Roundtable: The New Season

By Jammel Cutler #33

The start of the NBA season draws many emotions from NBA enthusiast, and players. A new set of expectations is bestowed upon players and teams. The beginning of the season is built around old faces in new places, the continuation of rivalries, the cheerful hopefulness of fan bases that are clanging for a successful season ranges from New York to Los Angles, and everywhere in between.

Despite this, from rookie to veteran the No. 1 goal of every NBA player is to get to the mountain top and do something that very few teams have done and that’s win the NBA championship. Winning a championship cements players and coaches legacies and cement their places with the basketball Gods. This season is one of the most anticipated NBA season in years because of the dramatic changes that took place during the off-season.

The 2017-18 season is in its infancy and we’re already seen numerous feats, gruesome injuries, and compelling storylines that has fans hankering for more. From players to the

We sat down with Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, John Collins, and Taurean Prince. We spoke about the start of the NBA season, team goals, the abbreviated preseason, social responsibility and the new All-Star Game format.

Going into the season there are a lot of emotions. Teams are hoping for a fast start and the best on the court results. What are your respective teams mentality going into the season?

Tobias Harris: We just need to get back where we were a few years ago and get back in the playoffs. Going out there every single night and playing hard and finding our identity through the season.

 

Avery Bradley: Our team mentality coming into the season is to have a defensive mindset; every night going out there and grind out wins. Almost like playing old school  Bad Boys Detroit basketball.

 

Collins: We’re a whole different team from last year, coach wants us to have a different mentality. He wants us to play with a lot of speed, obviously, the defensive end is first for us, but offensively he wants us to push the tempo, play fast, push the break so we can get out in transition.

Prince: We have a defensive mentality, we really take pride in getting stops, those stops will turn into transition offense to get easy buckets, that’ll put teams in a hard position to keep up with us.

 

What are some personal goals that you want to accomplish?

Harris: I want us to make the playoffs. It’s our biggest goal, I want our team to succeed so bad.

 

 

Collins: I always set the bar high for myself. I want to be Rookie of the Year, play in the rookie All-Star game, and hopefully, earn more minutes and more of the coach Bud trust so I  can grow as a player.

 

Bradley: I want to be the defensive player of the year and first team all defense.  I also want to give myself a chance at the All-Star game and just improve as an all-around two-way player.

 

Prince: I just want to win as much as possible and prove a lot of people wrong, in the midst of that my stats will be whatever it’ll be, as far as team we just want to make the playoffs and continue to do what we do as an organization

What are some of the team goals going into this upcoming season?

Collins: For us, it’s making the postseason. This organization has prided itself of getting to the playoffs consistently over the last few years, and we’re going to try to keep that up this year, too.

 

Harris: Not only do I want us to make the playoffs I want us to make a serious run come the spring.

 

Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images

Bradley: I want us to make a lot of noise in the playoffs and put a scare in teams.

 

 

Prince:  Like it said previously I want us to make the playoffs. I think we have a good enough team to be one of the 8 seeds in the East.

 

A lot of people felt that the preseason was always redundant and long, Do you feel that a shortened preseason benefits or hurts teams?

Harris: I think it just speeds up things, but I really don’t look too much into it. We must adapt to having a shorter time to get ready for the grind of the regular season.

 

Bradley: That’s a good question, I haven’t really thought about it.

 

 

Collins:  I think the preseason, along with the Summer League games helped me a lot but, getting real time reps on an NBA court helped me adjust to the NBA.

 

Prince: In a way, it helped but all we can do is focus on what we need to focus on and try to come out every night and play as fast as possible.

 

What do you think about the NBA new policy on resting players?

Collins: It happens with teams who have superstar guys that make deep playoff runs every year, it varies from team to team. Sometimes guys just want to play but it’s up to teams whether or not they want to rest their guys.

Harris: I don’t really look into it too much or overthink it.  I just want to go out there and play every single night if permitted.

 

Bradley:  I understand and respect it, at the end of the day this league is a business, so obviously for national TV games they don’t want people resting.

