Q&A WITH RICK BARRY
What are your thoughts on the Warriors organization?
Well I’m not familiar with all the people and everything going on, the ramifications and if you’re not there on an intimate basis it’s pretty hard to make an observation from the outside. There’s a lot of disarray and things going on there for many, many years but I want nothing else but to see the organization be successful.
Mainly because I love the fans and they’ve been so incredibly loyal over the years so to see them suffer for years without having seen a playoff game then get a great taste of it with the big victory against Dallas and all of a sudden its back to the old ways again of not making the playoffs, I feel really bad for the fans.
Do you know Chris Cohan personally?
Yes, I’ve met Chris Cohan on a number of occasions.
Would you consider Chris Cohan a friend?
No, I really don’t know him all that well other than meeting him on a number of different occasions but never socialized with him. I did make him aware years ago that I would like to get involved and coach the team but he and Robert Rowell obviously weren’t interested. They chose to go in a different way which is fine because it’s their choice and they don’t owe me anything.
Did they grant you an interview?
I’ve never had an interview so no, I was never granted an interview.
Is it frustrating to see other organizations bring in former players and have them actively involved while the Warriors don’t really do that?
Yeah, they let people get involved such as Al Attles and Nate Thurmond, they’re the only ones who’ve had the opportunity to be involved on a consistent basis. Of course they allowed Chris Mullin who was a fabulous player to come back and he brought in some of his former teammates. Clifford Ray was there but that wasn’t because the Warriors brought him back but I think Dave Cowens brought him in to coach the big men.
They’ve done some things but nothing along the lines of other organizations’ which keep past players actively involved. I’m grateful for the fact that they’ve brought me in over the years to do a few promotions now and then but nothing of any significance. I attempted to get involved when Gary St. Jean was there and sent him a letter detailing my desire to get involved as well as my availability however it didn’t go anywhere.
Do you feel your lack of involvement with the organization is due to personal reasons?
No, I don’t take things personally. Everyone in life has the choice to do the things they want to do and it’s about relationships which is why the people involved in the organization chose to go in the direction they did.
I can’t answer for those people as to why they don’t want me involved all I can do is make myself available and hope there is an interest there which in this case there wasn’t so I have to move on.
They don’t owe me anything, I’m always going to be eternally grateful to the Warriors organization for giving me the opportunity to play basketball for them and being part for some of the greatest moments in my life.
Do you still have a passion and desire to get involved within the organization?
I’ve moved on and am involved with so many other things. Certainly if I could help them in some way where it wouldn’t require me to move out there and be out there on a full-time basis, I’d be open to that. I love where I live right now; I have a son in high school and certainly don’t want to uproot him. I still think there are things I could do to help without having to live back in the Bay Area.
What do you think about the way the Chris Mullin era ended in Golden State?
I don’t know the inner workings and the relationships between Chris and management; unless you’re privy to that it’s all total speculation. Chris had a great run there and he can’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself because you have to move on. It’s unfortunate the way things ended but that’s life you have to learn from it and move on.
How would you like playing for Nellie?
I’d probably love that he plays such a wide open game and likes to get up and down the floor scoring a lot of points but not so much if he made me his whipping boy and screamed or hollered at me. I love wide open basketball although I think at times there a little too wide open and have to play defense, the irony of it is that the better defense you play the more you have to get and run; have to play defense to win.
Do you think a team can play an up-tempo, wide open system without a true point guard?
Sure, of course you can. The ideal team for me would be one which had a 1, 2 and 3 who can all take the ball out on the break, initiate the offense, handle and pass the ball. You don’t necessarily need a great point guard who dominates the ball instead if you have multiple guys who can handle it makes you much more dangerous; now don’t get me wrong, Id love to have a great point guard on my team. Ideally id want a 2 and 3 who can handle, pass and shoot the ball instead of being just a shooter or just a finisher; I want players with multiple skills.
When I played I was a point forward in that I can take it on the break, pass the ball, create opportunities for others and if you got a 1, 2 and 3 who can do that you’re virtually impossible. No team has three great defenders at those positions so if you have guys who can score, pass and shoot, you can’t defend that.
Speaking of point-forwards, have you seen Anthony Randolph play?
No, I’m not that familiar with Anthony Randolph so I don’t really know his game all that well. It wouldn’t take me long to figure out what he can or can’t do on the court all I need is to see him play one game to figure it out.
That’s why I’m always astonished by the amount of scouting because if you can’t go watch a player one time and figure out if he’s worth watching again then why are you a scout? How long does it take to figure out a guy is player? It shouldn’t take more than one game to figure out if he can play or not and the reason to see him again would be to see his heart, character and things of that nature.
