Nick Nurse revealed during practice that Gary Trent Jr. was dealing with an illness during the team's recent road trip and the Raptors guard discusses playing through it. Also, Trent Jr. mentions what he's looking for as a ball-handler in pick and rolls.
- Did you feel a night like that coming? I know you've been-- been watching you put up tons of shots in the background here the last week or so. So it's nice to see it translating onto the floor a little bit.
GARY TRENT JR: For sure. It's the team to go out there and play, me to play my game, again, whatever is going to happen, happens. So--
- Nick was saying when you were in LA that whole trip you weren't feeling your best, but just kind of decided to play through it. What were you thinking in terms of just being willing to do that this time of year?
GARY TRENT JR: For sure, again, like I said, at this point in time of the year, we have nothing to worry about. You got to be all in, no matter what, sick, not sick. You got to get a win. So no excuses for nothing that's going on. Got a team to go out there, and show improve and get wins.
- What you can bring to an offense, especially in a half-court, with your shooting, like how much responsibility do you feel, given the way this team is structured and kind of where your strengths lie?
GARY TRENT JR: Really just, you know, trying to get in any opportunity I can, you know, to help. If I get an open look, knock it down or try to create for myself or somebody else. But just trying to play the flow of the game and trying to figure it out, coming into the game, subbing in. It's already kind of got a-- I want to say a motion or a feel to it, you know, so just trying to fill it out and go out there and play.
- You know, it's not like I would go down this roster and like you're maybe the guy most likely to be spotting up for 3's at a high volume, or getting 3-point shots at a high volume. And it's needed, what you do. So do you kind of go into games, man, I got to bring it. Like does it put that little bit of extra pressure on you?
GARY TRENT JR: Every game I try to bring it, no matter the start the game, one minute left in the game. You know, no matter what, you're going out there. Everybody's watching. They're going to evaluate you no matter what you're doing, even if you're on the bench clapping.
Or so they're watching everything. So you got to go out there and just play hard.
- You and Will were at the front of that zone in the second quarter with Christian, Pascal, and Chris back there. I mean, it's sort of a look you've gone to and away from. How much does it change things for you defensively and in terms of your aggressiveness? And how does it feel to have those arms behind you, I guess.
GARY TRENT JR: Yeah, it could help, exactly, when you got Koloko and you got Young back there, it can help as well too. But I would say it just gives you more of take a little bit more gambles but still have more help. Again, we still have to be in tandem with one another, still figuring out the chemistry
Will's obviously still learning our defensive schemes. It's a pretty high schedule we do a lot of different things and switch it by the minute. So really just on the fly and see the learning team to keep learning.
- Is rebounding the biggest sort of concern with zone? As you try to roll, like you know, because obviously you're not just responsible for one man.
GARY TRENT JR: For sure.
- Does it change what you're doing there?
GARY TRENT JR: Yeah, you can switch to different things. Obviously it depends on their lineup on the floor. If they don't have non-shooters, we will probably go to a zone. Or if they have one shooter, try to go to a zone as much as we can to try to get boards and take shots again. It also helps us, like you said, in a rebounding position, because all five guys are already inside the 3-point line.
So it kind of helps us stay in tandem but kind of play a healthy but man but a zone. So it kind of throws guys off.
- You talked about chemistry there for a second. I mean, you spend the whole year, or most of the year, playing with the same four guys for the most part.
GARY TRENT JR: Sure.
- And now, and now sort of three quarters of the way through the season, a bit of a flip. Do you-- the adjustment period there, in learning or getting more accustomed to those guys, did they have to learn you or do you have to learn them?
GARY TRENT JR: I would say it's a two-way street. You know, again, not everybody on the team, I feel like this year I played with the most different lineups and just starting and they're not starting, and then playing with a bench group and then playing with the bench group, so really just going out there to play. We obviously, we play in practice together every day.
And, you know, obviously if you're a good basketball player, it's going to show no matter who you're playing with. So you got to go out there and just try to play your game and gel with everybody you can to make sure everybody stays happy and everybody's free flowing and everybody can go out there and just play their game.
- And then obviously the addition of Will, that's another wrinkle into the thing.
GARY TRENT JR: Sure.
- I mean, do you feel the chemistry is coming with him? Like is he-- can you play off him, and him play off you?
GARY TRENT JR: Most definitely, Will's resume speaks for itself. He is who he is. He's a tremendous pro. He's been a pro for a long, long time now. He can come in and help in tremendous ways, whether it's knowledge, whether it's scoring the basketball, whether it's defense, everything. So again, let's continue to keep building.
He's already getting more and more comfortable being here, just in the week. So I'm going to continue to keep going, to keep building, man, and try to make this push.
- Fred was saying the other day that, because you guys watch OG doing what he does on the defensive end on a nightly basis, it's almost easy to take it for granted just how many things that he can help actually.
GARY TRENT JR: Man, man.
- As a scorer, who was up against some tough guards, what impresses you most about the way he defends?
GARY TRENT JR: I would say the thing that's special honestly is just his ability to guard different positions. You know, none of the guys can guard Jokic and then guard De'Aaron Fox and then guard-- you know, a lot of guys can't do that. So that separates itself right there. And then when you add his offensive ability and his ability to score and stuff like that, tremendous talent. He is who he is.
And he's going to continue to get better. He's going to continue to grow. He's going to continue to show improvement, continue to show everybody what he's capable of and what he can do.
- Gary, I asked coach what's the biggest takeaway from the road trip into the last two games you guys have won. And he said mentality. Is there anybody in particular that stands out in your mind that has been able to kind of steady the ship and not let the road trip losses affect the homestand so far?
GARY TRENT JR: I would say everybody has their moments. We're all human. Everybody get down, everybody be sad. Everybody be happy a day, but I would say a guy that brings it in every day, continue to work no matter what, Chris Bouchet, he's going to come in, work, Flynn is going to work. You know, Jeff is going to work, Joe is going to work, everybody coming in and trying to work, you know.
But those are two guys that I see no matter what, playing, not playing, whether they're scoring they continue to be professionals.
- The way that Denver game kind of got screwed up at the end and taken away from you guys a little bit, how much did that play into the way that road trip ended for you? Like was there a carryover there?
GARY TRENT JR: No, I wouldn't really say a carryover. You know, after the game ends, jump ball, it's over. It's a whole new day. It's a whole new game. You know, so the wind in the sails carry on. We just, road trip was a road trip. Man, now we're at home and now we're going to win and go on the road here soon again and try to get it done.
- How could that open up [INAUDIBLE]?
GARY TRENT JR: It could open up a variety of ways, if it's able to play make, able to shoot, able to score, just getting those reps in game and being able to practice it and go through those motions to let you know OK, maybe I can get a shot here, or maybe I can set my teammate up there, you know. So it's just keep doing it, keep working, you know, obviously you'd better work on it here. So when it comes to the game as well, I'm ready.
- What's the difficulty in playing the possibilities of fractionals, and just beginning to realizing that you know your step back and probably getting it off at all times. But there could be a really big coincidence under the win when you find on the courts something that you're realizing.
GARY TRENT JR: Most definitely, it just depends on who we're playing, what team. Obviously different guys have different rotations. Some guys may pull over help and stay in the middle and wait for the big man to get through seconds, because refs don't call it. So no matter what, they're just going to keep their big men there.
Or some guys they might clear out the corner so the corner guy might be open. So it's just different reads and different schemes. And the same teams usually run the same defenses for years to come, just like their offense as well, too, unless they change dramatically. But for the most part, everybody has the base of the same thing. It's just different names, for plays.
- Thanks, Gary.
- Thanks, Gary.