Friday, May 16, 2008

Talkin' Martell

The Trail Blazers Courtside crew had a great interview with Martell Webster during yesterday's show. You can listen to the interview with Webster over at Mike Barrett's blog, or you can download the entire show here.

In the event that you can't listen to the audio, fear not. I enjoyed the segment so much that I decided to transcribe the interview for your reading pleasure. I found Webster's thoughts on the current roster and Rudy Fernandez to be the most intriguing parts of the Q&A. If you've got any insights, lets see those in the comments section.

And now, the interview ...

Barrett: So I take it you’re in the Portland area. We were just asking ‘I wonder if he’s in Portland or Seattle?’ but if you’re listening to The Game, then you must be in Portland.

Webster: I am in Portland, but it’s kind of funny. I’m actually on my way to the airport right now. I’m actually at the airport ‘cause I’m going to L.A. As you, that’s where I train.

Rice: Is that right? Is this the start of it, you’re just going into your training session starting this week?

Webster: Starting tomorrow actually. I just got my place down in L.A. and I’m moving in tonight, to tell you the truth. Tomorrow I’ll be back at it.

Rice: Now give us some idea of what you have planned for the upcoming workouts in L.A. What’s a day consist of?

Webster: Tomorrow is going to consist of just getting into the gym and just kind of getting the feel back. You know, picking up the ball, getting some shots up. As the week progresses, just getting into some of the normal drills. You know, cone drills, coming off screens and shooting jump shots. Just kind of get my rhythm back. It’s not going to get too intense until about June. The middle of June is when I really start getting into it. So I’m going to go down there and just kind of get my rhythm back.

Wheeler: ‘Tell, you made such great strides last offseason. What is your goal for this offseason? What do you want to improve on? What do you want to refine in terms of your game getting ready for next year?

Webster: You know, this last offseason that I went through was more focused on me dropping the weight. I felt that I succeeded in that area. I felt good, my body felt good. It’s a little bit more than just losing weight, so this year I’m actually going to drop the weight again. So I’m going to get back down to 225, but I’m going to put on 10 pounds of lean muscle. It won’t be fat, it will be muscle. And then doing a lot of yoga this summer is going to be very key for my body. Thankfully I’m learning. I’m just taking another step now in this offseason. Just kind of being a little bit more cautious with my body and making sure I get all the right things in it.

Rice: Your improvement came about so … your confidence level was so high last year. You could see that other teams knew who Martell Webster was. ‘Get out on him. Make him put it on the floor.’ Things like that. Now, are you going to work on your dribble drive? You were getting to the rim late in the season. Are you going to start working on that a little bit more? And is your expectation to play the two guard sometime?

Webster: Oh yeah. That’ll definitely be something that I’m looking forward to doing. Actually, in our exit meetings I was talking to Coach McMillan, and he was telling me, you know, he wants me to come into September when we get back handling the ball, kind of like being a point guard, being able to be the maestro of the offense. That’s something that I definitely want to do, especially when it comes to be running plays, not only for myself, but getting some of the other guys open to be able to handle the ball and orchestrate things like that. So I’m definitely going to be down there working on my handles.

Barrett: Martell, I know it felt so good to get to the 41-win mark, .500 last season when certainly that was not expected. Expectations now in your mind and in fans’ minds--we talk about it a lot-- should we really try to manage expectations? Is it going to be too much pressure on this young team and on Coach McMillan? How do you approach that? Are you guys ready to handle the pressure of expectations?

Webster: You know what-- and I can say this with confidence-- I say yes. The big pressure this year was us playing the amount of nationally televised games that we played and for us to come out successful in that area. You know, that’s pressure; being able to perform when the whole nation is watching you. So as far as having a chip on our shoulder, we all have that. Just with Greg coming back-- hopefully he’s 100 percent-- that’ll be great. I think that puts an even bigger chip on our shoulder. So we’re walking with confidence but we know that everything is about actions, not words, and we want to come out and show it. So enough talking about it.

Rice: You’re thoughts on-- a lot of people are talking about-- Rudy Fernandez. What have you heard about him and how will he fit into the picture with the Blazers?

Webster: I heard ... from what I’ve heard, he’s a great player. I haven’t really seen much footage of him. I can’t really tell you much about him, but if we do get him, I’m sure he’ll play summer league. I told coach that I was going to go down and practice with him a little bit, maybe get one or two games in. Hopefully I can meet him. But I heard he’s a good player. He’s bringing some more to the table. If I’m not mistaken, he’s a point guard? Shooting guard? What is he?

Barrett: They say he can play the point, but I think he’s mostly at home at the two.

Webster: At the two. Well if he can play guard, I think Brandon’s pretty much got that two position locked down. So, I mean if he’s a guard, I heard he’s pretty good, so I’m definitely looking forward to meeting all the new contributors and players on our team. Whatever happens happens. I’m going to be down there in L.A., so if he’s with us, I hope he comes. I’ll tell you more about him.

Wheeler: ‘Tell we were talking at the start of the program about Blazers fans discussing what, if any, changes might take place within this basketball team between now and the start of next season. If Kevin Pritchard came to you and asked you, would you be satisfied with just adding Greg Oden and Rudy Fernandez to the mix of guys you already have, would you feel that’s enough to carry this team to the next level? Do you think that a trade even needs to be considered in terms of trying to improve this team?

Webster: Um… I think our team is great right now, to tell you the truth. I was actually --it’s kind of funny-- I was reading an article in The Sporting News magazine today about the whole Kobe situation about how a year ago he wanted to be traded and how now he just loves his team and how they’ve got all the right components to the teams. I feel like we’re not in that situation. I feel we already have all the right components on our team that we don’t need to make anymore trades. We have Greg. We have LaMarcus. Me, Brandon, great point guard and talent in Sergio, as in point guard wise. Rudy, and if he comes in and he’s capable of doing of what we all believe he can, I don’t think we really need to add anything to that to tell you the truth. I think what we have and the chemistry that we have now is great. I think we as a team can only get better with that. So, but that’s the whole business side, you know, management, but I’m not really in that. But I feel that we have everything that we need.

Rice: Have you talked to Travis Outlaw and Greg Oden? What have they done so far? What do you know about Greg Oden’s progress?

Webster: Well, I heard that he had a great workout down in Hawaii. I haven’t talked to Travis. He’s in Mississippi somewhere right now. I’ll get a hold of him within the next couple of weeks. I don’t really bug the players, my teammates in this first month and a half or so of the offseason. About June, end of June and July I’ll start talking to them and getting into contact with them a lot more. I definitely heard that Greg had a great workout down in Hawaii.

Wheeler: What other NBA guys will be down there in L.A. with you that you’ll be working out with?

Webster: Last year I was working… Desmond Mason was down there, Andre Miller was done there. Baron Davis, Paul Peirce definitely comes down there. Kevin Garnett came there last year, but you know, he’s in the playoffs now. Kobe was down there a couple of times, but they’re in the playoffs so I probably won’t see them. But there’s a lot of talent and a lot of the UCLA guys are down there, a lot of the USC guys are down there. So it’s a chance go get in there to play against some great competition and, you know, get some repetition in. Also some of the guys that are coming out are hooking up with some of the agencies and agents down there so I get to play against some of them too.

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