Kings Q&A: Dee Brown
Kings Assistant Coach Dee Brown dishes on Ben McLemore’s Dunk Contest appearance, team goals and his iconic shoes.
What are your thoughts on Ben’s Dunk Contest appearance at All-Star Weekend?
“It’s a great experience because you get the chance to be around a lot of other great players and legends, like Dominique Wilkins and Dr. J. I thought he did a really good job. I don’t think (the format) benefitted Ben because it didn’t give him a chance to showcase all the dunks he can do. I thought he represented himself and the Kings well. I wish he had been able to do more dunks, because there were a couple more we worked on that he wished he could have done. All-Star Weekend is all about the fans and interacting with them, and I think he did a great job. Hopefully it’s one of many, not just the Dunk Contest, instances of him being an All-Star – maybe the Rookie-Sophomore Challenge next year because I know he likes the environment. He knows how it feels now and I’m sure he wants to be there again.”
What are you most excited about for the final stretch of the season?
“I think the biggest thing with the second half of the season is not getting complacent and saying, “Hey, maybe we’re a little far behind on the playoff race, so now we have to shut it down.” We’re not about that. I think Coach Malone has set the tone and the things I’m most excited about are us improving every day, maybe seeing a little more Ben and Ray and just seeing what these guys can do. I think that’s the biggest thing: to build our talent base, our roster and see how it goes, and go into summer on a high note.”
What are your goals for the team during the final months of the season?
“I think we’re still trying to develop our culture and trying to be the kind of team we want to be. We want to be a defense-first team, we want to be a team that plays together and shares the basketball, and that’s not going to change. I think Coach Malone has set the tone of what we’re going to be no matter where we are in the standings, or who we’re playing… If it’s one of the better teams in the league or if it’s a lottery team, we just want to keep those things going, improve our younger players and build our team chemistry as the season goes on.”
Coach Malone has talked about it being time for other players to start stepping up. As an assistant coach, how important is it to focus on building the confidence of those players?
“It’s very important! If you’re trying to build a foundation of players here who you want to keep in the long run – obviously DeMarcus (Cousins) and Isaiah (Thomas) and guys like Rudy Gay are key players on our team – you have to have some supporting players who are ready to step up. If a guy gets hurt or has an off game, our job as assistant coaches is to keep those guys prepared… on the court, watching video. So our job never stops as assistant coaches of preparing those guys because you never know when those opportunities are going to come. When they do, you’re going to need to be prepared. Our job every day is going to be the same no matter if you’re at 15 games or 500, our job is to make sure these guys are prepared when Coach puts them in the game.”
Reebok has re-released the Omni Pumps several times, what does it mean to you to have the shoes you wore years ago be such a fan favorite today?
“I’m actually wearing a pair right now! They re-release them, come out with new versions, bring out the ones I wore in the dunk contest, and they bring out signature ones from 15 years ago. It’s cool. There’s not a lot of people who can identify with a shoe directly, like Michael Jordan has Jordan’s. When you think of a Reebok Pump, the first thing that comes up is me. It’s really kind of funny people still talk about it, and ask me about it everywhere I go! It really makes you feel good to establish something that left a mark on young fans who are now older fans and parents who say to their kids, “Hey, you don’t remember this guy but…” It feels really good that people still talk about it and when the shoe comes out, people get excited about it.”
What do you like most about Northern California?
“The weather! I love the weather, and it’s close to everything. Again, I’m an East Coast person so I’ve never spent any time on the West Coast, so to be here has been great. You have like a week of cold. I was with the Pistons the last couple years and it’s cold all the time there. I’m a Florida boy, so I’m enjoying this nice weather. I enjoy being close to San Francisco, Napa Valley, Lake Tahoe… I haven’t had a chance to experience any of those places yet, but when I’m here in the offseason, I’ll get a chance to do those things and have my family out, because they’re still on the East Coast. Being in Sacramento, fans love their team and they have been great so far. With the new arena coming, there are big things coming in the next few years here.”