I had a chance to talk briefly with General Manager Kevin Pritchard yesterday about the teams performance in the playoffs thus far, what he's learned about the Trail Blazers and what it takes to become an elite player in the NBA.
How satisfied are you with the teams’ performance three games into this series? Is this about what you expected?
KP: One of the big things for us is we’ve got to learn the lesson. Especially early in your development, you’ve got to learn the lesson. What’s the competitive atmosphere? What’s it like playing on the road? How the game elevates, how the officials call the game. It changes. We’ve got to go through that learning process. I think it’s been very valuable so far.
You talked a lot about what the team needs to learn in their first playoff series. But what are you learning about this team?
KP: I think it’s a little too early to tell. I know this: any time this team has had a few games where they haven’t played as well, they always come back. This team has a lot of character. Brandon, LaMarcus, Travis, they’ve always bounced back. I really believe that will be the case for Game 4.
You’ve been around quite a few teams. How does this team compare in regards to their comfort level? They seem pretty loose for a bunch of young guys going through this experience for the first time.
KP: It’s a series. It’s not one game. There’s that delicate balance of heightening your game yet not heightening your anxiety. So it’s that balance that we’ve got to get really good at. I think they’re learning how to do that. That’s very valuable as we go forward. That’s so valuable.
There’s a notion that you can’t be considered a “superstar” in the NBA until you prove yourself in the postseason. Do you prescribe that notion, and if so, do you think Brandon Roy is reaching that status with his play so far?
KP: Yes, and it’s way too early to tell. We’ve played three games. Three games is such a small sample size that you can’t tell yet. Hopefully we’re in a lot more series in the next few years and Brandon and the other guys on the team will be able to step up and show they’re worthy of a new moniker.
What does this team need to do to win this series? What adjustments need to be made?
That’s up to the coaches. I feel like we’ve got the best coaches in the league. So we’ll make the right adjustments.
To hear more of Pritchard's thoughts on the series, listen to his most recent interview on the Jim Rome Show.