Carlos Delfino: "I'm 80 percent sure I'll stay in Italy another year"
In which areas of your game do you think you have improved the most since you were drafted by the Pistons one year ago?
Carlos Delfino: I think I have improved – not just in the physical aspect or the technical aspect, but basically in the mental aspect. I have gone through some new things on and off the court that have made me a better player, a more experienced player. I have played a lot of minutes here and I am more experienced player now. I've learned a lot of things thanks to this experience.
Have you made a decision about joining the Pistons or not next season?
CD: Not yet. When the season is over, I'll make a decision. Now I'm totally focused on Fortitudo (his club in Italy) and the playoffs. When it's all over, that will be the best moment to make a final decision about it. That's the ideal moment to make a such an important decision. Not now. Now I have other things to take care of.
But right now what is the percentage of possibility that you join the Pistons next year? Is it 50-50?
CD: No, not 50-50. Right now, I'm 80 percent sure I'll stay in Italy another year. And then there's a 20 percent possibility that I sign with the Pistons. But it's a big 20 percent (laughs). I'm not sure what is going to happen. We'll see when the season is over.
CD: Yes, it's true. One of the reasons I'm having doubts about what to do is that. But it's not because of Darko. He is still very young and he doesn't have a lot of experience. It's about what's going on with Mehmet. He is not that young. He was an established player in Europe, he was almost a star here and he is not playing a lot there. That's one of the things that make me doubt about what to do.
Would it be enough for you if they guarantee you 15 or 20 minutes per game next year?
CD: If they tell me something like that, that would be great. But I know they are not going to tell me anything like that. No coach is going to guarantee anybody a single minute. All I ask for is a chance to fight for a important spot on the team. I want to have the chance to get an important role on the team. I have a lot of confidence in my abilities. I just want them to be equally confident. I don't want anything handed to me. I'm not asking for guaranteed minutes. All I want is that. I'm a very confident player and I know I can make an impact.
Is there any buyout involved that the Pistons would have to pay for you to play in the NBA next season?
CD: Yes. That's another problem. The buyout is $800,000 and all the Pistons can pay is $350,000. If Fortitudo reduced the amount of money, that would change things. But that's one of the things that makes me doubt. It's all these little things.
Wouldn't you pay the rest of the money for the chance to join the Pistons right away?
CD: If you ask me today, no. I'm fine here and I know another year playing here wouldn't hurt me at all. If Fortitudo reduces the buyout, that would be a different story. Maybe we can reach an agreement. This could be in the interest of both sides because next year I would leave and the they wouldn't get an euro out of this. I don't know. We'll see.
Have you followed the Pistons this year?
CD: No. In fact, I haven't watched a single game (laughs).
But you are probably aware of the type of basketball they play...
CD: Yes, I know the type of basketball they play because of the coach they have and what I read and what they tell me. But I haven't seen them play myself. If you want to watch an NBA game here, you have to wake up at 3 AM and obviously I can't do that. I could see the games on tape, but I don't really enjoy watching games if it's not live. I don't like to watch games that have already been played.
On your team in Italy, you play an offensive-oriented game – just the opposite of Detroit. Do you think you can adapt to that style well?
CD: Sure. Here in Italy I'm pretty much the top defensive player on the team. I usually guard the best player on the other team. Playing tough defense is no big deal for me. In fact, this is one of the pros for me to join the Pistons – that I know I could easily adapt to that type of basketball.
What's your opinion about Larry Brown?
CD: I think he is a great coach. He is a winner. The only thing I don't like is that he doesn't play the rookies much. Other than that, I can only say good things. Look at all the things he has accomplished. He is a winner.
Pepe Sanchez, one of the few Argentinean players to make in the NBA, was in Detroit last season. Have you had the chance to talk with him about the Pistons?
CD: Not really. I don't know Pepe personally.
What are your expectations for the Argentinean team in the Olympic Games?
CD: First of all for me, I have to join the National Team on June 25 to play in the South American Championship. I'll have to earn a spot there. The National Team is pretty much a closed group. There are just two open spots. I want to be in Athens, but I first have to prove I belong. And I have to do that in the tournament.
Do you expect the team to make something big in Athens?
CD: I think the team has earned the respect of everybody. If things are done well, the results are going to be great. I have no doubts about the team. I only have doubts about the people upstairs. Right know, it is not known for sure if they have the money to pay for the insurance for Manu, you know. But if Manu is there and everybody is there, we are going to do great. The coach said the goal is to be one of the top 3 or 4 teams. I think we can do that.
A lot of American players are pulling out of the Olympics over security concerns. Are you worried about that too?
CD: Not really because right now I don't even know for sure if I'm going to be there. But I don't think you have to worry all that much. Being the Olympic Games, you know the security measures are going to be enormous. It's always like that in these big events. I just played in the Final Four (in Tel Aviv, Israel) and I was never afraid that something bad was going to happen. There were a lot of people concerned about this, but I was never worried. The security measures were very good and I never had the feeling that I should be worried about a terrorist attack or something like that.
Last question... You are often compared to Emanuel Ginobili. Is that a good comparison?
CD: No! No way. We are totally different players. We don't even have similar looks (laughs). I'm more of an all-around player. I have been playing the one, two and three spots here. And I was playing power forward here the other day. Manu plays great, but only at a certain position. He is a great player, but I can do more things. He does several things and he does those things exceptionally well. I can do more things. I'm not incredibly good at anything, but I'm pretty good doing a lot of things.
Jorge Sierra is the editor of HoopsHype.com