Milwaukee Bucks GM Larry Harris Press Conference Transcript

Milwaukee Bucks GM Larry Harris Press Conference Transcript
May 25, 2005, 12:02 am
Larry Harris: Thanks to everyone. I appreciate your patience. The loud roar you heard was all the way from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, all the fans and everybody, and then obviously, 'Make sure that Larry makes the right choice.'

Other than that I am happy you guys are all on board, I can't really explain the joy and anticipation when the 6th pick came up and it was not us. At that point I thought alright, we are going to shift seats here, we'll go to the #3 and maybe we'll end up there, but then the #3 came up and it was not us and then I got a little greedy I have to say. Thought we may as well go for the whole enchilada. It's a special night, and it's going to be 6 weeks from when we have to actually make the pick, but it's a great day in Milwaukee and I'm really looking forward to the next six weeks.

Question: Larry if you could just talk about what you see there, those top 3 picks with Williams, Bogut and Chris Paul. Obviously you are moving up into a place where you can get a lot of help, right away.

Larry Harris I think certainly you mentioned three players, and I'm sure there are another 57 that feel that they are in the top three as wellwhen you are thinking of those three players specifically, when we went into this process we thought we were going to be the #6 pick. Having said that, we thought that the depth of this draft was at the four and the one spot. I still feel that way, even being the #1 pick, but yet because you got the #1 pick, it brings in the big young kid in Andrew Bogut. As we look at our roster, moving forward, we certainly need a low post presence. If you speak about Andrew Bogut firstcertainly a guy that has legitimate size, good hands, good feet, can pass, knows how to play, obviously a consensus All-American. And you have a younger player in Marvin Williams, a tremendous talent. Certainly a guy that was coming off the bench for them, but had an incredible run in the NCAA tournament. And then Chris Paul, arguably the #1 PG out there. With the situation with TJ Fordobviously we're encouraged by what's going on there, but those are three players that we will certainly take a long hard look at, and all three bring something different to the table for us.

Question: I know that you guys are surprised that you guys received the #1 pick. How does this change your moves in the free agent market? This is very unexpected I guess, does this affect how you are looking at the free agent market with this new #1 draft pick?

Larry Harris: No. As a matter of fact, our priority is still Michael Redd #1 in free agency. I said all along that Michael was going to come back, I think this helps solidify that. The excitement that adding him back to the roster as well as the #1 pick, I think that's a buzz that he's not going to get from any other team that may be out there. So I am excited. I think it helps solidify our situation, and I hope that he feels the same way. We certainly have two younger players in Gadzuric and Pachulia who both play the five spot, that we certainly want to retain as well.

Our priorities are still the same as far as free agency. As far as the draft goes, I think that anytime you are able to add a quality player, which we are going to get at the #1 pick, certainly that just adds more to the depth and more assets to our roster, which puts us in a great position to get right back into the playoffs, where we were two years ago.

Question: Hey, I was talking to you yesterday and you were saying you're a math guy! That you believe mostly in probability. Have you changed your opinion on that a little?

Larry Harris: I've changed my stance on superstitions. I still believe that statistically, I have no idea how we pulled it off. But you know what? A little luck! A little Cleo helped us out, I had the bracelet, I was given a rooster last night to kind of put us over the top. Those three things right there I think put us over. But if you are asking me probability wise, 44% or 6.3%, I think I would take 44% everyday of the week.

Question: Have you given any thought to trading the pick rather than taking a rookie?

Larry Harris: Uh, well, actually I am enjoying the moment. To answer the question, when you get the #1 pick in the lottery at 1,2 or 3, it certainly opens up a lot of opportunities with other teams because they want to put themselves in a good situation, they want to add the kind of depth, they want to add the #1 pick, #2, #3. So not only is it myself and Portland and Charlotte and New Orleans, and those teams, we'll all be in the same boat. Certainly having the #1 pick, if they say there is not a consensus #1, it certainly opens up the door for more trade possibilities. But right now we are really focusing in on making that draft pick and making sure it's the right one.

