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Juan Pablo Vaulet - "Very happy to be with Brooklyn"; says he's a point guard

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Brooklyn Nets

In an interview with ESPN Argentina earlier this month, Juan Pablo Vaulet, the Nets second round pick, uses the words, "happy" and "lucky" to describe how he feels about being "with Brooklyn," citing the way the team welcomed him ... and took care of him when it was discovered he had a stress fracture of his tibia.

"I was so lucky  finally winding in Brooklyn," said the 6'6" Argentine, who had originally drafted by the Hornets, then traded to the Nets on Draft Night. "They treated me very well. I was in Greece playing the (FIBA) U-19 World Cup while the Draft was taking place. One day after being selected, they talked to me, they welcomed me, and they said they wanted me at the Summer League.

"I was lucky enough to get there, but my foot really hurt me. I was wearing a boot and they discovered it was fractured. I was so lucky being with Brooklyn.  They fully supported me and offered having surgery there, so I am very happy."

Dr. Martin O'Malley, the Nets' foot and ankle specialist who was part of Brook Lopez's and Kevin Durant's surgical teams, performed the operation at the Hospital for Special Surgery. It was his second ankle fracture in two years but Vaulet has said he's been assured that the setback is "temporary." He is expected back on the court in Argentina Monday.

Vaulet, who won't turn 20 until next March, didn't say when he might join the Nets but in previous interviews, he admitted he is not close to being ready for the league.  He was among the youngest players taken in the Draft. The Nets gave up two second round picks, one a swap, the other an unprotected pick, and $880,000 in cash for Vaulet's draft rights.

He does dream about it, he told Pura Quimicia ("Pure Chemistry"), the ESPN show.  "Yes. Obviously. But I know there is a process before playing there. I use it as a motivation while training.'  And he noted he speaks with Manu Ginobili regularly. Ginobili tweeted his congratulations to the Vaulet on Draft Night.

Vaulet also revealed that he sees himself a a point guard, noting that Pepe Sanchez, the owner of Bahia Blanca, his Argentine team, and a former NBA point guard himself, suggested he play the point.

"I wasn't that tall when I was kid, but at some point I grew up so fast," he explained "I developed myself as a point guard. Too many kids, they are tall and they play in the paint, but later on they don't grow that much and they can't shoot.

"I used to attend Sánchez's camp and there they insisted I should play point guard to develop my game, and later I would have the chance to switch to other position."

The 6'6" Vaulet, asked if he's still growing, responded, "I hope I can grow at least a little bit more!"

Here's the whole transcript, as translated by @LosBrooklynNets

Juan Pablo Vaulet at "Pura Química"

November 4, 2015.


(Brief introduction about who Vaulet is and how he was the youngest argentinian player ever selected at the Draft).

PQ: I don't understand how it works (talking about rights on a player after the Draft). How is it?

JPV: I was drafted by Charlotte, and then they transfered the righs on me to a new team, the Brooklyn Nets. They have my NBA rights at the moment. I don't have the possibility to negotiate with any team there. It is up to them. They decide if I can move into the NBA.

PQ: It is funny, because you used to practice taekwondo, but when your teacher gets injured you start playing basketball, right?

JPV: That's right! Don't know how you know about that! I was starting school, I was 6 years old, and I had to choose a sport. I chose taekwondo just because all my friends did. I didn't like it at all. I just did what my friends were doing. My mother wasn't happy with that. My mum, my dad, my whole family has always been involved with basketball, so they wanted me to take that way too. So when I said, "I want to learn taekwondo", she felt so bad, it was dissapointing for her but I just wanted to stay with my friends. So, one week later, my teacher suffered some injury, can't remember much about it, and I switch to basketball.

I started to enjoy playing basketball by then. It was great because my grandfather and my father, they both played basketball before.

PQ: Who was your favourite player at the time?

JPV: My father used to take me to Atenas games (local team at Córdoba, Argentina). Pichi Campana was playing at the time, and also Bruno Lábaque. So I really liked how Pichi played, even if it was his last years. And also of course, the whole golden age (of argentinian basket).

PQ: So Pichi was your idol?

JPV: No, my idol has always been Manu (Ginobili). Manu and Kobe Bryant.

PQ: So does Brooklyn pay you at all?

JPV: No, no. I just decided to be eligible at the Draft and they payed Charlotte for my NBA rights.

PQ: You have been injured, so you have traveled to Brooklyn for them to check your situation.

JPV: I was so lucky being finally in Brooklyn. They treated me very well. I was in Greece playing the U-19 World Cup while the Draft was taking place. One day after being selected, they talked to me, they welcomed me, and they said they wanted me at the Summer League. I was lucky enough to get there, but my foot really hurt me, I was wearing the boot and they discovered it was fractured. I was so lucky being at Brooklyn, they fully supported me and offered having surgery there, so I am very happy.

PQ: Manu is your idol and now you are playing in his team, Bahía Blanca. Did you talk to him?

JPV: He talked to me the other day. Manu is from Bahía so he is really involved. It is really easy talking to him.

PQ: Manu was drafted also so young.

JPV: You can be drafted between 19 and 23 years. No later. You can decide to declare yourself eligible or not, and you have some time to decide if you keep on the list or not, because once you are in the Draft, if you are not selected by any team, you can not declare yourself eligible anymore. At that point, I decided to trust my agent and stay in the list for the Draft night. It is really tough, because you  don't know what's going to happen, it is like a lottery game.

PQ: Is It true that you teared down a wall at your grandfather house so you could have a basketball court there?

JPV: Yeah, it is true (laughing). When I was there I was playing ball all the time inside the house. At nap time, any time, there was a rim and I was asking everyone to play with me.

PQ: And why are you playing point guard  when you are that tall?

JPV: I wasn't that tall when I was kid, but at some point I grew up so fast. I developed myself as a point guard. Too many kids, they are tall and they play in the paint, but later on they don't grow that much and they can't shot.

I used to attend Sánchez campus and there they insisted I should play point guard to develop my game, and later I would have the chance to switch to other position. When a kid just learns to play at the rim, it is harder to move him out.

PQ: But you are not growing anymore, do you?

JPV: I hope I can grow at least a little bit more!

PQ: Do you dream about NBA?

JPV: Yes. Obviously. But I know there is a process before playing there. I use it as a motivation while training.

PQ: Are you training again?

JPV: Yes, I wake up at 8, 9 or so and go train. Right now I am recovering so I have double sessions most of the time. We train a lot.

PQ: You are so humble. You are a really emotive guy, really connected with your mother. Is It true that you were moved to tears when you saw the picture of your parents marrying?

JPV: I was 3 or 4 years old and I can't remember that, but that's what my mum said. First time I saw their wedding pictures I broke down and cried because I was not going to marry my mum. Later on I learned it was not possible (laughing).

PQ: If you move to USA, is your mother moving to the States with you?

JPV: I already moved from Cordoba to Bahía, so I am on my own. That wasn't easy, but it is OK.

PQ: What's the most important for you?

JPV: Basketball ...and family!