HoopsHype.com Interviews

Maciej Lampe: "I would go to the NBA if I'm in the Top 10"
by Jorge Sierra / May 1, 2003

How do you feel playing for a club like Complutense (where Maciej was sent on loan by Real Madrid) in the Spanish lower divisions?

Maciej Lampe: I'm very well here.

When you signed with Real Madrid two years ago, did you ever think you would be playing for a club in the lower divisions instead of with Real Madrid?

ML: Well, no... I would rather be playing for Real Madrid, but it was not possible. I didn't think I would be playing here right now. But I'm happier now. I'm playing more minutes and better here.

How is your relationship with Real Madrid right now?

ML: My relationship with them is good. Now we have to see what happens come playoff time, if they want me there... But my relationship with them is OK.

Do you feel bitter towards Real Madrid for any of the problems you've had with the club?

ML: That was a long time ago. I would rather look ahead.

Anything they did that hurt you in special?

ML: In special? Well, I would rather not talk much about that and focus on the future.

Could those problems with Real Madrid cause you to think about jumping to the NBA earlier? You probably know many people consider you a great draft prospect...

ML: Well... You never know. If I'm playing well and they (the NBA scouts) see me playing well and I have a good opportunity, I may do it.

What are you exactly going to do when the season is over?

ML: I don't know. We'll see. I have several options.

I've read that you may go to Chicago to train with Tim Grover. Is that true?

ML: Yes, that's an option. But in the end, it depends on Real Madrid. I would rather not make much comments about that. Maybe they want me to stay and work with the EBA team (Spanish fourth division) or another stupidity.

How do you see your chances in the draft?

ML: It all depends on how I play. If I play well, there are many options. It depends on how they see me play. If I see I can get a good position in the draft, I would do it. But I don't want to go too early. Maybe I can wait another year and get a better draft position then. I have not even submit my name this year yet.

What would you consider a "good position" in the draft?

ML: Top 10 would be a good position.

So if you are in the top 10, you are going to the NBA?

ML: Yeah, I think so.

When are you making a decision about entering the NBA draft?

ML: When the season is over. Tomorrow we have to play against Menorca in the playoffs. If we win, we are in the second round. When everything is over, we'll see.

Do you know what the price of the buyout of your contract is?

ML: I don't know it for sure. We are trying to lower it right now.

Would you consider buying out your contract with Real Madrid like Raul Lopez did last year in order to go to the NBA?

ML: Maybe. It depends on the overall situation. There is no need to rush things at this point, anyway.

Some draft experts are comparing you to Dirk Nowitzki... Do you think that is a good comparison?

ML: (Laughs) They are doing that just because I'm European. Dirk Nowitzki is very big, fast, very coordinated... He is a star. He is bigger and stronger than I am. I'm still nothing. I'm just a little boy (laughs).

Both you and Nowitzki can play the three frontcourt spots. Where do you feel more comfortable?

ML: I'm currently playing the power forward spot, so I would say power forward. I feel very comfortable there. I also like stepping out to take some outside shots. But I still have to work on my quickness to play there (at the small forward spot).

Which player do you think you resemble the most?

ML: (Laughs) Jaime Peterson.

Jaime Peterson? Where does he play?

ML: (Laughs) He plays in Complutense [Turns out Jaime Peterson is a teammate who's joking around while Maciej is on the phone].

OK. And in the NBA, who would you compare yourself to?

ML: I like Kevin Garnett a lot. My favorite player is Tracy McGrady, though.

And who would you like to resemble to?

ML: I would like to play like Tracy McGrady, but I can't because I'm bigger and heavier. So maybe Elton Brand... Chris Webber... or Pau Gasol.

Finally, what do you think you have to improve the most in order to play in the NBA?

ML: I have to get tougher. From the physical point of view, I'm not ready. I have to get quicker and a lot stronger. I have to improve a lot of things in fact (laughs).

Jorge Sierra is the editor of HoopsHype.com

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