ and he's versatile. So I think it was beneficial for us to see what Jordan could do when given the minutes. But let's give Nick credit for the kind of things he did during the season too."
Grunfeld on JaVale McGee's bad dribbling habit
"JaVale knows that's not something that we want him to do. It's something he shouldn't be doing. But in the heat of the moment, sometimes a player does something. That's his little niche that he does. Other players maybe take quick shots or somebody tries to make an unbelievably fancy pass. So everybody makes mistakes, but when a big 7 footer tries to dribble the ball, it's a little more obvious. But after it's over, JaVale tends to laugh about it himself. We're going to keep working with him about it. I don't think he's doing it to be intentionally defiant."