 

Prince: To be honest unless you’re an athlete it’s hard to comment on about teams resting players, a lot of things goes into an 82-game season. With that being said, there’s time where players may need rest because of their usage rate. A lot of people probably play the season with a lot of aches and pains, but I think in order to prevent some of those minor pains you have to rest players. That’ll help prepare players for the stretch run of the end of the season. I think that was a bad call by the NBA. It should be up to the coaches and players.

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Recently the NBA implemented a new rule on resting players. Do you think this system will work long term?

Harris: I’m sure it’s a science behind rest and recovery, long-term as far as the overall health of players I think it’ll work out.

 

Bradley: I think teams are going to respect it. I think that it will just alter their game strategies, and rest their respective players.

 

Collins:  Right now its still early, but I think over time players will adjust to it.

 

 

Prince: I don’t know if it’ll work, that’s something you have to evaluate later in the season.

 

Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images

There’s been a lot of discussion about players in other sporting leagues, and in this one about sitting out the national anthem for social reasons. How do you feel about players in the NBA kneeling or protesting the anthem? 

Harris: It’s always good to have a way to raise awareness, a lot of players use the protest to do that in order to bring light to a situation that might not have gotten talked about. I have a great deal of respect for guys who have been trying to do this.

Bradley: I respect whoever decides to have a peaceful protest. On our team, we all had a meeting and we all respect what we’re trying to do. If somebody wants to stand or kneel I’m going to respect it.

 

Collins: That’s one thing that also varies from team-to-team and person-to-person. They have the right to protest or rebel in any way that they feel fit. It’s a lot of different opinions on stuff that goes on, but it’s something that needs to be brought attention to in this country.

Prince: I stay in my own lane as far as that goes, I have my own personal views and opinions on the stuff that’s going on, but I won’t ever do anything out of character without my teammates so I just play it game by game, I pray to God during the national anthem and hope for the best.

Do you feel that the players of today have a social responsibility to bring awareness to some of these issues?

Harris: People have the reasonability to do whatever they please, but with the platform that many guys have, it should be used in the right way.

 

Bradley: Of course we do, we have a responsibility to be hands-on and actually get into the community and help out. It’s one thing to raise awareness but it’s another to actually get out there and help improve; that’s the most important thing for me having this platform.

Collins: A lot of players have a platform to speak out on issues now more than ever due to social media, it gives players an outlet to voice their opinion if their opinion is right and well thought out. The way social media is today it gives players a mean to make their statement in a more impactful way than before.

Prince:  The fact that we have freedom of speech makes it their choice if someone wants to speak out. Those with a lot of power, such as LeBron James and Steph Curry, do a good job representing the NBA and doing a good job speaking out when it’s time to speak up.

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Recently the NBA instituted a new policy for the All-Star Game eliminating the previous East vs. West format. What do you think about the changes that the NBA have made to the All-Star Game?

Prince: I haven’t thought about it, to be honest, but it sounds like a cool idea. It’s different.

 

 

Harris: It’s a really cool idea, and it’s something different.

 

 

Bradley: It’s dope. I’m always down for new stuff in the game. That one year they did the team dunk contest. Whatever it takes to get fans excited about the All-Star Game again.

 

Collins: I think its cool, it reminds me of New York streetball mentality where you can pick your own lineup. It’s going to be fun to see who picks who. It’s going to be fun to see and I’m definitely going to be tuned in.

If you were captain of a team who would be in your starting five?

Bradley: I’ll pick Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, DeAndre Jordan, and maybe a guy like CJ McCollum somebody different. He’s a guy that deserves to be an All-Star.

 

Collins: Man that’s a hard one!  I would have a position-less lineup, so definitely I’ll have LeBron, I’ll throw myself in there, Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Kawhi Leonard . Nobody would have a position, everyone has handles and can catch lobs. I think that’ll be cool to see.

Prince: I would pick Kent Bazemore, Dennis Schroeder, Isiah Taylor,  Dwayne Deadmon, Tyler Dorsey and the rest of my Atlanta Hawks teammates.

 

Harris: I don’t know man. Hopefully, this year is the year that I’ll finally make it.