Lenny Carlos 曾是許多國際知名媒體的專欄作家，包括 Yahoo，ESPN 以及 HoopsRant 等，更是國外知名 NBA新聞網 OpenCourt 和 NBA Buzz 的創始人。GAJ 很榮幸能夠邀請到 Carlos 先生，讓我們對他做深入的專訪。
In the past few seasons, Jeremy Lin has been both a starter and a bench player. As a starter, he has been relatively inconsistent. Do you think his performance was hindered by poor coaching, a ball dominant superstar, or his inability to perform?
Ok, I need to go back in time for that question. New York Knicks, February 2012 – LINSANITY! What happened back then was unreal. I remember it like it was yesterday, he became the first NBA player to score at least 20 points and have seven assists in each of his first five starts as well as also setting an NBA record for most points scored in the first 3,4 and 5 career starts. This was curse and blessing for Jeremy Lin.
好，要回答這個問題我必須回溯到四年前，2012年二月的紐約尼克 – Linsanity! 那時候發生的事情真的令人難以置信，我還記憶猶新，他成為第一個在前五場作為先發的比賽就拿下20分7助攻的球員，同時締造前三場、四場和五場先發的最高得分紀錄，這對林書豪來說既是祝福亦是詛咒。
It was a blessing because all of a sudden he was known all over the world, his game got recognition, he was no longer the odd man out, the smart D-league kid from Harvard, who backed up the back up. His amazing play made people over-react though, and out of nowhere, he became a superstar.
This instantly leads me to the cursed part of this fairytale cinderella story – the average fan and viewer expected this to continue and the general managers (of many teams, New York Knicks and Houston Rockets in particular) hoped for it to continue. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a fluke, he is a great player, although he is not consistent enough to be a starter on a contending team. I really like the role he’s been playing so far this season for Charlotte – being the 6th man of the team playing both guard positions, point and shooting guard. I also believe he can be a starter. He probably would start on a lot of teams. Philly or Denver for example, but I see him more of a 6th man that plays starter minutes. Wait until this season has finished before criticizing me. I bet you’ll see what I see. This situation is perfect for him and Ginobili for example, also became a star in this league, even though he wasn’t starting.
這也讓我必須說到這個現代灰姑娘故事灰暗的一面 – 一般的球迷期望林書豪持續這樣的表現，而許多球隊總管 (特別是尼克和火箭) 更如此希望，別誤解我，林書豪能夠有那樣的表現絕對不是湊巧而已，他是一個很好的球員，但是他沒有穩定到足以在一支要目標總冠軍的球隊上擔任先發球員的角色。我非常喜歡他這一季在夏洛特所擔任的角色 – 扮演球隊的第六人，並且兼任控衛和得分後衛的角色，我認為他還是可以成為先發球員，他其實在很多球隊都還是可以打先發的，像是費城跟丹佛，但是我還是覺得他比較像一個上場時間跟先發沒差別的第六人，等把這季的比賽看完後再來批評我，我敢說你們會看到我所看到的，這樣的角色對他來說相當完美，就拿 Ginobili 來說，他就算不是先發，最後也成為了明星。
So I wouldn’t say that it was poor coaching, a superstar, chemistry or the inability to perform, it might have been a little bit of everything. But I think that the 6th man role fits his style of play the best.
What do you think his career will look like in the future?
I think Charlotte has an opportunity to build something great. They have a lot of young, talented players (Zeller, Kaminsky, Hairston, MKG, Lamb), their go-to guy Kemba Walker has improved significantly this season and also only is 25. With Nic Batum and Marvin Williams, they have experienced veterans on the team that are able to lead and teach. With a declining Jefferson who’s in a contract year they are also able to get rid of his huge contract for the coming season and add more depth and talent to the team.
