sarahhecht

Apr 18

Video/Transcript: Wesley Matthews Exit Interview

By sarahhecht Posted in: WesleyMatthews

On Thursday morning, following the Trail Blazers' final game of the 2012-12 season, Wesley Matthews and other members of the team participated in exit interviews with the media. Here's full video of Wesley's session and a transcript. Check out trailblazers.tv for a full archive of interviews with every player.


On his exit interview with GM Neil Olshey and Head Coach Terry Stotts

“It was good. Just thanking for what I was trying to bring to this team. Toughness, a leadership role, playing through injuries, playing basketball and plans on how we can improve this summer and next season. Continue to work on everything, they know I’m gonna be in the gym, you guys know I’m gonna be in the gym, but the main thing is to get healthy. That was their main focus.”

On how close the team is to returning to the playoffs
“We’re real close. If you look at it the game when it separated us was probably that Utah loss at our place. And we were right there through, was it three minutes left and we were up nine of something like that, we win that game and who knows what happens with our confidence level. I think we’re right there, we just have to believe that we are a playoff team.”

On areas the team needs to improve the most
“I dunno, you guys are gonna say our depth, our rim protector, what else, what have you guys been saying all year? Shooting guard... (laughs), we got Will! So we’re cool. (laughs)”

On getting and staying healthy
“Not go home. I can’t go home because if I go home I’ll go right to the gym. So I don’t know what I’m gonna do. I think missing a game, that streak that I had it was great, it was fun, but I think it opened my eyes to I have to take care of my body. There was times during that streak where I should have sat out and who knows if I would have sat out one game or one day, this season coulda been prevented as far as injuries. In talking to vets, talked to Kobe, talked to CP and Chauncey Billups, and they’re like ‘You gotta take care of your body, you have a long career ahead of you, you have to take care of your body.’ And I think I just took it for granted. Whatever, I can play through pain, I’m gonna do it, and that’s not to say that I’m not gonna continue to do so, but I’ve gotta be smart about it. And that’s me learning. This was my fourth year and I have to learn and I have to grow.”

On his greatest personal gains of the season
“I think embracing the leadership role. Embracing that, embracing being in big play situations whether it’s offensively or defensively, play making. I think I’ve gotten better as a player with a more expanded role, a more open offense and I’m gonna continue to do so. Every stage in my career, whatever sport I did, I always got better the next year and I pride myself in that and I’m excited. I hope this month hurries up and flies by so I can get healthy and I can play.”

On the influence of Stotts’ style on his offseason game-plan
“You always want to put yourself, you want to work out in game situations as much as possible. Me, if I was gonna stand in the corner I’m still gonna do pick and roll stuff in the offseason, but you want to put yourself in situations that you’re gonna see in the season. Step-up pick and rolls, drag screen pick and rolls, post isos, flares, rescreens, pin-downs, you want to get yourself and your body prepared and trained for those situations so that as much as possible, when you hit the ground in September, October, and we implement the plays again, you’re already conditioned to do that.”

On the aspects of his game he wants to improve
“I wanna work on everything. I can’t just tell you one part I’m gonna work on, I’m gonna work on everything. I got a gym at my house so I got all the time in the world.”

On going back to Madison and where he’ll be this summer
“I’ll be back here. I’ll be back here before summer league to work out with the guys before they head out to summer league and maybe a little bit before that.”

On being safe from trades
“I have no idea. I don’t think anybody’s ever safe unless they got a no-trade clause, I think Kobe and Garnett have those. So, I don’t know. I would like to think that I’m wanted here and I’m gonna continue to work and I can’t really think about any of that other stuff.”

On the chemistry of the “core four” and what they’ve built
“I think we play well together. And I think this team played well together in stretches, we just gotta keep going, keep building, keep believing, everybody has to continue to get better and to let this hurt. We lost 12 or 13 straight, let that hurt, let that sink in, watch teams in the playoffs that we beat, let that piss you off, to not feel that way again. It’s gonna be a long summer, an extremely long summer. Summer’s cool but you can have fun in two months, you don’t need five.”

On the impending roster changes
“We still have a lot of spots so it’s still gonna be relatively new, but I see where he’s coming from. Last season you just knew it was gonna be a shakeup, this year it’s not so much. But that may be beneficial but at the same time you have to grow as a player.”

On healing without surgery, just rest
“I haven’t heard anything about needing surgery.”

On convincing potential free agents to come to Portland
“It’s a special place, it really is. It may not have all the glamour and the glitz and all that kinda stuff, but it’s a special place where the fans really back you. They get behind you, they’re prideful and this is gonna be something special. We won’t be, this core won’t be remembered as the franchise with consecutive losses, we’re gonna go somewhere and that’s something that free agents should know.”

On helping young guys develop
“It was almost like we had to start all over with the fundamentals with everything which is good because as a, I don’t really consider myself a veteran, but any basketball player you need fundamentals. And some of the things that you just kind of assume, it was almost like you can’t take anything for granted, playing with Nic (Batum) if we come together we just know we’re gonna switch, I couldn’t assume that early on with Will (Barton), I couldn’t assume that early on with Vic (Claver) because we just didn’t know. Me and Dame (Lillard) sometimes had situations where we were both guarding the same guy, but I would think okay if this was Andre (Miller) we were switching, but it’s eye-opening and it’s humbling and it’s taking everything back to the basics, which is good for everybody.”

On Nicolas Batum’s game
“He just played confident. He looked like he played without any worries, he wasn’t looking over his shoulder, he was just playing with a lot of confidence.”

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