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Sam Cassell on Being a Veteran

10/20/2009

On Pro Basketball News, David Friedman had a very interesting conversation with Sam Cassell.

Here's Cassell on learning, as a veteran, to not compete with your teammates:

"... if Rajon (Rondo) is playing well and it is my opportunity to play and (Coach) Doc (Rivers) tells me to go sub in for Rajon, I'll tell Doc, 'Let him play. Just let him play.' Like in game six (of the 2008 NBA Finals). I could have subbed for him but I said to Doc, 'He's playing well. Let him play.' That's what players on good teams do: sacrifice for each other for the betterment of the team. The team is the most important thing. On our team we have great individual ball players but they understand the team concept and that makes us even better."

On posting up, even though he's neither big nor athletic:

"I worked on it, first and foremost. It's about making the game easier for me. That made the game easier. The closer you get to the basket, the higher your shooting percentages are; the farther away you get from the basket, the lower your percentages are. So, I learned that and I worked on it. I understood the concept of it. ... When I have the ball, I'm going to take the shot I want to take; I'm not going to take the shot that the defender wants me to take -- then I'm playing into his hands. When I have the ball, I'm controlling the situation right now. If I want to take two dribbles, turn to the baseline, pump fake, pump fake again and then shoot it, that's what I'm going to do. He's not going to dictate what I'm going to do when I have the ball. ... When you're young you think that you can jump over the world. The name of this game is putting the ball in the basket. That's the name of this game -- and how frequently and at what rate you can do it. It took me three years to understand how to do that. It took me three good years in this league to learn how to score, how to get a basket when I need to score."