我認為夏洛特有機會建立一個不錯的球隊，他們有很多年輕又有天份的球員 (Zeller, Kaminsky, Hairston, Kidd-Gilchrist, Lamb)，他們的球隊一哥 Kemba Walker 這季進步了相當多而且也才25歲，加上 Nicolas Batum 和 Marvin Williams 兩人，球隊亦是具備有經驗的老將，可以適時帶給球隊需要的領導力及教導，再來，正在生涯下坡的 Jefferson 目前也到了合約年，夏洛特能夠除去他的大約，並為球隊增加深度以及更多有天份的球員。
I also see Lin playing a big part in the team’s future. A 6th man, who is talented enough to be a starter, therefore the leader of the 2nd unit and a matchup nightmare for the opponent’s 2nd units. It’s not too shabby playing for Charlotte these days.
Kobe Bryant is about to retire now and is actually doing well. What do you think are his chances of making team USA?
Kobe Bryant 雖然本季結束後就要退休了，但是最近打得其實還不錯，你覺得他披上國家隊戰袍的機率高嗎？
If he really wants to play in the Olympics one last time, he will be on the team. No doubt. He should be on the team. Team USA is superior to any other team in the world and playing Kobe would not harm them at all. But I think Kobe’s love for competition and his respect for younger star players will make him not wanting to play, because it would mean that someone like DeRozan wouldn’t make the roster, even though he would deserve it (more).
如果他真的想要再打一次奧運，他絕對會入選國家隊，沒有疑問的，他應該要是國家隊的一員，美國隊比其他國家隊都強上許多，把 Kobe 放到陣容裡面對他們一點影響也沒有，但是我認為 Kobe 對競爭的熱愛以及他對新興球員的尊重會讓他不想打奧運，因為這會代表像是 Derozan 這樣的球員就沒有機會入選國家隊，雖然 Kobe 絕對更值得入選。
Two legendary teams, Lakers and Celtics are undergoing rebuilding process. The Lakers have talented young players and the Celtics have a great coaching system in place. Which team do you think is closer to becoming a contender?
Right now, definitely the Celtics. The huge advantage teams like the Celtics and the Lakers have, is that they’re global market teams. They have a huge fanbase, a lot of sponsors, lots of games on national TV. This leads to them being an interesting landing sport for free agent superstars. Therefore it is hard to say who will be a contender first, since it strongly depends on who they sign in the next 2, 3 years. Both teams have a lot of cap space and there are many posibilities. As of now, I like the Boston Celtics’ roster more, because it is more balanced. The young core they have seems a bit more promising to me. But both teams will be back near the top sooner than later.
Which team do you think has the best chance of eliminating the Golden State Warriors in a seven game series?
The only team that is able to beat the Warriors in a 7 game series are the Spurs. I might include a healthy Cavs squad, but I’d have to see a healthy Cavs squad first, before making that call.
With a record of 20-9, most would probably say the Oklahoma City Thunder are underperforming. What do you think is the reason for their underachievement? What does it take for the Thunder to take it to the next level?
Proceeding the most regretful and influential decision in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s history, there has been nothing but bad fortune since trading away 6Th Man of the Year and MVP Candidate James Harden for “financial” reasons. There is no denying that they have had their fair share of bad luck, however at the same time, the old saying of “you make your own luck” couldn’t ring more true for the Thunder.
They have been plagued by injuries more than most in recent memory, however, the biggest limitation on their franchise is the one they have put on themselves for some time now. They have dug themselves into a position where every game and season that passes us by, it becomes harder for them to break the subconscious shackles they are bound by.
For any franchise in the NBA, having two of the top five players in the league in Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant in one team would be a blessing and almost guarantee success, but not for the City of Oklahoma. Thus far, it has been a blessing and their primary hindrance all at the same time. It may be hard to contemplate, but an abundance of talent is not always the best thing when trying to establish a solid team and build good team habits. Translating talent into results sometimes proves to be the hardest aspect a coach can be asked to do. This becomes increasingly more difficult especially when you have two of the most dynamic scorers in the league that are accompanied by substantial egos and alpha male tendencies. The glowing aura that comes with such talent id intimidating and difficult to manage at times and has proved true in Oklahoma.