Question: You said you have 6 weeks to mull over what needs to be done on draft day. What do you do 12 hours from now?

Larry Harris: 12 hours from now is trying to get our coaching staff taken care ofwe have two openings in the next week that I need to go in and solidify. That's probably the number one priority. With the draft being held on June 28th, and really not having the #1 pick, it condenses the amount of workouts and the amount of people that we need to bring in for that pick. When you are at the #6 pick or the #7, where we could have ended up, that may have possibly brought us into a situation where we might have brought in an extra 8, 9, 10 guys. But when you put yourself now, as the number 1, then I think that number is finite. But the next twelve ours will be taking care of the coaching staff and moving in that direction, getting that done. And after Chicago, with all the combines that take place from June 6th to the 10th, and the physicals that are done, the psychological testing that's going to be done in Chicago, once we get all that done we will proceed as far as bringing in 3,4, 5 guys in continuing the draft process.

Question: Do you predict taking the best player available, or actually filling a need on the team?

Larry Harris: I think you always take the best player. I think that any time you take the best player, regardless of position, it's another asset to your organization. Whether that means that in a year, you draft a player and he's the best asset, and then you trade a current player that's currently on your roster the following year, or in the summer, or at the trading deadline. You may not make a trade, you just add to it. Sometimes I think that when you look to fill a need, you get a little skewed in that, and sometimes you let maybe the best talent slip by and I don't think you can make those mistakes if you sincerely look at the draft and decide you are going to take the best player.

Question: Congratulations Larry, what a huge shot in the arm for the city of Milwaukee?

Larry Harris: Absolutely right. The whole state of Wisconsin and all the fans. It's a great evening, I can't wait for the next six weeks, I'm sure we are going to be on a high for about the next six weeks or so.

Question: Talk about kind of the last time the Bucks won the lottery with Glenn Robinson. He certainly made a huge impact on the franchise. You know, can you talk about it kinda in that perspective? Not to put the pressure on.

Larry Harris: I think that the thing is, anytime you get the #1 pick, there is just a buzz. People are excited about it. There are just so many things that come about it. They are excited about who you are going to pick, they are excited about what the shape of your team. They are excited about next season. It helps the season tickets. It's just a multitude of things that come about by having the #1 pick. You began to see that with Glenn Robinson. I am sure that the fans at are going to be on fire with all kind of estimations on who we should be taking and what. I will say this, for those that want to get a hold of me over the next week. I will be in Vegas, I am hot right now. It's working for me, I am taking these three things down and I think I am throwing it all on red.

Question: You said you are looking for the best player available. Will you be looking for immediate help or the best player down the road?

Larry Harris: Well I think it's both. I think in this draft it's really across the board. The three players or four or five that people are talking about are really underclassmen. And I think that whenever you are dealing with underclassmen whether they are freshman, sophomores, or juniors, you are in a situation where you know there is upside coming. They're not going to be able to jump right in and contribute to the level where they are going to be able to play 35 minutes a night. Now if they do, that's great. Then you are well ahead of the game. So I am not going to put any more new pressure on the draft pick that I wouldn't expect from him. I want him to come into a comfortable situation, we've got a foundation, and he knows that he is an integral part of what we are going to be doing next year.

2005 NBA Draft Lottery Quotes

Courtesy of the NBA

LARRY HARRIS, Milwaukee Bucks
General Manager

First Overall Selection

Q: Talk about your feelings.

