July 5, 2021
Q. What's impressed you the most about how Willie Green relates to players?
CHRIS PAUL: He was a teammate of mine, and not just a teammate. I say this all the time. Willie is like a brother to me, family. His family, his wife, his kids, everything. To have him as a coach, I couldn't imagine going through this season without having Willie here.
Q. Was there like a moment that you really turned to him or that he really helped you out that sticks out the most?
CHRIS PAUL: Willie just gets it. When you play in this league -- I always talk about that Golden State series, Game 7, and his locker was right next to mine. I didn't have a really good first half and he was the one who told me, he said, You got to be more aggressive, C. So he's just always been the guy that I could talk to about anything. He pushes me. I think for him, not only being a good player in his own right, that time he spent with the Warriors and those championship teams, so there's nothing in this league Willie hasn't seen.
Q. We are here finally after a tough season, I think for everyone involved in the league, and there was some criticism from players, including your friend LeBron, about the way the playoffs played out with so many stars getting injured. Thinking back to the tough conversations you guys had to have had in November to get ready for the season to start in December, what do you think about how everything has played out up to this point?
CHRIS PAUL: Man, one thing about our league and its players is everything is always a conversation. There's a ton of guys on the executive committee who are working hard on things right now as we speak -- day in and day out, traveling. I wish you guys knew all the things that are going on. So decisions that are made as far as playing or not playing, players are always involved in it. Injuries are always unfortunate. You hate to have them. But just like when we went to the bubble, everything was discussed as far as the players and the full body of players. Everything that's good for this guy and that guy might not be the same for that guy, but everything has always been a conversation and it's going to continue to be that way. So if people don't like it, then you know everybody has the same opportunity to be a part of all these conversations.
Q. What's the last couple days been like? Have there been any phone calls of note or texts that really meant a lot to you? And when you see the signatures behind you, like the NBA Finals, what does that really mean to finally be here?
CHRIS PAUL: It's different. Obviously I haven't practiced here and not at the practice facility, but it's still basketball. I think we're all locked into the goal at hand. And not much, just, I don't know. It's weird no games being on. I usually watch games every day. So that's probably the part that sucks. That's probably the part that sucks the most. But I would rather be playing than not. Other than that, just life.
Q. Any messages or calls or that meant something to you?
CHRIS PAUL: Probably. I don't know. I'm usually on the phone with my kids day in and day out, seeing what they got going on. And just getting ready, practicing, body work, all that different type stuff. So, yeah, I don't even know. I'm focused.
Q. Milwaukee traded for Jrue Holiday to help them get to this point. What about Jrue as a player, maybe even as a person, have you seen that maybe made him such a good fit for them to get here?
CHRIS PAUL: Jrue is just the consummate team guy. Plays the game the right way, defends, can score. My family knows, like my parents, I think, know his family very well and stuff. He's just like a good guy, like a great guy. I'm sure they're excited to have him, and that's what's going to make this series so tough.
Q. I wanted to ask about Devin and Deandre's start to series. They have had strong starts in the first round, second round and third round. Have you seen something within them in terms of locking in to start a series, and what does it say about young guys' first time out having that start of each series?
CHRIS PAUL: I honestly have no clue how they have started off every series. I think for us it's just about winning games. Winning games and making sure that we have the right approach as a team. But those two guys are two leaders of our team, so obviously we go off them. We feed off them. But we expect that not only at the beginning of a series, but in the middle of a series, at the end of a series -- like, that's why you're in that role.
Q. I saw you out there today. Obviously we haven't seen you guys in a practice mode, having fun with the guys and all that. Devin has talked about still having fun and not letting it be too serious, but you are a serious person, so how have you tried to relax in this moment?
CHRIS PAUL: You're not at practice with me every day. I think for us it's balance in whatever it is. You always got to remember, this is a kid's game that we play, you know what I mean? This is a blessing and an opportunity to play this game. So it's balance. I think our team knows when to lock in and when we got to enjoy the moment and enjoy ourselves.
Q. You talked about at the end of that Clippers game, you're thinking about your son to knock down those free throws. Has he given you any advice going into the Finals?
CHRIS PAUL: Man, Chris say everything to me. He tells me when I'm playing well, when I'm playing bad. I think that's probably the most exciting part is my kids are of the age that they know everything that's going on. My daughter, who hasn't been a fan of any of my games my whole career, I think that's probably what touched me after the Western Conference Finals, to see her with emotions and see her so excited. So, yeah, just enjoying the process and all the different moments of it. But ready to go.
Q. You played with P.J. Tucker. You've seen him over the years a lot. Just want to get your thoughts and your take on his game and what he brings to the Bucks and what he's brought over his career.
CHRIS PAUL: Yeah, a big piece of their team. Them picking up Tuck, I think has helped them a lot. Tuck is always just going to do the dirty work. Whatever his team needs from him to help his team win, he's always going to do that. So that's a big pickup for them.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports