Pete D’Alessandro pulled off the first trade of the season when he dealt forward Luc Mbah a Moute to the Minnesota Timberwolves for former second overall pick Derrick Williams early last week. This is the type of low-risk, high-reward pick-up that the Kings needed to shake things up. In his first game with the team, Williams flew all over the court, showing a glimpse of the potential that the 22-year-old possesses.
The Kings are a long way away from being a finished product, but D’Alessandro promises to be aggressive every step of the way. Before Sacramento took on the Golden State Warriors on Sunday afternoon, Cowbell Kingdom caught up with the Kings’ new general manager for a quick Q&A.
CK: So you have to be happy about the early returns on the Derrick Williams trade. He’s athletic, and his overall game looked pretty good in game number one.
PD: After one game, we feel the way we felt when we did the trade. The one thing about once you make a trade, is it’s more about getting to know the person. You know what you see on the floor, you know what you understand as someone’s potential, but now you get to meet the person. And a big part of, I think, becoming good or great, is about who you are. You see it in a lot of players and it’s been a pleasure getting to know him.
CK: Do you like his potential to be good or great?
PD: Yeah, you have to like his potential. The sky’s the limit when a guy comes out with that kind of skill set and athleticism. And I feel like it’s either going to happen or it’s not for him. The way he works is going to dictate that and we’re looking forward to seeing that.
CK: People who watched the Kings long enough knew what kind of player type Geoff Petrie was drawn to – the high basketball IQ, shooter in the mold of Peja Stojakovic or Hedo Turkoglu. What is Pete D’Alessandro’s player type, because it seems like we are seeing it develop as the super-athlete?
PD: I do love athletic players, but I wouldn’t say I have a typical (type). It’s like when Vivek talks, it’s a jazz band. Everyone plays an instrument. Everyone has to do what they do. I think what you see in (Williams) is a unique athleticism. It’s fun to watch and I think our fans enjoyed that, but I wouldn’t lock myself into “I like this type of player or that type of player.” I think it takes a variety of players to really work.
CK: Are these the types of players that Greivis Vasquez needs to make it all work? Does he need these wing players like Ben McLemore and like what we have seen out of Derrick Williams in his first game?
PD: I think it helps. I think players need players in general and when you are a point guard, obviously, all the more so. Whether it’s Greivis or Isaiah (Thomas) or Ray McCallum or Jimmer (Fredette) or any of our guys. When you’re running a team, you need pieces to go to. You need options and that’s when you can really flourish and be creative and show your unique style. I think that by adding a piece like Derrick, it’s going to help not just our point guards, (but) the team in general.
CK: How much input do you have on who plays and who doesn’t? Is it Michael Malone’s show to run or do you say, ‘lets give this guy a look to see what we have here’?
PD: Michael makes the call on the floor and always will. I have an incredible amount of respect for his decision-making. The thing I really think is unique to us, I think is the respect we pay each other. We speak multiple times a day. We sit right next to each other all day long. I seek his council for player decisions and he seeks mine as well. It’s been that type of a partnership. At the end of the day – at 7 o’clock, this is his show right now and that’s it.
CK: How long do you need to get to a point where this is your team, with your pieces?
PD: I can’t put a timeline on it because the nature of this business is that something can happen tomorrow and something might not happen until next year. It’s hard. What I like to say is, you set a goal out on the horizon and try to steer the ship in that direction. And as things happen, you need to be able to react and be flexible enough to react. My constant thought is, are we flexible enough? Are we aiming in that direction? Are we going that way? To put a timetable is really hard, because the opportunities come at different times. They come at surprising times. I read you guys today, and you said, “When is a deal ever done in November?” And it’s probably pretty rare, but the opportunity came in November and so we did it in November. I think that’s going to be the way we work.
CK: You’re aggressive all of the time, right?
PD: I’m trying, with a great owner and a great coaching staff (to) turn this thing around. I think creativity and being aggressive is something that is necessary to get it there. It’s what we have to be.