Harris: My kids being born is the most important thing ever, but professionally this is probably the best day for me, the organization and certainly for our fans. I don't know if I will sleep tonight, but with a 6.3% chance to win, being a math major, I didn't think we had much of a shot at, but it is a heck of day for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Q. What are your feelings on where this pick will head?
Harris: There are two things. First off, it certainly opens up a lot of opportunities with other teams that would like to get the first pick. And I do not want to come out and say the first thing is the Milwaukee Bucks are trading the pick, but it certainly creates a lot of buzz for the Milwaukee Bucks and taking a look at our roster and other teams to see what they can do to get the number one pick. I mean, that's what everyone in the lottery wants – the number one pick. For us and my staff, what we've done for the last year in preparing for this, we are certainly in a position to control the draft and we're going to end up taking the best player. The good thing is, the way the draft is set up now, and the way our team is, the depth of our team is young, we're good at the one spot, T.J. Ford is progressing, Michael Redd, being a free agent, I am 100% convinced he will be back with us, we've got Desmond Mason at the three, Joe Smith at the four, then we have free agents Dan Gadzuric, ZaZa Pachulia and Calvin Booth under contract. The fabric of our team is coming back, it's continuity and consistency that are important, so we can really go across the board, whether it be a center, power forward or point guard. Even a two or three to add to the depth of our roster.

Q: Would you go with a project like Martynas Andriuskevicius?

Harris: I don't know if today, after 20 minutes after getting the number one pick, I am ready to say who that will be, but certainly if you look at all the internet sites he is certainly a guy being mentioned in the lottery. We have seen him as a staff, certainly someone we will look at. If you look at the online poll there seems be a consensus who the top three or four guys are. Certainly those are the guys will be looking at, in addition to others.

Q: So are you looking to get someone right away, rather than a project?

Harris: For us, I think its going to be the best player. That best player may be the best player in two years, may be the best player in three years. But we are certainly going to get a player that's going to play us for next year and be a contributor right away.

Q: Will it come down to the size and polish of Andrew Bogut or the athleticism of Marvin Williams?
Harris: Certainly those are two guys we will focus in on heavily, and I don't want to take away from the point guards that are out there as well. I said when we were at six, I felt the depth of draft was at the four spot and the one spot. I still believe that. Now having the number one pick, I never felt like a person like Bogut would be available at six, so now he comes into play. So, to me you've got an outstanding center in him, the depth of the draft is still at the four and one, and those are all three spots we need help at.


BILLY KNIGHT, Atlanta Hawks
General Manager

Second Overall Selection

Q: Where do you think the team's needs are this offseason?
Knight: We have a lot of needs, add some more good players to our team, some more talented young guys that we think will be able to help us in the future. We have a lot of needs, we won 13 games. We'll be able to find a good player who can help us.

Q. Looking at Marvin Williams, Andrew Bogut and Chris Paul – are they on the top of your list?
Knight: We are looking at a lot of players. I don't get into commenting on individual players right now, but all of them are good young players, and all of them will be able to help a team, and we think they have talent, and we think they will be in the league for a long time.

Q. Is the team looking to do much in the free agent market?
Knight: We will be a player in the free agent market. We have money available. So we will do a lot of talking, we'll see what happens with it.


Portland Trail Blazers

Third Overall Selection

Q: Is this a major surprise?
Patterson: Yeah, it's a little unexpected, but the basketball gods were shining on us tonight. So, it's great, and we're going to get a good player. It gives us a lot of flexibility.

Q: Did you have any good luck charms?
Patterson: I found a penny the other day and I brought it with me.

Q: Have you guys talked about possible team needs prior to today, and how does getting the number three pick affect that?

Patterson: There's certainly going to be a good player there. So, this gives us a lot of flexibility. We can look to take the pick. We can look to move down. Look to move up. Certainly, we need to shoot the ball better than we did last year. We need to play better defense. But this gives us a chance to find another piece or two to the puzzle.

Q: Number three is a spot where a lot of people have Chris Paul projected. What are your thoughts about Paul, considering you drafted Sebastian Telfair in 2004?
Patterson: He's a good player. We drafted a point guard last year in Telfair. So, we'll just have to go through the evaluation process and see where we come out at the end of June. Could be big guys available. Could be guards there. We could be talking to another team about doing something different.


