Q: One of your biggest changes last year was to bring in Lenny Wilkens. How has Lenny done so far in your eyes?
A: Lenny is the consummate professional and did an outstanding overall job as head coach last year. He is definitely re-energized and is very excited to get started this season.
Q: Another guy who came with you from Indiana was Mark Aguirre. What is Mark’s role here?
A: Mark is one big piece of a great coaching staff we have here. His role will be to pick up where he left off over the summer, developing our big men like Nazr Mohammad and Michael Sweetney into players that mirror what he was in his great career---a tough, fundamentally sound scoring and rebounding machine. He had great success with guys like Al Harrington and Jermaine O’Neal in Indiana and I think we will get similar results here. I have known Mark almost my whole life and he is not just a great person. He is now, and will continue to be a great coach. Like the rest of our young assistants---Herb Williams and Michael Malone as well--I think he has great potential to be a head coach at some point.
Q: With Stephon (Marbury), Jamal Crawford and a healthy Allan Houston you could have one of the most potent backcourts in the East. Is this team modeled after your success in Detroit in that manner?
A: I think two important things you need to succeed, especially in the East, are depth and a strong perimeter game. I feel we definitely have that now with that group, and if we could have similar results to what we had in Detroit, I would be very, very pleased.
Q: Kurt Thomas is a guy who is always mentioned in trade rumors. What is Kurt’s role here now?
A: Kurt is one of our leaders, and we feel he will continue to be. He is a rugged defender who fits very well in this system and with this city, and played through a lot of pain last year, and we rewarded him for his work with a contract extension. His leadership both on and off the court will be very important again this season.
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