Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts met with reporters at the Tualatin practice facility after the team conducted its first pre-draft workout on Thursday.
Here's a transcript of his comments.
My coaching staff has gone through the draft workouts for [GM] Neil [Olshey] and his staff. It was a good day.
Your involvement in draft process?
I'll watch all the players, I'll watch the workouts, I'll be involved in the interviews. I'm sure my opinion will be solicited. I've always been very much of the opinion that this is Neil's domain, this is a general manager's domain. The draft pick goes on his record. It's important that he feels comfortable with any decisions that are made. I'm there to assist him. I'm sure that any decision that is made, we'll all be in agreement. I'm there as kind of a consultant more than anything else.
Did you give him a wish list?
No. We talk about the roster all throughout the year, at the end of the season, coming into the draft and I'm sure we'll do it again for free agency. I think it's important that the roster makes sense, I know that Neil has talked about talent is the most important thing in the draft rather than filling a specific need. I've had a lot of appreciation for what Neil has done in the past and I have a lot of confidence what he's going to do here.
Is this a strong draft or a weak draft?
It's a little early for me. I really don't have a basis to grade a draft. Based on a lot of things that I hear, I think you can find good players in any draft, whether it's a weak draft or a strong draft, that decision will be made five years from now looking back rather than looking back at it today.
Do you need veterans more than rookies?
Well that's down the road. The most important thing through the summer, whether it's draft or free agency, is that we improve the roster. That's the priority of this summer. We'll have some young players, we'll probably have rookies on the roster next year, we had a lot of rookies last year. The important thing is that we get better in some way, whether it's trades, free agency or the draft, we need to have a better roster than this past year.
Who runs the workouts?
The assistants. Nate Tibbetts, Dale Osbourne, Jay Triano. David Vanterpool wasn't here today but he'll be here on Monday. All of the assistants, it's a collaborative effort.
Who decides what happens during the workouts?
It's very important that the workouts serve Neil's purposes. We consulted with him, we had a meeting this morning to make sure that the drills that we were doing were the drills he wanted, seeing the things he wanted to see, that were important to him and his staff.
Where are you in the evaluation process?
Right now, I'm just getting to know these guys. The personnel people have watched these guys play for the last two or three years. For me, it's a crash course of learning who these guys are, where they played, the style of their game. I've got a month to try to get caught up on that type of thing. I have a lot of confidence in the personnel department, they've got that part covered, the talent, coachability, chemistry, all the stuff that's important in making those types of decisions.
How excited are you for the roster next year?
I'm excited about the possibilities for next season. I don't know what our roster is going to look like at the opening day of training camp. I think last year gave us a lot of hope and promise for what can happen next year. I'm excited about the possibilities of what's going to happen over the summer. I don't know what those things are going to be but I'm excited about the possibilities. I think everybody would agree that last year was a positive year as far as the growth of a lot of our young players. How we complement them along with our core guys, it's an exciting time for me.
Have you talked to Wesley Matthews since his elbow surgery?
No, we've exchanged some texts. He's either going to be here today or tomorrow. I'm not sure if his plans have changed.
I saw the picture of him on Twitter. As long as he can give the salute, he looks like he's alright.
Did you anticipate Wesley Matthews needing surgery?
I don't think it was anticipated otherwise it probably would have been done sooner. He had some doctors look at it and the decision was made to get it done. If it had been something we thought needed to be done right away at the end of the season, we would have done it a lot sooner.
You're on Twitter?
I follow Twitter. I do not tweet. There's a fake account out there, the guy has no followers.
Following the playoffs, any surprises?
I don't know about surprised. I've been watching just about every game. They've been very competitive. San Antonio sweeping [Memphis], I don't think anybody saw that happening. [Russell] Westbrook going down, changed the complexion of the playoffs a little bit. Each series I've really enjoyed. Golden State's run was really fun to watch. It's always interesting. For me, the second round, you've got a double-header every night, you've got good basketball, I've really been enjoying it.
Miami is still team to beat?
At this point I don't know if there's a team to beat. They're all really good. Indiana is tied 2-2, that could go either way. To go against San Antonio, they do it year in and year out, find ways to win, you can never count them out. Being defending champions makes [the Heat] in some people's minds the favorite, at this stage, anything can happen. I was with Dallas, everybody was counting us out and we found a way to win so I don't count anybody out.
Thanks to Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com for the audio.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter