Richard Jefferson Bucks interview
At first, Richard Jefferson wasnít a big fan of a Draft-day trade that sent him from New Jersey to Milwaukee, but on second thought, the Bucks small forward changed his tune at the chance to play alongside sharp-shooting All-Star guard Michael Redd. Leaving the Nets behind, the only NBA team Jefferson had known in his seven seasons in the league, the 28-year-old swingman joined a Bucks team still searching for an identity. Under first-year Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles, Jefferson remains excited about the prospects of a bounce-back season for the Bucks, especially if he can duplicate his averages from last season. Starting all 82 games, Jefferson averaged a career-high 22.6 points for New Jersey last season, marking the first time in his career that he finished in the top ten in scoring.
On Sunday, November 2 in world famous Madison Square Garden, Jefferson talked with Bobby Ciafardini of InsideHoops.com about his new team, playing alongside Michael Redd and the off-season trade that brought him to Milwaukee.
Question: Whatís it like to play alongside Michael Redd?
Richard Jefferson: Michael is a great guy, first and foremost and heís a great player, too. Heís a person that puts a lot of pressure on people. He can drive to the basket. Heís an amazing shooter and heís somebody that Iíve always respected, so to get an opportunity to play with him is special. I think we compliment each other. Heís a guy that shoots more, but can slash and Iím a guy that slashes more, but can shoot a little bit. We have a good balance to the way we play.
Question: The June 26 trade that brought you to Milwaukee reportedly did not sit well with you at first. Are you happy to be a Buck?
Richard Jefferson: People, I think mistook it for me not liking Milwaukee, but I was more upset about leaving New Jersey. I was the last person there left from their finals run and I was the last person there from the four division championships, so when I was gone, I wasnít happy about it. Iím happy now. I was always excited about this opportunity; Iím playing with another All-Star in Michael Redd, Iím playing with a quality big in Andrew Bogut and Iím playing for a coach in coach (Scott) Skiles that demands defense. There are also other talented players on this roster, guys like Charlie Villanueva and Charlie Bell Ė we have a talented team across the board. Iíve always been excited about the team and what we could do.
Question: You were notorious for lightning up the Knicks the last few years as a member of the New Jersey Nets. You continued that trend tonight in your first game as a Buck against New York, finishing with 18 points, six rebounds and six assists. What are your thoughts on the Mike DíAntoni Knicks and the Stephon Marbury situation?
Richard Jefferson: Iíll tell you the same thing I told every reporter when I was in New Jersey. The Knicks are another team. I donít care about the Stephon Marbury situation. I donít care about the Eddy Curry situation. I donít care who their coach is. I donít care about the Isiah Thomas situation. I donít know anything about the Knicks. It has no bearing on our team and how weíre going to play. For me to comment on something like that makes no sense. People always wanted to come over to New Jersey and ask us what we thought. We have our own problems to worry about. Milwaukee, we have our own situations here. We are trying to win games and I donít really have time to talk about this; itís no knock on your question, but I really donít care about the Knicks. It has no bearing on what we are trying to do and what we are trying to accomplish. I know, because I was in New Jersey and we were so close, it still doesnít really make me someone who knows whatís going on in there house. Iím probably the worst person to ask; youíre asking me stuff that any reporter or any other guy from the NBA could answer, just because I lived in a close area, doesnít mean I have any insight.
Question: You guys controlled the game tonight, especially in the second half. What was the key to tonightís victory over the Knicks?
Richard Jefferson: We did some good things tonight. Ramon Sessions, he really did a great job of controlling the game, even when Michael went out and we had to be a little more exact with everything we did, I think he did an amazing job of controlling the game and controlling the tempo. I canít complement him enough, especially for a guy that two games ago was on the inactive list and now comes out and plays great.
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