What are your thoughts on Stephen Curry?
I think he’ll enjoy playing in that system being that he’s a guy who can out points on the board. The biggest adjustment for a player coming into the league is the travel, number of games and physical demands of a season. It’s kind of like running a marathon in that you’re going to hit a wall and have to fight through it because during your rookie season you’ll hit the wall and have to work to get over it.
Would you consider him a natural shooter or more of a streaky shooter?
I saw him play but since I wasn’t scouting him I didn’t really watch him that closely. He has great shooting form and some guys are scorers while others are shooters; Curry probably falls into both categories because he can do both so well.
Anthony Morrow best shooter in the NBA?
I’d have to take a look because I haven’t watch him but it wouldn’t take me long to see if he’s a great shooter or not. As great of a shooter everyone says Ray Allen is, there are some minor things that can be tweaked on his shot that can make him a better shooter. There are little subtle things that if you do them properly it enhances your ability to shoot more accurately and expand your range.
If you were working with a player, how would you make him a better shooter?
First, I have to watch him and analyze his form to figure what he’s doing incorrectly along with what he could do to improve himself.
I came in when Eric Musselman was head coach to work with Gilbert Arenas because he had some major flaws in his shot. Amazing thing about it was that there wasn’t anyone from the staff taking notes or filming it and trying to be there to repeat it thus leaving it all to Gilbert to remember. He had some flaws before I worked with him which we worked on and improved his shooting ability immensely. It’s a matter of constant repetition and if I’m not there on a daily basis there has to be someone there who can reinforce the things we worked on. It’s very difficult to know yourself if whether or not you’re doing it correctly every time that’s why it’s important to have the constant reinforcement
Do you see Gilbert still utilizing the techniques you guys worked on?
Yeah, he’s doing some pretty good things out there. He’s improved a lot and it shows on the court. It’s easy for great athletes to make changes in their games because there not major changes just subtle things that have to be done over and over to break the habit they had.
How closely do you follow the Warriors?
I always take look at what they’re doing along with the rest of the NBA. I don’t follow it as closely as I did when I was doing broadcasting work like with KNBR or Sirius; I watch it but not as intently. I saw the Warriors struggle and disappointed in them letting Baron Davis go but the Warriors have a history of letting great players go, me included.
You’re with the group of people who feels the Warriors should’ve kept Baron?
I’ve always liked Baron but I don’t know what his relationship was like with Nellie and management; so I don’t know what the circumstances were. I personally like Baron and if utilized in the proper fashion he would be even more valuable and effective. There are certain things I would do with him than has been done with him in the past which would be advantageous because he’s very talented. Baron takes a lot of bad shots which you work with him on and explain to him why or why not he should do certain things out on the court. I met Baron on a cruise before he got into the league and players will listen if you explain to them in a logical manner that what you’re trying to help them on is going to make not only them better but the team as well.
Thoughts on Monta Ellis?
I think Monta Ellis is an outstanding talent and it was unfortunate to see him go down with an injury. It’ll be interesting to see how much of an impact the injury will have on his future. I was impressed with how well he played for being such a young player as well as with how he handled things; he has lots of talent and should continue working on his game. He’s just got to continually working on his game and not be satisfied because if the injuries don’t take a toll on him, he’s going to be a fantastic player for years to come.
Can he be a point guard?
Not really, he’s a 2 who can handle it very well but the problem is that being a 2 he has to go up against bigger players nightly. He’s a guy that can handle and pass but needs to work on those areas to become a more effective player.
Thoughts on Stephen Jackson?
Stephen has to learn to control his emotions better and just play the game. He can’t let the emotions have an affect on his game. Like the case with most of the players on the Warriors, Jackson has to be better with his shot selection. Stephen is his own worst enemy almost in a Ron Artest mold because if he controls his emotions and just plays he’ll become a better player.
Trading for Amar’e?
My major concern with Amar’e would be his knees considering he’s had a major operation recently. Amar’e would flourish in the wide open style but you have to worry about personality issues, salary cap issues and I heard he had problems because he felt he was getting enough publicity. These guys are paid millions of dollars and the game would be better off if they stopped worrying about how much or how little publicity they received.
If the Warriors want to be a playoff team they have to improve defensively. At least Biedrins kind of works on that area and gets on the board although he’s limited to what he can do offensively. They have so many offensive players that do they really need Amar’e because he’s not a great low post scorer. Amar’e is more of an open court scorer, slasher and finisher playing with a great point guard in Steve Nash. It’s not a matter of always getting players with a lot of talent, it’s about getting talent that forms a cohesive unit, has good team chemistry and wins.