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?
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.
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.
A lot of people felt that the preseason was always redundant and long, Do you feel that a shortened preseason benefits or hurts teams?
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.
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.
Recently the NBA implemented a new rule on resting players. Do you think this system will work long term?
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?
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.
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?
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?
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.