Saturday, January 28, 2023

Santi Aldama: “Draymond Green Told Me I’ve Earned His Respect”

He suffered in the heat, now enjoy. sat in the circle of memphis grizzlies In his second year in the NBA after forgoing the draft to better prepare, santi aldama (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 01-10-2001) is what makes him famous. and, between scratches, as a step to a higher level Bobby Portis and ‘trash talk’ Drummond Green, The first Spanish player to emerge from American university basketball also earned the stars’ honor nearly 5 years ago in 2009 America At about 22.

Of course, the sweet Canarian accent is still valid. “He’s never lost!” warns Santi, amid laughter. “Like all the wrinkled ‘potatoes’ when I come back, they don’t know how to do them here,” jokes the power forward, averaging 9.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block on 47.5% shooting from the field. With and 38% in triples this season.

What a leap he has made this season after a tough first year as a ‘rookie’. How does it feel?

I feel great, feel very comfortable, with each game that passes I feel more comfortable with the team and with the game in general, but it’s also true that the end of the season as a team We have had a very good start. Lastly, the season is long and we are trying to handle those constraints etc.

“Gaining weight has been very difficult, it’s a great sacrifice, you can’t neglect yourself any day”

He started as a starter, but, even with the return of Jaren Jackson Jr., he adapted and continued to get minutes and contribute off the bench.

Yes, my roles are changing. Initially I was more in the starting five and then Jaren came back, but everything is adaptation and with these players, with this cohesive team in which we have a lot of chemistry, it is easier to adapt to different roles and match situations, You play one way or the other it depends on how the team plays, how others play… (technical) staff also helps a lot because their preparation is very good and we are making sure that How to work and at what times to work.

What a duel he had with Draymond Green on Christmas Day! He started off with a block and then he went on to celebrate with shouts and applause that you were called for an offensive foul on a play against him. This thing ‘stung’ his pride.

(Laughter) He is a player who talks a lot but in the end he has won 4 rings and that has been very important. He plays with a lot of energy and he knew he would come in and he would probably have some friction. He started talking to me and we waved a bit, but after the game he respected me, that in the end, even though we fought, it’s a tough contact sport in which everybody wants to win but in which we all get Is well together.

Somehow, he told me that I had earned his respect. He told me: “I’m happy, never stop fighting, no matter what.” It is the experience that is gained, we love playing against teams like the Warriors and the aim is to be at our best at the end of the season.

Green is not the first to ‘suffer’ his quality. Last year he already held off James Harden and this season he’s done some on Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving as well. It must like it.

Of course they love it, they’re great players I’ve grown up with and I watch a lot of videos and their moves too, I try to study what they’re going to do and how they work together as a team We also study it a lot. In this, preparations are being made to know the trend of each and every player.

This summer he left to travel with the national team to better prepare for his second season in the NBA. What changed so much in the summer to offer this level this year?

It’s a bit of a physical change, getting a stronger body, and then working on different aspects of the game like lateral movement and shooting and just gaining confidence. Also understand the NBA game which is more difficult than the previous game and prepare for the season.

“Ja Morant Is One Step Ahead of Everyone Else”

He has put on a lot of muscle since coming into the league as a slightly built player. Has the change been difficult?

I’ve gained about 18 pounds since coming to the NBA, 4 of them last summer, in which I put on a lot of weight. It’s a lot of sacrifice, a lot of changes, you have to be aware all the time, in eating and when you eat, and it’s not something you can forget, you have to do it every day. But it is also a habit, so initially it is difficult but once you become regular it becomes easy.

Now that you’re getting critical, do you have any vision of the profile of the player you could become in the NBA?

What I’ve been through my whole life, being able to play a 2-odd, outside or inside, entering and passing with my own approach to the game is what I feel I can continue to develop. Being able to shoot, and if they triple defend me, penetrate and then make the best decision, whether to look for open partners or eliminate myself.

Aldama poses for MD in the Grizzlies locker room before Thursday’s game in Toronto

Tony Kanyemaras

I commented to Guil Álvarez in an interview with us at the beginning of the season that the coach asked him, above all, to shoot three-pointers, grab rebounds and be very physical on defense. Are you asking for more things during matches?

Yes and no We’re all on the same line, just defending, being active, switching, setting up, taking shots, running and being ready to run into the attack and make good decisions.

He is still very young, he turns 22 this January. What are you focusing on improving now?

Look at the shots I’m going to get in games with both the system, the defense, one-on-one and the help side, try to get more blocks and so on. That’s what we’re most focused on right now in my development.

Is the goal to surpass last year’s conference semifinals? The one “weak point” that has come out about these grizzlies is their lack of experience. Apart from the injured Danny Green, Steven Adams is the oldest and he is currently 29 years old.

They played in the play-offs the year before I came and last year we lost against the Warriors, who were the eventual champions and that gives you a lot of experience. We are a young team but have players who have been in the NBA a long time despite being young, Steven Adams is 29 but has 10, Tyus Jones is 26 and 7… It’s true, we are young and We still don’t have the experience of other teams, but we are winning and our philosophy of going day by day and competing against ourselves has helped us grow rapidly. We fight to progress, we have to improve every day and that will take us beyond the first and second rounds.

In addition to what they do on the court, the Memphis Grizzlies are also known for their energetic dances before games. But you don’t dance much, you seem shy.

Dancing is not my forte, maybe at the end of the season I will get some movements (laughs). But for now, I keep looking at them and that’s it, and they get ‘depressed’ (laughs). It’s something that keeps on growing, the worst thing is that every day when we start we add something new that lasts and later, it gets longer and longer, more dancing and more songs (laughs happened). This is our culture here.

What’s it like playing with and hanging out with Ja Morant?

He is a superstar who will be an MVP one day and a pleasure to play with. This guy has tremendous scoring facility, he is super athletic and finds teammates to play when he is not defined. It’s easier with him, if he doesn’t succeed, he gives it to you. He is a very young leader but doesn’t look too young to play, he is an intelligent person, he studies a lot of trends all over the world and he is at the forefront.

If he improves on the triple (32.7%), it would be even more devastating than it already is.

He has and will continue to improve them, but he is shooting a good percentage and shoots and tucks every time the team goes down in a ‘pick and roll’. Other teams see it but it is difficult for us (to defend him) in training.

Morant Aldama

Aldama with Ja Morant

Morant Aldama

Earlier we mentioned selection. Do you see yourself going there this summer or the following?

It’s always been my dream, so I’m hopeful.

How do you assess the role of the rest of the Spaniards in the NBA this season?

As always, when we go out on the court and they give us opportunities, we not only follow but also contribute and that sums up what Spanish basketball is all about, we are players who always want to win and It’s always a pleasure to play against someone, I love talking to them.

His uncle and father, Santi Aldama, was also a professional player, having played in the Barcelona ’92 Games with the national team. How is your relationship with him in terms of basketball?

He was with me in early December. We always talk a lot about basketball, he enjoys watching me play and watches most games if the schedule allows. For him, it is a source of pride and for me, to dedicate myself to basketball like him, is my life’s dream.

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