Pete Carril Rumors
“Lonzo’s shot is exactly how mine was through my freshman year of college — exactly,” Martin said. “The N.B.A. is a faster game, so I knew I had to tweak it just a little. Just moving the ball to the right a little bit, away from my face on the release, helped tremendously.” Combined with the Kings’ subsequent input, which included counsel from the likes of Rick Adelman and the storied former Princeton Coach Pete Carril, Martin went on to shoot 40 percent or better from 3-point range in three seasons and averaged at least 20 points per game for five successive N.B.A. campaigns at his peak.
Like most of the professional and college coaches I spoke with, Carril abhors the current strategic trends in the N.B.A., which he thinks shun passing combinations in reducing the game to pick-and-rolls and 3-pointers. “I don’t see the mystery of the triangle offense, except it goes against the grain of the way the game is played today,” Carril said.
Last but certainly not least, Carril plays armchair psychologist with his old player, Ron Artest/Metta World Peace: Carril on Artest… “For me, he’s the biggest enigma I’ve ever been around because I really like that guy. I like him a lot. I watched him with his kids (while with the Kings as an assistant), and those kids idolized him; they love him. After a game, they’d come in and it’s ‘Daddy, can I have a soda?’ He says, ‘Nope.’ They’d grab him by the legs and stuff. It was unbelievable how much love there was there. So I’d say to myself, ‘This guy loves those kids and they love him, so why can’t he be different as a player? What makes him do some of the crazy stuff he does?’ At that time, when we got him, we were 29th in the league in defense and we finished 16th. So you know that he could guard anyone. “I love the guy. I even got him to look at some tapes with me, but it didn’t last long. Maybe about five days of that, and then I didn’t see him again. He’s an affectionate guy, but he has to know that he’s going to get credit for what he has done.
SI.com: Will the Princeton offense work for the Lakers? Carril: What I told Eddie is that it might work for this team for several reasons. One is that you’re going to get easy shots for Kobe Bryant. And over the last several years, I’ve seen where his shots have become harder and harder to get. He’s getting older and more tired, so I’d like to see whether they can get him some easy shots. He’s going to make them. But you have to set picks to do that, whether you set a pick with Gasol or whoever it is, you’re going to get a free shot and they’re going to find out — the way I did — that the guy who sets the pick, after a while, is going to be more open than the guy that he set the pick for. They’ve got shooters, they’ve got passers, so they can run that. Whether they want to do it? I think Eddie can show them how to do it so it’s not robotic, and it could be effective.
SI.com: How important do you feel Howard’s role will be in this whole experiment? He’s not exactly known for his passing, so could that limit what the Lakers can do? Carril: Well, a little bit. I remember when Eddie was with the Nets, their center [Jason Collins] didn’t score and didn’t pass. So they had the guy from Denver [Kenyon Martin]; they would throw it into him and the guy who would guard him would sag off so much that he couldn’t throw it into the post and they had to run something else. But Eddie devised a way so that the majority of passes were thrown by Jason Kidd, so it became effective. Eddie was always clever that way. When I worked with him in Sacramento, he always had a good feel for the game. That’s why I guess he was such a good [player]. He stole a lot of balls and knew how to play. So he got it to work [in New Jersey], then he got it to work in Washington, too. It’s good when your center can pass the ball. At first you’ll have to prove it to him, but after a while you’ll see that the more he passes, the more he’s going to score.
SI.com: Can you elaborate on Howard’s place in this equation? What if he doesn’t fit into the system? Carril: Well then it’s like with the Nets and what happened there, when their center didn’t contribute the assists or scoring that they needed but Eddie devised some way to get it done. They’ll be thinking about that too. But [Howard] is an important rebounder. That’s going to be something that he has with L.A. that he didn’t have with New Jersey. But there’s stuff there that Eddie’s going to have to do. And then, you don’t have to keep Dwight as he is [as a player]. There’s no such thing as keeping him there. Who knows? With coaching and teaching and understanding of what this can do, he might turn out to be better than he is now. He should be. If he takes instruction and he listens, and of course he’s playing with better players now too. He’s got two Hall of Fame players for sure on that team at guard, so they’re going to have a profound influence on him. So when they get him the ball, and he’s in a position to pass as opposed to score, you’re going to hit Steve Nash for a three-point shot. That thing is going in. And that’s true with Kobe.