Kevin O'Neill Interview
Kevin O'Neill Opening Statement: I think weíve played OK basketball so far -- injury free, which is good. I think we are starting to get a feel for each offensively and defensively. Weíve had opportunities to play our young guy Chris Bosh off the bench quite a bit, which is really been good for us. And weíve gotten good bench help overall from him and Milt Palacio and Lamond Murray, Mengke Bateer. Overall, Iím pleased with our bench. I think our team has practiced really hard, and the bottom line for us is to keep improving daily and try to get ourselves in a position where we are going to be able to start the regular season well. We play 17 of 28 games on the road in November-December, so we need to be able to play right off and play at a high level, especially on the road.
Q: How close is Bosh to contributing and will he start the season as part of the rotation?
OíNeill: He is going to be in the rotation. Heís going to have to contribute. Heís a guy we are actually going to be counting heavily on. Itís a little bit too much to ask of a 19-year-old guy, but itís the situation we are in. We need him to step up and play big for us.
Q: Whatís going to be the hardest part of his transition to the NBA games?
OíNeill: The daily grind of the NBA. The fact that heís got men laying a body on him, wearing him down and beating him up a little bit. Heís mature beyond his years, practices extremely well, works really hard, soaks things up. But heís going to have the same ups and downs that rookies have in this league. For him, itís going to be one of the learning processes where he gets better for a while and then heíll have a setback and then continue to get better. But heís got a chance of being a special young man.
Q: Do you feel Vince Carter has something to prove?
OíNeill: I think anybody in Vinceís situation would probably feel that they needed have a big year. The thing that everybody has to keep in mind is that the guy was hurt the last two years. Itís very difficult to hold anybody responsible when they are hurt. For him, it was one of those situations where he was definitely injured. He appears to be very healthy now, and I think Vince is a guy that does want to have a big year. Heís a guy that wants our team to have a big year. I would say that he wants our team to have a big year even more than he wants to have a big year. They are going to go hand in hand. But the guy is about winning first, which is really important.