|2011/12 NBA Regular Season|
|January 16, 2012|
| Kyle Lowry ||PG|| John Wall |
| Kevin Martin ||SG|| Nick Young |
| Chandler Parsons ||SF|| Chris Singleton |
| Luis Scola ||PF|| Trevor Booker |
|Samuel Dalembert ||C|| JaVale McGee |
PREGAME READING: Meet the Rockets | The Dream Shake |
Before this game, I was really looking forward to talking to Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale. He was always a sharp commentator and I figured his pregame address would be insightful. He didn't disappoint, giving a number of really great lines on the difficulty of building a team with so many young players.
"In this league, no matter what any young guy tells you, there's very few that aren't more concerned about establishing themselves before the team," McHale said. "It's a very rare guy that puts team-first as a young guy, and those guys usually do really well, because they go out and say, 'I'm just glad to be here.'"
Obviously, that applies to the Washington Wizards.
"Most young guys say, 'I have to establish myself. Once I establish myself, then I'll really be able to help the team, as opposed to establishing themselves by helping the team grow," McHale said. "That's the funky thing with young teams."
McHale was quick to note that his own team features plenty of young players, so he wasn't talking about the Wizards specifically. Still, you can take a lot of these points and realize just how difficult Flip Saunders' job really is a lot of the time.
I asked McHale what he does to foster a team-first mentality in the wake of these challenges. He began by saying he emphasizes "all the stuff that doesn't get noticed," then gave a really good analogy.
"I always said, the blind guy in the last row of the arena knows the guy that's 10-12 from the field because he hears his name a lot on the [jumbotron]," he said. "But it's, can you help your team win if you score five points? Can you help a team win if you go 1-10?
"You ask that to multiple young guys, none of them raise their hand. They go, 'Eh.' And you're like, 'Really?' Then you're just a scorer. You're not a basketball player. You can go 1-10 and help your team win."
McHale joked that he had plenty of bad shooting nights in his career, but added that he still found a way to get it done. Still, even he admitted the challenge is difficult.
"We live in a microwave society where we want to throw it in, and 30 seconds later it's ready to go. But that's not the way it really works. It's just hard. The NBA's hard."
Take that wisdom for what you will, but I thought it was really interesting in light of the Wizards' rebuilding strategy.
Other pregame notes:
- Rashard Lewis is not playing with a knee injury. Andray Blatche is a game-time decision and won't start if he plays.
- This is the first time Saunders and McHale are coaching against each other after their history in Minnesota. Saunders joked that he hasn't coached against McHale since he was coaching 12-year old kids. McHale, meanwhile, brushed off the question initially -- "I'm not too worried about Flip. I have enough problems of my own like everybody." -- before saying he's happy for him for his coaching career.
@ Washington Wizards
Monday, Jan 16, 2012, 2:00 PM EST
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