By Milan Lazarevic
Nenad Krstic gave exclusive interview for Serbian daily newspapers "START". Krstic tried to explain lot of controversial things connected with Serbian National basketball team and with its catastrophic participation on European Championship this year. Also, popular "Krle" was talking about his current situation in New Jersey, about his teammates and Nets chances in this season…
START: You were very disappointed with National team failure on European Championship. How do you feel today?
KRSTIC: I am still disappointed; I didn’t change my opinion that we had the best team on European Championship. Simply, we didn’t have luck. At the end everything became ugly. I am thinking here on press-conference and all other things after the game with France. In my opinion atmosphere in team was fantastic, even there were some little quarrels before the game with France and during preparation period.
START: You want to say that atmosphere was great even there were some quarrels between players?
KRSTIC: Simply, I adore trainings with my National team. But, all negative things after European Championship spoiled it all. Now, we can see clearly that team was not the only problem. Many things were not functioning even in National Association. They have problem now to find head-coach and President of Association. I am not pleased with fact that they are not doing their jobs professionally. It is easy to say that players were guilty for everything. We gave up from resting during summer, just to play for our country, and after everything it looks now that we are betrayers.
START: What is your opinion? How can we beat this crisis?
KRSTIC: I think that National Association must work more. They have to call us during season, to make interest what is our condition. I remember, last year, first contacts were maid 1 month before the end of the league, when list of players was well-known. If we talk about some "National team spirit" then National Association must care about team during whole year.
START: After everything, with Wild Card for World Championship next year we got a second chance?
KRSTIC: It is good that we got Wild Card, because constant participation on big competitions means a lot. But, in this moment we don’t have any strategy for such big event, and I don’t know is anything going to change in comparison with last 2 years.
START: Will your answer be positive on future invitations to play in National team?
KRSTIC: Last year, because of injury, I was playing on my own responsibility. I love National team and I will be always available. If I stay fit, I don’t see any reason why to say no.
START: You are playing second season in NBA. How did you use on it?
KRSTIC: At the beginning everything was difficult. I came to USA without knowing English language, which made my adaptation on new culture more difficult. When I came here, my dreams from childhood came true, but without proper number of minutes at the beginning it was difficult. I was trying to do my best on trainings and earn my chance.
START: Still, recently on ESPN, they were praising you that your English was pretty good?
KRSTIC: That is not truth (laugh). I don’t know how they realize that. I am trying, but I must do much better job about that.
START: How do you feel this year in Nets?
KRSTIC: I am satisfied. If we talk about results, then we surely can do better job. But, I must say that I am very pleased with my performances in pre-season and during regular season. It is just important for me to play constantly good, from game to game.
START: You are playing very good this year. Does your improvement depend on quality of Eastern Conference which is stronger and stronger every year?
KRSTIC: I didn’t think too much about that, but you have right when you say that East is stronger and stronger and that just better and better players are coming here to play. When you play against the best players then it is normal for you to become better player. For me that fact can be only positive one.
START: You had problems with personal fouls. You earn 4th foul sometimes even in 3rd quarter? Did you talk about that with your coaches?
KRSTIC: Just few days ago I was talking about that with coach. He told me that I was playing good, but that the opponents made me out of rhythm with 2 or 3 fast, easy personal fouls. Besides of that, I think that referees don’t respect me enough. A reason why I earn cheap fouls is in fact that referees don’t know me enough.
START: What is your opinion about Nets chances to win title this year? You have brilliant starting 5.
KRSTIC: Till now, we played with lot of oscillations. I think that everything will come on right place; season just started and we need little more time to solve the puzzle. No one in team is talking about title. Our main goal is to win Atlantic Division, which is, that is my opinion, weaker then the others. That can provide us, at least, 3rd place on East and good schedule in play-off.
START: What influence on you has fact that you are teammate with such stars like Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson are?
KRSTIC: With them in our team I can be only better player in years to come. The best, top players are those who make whole team play better. They are huge stars, but they are very unselfish. They always pass ball when they have opportunity. I score lot of easy points on every match because of them. Many people were saying that they couldn’t cooperate together, but they proved the opposite.
START: Who is a leader in Nets?
KRSTIC: Definitely, without any doubt, Jason Kidd. He is a leader, captain, and without him in team, we would be totally different squad. He is perfect player, real playmaker who doesn’t have main goal to score the most number of points, but to make whole team plays better, to make other players play better. He is our computer, he always passes ball in perfect moment, on right place, and I am very lucky and happy to have him in team.
START: What team is the best on East?
KRSTIC: Detroit showed the mostly till now. Miami without O’Neal plays with lot of oscillations. Indiana is very strong, but I think that Pistons are the best because of fantastic defense. Maybe they just found their best form in this moment, but season is too long, and it is too early for predictions.