Garrett Temple had the bad luck —or good, depending on how you look at it— of agreeing to sign with the Nets the same night as Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan. The bad luck was that his signing —for the two year, $10 million room exception— got lost in the shuffle and the celebrations that night. The good news, of course, is that he will be playing with KD, Kyrie and DeAndre!
In a podcast hosted by Brendan Suhr, the veteran NBA coach, Temple talked about the reasons why he signed with Brooklyn —including the family atmosphere— and what he thinks about his new teammates and not just the superstars.
“The things that they --we-- have cookin’ up in Brooklyn are very special and it starts from the inside, from the top down,” Temple told Suhr.
In discussing the reasons why he joined the team, Temple echoed a lot of what others have said about the organization and where it stands. “Something I’ve never been a part of in my life,” said the 33-year-old who’s joining his eighth team.
“There were some other teams interested but Brooklyn had the best option in terms of the ability to play if I did what I was supposed to in training camp, obviously the chance to compete at a high level in meaningful games. At this point in my career, that’s something I definitely wanted to do. Not to mention an amazing organization.
“That’s one thing people talk about it but the Brooklyn organization has transformed tremendously and the vibe that I got when I first went up to the practice facility after I agreed to sign was something I’ve never been a part of in my life. I’ve played for San Antonio. I’ve played for the Rockets. I’ve played for the Clippers. All great organizations but the vibe I got with the Brookyn Nets when I went up there this past July was something very different and a lot of that had to do with the owner, Joe Tsai, who’s now the majority owner. So the things that they --we-- have cookin’ up in Brooklyn are very special and it starts from the inside, from the top down.”
It’s not, he said, just the roster or the big city, but the way the organization runs, the democratic mindset from the top down, as he said, from the owner to the equipment manager.
“It’s something that I learned when I was in San Antonio -- This is going to be my eighth different team. Crazy right? So San Antonio, I learned as a rookie how things should be done, in my opinion, in the NBA. The owner has a vested interest with the team obviously. He takes it seriously. He hires the right people to run the organization and he allows them to run it. And the people he hires hire people so Sean Marks has done a tremendous job of hiring people around him, hiring Kenny Atkinson obviously, hiring a great physical therapy team, hiring a great medical team as well as the coaching staff. Just having the right vibe for a team that you understand what kind of players you want on the team. So you get the coaches that will coach them well.
“Just an entire group effort in terms of how you to move forward and it’s not anything sectioned off. The owner may talk to the equipment manager just as long as he talks to the general manager. And it’s just a very family-oriented atmosphere. When you do that, it’s like what Doc (Rivers) said, you treat people like family members. When they do that you understand that you care about them not just because you play basketball but because they want you to be part of the family.”
Suhr asked Temple to break down the roster, what he sees from his new teammates. He offered that Durant is “definitely involved” with the team despite his rehab and that he’s spoken to him in both New York and Los Angeles.
Here’s his thumbnails of key Nets players, both new and returning.
On Kevin Durant...
“First of all, it’s great not to have to guard that guy. There was clip last year where I was guarding him. I couldn’t done anything other than poke him in his eye. He still hit the shot off of me. To be able to see him up close everyday, to be able to be on the side where he’s scoring the most unimaginable shots for my team, it’s going to be great. He’s probably in my opinion --and this is arguable-- the most talented scorer ever because of his size. There’s nobody else who’s 6’11” what he can do and score in the amount of ways he can score.
“Obviously, he’s tremendous. And going to Golden State, he improved defensively as well and turned into a guy who’s a triple threat being to rebound and defend and score obviously. I’m excited about it!
“I saw him right when we agreed. He was in New York and also I’m out here in L.A. and he’s been out here rehabbing. So seen him. Went out to eat with the team. So he’s around, definitely around. Definitely involved.”
On Kyrie Irving...
“I mean he’s one of it not the most talented scorer at the point guard position. You got a guy like Steph (Curry) who can shoot lights out and score in so many different ways, but Kyrie’s ability to handle the ball and his ability to finish. I mean his ability to finish with the basketball is obviously second to none and then his ability to knock down shots ... and big shots at that. Somebody who’d never been in the Finals before till LeBron got there when he was in Cleveland. He made big, big shots. Big shot after big shot. So he’s not just a guy who does it on a team that doesn’t win. He does it obviously on the biggest stages. His ability to score, along with KD ... and even without KD being there the first year, he’s going to put us in position to win a lot of games.”
On Caris LeVert...
“Caris LeVert is a great young guy that i’ve liked since college. To see him up close ... so smooth, has a great knack for putting the ball in the basket. Great handle at 6’7”...
On Joe Harris...
“Joe Harris ... definitely top five in the league in terms of a shooter, but also a lot more athletic than people would assume. Can really get in the paint and finish as well. I hope he does a great job in China (at the FIBA World Cup).”
On Spencer Dinwiddie...
“I mean I remember when he was younger he didn’t play a lot when he was in Detroit but to see him blossom the way he has in Brooklyn and become the player he’s become. Way, way more athletic than people think. Can really score the ball. Has a great body. Can defend but can really put the ball in the basket. He’s going to be great as a sixth man for us coming off the bench to play through him. He’s gonna be great for our team. He has a chance to be Sixth Man of the Year with the talent he has.”
On Jarrett Allen...
“Big time shot blocker, very athletic. Can handle the ball. Can do a lot of things you haven’t seen yet because of the team and what happened with the team. He just finished his second year.”
On Rodions Kurucs...
“Also Rodi. He’s going to be a second year player this year. Overseas guy, second rounder. Can play the 3 or 4. He reminds me of a young Andrei Kirilenko. the mentality he has, defensive mindset, just a toughness.”
Temple is likely to back up a number of positions ... as well as serve as force in the locker room. Playing for the Grizzlies and Clippers last season, Temple averaged 7.8 points, 2.9 rebounds while shooting 34.1 percent from deep. He often guarded the opponents’ best scorer. He’s likely to fill the role left vacant by the departure of Jared Dudley and Treveon Graham.