home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


February 16, 2018

Rex Kalamian

Roy Rogers

Los Angeles, California

World Team - 155, U.S. Team - 124

REX KALAMIAN: It was a good game for us. It turned into a three-point shootout a little bit. Between Bogie and Buddy Hield, we had 55 points, and they shot the ball extremely well, obviously. I kind of went into the game talking about lay-ups and threes, and let's just take a bunch of them tonight and have fun.

I thought those guys did a great job. It seemed like somewhere in the late first quarter, early second quarter we just started making a bunch of threes and pulled away a little bit and got a gap.

ROY ROGERS: Obviously the game didn't go the way we wanted it to, but I thought our guys competed from the start till the end. The one thing you can't control being around this league as many years as I have is you can't control whether your shots go in. Only thing you can control is your effort.

I thought we got after it, tried to on both ends. We shared the ball. But the shots didn't fall tonight. So what I told the guys afterwards is every game is a learning experience. You choose what you want to learn from this game.

I thought they had a great attitude before the game. I thought even in halftime when we talked about adjustments we were trying to make, they tried. But unfortunately it was just one of those nights where the shots didn't go down for us.

Q. Was there any particular player over the course of the weekend whose athleticism you didn't really expect heading into this?
ROY ROGERS: You know what, Rex and I are both assistants and have been assistants in this league for a long time, so I can say for myself, no, because I've seen most of these guys numerous times, so no one really surprised me. I mean, the guys, we know what they're capable of doing.

REX KALAMIAN: I like Jamal Murray. His quickness up the floor, and I agree with Coach about you see him a lot. Sometimes you only see him once or twice a year, and maybe you don't catch as much as you normally would if you're around them for an entire day or week or year.

But I thought that Jamal Murray was really good with the ball, quick, and kind of surprised me with some really quick moves with the basketball in his hands.

Q. You both have a chance to watch the 2018 rookie class that is particularly talented. I was wondering, tell us about this class, and what do you think is making this class so recognized and so talented?
REX KALAMIAN: The rookie class?

Q. Yeah, yeah.
REX KALAMIAN: Well, obviously we didn't see Lonzo Ball tonight with his passing, but I think that teams are passing the ball more. In Toronto that's what we're trying to do and we're trying to teach more. I think the league is starting to pass more. We've all stole kind of the template that Houston plays with in terms of spreading the court, passing the basketball, sharing the basketball, and I think that younger players are starting to do that a lot more, share the basketball and make incredible plays for each other. I think that that's where it's heading with the rookies.

ROY ROGERS: I think this rookie class symbolizes exactly where the NBA is headed -- speed, athleticism, and shooting ability. You've got to be able to get to the rim, and there are two or three point guards in this league in this rookie class that can really get to the rim. They keep pressure on the rim. There are guys in this class that are very athletic, and then you see a guy like Bogdanovic tonight who can really get it going from the outside. Even like from last year's class with Saric and then Embiid.

I mean, the league is just expanding. It's no longer the cookie-cutter league where big guys just stay on the post. You've got bigs that really spread the floor, and it allows the small guys to spread the paint. Like I said, I think this rookie class just really signifies where the NBA is heading.

Q. From a mental point of view, where do you think the young players are training? Are they ready for the next step? Are they approaching the game the same way?
ROY ROGERS: Well, you know what, that's something that takes time. They don't learn that right away. You have to go through some bumps and some bruises. Unfortunately with rookie players they're going to make a mistake, even second-year players. It's just whether -- it depends on where your team is, whether you can let them play through those mistakes.

In Houston we're more of a veteran team, so we don't have a lot of those mistakes. But we've all been through it at one point in time where we've coached those guys. When James Harden came into the league, he didn't make every play the correct way. That's something that he's learned over time.

Q. I wanted to ask you about this class of draft. We always talk about the 1984 draft and the 2003 draft with LeBron and Dwyane Wade. What do you think of the potential of this class of draft, and could it be like a historic one?
REX KALAMIAN: Wow, those are big expectations that I'd hate to put on any draft class when you talk about that particular draft class with LeBron and Dwyane Wade and those particular guys.

But I think that every class, as they move along, they start to make a name for themselves and they'll start to stand out. I think there are a lot of exceptional players in this game tonight that we're going to be seeing play on Sunday afternoon in years to come.

So on our team for sure Ben Simmons is one of them that I think will eventually be an All-Star, if not next year, very shortly. So time will tell on where they end up being in terms of a draft class, but there's a lot of great talent out there, and I think they're moving towards what you're talking about.

ROY ROGERS: Yeah, I'll just say this, I think the 1984 draft class was pretty good, so was the 2003. But I'm a little biased toward the 1996 draft class, I think that's probably the best one on record.

So if those guys, if they can catch the '96 draft class, they'll have a heck of a career.

