C.J. McCollum is rehabbing from a broken foot and the Lehigh grad is working as a reporter for the All Ball Blog on NBA.com in the interim. He interviewed Rod Thorn, now President of Basketball Operations for the NBA (Kiki Vandeweghe is his executive vice president.) Thorn, who traded for Jason Kidd in 2001, gave McCollum his read on how Kidd can affect a team.
RT: I think Jason is as smart as any player I’ve ever been around as far as understanding the game and as far as understanding what you need to do to win. That’s a plus. I think Jason gets instant respect because of who he is and he’ll be a first ballot Hall of Famer. He also has good players on his team, and he’s got veteran players. He is going to be a terrific coach, they are going to have a really good team. You are going to go through times that are difficult and things aren’t going that well. Everybody has to learn how to do that, particularly if you’re a first time coach, but I see nothing but really good things for him. He’s a terrific guy, knows the game, and he’s going to do great.
CM: I agree. I think he is going to do tremendous things for that team.
RT: When we got him in New Jersey, we had won 26 games. The year we got him, it went up to 52, and we won the Eastern Conference and played in The Finals. We were a bad defensive team, we were a bad rebounding team, we had bad chemistry, and he helped us in all those areas. His ability to pass and do team type things – he was just unbelievable. A great player.
In discussing his draft of Michael Jordan, Thorn admits he never thought MJ would be as good as he turned out to be. "I was very hopeful that he’d be a very good player, and be an All-Star type of player one day. To be arguably the greatest player ever, certainly one of the greatest players ever, I had no idea of that."
- Rookie Diary: McCollum Goes One On One With NBA Executive Rod Thorn - All Ball Blog - NBA.com