Andris Biedrins would love to forget about his ’09-10 season as it was mired in injuries and embarrassment. Biedrins never could quite get his season going as he was stuck in neutral for one reason or another. Injuries plagued him and caused him to lose his effectiveness on the court; not to mention his horrendous showing from the free throw line which reached an all-time low this season. Add on Don Nelson playing head games and messing with Biedrins all season; it all added up to a season from hell for the Latvian bigman.
So it comes as no surprise that Biedrins had a lot of interesting things to say in a lengthy sit-down interview conducted back in his native Latvia. Biedrins spoke about Don Nelson, his career plans, possible trades and more. With the help of our Latvian correspondent, Felikss Neimanis we’ve transcribed the interview and here are some of the highlights. The interview can be seen here.
On outsourcing his off-season training and rehab
“It was me and my agent’s decision, we decided to go our own way. It’s a risk, but, at the same time, after the first injury early in the year, the Warriors said that it’s nothing special. When I had to do surgery, my agent and I, we were a bit disappointed, we thought that, maybe, surgery was the right course of action from the start. The franchise naturally tried everything to keep me in, because if I had surgery early on then I might have missed the entire season. We felt like the team made me play to quick after the first injury; so we decided to go our own way on this – our doctors and experts.”
On NBA culture
“The NBA is basically the second most popular sport in America after football. It’s just the mentality there. I can tell you right now, about our team, most of my teammates are egoists. But what can you do? It’s important to have good veterans as the rookies and young guys will take after them. Right now, I would say i don’t have a good relationship rather a neutral or friendly one with everyone on the team. I don’t have any problems with any player and I don’t think anyone has a problem with me. Of course, we aren’t real big buddies, but our relationship is on a professional level and we can work successfully.”
On how long he intends to play for
“Well, it is what it is…it is what it is…The first few years when you are young you can run like a horse but now the injuries pile up. One year you sprain one ankle, the next year you sprain the other one and they don’t go away, they keep getting weaker and weaker. Then you sprain your back, then you have muscle surgery and they all aren’t going away. You will never get a new ankle and they start to ache; you start to feel the old injuries. So, if you play 6-8 years, you will have so many injuries, that I guess I won’t be playing a long time. Something like playing till I’m 30 years old but I won’t aim a lot further than that. I don’t want to damage my health further. The things I’ve seen in America from players that come to games in their fifteenth career year is not something I want because they look pretty bad. It’s like Keith Smarth says to us “you start to really feel these injuries when you’re 40 years old or something, all these injuries, that you have gotten, when you were 20-25.” So I would never want to put myself in a position where I have to walk with the aide of a cane when I get older.”
On seeing the NBA as a business
“Yes, you play basketball but it’s your job. You do it for a living. You can walk away when you have achieved everything you longed for since you were a child. To insure the life for you, your kids and grandchildren. I just think, that you play these, I don’t know, ten years and you have achieved things and have earned enough that your next generations can live good, I don’t want to damage my health further, I will have achieved everything, that I had hoped for.”
On Nellie commenting about his free-throw shooting
“When he said I should practice underhanded; I felt very disrespected. At one point I spoke to a Psychiatrist who reminded me of some things, but it’s not so bad that they send you and try to brainwash you. It’s mostly about believing in yourself, because, before this season it was more or less OK. You start thinking about so many things at the free throw line that you forget everything and anything about the actual free throw motion and what you’ve practiced.”
On finishing out his career with the Warriors
“It’s very rare, that a player stays with one team. It’s very rare and every player travels during his career. It’s part of the business. It doesn’t really matter how good or bad you have played during the season. They actually wanted to trade me after the last season. Not this one, but the last, which was the best of my career, but it didn’t go through. So, I guess, if they trade me, there could be some nice changes involved, maybe I’ll be on a better team, with better teamwork. When the rumors came out last year about me going to Phoenix, I would’ve loved to play with Steve Nash. Also, the Phoenix team, the city, it was all fun to think about. With a point guard like that, the game is different.”
“I do consider myself lucky. I consider myself lucky, because of the contract I have received. I feel I have had a successful career so far and individually I have reached a lot of goals that I have worked for my whole life. If we talk about the team, I’m lucky as well. If another team drafted me, maybe I would have never gotten a chance to prove myself and to show my abilities. You never know, maybe another team would have traded me, maybe I would have been out of the league in three years. Our team had faith in me, I didn’t play for two years, they kept me and I will be forever grateful for it to them.”