Q. Obviously this game isn't the most competitive in terms of defensive effort and maybe plays that you guys are calling. So what are you hoping to give to your players tonight if it's not going to be that Xs and Os game? What are you hoping they're getting out of this?
ROY ROGERS: I would say for the first 36, 37 minutes of the game it was more competitive than it has been, and I think both myself and Rex put an emphasis on competing tonight. We did try to execute offensively and defensively. They played a really good game offensively and made it really difficult for us because they were able to make shots. They were able to spread us out and they made shots. Unfortunately for us our shots didn't fall.

But tonight I just think the guys really tried to execute the game plan. They came in with a mindset of leaving an impression for the next group of guys coming in, because we do want this game to be more competitive.

I was proud of the guys, both teams, for the way they competed tonight. The last two minutes I got on my guys about not finishing the game the right way, and they got back on track. But overall I was satisfied with their competitive spirit.

REX KALAMIAN: Yeah, I think my message was from early this morning was play hard, play together, and compete so your talent will show. They all have talent and they need to respect their talent and play as hard as they possibly can.

Then my second message was shoot a lot of lay-ups and a lot of threes, and that's the shot spectrum that we're going for. So I think when guys hear that, they enjoy that and, that's what we -- we got 56 threes tonight, so I think that was something that they truly tried to do tonight.

Q. You mentioned that you wanted your guys to learn something in every game. Was there anything from a coach's perspective that you all learned tonight?
REX KALAMIAN: Wow, that's a good question.

Q. Thank you.
REX KALAMIAN: Anything that I particularly learned? No, I think that being around new players and players that you've seen before that you necessarily haven't had conversations with, I tried to touch each one of our players from early this morning, have short conversations with each one of them just so I could get to know their personalities a little bit and let them know who I am and just try to feel a little more comfortable with them.

Because the league is so small, whether it be players, coaches, and it's really good if you can branch out. So personally I tried to talk to everybody and just get a feel for different guys.

ROY ROGERS: For me, the majority of my players are from the Western Conference. So it was interesting that when I started talking to them about how we were going to play, they just said, oh, okay, Coach, we know, that's the way you all play in Houston.

Not being around the guys as much, but then when you're trying to get them to buy in to how you're going to play for one game, it makes it a lot easier when they've competed against you and they've scouted your style and they know how we play. So from that aspect, it was really good for me personally.

Then the second thing I'd say is the guys were so open to coaching. I mean, they're young players, and that's the way they're going to get better in this league, is to accept coaching, regardless of who it's coming from, whether it's your coach or another coach.

But I was really impressed with the professionalism and maturity of my team.

Q. Roy, obviously as an excellent big-man coach yourself, I was just curious how impressed were you with Joel Embiid in terms of the ability he's shown already in his brief time, once he's gotten healthy and able to play. Obviously, Rex, you guys have to compete against him. How much of a challenge is it when you guys are facing him with all the different things he can do to try to slow him down?
ROY ROGERS: I tell you what, the one thing good about it is he's in the Eastern Conference and I only have to play against him twice. Rex has him four times. He's in his division.

So the two times we competed against Joel this year, I mean, look, the guy is the modern-day big man. He can go on the block, he can score, he can go out and shoot the three. He can turn and face from the mid post. There really is no weakness in his game. I mean, it's up to him how good he wants to be. Not only can he be the best big in the league, he can be one of the best bigs to ever play the game, just because he is so talented. And his size makes it extremely difficult. If you have a traditional big on him, he can go outside. You put a smaller big on him, he takes him inside.

His future is all in his hands. It's such a joy to just watch him play. When he moves up and down the court, he moves effortlessly. I mean, it's amazing to watch him play. Like I said, I'm just glad I'm in the Western Conference and I only have to see him two times. Rex has to deal with him four times.

REX KALAMIAN: Like Roy said, he's very fluid and he's fun to watch because he can do a lot of things at his size that we haven't seen maybe in a long time. So it's hard game-planning against him, and Philly is one of my teams that I have to find a defensive game plan sometimes for, for four times. We try to throw a lot of different things at him and a lot of different looks because I think he's really smart.

If you double him from one particular place all the time, he's going to realize what's going on, he's going to pick you apart. And if you play off of him, he can shoot the three. So he's got a lot of different things going on. In the post he's very good. He can face up. He can also play with his back to the basket. So he has many, many different offensive weapons to be able to go to.

Then defensively he's a problem because he's always in the paint and it's hard to see the rim and hard to attack the rim with him. You know, I like watching him play rather than playing against him, and I like being on the same side like I was tonight. But he's a terrific player.

ROY ROGERS: And I'm fortunate enough that we have him on our team on Sunday, so I don't have to worry about that. Then the last thing is if we get fined for talking about Joel, you're paying the fine (laughing).

Q. I'll get you a dinner at least?
ROY ROGERS: No (laughing).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297