“You can get blown out in games. Teams can go on runs. You’re missing shots, they’re knocking down shots. That can happen. But to get outcompeted and melting down and losing it and lose concentration and get discouraged, that has absolutely nothing to do with who’s out there. That’s just a matter of whether or not you want to compete.”
“Do we have a competitive spirit? Do we have a competitive toughness?
On his former team, the 1977 World Champion Portland Trailblazers:
We had very skilled players who understood how to pass, when to pass and who were willing to pass.
After a Knicks opening night, home loss to the Chicago Bulls, 104-80.
“We have to ask ourselves about effort. We got to get better bringing energy.
“It’s just multiple effort. It’s about being tough, aggressive and it’s about doing it every time. Defense is consistency in your work ethic and five guys on the same page doing it together.’’
“My worry is our guys’ sense of urgency. We play very hard. We compete. We bring forth the effort, but the execution and the discipline and the play with a purpose has to be a lot better.”
Every little piece, every breath I take it is about that. It is the only way we will do anything of significance is if we just never let it go.
If I hold it dear they (team) will too. It is a massive word with a lot of pieces all under the one umbrella of accountability and pride. I have to do a good job coaching this team to defend.
We have a bunch of guys who don’t know the NBA. As athletic and energized as they are, that only counts for 60 percent. It is not just ‘play hard,’ and that is why sometimes I get upset.
They will play hard but there is a whole other thing going on that is sophisticated and studied that defines the great defensive teams. It is way more than being young, athletic and playing hard.
We’re blue collar, we’re straight to the point. There’s no gimmicks, there’s no show. We play hard, we do it for each other. We’re not about attention or notoriety or awards, we just want to go out and win. We understand that if we win everybody gets noticed in the end.
On the strength of his team:
I think the strength of our team is the unselfishness. We have a group of guys are willing to help one another on the defensive end and share the ball offensively. I think that is a really big strength. When you talk about team basketball and winning, I think that is the biggest key.
On the San Antonio Spurs:
Hall of Famers not caught up in themselves but truly happy for a teammate of theirs who was having success.
On Kawhi Leonard:
He seems like a very quiet, unassuming kid, not caught up in all the hype. Just goes out and does his job every single night. That’s no surprise because he’s playing for a coach who preaches that. But it’s great to see. It’s always great to see a young player like that develop and have the success he’s had.”