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May 24, 2005

Joe Dumars

MIAMI, FLORIDA: Practice Day

Q. Does this team remind you of your team at all in that they're known primarily as a defensive team, and maybe because of that people don't appreciate how good they can be offensively?

JOE DUMARS: I think there are some similarities. Different styles, I think we're more of a physical-type team. I think that we're a great defensive team that got stopped down the stretch. This team gets stopped down the stretch, and this is a versatile team. But this is a more athletic, today version of the teams that I played for.

Q. How do you compare this team defensively to the teams that you were on?

JOE DUMARS: I think there are some similarities in terms of both being able to clamp down and get stops in crunch time. I think that's the similar more than anything else. And also the balance; we had great balance. We were able to clamp down and stop people down the stretch when I played and we're able to do that now. The difference is the teams I played were much more physical, much more bruising. They tended to put a slight body on you a little bit. This team here is more athletic, versatile, long, play above the rim, able to switch everything. It's a different style, but the concept of what we're doing is the same.

Q. When you were making up this team and looking to bring in the pieces, was there something in particular that you were looking at, let's say, for example, with the guards that you wanted on this team?

JOE DUMARS: I liked the idea of having two guards on the floor who are both capable of pretty much doing the same thing. We have a couple guards who are both capable of going and getting 20 every night. I like that. I like the versatility that we can slide Chauncey over to the two guard, that we can slide Rip over to the small forward sometimes. I like versatility and the ability to put points on the board, to be interchangeable on the court.

Q. How is it that Arroyo fits in with the team?

JOE DUMARS: Just his creativity. You know, the guy had seven assists in ten minutes last night. Having a guy like that come off the bench, he changes the pace of the game. You know, we hit them with a methodical look with Chauncey and Rip, and then he hits the game and he's all over the place and creative, so he's just the perfect guy for us coming off the bench.

Q. Where is Darko right now in his development?

JOE DUMARS: He's a 19-year-old kid waiting his turn. He happens to be playing behind three extremely talented, veteran big guys, and his time will come, but it's not right now.

Q. Do you have any sense of how he's handling that, having to kind of wait?

JOE DUMARS: I think he's handling it so much better this year. Last year was such a major transition for him in a lot of aspects, culturally and away from his family for the first time, not playing, all those things. This year he's so much more accustomed to the situation here. I think he's adjusted so well.

Q. What are Darko's strengths?

JOE DUMARS: To me he's a 7-foot four (power forward) who's versatile, can post-up, but he's a pick and pop guy. He really does remind me of the things that you see Rasheed do. Rasheed is an inside-out type of guy. He's versatile. That's pretty much what he is. He's not strictly a back-to-the-basket, seven-foot guy.

Q. You've been around a lot of great players. You've been in this situation yourself. Chauncey's mindset at the end of games taking big shots, a lot of guys don't want to do it, he seems to love to do it.

JOE DUMARS: He's the most prominent guy of all our guys who does that. He is the one guy that stands out. But I would tend to tell you to take a look at Rip down the stretch, look at Prince down the stretch and look at Rasheed down the stretch. I mean, we have a group of guys who -- when we come out of a time-out down the stretch and it's a big shot, I'm just about comfortable with anybody who will take that shot.

End of FastScripts...

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