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September 26, 2022

Norman Powell

Los Angeles, California, USA

Press Conference

NORMAN POWELL: With all the attention he puts on the rim, guys in the right spot, me for spot up corner threes, which I really like to do.

So to be able to be on the floor with him for pitch aheads, quick attacks in transition, easy spot-up looks, I think me and Luke will probably have the most wide-open threes we've probably had in our career this year with the way he's able to pass the ball. So I'm definitely excited with that.

And then talking about just the versatility of our team, with John and Reggie, he asked me a few times if I played a little bit of point guard.

So yeah, I don't mind. Off the ball, on the ball, I feel like I've developed my game offensively to be able to handle both roles effectively.

Q. You talked about it just a little bit now, but what stood out with just playing with John on the court and even just off the court, having him around the team?

NORMAN POWELL: I think the biggest thing is his competitive drive and will. Early -- he talks a lot of trash early, but I think it's just the energy that he brings to the game, his pace, understanding where guys are at. He's always looking to make that pass.

Even when he's getting down to the teeth of the defense, he's caught me a couple times being on the opposite team thinking he's about to make the lay-up and he kicks it out to my guy last minute for a wide-up three.

That attention to detail and the way he attacks the basket and knowing the game and where guys are going to be at, knowing the rotations of the defense, finding the open guys for easy looks, whether they make it or not, he's continuing to find those guys in those sweet spots.

Q. I wanted to ask you just coming back mentally, how did you get through that, and how were you able to balance rehabbing and not doing too much but not doing too little just to make sure you were healthy and ready for this season and being able to also have some fun coming into this season, as well?

NORMAN POWELL: Yeah, well, I've done a lot of work since my third year being in the league. With my mental health coach and my life skills coach, David Nurse. I meet with him, I talk to him, he sends me different exercises and things like that throughout the course of the year, and whenever there's obstacles or challenges, he's always pushing me to view it differently. Not just get discouraged, but finding the positive out of those circumstances.

And I was able to do that with the unfortunate injury after third game. Might've been second, I think it was my third, in Dallas, and I was able to do that throughout the course of the rehab. Whatever information they gave me, thinking I was going to be able to come back early, then not, I found that enjoying the little things and focusing on other things that I probably didn't have as much attention to from being in the daily grind of the season, and that just spilled over to the summer.

I was able to come back, but I obviously wasn't at my best coming off the rehab, and so I really have made it a point to change my approach in the summer just from a dietary focus, changing the way I ate, cutting off the snacks, healthier alternatives to really get my body to where it needs to be to carry out the load of the season.

Making sure that I was just feeling good and really in the best shape, just not physically on the court but just mentally. I put a lot of time into taking a step away from basketball, doing some things that I normally don't do and just making me happy. Being around friends, family, going on trips that I normally wouldn't go on throughout the course of the summer, just to get away from it, just to have some fun and to reset myself.

I'm definitely happy with the routine, changes that I've made throughout my summer, and I'm ready for the season.

Q. When you look at this roster, it's you and Kawhi who have been there before as far as winning the championship, and you all did it together. With you guys being back together going into this camp, you're obviously in a different place in your career now than you were back in 2018. What parallels do you feel like you have between -- how do you feel about your connection to this group now and the group you had in 2018 going into this year?

NORMAN POWELL: I think it's a lot of similarities. I mean, just in comparison to the depth of our team, going into training camp we had 11, 12 guys that could go and be starters on other teams in this league. We have them all under one uniform, one organization.

I'm definitely excited about that. It's kind of similar to Kawhi coming back off an injury and missing basketball and then starting off with a fresh training camp.

There's a lot to look forward to. I think everybody in the organization is excited. There's definitely a buzz around the building. It's been like that from the start of the summer when I was coming back and forth from Las Vegas and getting some work in with the coaches, playing 5-on-5 with the guys. Everybody is just upbeat and positive.

I really feel like this is a great time for us, and I think everybody is really locked in and ready to sacrifice for that big picture at the end of the year.

So this is the time to do it, and if everybody continues to be on the same page, then I think the sky's the limit for us.

Q. What excites you about the roster, and what are your personal goals going into the season?

NORMAN POWELL: I think the most exciting thing, I've said it so many times, is the versatility. Offensively and defensively. Honestly, I think the defensive lineup is going to be really scary when you look at our roster from me, RoCo being added, having John out there, and then you've got Nico, you've got Whi and PG. Whi back healthy, you can go small ball, you can go big lineups. You can keep the opponents really off balance, the way the coaches can mix it up out there.

I think that's the best part about it. Offensively I think it speaks for itself when you look at the roster and see how many different guys can put the ball in the basket in a multitude of different ways, I think the offense is going to take care of itself.

But like defensively, I think that's where we're going to hang our hat and where we can give a lot of teams fits throughout the season, especially in the Playoffs.

Then for myself, really I've one goal for myself, and that's to be an All-Star and to come into camp to prove that I'm a starting 2 guard. That's my main focus, and the things that I've had bullet pointed and in bold as goals for myself. And obviously help this team win a championship in whatever way that looks for me.

Q. You talked about the mental health coach and doing things that make you happy. John has talked about his mental health journey; RoCo has been vocal about his mental health journey. Do you think that in your opinion that athletes have been more vocal about mental health more so than they were in the last five to ten years?

NORMAN POWELL: I definitely think so. I think we're kind of changing the narrative.

I think people and fans from the outside looking in view us as just athletes and not as people, and we're dealing with the same daily struggles and life challenges that they are. Just the differences is our profession and our bank accounts are a little different, so they feel like we don't have any issues at all.

But we still struggle with day-to-day living, day-to-day crises with our families, personal issues, health issues that we have to deal with.

I think we're pushing the envelope and the narrative that we're more than just athletes. That's been a slogan around the league for a while now in the last couple years, and that's the truth.

We're all struggling with things that we don't always put out to social media. We don't always say in interviews that we have to step away from the game and deal with in our daily lives. I think it's a testament to the players being brave and having the courage to talk about their struggles and to show that we're not perfect and we're all dealing with things behind closed doors.

I think it's a way you can motivate others to go out there and seek help and be open about their struggles, as well.

Q. What match-ups are you looking forward to most going into the season?

NORMAN POWELL: Honestly, I look forward to every matchup. That's probably as plain or politically correct as that may sound. I'm just excited to be able to be in the Western Conference and I had a little bit of it in Portland, but both half seasons. So I was traded to Portland, was there half a year, and then traded halfway through the year after re-signing with them.

But I think being in the west and the tough match-ups that every team provides on a nightly basis and knowing that you have to bring your A game every single time on the floor, you're guarding some of the best guards in this league in the Western Conference. I'm excited about every matchup and every team -- there's not one team that I have circled probably besides the Raptors on my schedule when I look at it. But besides that, I'm looking forward to playing against everybody.

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