Russia Rumors

You talked about your return from the NBA. While you were there, you were mainly frustrated with your inactivity and lack of playing time. Do you feel you got the chances you deserved in Portland? Victor Claver: In the NBA it is hard to find a spot in the rotation. Especially when you are not a top draft pick. My rookie year was relatively good and I was playing. Not in every every game, but I was receiving some fair time on court. Then my injury came that put me out of the team for quite some time. Everything was different in the second season. The team simply changed a lot. There was fewer room for me in the rotation. The chances to play were decreased. When I realized my situation I just wanted to take advantage of being there. It was the only thing I could do. To work every day with the assistant coaches, trainers, the strength coaches etc.
Do you think that things would have been different in an other team? Maybe… yes. Perhaps in another team I would have gotten more chances to play. But that’s the NBA. It’s a challenge you have to take. In my second season in Portland the team had high expectations. The roster was big and everyone was available in each and every game. The opportunity to play never arose. A player’s job is to be on court. To play. How do you get over the frustration of not being able to do that? It’s not easy. But I never let it consume me. I never lingered on the fact that I wasn’t playing. What I did, was trying to channel my energies to other basketball related things and focus on getting the most just from being there. I preferred to work and enjoy the whole experience as best I could. I spent all my time trying to improve. If you leave out the fact that I was not playing, everything else was great. My assistant coaches helped me every day, and everyone in the team supported me and talked to me. Everything I needed was there.
Many European players who return from the NBA consider that they have left some unfinished business there. That they have something to prove. Do you belong in that category? No because I don’t play to prove anything. I play because it is what I enjoy doing. And I want to be in a team in which I enjoy myself. That’s why I chose Lokomotiv Kuban. Right now I am loving the whole experience there. And generally, I don’t have to show anything to anybody. Sure, if I had the chance to return to the NBA and if I thought that an opportunity that is good for me appeared, then I would take it. But if not? No biggie. Who was the most difficult opponent you faced in the NBA? Kevin Durant. It was funny actually because I started the game playing defense on him and he made some turnovers. I felt so good about it. I was like “wow I am playing such a good defense on him”. Then I sit down after the first quarter and I realize that he has scored 10 points already. He was fast and he takes the ball a lot. It was funny because initially I felt good because i was thinking I am forcing him to make turnovers… and then I look at the scoreboard and watch how much he had scored.