As you may or may not know, I am lucky enough to have season tickets to the Clippers this season and March is known as MVP month where season ticket holders get all kinds of cool offers such as autograph sessions with the team, free jerseys, and what I went to on Friday night after a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Coach's Chalk Talk, a Q n A with head coach Kim Hughes and team president Andy Roeser. TV color analyst Ralph Lawler was asking both of them PRE SELECTED questions from me and my fellow season ticket holders.
Now I know what you're thinking.
Pre selected questions?! I thought the same thing. I was expecting questions such as: who is your favorite Clipper? What was it like becoming a head coach? What do you work on in practice? And all the other BS you hear TV interviewers ask. But alas, this wasn't TV. The cameras were gone. President and head coach were faced with nothing but pissed off Clipper fans who have little to no reason to renew their season tickets. Here's a rundown of what happened.
A spokesman welcomes us with, "Hey, how's everyone doing?!" which was followed with moans and groans and sputtered applause. Spokesman responds to that by saying, "Yes, I know, it was a tough loss but better times are ahead, I promise." He proceeds to thank all of us for our support and introduces Ralph Lawler who also thanks us for all of our continued support but also shared with us in our frustration. He said something along the lines of, [paraphrase quote] "We have to wait for results and if you're not sick of hearing that, well then you're probably not a Clipper fan" [end paraphrase quote].
He proceeds to ask Kim Hughes those pre selected questions, here are those highlights:
Question: People see you as a defensive coach, what exactly does that mean?
Answer paraphrased: Yes I'm a defensive coach. I believe that defensive rebounds are key to winning games. The offense will come. These guys know how to score. But defense is key. [My thoughts - well get at least some offensive game! Current offense = if we don't score a fast break, feed Kaman in the post and everyone stand at the 3 point line in case they double team him.]
Question: What are three goals for this summer?
Answer paraphrased: To find a leader. Kaman is a good player but he's not a leader, he's too quiet. [My thoughts - excellent point. Plus no one seems to respond to Davis, and Eric Gordon is a little too young to be a leader.] He also said he wants Eric Gordon to work on his dribbling, specifically dribbling with his left hand.
Question: How do you motivate your players?
Answer paraphrased: You can't. You can only control playing time. [My thoughts - another excellent point. He elaborated more on this answer in a very well thought out response, but the main point of it was that these guys get paid millions of dollars, you can't really motivate them beyond that. All you can do is control their playing time. If they don't do what he (Hughes) asks (get defensive boards), they get benched].
Question: Is the team opposed to trading Baron Davis? (Followed by a surprising amount of clapping and cheer in favor of trading Baron)
Answer paraphrased: We're building this team around Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon. Anyone can be traded, this is a business. [Read between those baselines].
These next questions were for team president, Andy Roeser.
Question: What are your plans with Travis Outlaw?
Answer: The team's left for the plane right? Look, we made moves before the deadline and it all depends on what we do over the summer. If we get a big name, we'll have less money to spend on role players. If we don't get a big name, we'll have more money to retain some of our FAs that we want to keep. [My thoughts - hey, he's keepin it real. I hope they do get a big name and don't go out of their way to overpay guys like Outlaw and Craig Smith].
Question: Why should we renew our season tickets?
Answer paraphrased: Building memories are important and that a lot of memories will come from Staples Center. This team is going to turn it around. We're in a good position with regards to cap space and draft position. This team will be good etc. [My thoughts - I think I might get a portion season tickets next season].
Question: What's more important, operating income or winning?
Answer: Winning. [My thoughts, as well as many people around me - HA!]