對於任何NBA隊伍而言，同時擁有實力前五強球員中的兩名，Russell Westbrook和Kevin Durant，贏得冠軍應該是很容易的，但對雷霆隊來說顯然不是。目前為止，同時擁有兩名超級巨星隊他們而言有好有壞。對一支隊伍來說，最重要的是要建立優良的球隊文化，但雷霆隊同時有兩名自尊心強大的巨星，顯然在這方面碰到了困難。而缺乏良好的球隊文化正是雷霆隊自己造成的最大問題。
Scott Brooks was fired because reports were things in Oklahoma became too stale and they needed a change but what was stale? Having a winning record? Finishing top 4 in the West consistently? Coaching an MVP? Having deep Playoff runs? Making an NBA Finals? All Scott Brooks did was give the upmost freedom to players that have been blessed to play this game and ride them to success right? He just did what we all would have done right? What he did makes sense and was correct right….? Wrong! Scott Brooks became a prisoner to the talent as his disposal and passively deferred his responsibilities to the players that could take him places instead of trying to build a successful and withstanding culture with these superstars within a franchise. Instead of Brooks stepping in and creating winning basketball, not just a regular season juggernaut and a team to win a Championship, he succumbed and accepted that this talent alone would bring them to the promise land.
This is where Brooks made his biggest mistake, and by all early signs, the same is happening with new Head Coach Billy Donovan.
前教練 Scott Brooks 當時被換掉的原因是因為，雷霆隊的發展狀況就像一灘死水一樣，需要做出改變注入新的生機。但是他做得很差嗎？他執教下的雷霆隊勝率十分高，戰績幾乎都在西區前4，隊上出了一名MVP，在季後賽推進了好幾輪，甚至打進了總冠軍賽，就這些看來，Scott Brooks 是一名很棒的教練，不是嗎？他給球員極大的發揮空間這樣難道不對嗎？這麼做當然不對。Brooks教練需要做的是建立起球隊的贏球文化，而不是什麼也不做，放任這些球員自己發展，並且相信這樣就能贏得冠軍。就目前看來，新任教練 Billy Donovan 正步上他的後塵。
Maturity may have been a question mark over the Thunder at a point in time, but talent never has. They’ve groomed and nurtured two young potential franchise players into flat out superstars in this league but somewhere along the line something was lost, or rather, something wasn’t learned. You see, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are score first players, they aren’t the selfless superstar, willing passer and pass first player that the likes of LeBron James or Chris Paul are, and in here lies the ultimate problem. Their biggest challenge is, and always has been, finding the right balance between sharing the ball and giving the freedom to Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant to express their God given talents. This balance has not been found under Scott Brooks, nor does it seem to be heading in the right direction under Billy Donovan from what we’ve seen.
The Thunder will win games, a lot of games, because they have 2 of the top 5 players in this league at the moment on one team. They have an abundance of talent, however, even with all their wins and all their highlight plays, at the end of the day, it is not a recipe for success when trying to win a Championship.
才華一直都不是雷霆隊的問題，成熟度才是。Russell Westbrook 和 Kevin Durant 都不是那種把球隊擺在第一位的無私巨星，而這正是問題所在。如何在球員的個人發展和建立球隊文化之間取得平衡，是他們最重要的課題。在他們找到答案之前，他們依然會打得出色，但是要贏得冠軍幾乎是不可能的。
What are your picks for the ECF, the WCF and the Finals?
ECF : Cavs-Bulls, WCF : Spurs-Warriors, Finals : Spurs-Cavs
Which under the radar players do you think are worthy of more attention?
There are a lot of underrated players that deserve more attention. I’ll start with some that aren’t under the radar, because they are too good, but under-rated : Paul Millsap, Kyle Lowry and CJ McCollum.
It’s hard to say who’s flying under the radar, but I have to name Will Barton, Kent Bazemore, Khris Middleton, Jae Crowder and T.J Warren. All of them are having career years and are playing amazingly strong. They should be on everyone’s radar
Paul Millsap,、Kyle Lowry 和 CJ McCollum
如果說幾乎沒有受到關注而實力很不錯的球員的話，那我認為有：Will Barton、Kent Bazemore、Khris Middleton、Jae Crowder 和 T.J Warren。