General Manager & Head Coach

Fifth and Thirteenth Overall Selection

Q: You talked about being prepared for everything. Obviously, now you'll have to be thinking a little deeper. Can you talk about that?

Bickerstaff: That's exactly the situation. But the one thing is that a lot of guys don't want to come in because of where you are. But our history says we have the ability to move up as it happed last year with the two picks. So that gives us some leverage from that standpoint.

Q: What about the local guys such as Raymond Felton or Marvin Williams, who will likely be gone by then. What is your take on the local guys?

Bickerstaff: Those guys are very good basketball players and they are in the mix. We want to bring them in, we want to work them out. Our goal is to add two basketball players that we choose, that will have a history, that will be in the league for 10 or 12 years.

Q: You've done a good job with that in the past. Your picks have generally stuck in the league for several years. Do you feel some sort of gratitude to the Cavaliers for helping you get two this year?

Bickerstaff: Well, definitely and after we fell back, I'd rather have two. It makes it a little better in terms of having two picks in the lottery. And there are good basketball players out there. We'll get a good basketball player. We'll get two good basketball players if we choose.


JOHN STARKS, New York Knicks
Former Player, Alumni Relations & Fan Development Advisor

Eighth Overall Selection

Q: Did you visualize getting the first pick?
Starks: I visualized it, but it didn't work that way.

Q: What did it mean to represent the team here?

Starks: It meant a lot. I've been with the organization for many years, and to represent the organization, I've definitely come a long way.

Q: Now that we know the Knicks are number eight, who do think they should pick?

Starks: We're just going to try to get the best player available at that slot. Obviously, our needs are at the center spot. I'm pretty sure we're going to try to get the best available big man possible.


Executive Vice President, Business Operations

Tenth Overall Selection

Q. How hard is to be involved in Phil's potential decision to return to coaching the Lakers?

BUSS: I am right in the middle. It's a position I don't really like to be in, but when I started dating Phil 6 years ago I knew this would be one of the issues we would have. I am just happy that is even an opportunity, because 8 months ago if you would have told me that we were talking about Phil going back to the Lakers, I never would have believed it. Here we are, and I am optimistic, I have never made any secret that selfishly that is what I'd really like, and it's all about me and what I want (laughter).

Q. Talk about the chances of Phil going to New York.

BUSS:I always felt that New York was a place that was a strong consideration. During the Fall of last year there were a lot of MSG officials that came to Staples Center and I made sure that I said hello to all of them because I didn't know if I would be seeing them again. They are going to be doing a lot of remodeling to The Garden I guess and they were checking out the Staples Center. I was keeping my options open and my bridges connected.

Q. So New York is still on the radar screen?

BUSS: I would say yes, but I do not make his decisions and certainly do not speak for that organization.


MIKE DUNLEAVY, Los Angeles Clippers
Head Coach

Twelfth Overall Selection

Q: With your team winning more games this season than the season before, do you see your team progressing into a playoff contender next season?

Dunleavy: We had a really good team last year. We moved up. We have a really nice group of young players and if we can stay healthy, we have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs for the first time in a long time.

Q: With the addition of this draft pick, what other changes does your team plan on making in the offseason?

Dunleavy: It depends. We have a lot of cap space. We'll go into the free agent market as we see needed. As we see how the draft unfolds and what we get in the draft. And once we get to July we'll start looking into free agency.


FRED HOIBERG, Minnesota Timberwolves

Fourteenth Overall Selection

Q: No surprise staying put at 14. What do you take out of the experience overall?

Hoiberg: No, no surprise. It was just fun to come out here. I came out here with my wife yesterday and we found a penny in the street. I picked that up and thought it would be my lucky charm. But it wasn't meant to be.

Q: Any thoughts on what needs your team may have?

Hoiberg: Well, you know, our first need is to get a head coach in place, and they're exhausting their efforts right now trying to find the right guy that could lead this team back in the playoffs and hopefully compete for a championship. And after that I'm sure they'll start worrying about personnel moves.

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