Cleveland head coach Mike Brown participated in CSKA training camp, get excited by Kaun and Shved, and told about the advantages of European basketball, LeBron James progress and Cavaliers championship ambitions...
Mike Brown: It is better for Kaun to play under Messina
Cleveland head coach Mike Brown participated in CSKA training camp, get excited by Kaun and Shved, and told to PROsports magazine about the advantages of European basketball, LeBron James progress and Cavaliers championship ambitions.

Part of an interview for PROsports magazine. Qs: Nikolai Tsynkevich

- It is the second straight year when you spent part of the preseason with CSKA. What does this experience mean for you?

- It’s an honor. CSKA program is very similar to the ones of NBA franchises. CSKA also has a great coaching stuff – knowledgeable, plus they are very good people.

- Who is Ettore Messina for you – a colleague, a pupil, a teacher, a friend?

- All of the above. He is a friend first. Definitely a teacher. He is a man I really respect on the floor and off the floor. I’d learned a lot from him watching his practices and talking to him about the game of basketball. Terrific coach.

- There are a lot of talks now about the big differences in NBA basketball and European basketball. What can NBA coach learn from Europeans?

- NBA basketball is really different from European basketball. We have such talented players as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony. You can give those guys the ball and ask them to create an offence for you. In Europe you don’t necessary have those type of talent plus you can play a true zone so it’s horror to have one person be able to create an offence for you. In Europe they pass better, they move the ball better, they set the screens better, the spacing is better. They have to relay upon being technically correct offensively in order to score. So for me to be able to come and try to pick up some of the spacing techniques, some of the ball movement techniques, some of the screening techniques, some of the motion techniques on offence I feel will help me to become better.

- The desire to learn from Europeans usually leads to invitation of Europeans to the team. But Cavaliers have only two and a half, including Anderson Varejao who also played in Europe…

- We have another player who plays for CSKA Moscow. We have the rights for Sasha Kaun who was drafted in second round. I am very excited about Sasha Kaun as a player; I think he has a very good chance to play in NBA with us some day soon.

- Now you probably a bit sorry you did not drafted him in the first round?

- No, it’s better for him to play here a couple of years under a coach like Messina. In CSKA program he has better chances to get some playing time and to really learn how to play basketball the right way.

- Did you follow other CSKA players during the camp? Especially young ones.

- Oh yes! CSKA has a very talented team. I tell you the young kid named Alexey, 19 years old, I don’t know his last name [Shved]… He is very, very talented. I think he has a really good chance to play in the NBA. Obviously there are also a lot of players that you like but because they are playing here for so long and had success here it would be hard to get them to come to the NBA. The guys like Smodis… They are making so much money. It is almost impossible for him to leave Europe because he won’t be able to get that type of money initially.

- CSKA will play two games against NBA teams – Toronto and Orlando – in October. Do you like the chances?

- CSKA is very talented team which is well-coached. I am going to definitely try to watch those games because obviously I feel close to the entire coaching stuff and players too. I think they have a chance to beat anybody.

- Coach Messina usually asks the players to try to win step by step. What is your way? Do you say initially to try to win everything? Or you ask your players to win 20, 30, 40 games first?

- Everyone who plays for the Cavaliers knows he tries to win a championship. But we don’t say it during the year; we don’t want the guys to look too far ahead. We ask them to concentrate on a present. I think CSKA coaches do the same.

Full version of the interview you can read in the next PROsport issue.


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