Sanyarin, a valued forum member, has taken time out of his day to translate a recent Andrei Kirilenko Interview originally posted on a German sports portal. I am working to find the source material to credit the original author as I am not familiar with German sports websites. For now, enjoy this contribution he made in our forums. Thanks, Sanyarin!
Greetings fellow pupsters!
Haven’t been around for one or two eternities, I guess, and I’m not sure that’s about to change soon. But I just stumbled upon this interview with Andrei Kirilenko, conducted by one of Germany’s most popular (not necessarily best) sport portals and published yesterday. And as I have the rare day off, I thought it might be of some interest to you guys altough there’s not much information to be gained from it. Nonetheless, you’ll hopefully enjoy it. I might have been absent, but haven’t forgotten about you all.
Sadly, my English has gotten a little bit rusty over time and it never was the best to begin with, so you’ll have to make well with my cumbersome translation from German into English … whith the interview probably being conducted in English and translated into German afterwards. There and back again …
The translation is also probably not the most consistent one as I kinda switch between trying to translate 1:1 and trying to grasp more of the sense than the pure wording. On the occasion that words are put in [brackets], those are (maybe) closer to the true translation than the words I chose to use but sounded sort of weid to my ear … just as will this whole translation to yours. But enough of that, here we go:
Question: Congratulations on reaching the semi-finals. Your very close to winning a medal now. The perfect farewell, considering you are leaving Europe for the NBA?
Kirilenko: *laughs* Oh yes! I want that medal bad! We have a great team right now, not necessarily playing the best basketball, but fighting till we drop. We are like mean [small, little] dogs, biting and fighting for every ball. I really enjoy seeing the way the Russian team has taken shape over the last years. We never give up.
Question: Is it this feature that makes the Russian Team so strong?
Kirilenko: I think our Coach David Blatt manages to build a tremendous spirit within the team [gives us team spirit]. He says: We don’t have superior scorers, but we do have superior team defense. Thus, we must play to our strengths [play that way]. This works very well. And we’re a great collective off the court as well. There are no loners among us. When one guy wants to do [undertake] something, normally everybody joins him.
Question: Now you’re facing Spain and therefore old companions [acquiatances].
Kirilenko: *laughs* Very old companions. I played with Pau Gasol, Jose Calderon and Juan Carlos Navarro as early as when we were in junior [youth] teams. I know them for 15 years for sure. This will be a real hoot. We know each other in and out. It will be decisive who, on this day, in this game, brings his A game [will be in better form].
Question: Which European is the Number 1 right now?
Kirilenko: It changes from season to season. Sometimes one guy has a strong year and another is going through a slump [has problems]. But it comes down to the well-known names: Dirk Nowitzki, although he’s a little bit older than the others, Pau Gasol, Tony Parker.
Question: Do we get to see the best AK47 of all times during these Olympics?
Kirilenko: I don’t want to judge that myself. I have never been a big time scorer, but I’m more of a team player who’s helping his team by doing all those little things on offense as well as on defense.
Question: This year in Russia, did it make you a better player because you know both worlds now, the NBA and European basketball [Europe]?
Kirilenko: It made me more versatile, I believe, because it’s [they play] a completely different kind of Basketball in the USA and in Europe. I really don’t want to say which one is the better, but they can’t really be compared to one another anyway. The Spaniards, for instance, employ [work with] an unbelievably fast passing game while with the US boys it’s mostly all about athletics. The South Americans are really tough as well. The Asians, on the other hand, run and shoot most of the time and now and then, you don’t understand what their game plan is [what they do on the court]. That is so interesting about watching Olympic basketball.
Question: Certainly you have watched the Dream Team. Is it even possible to beat the USA?
Kirilenko: They can be beat, but it’s very, very difficult. They always play fantastic, have a guy on every position who knows how to play, how to score, how to rebound, how to do the right thing at the right time [act in the decisive moment]. If you plan to squeeze out a win [want to beat them], you have to perfectly execute your own game plan without letting your attention slip for one second. The Argentineans did that brilliantly for 30 minutes in the preliminary [their group game], but then lost the decisive quarter 17:42.
Question: You will get to know one man from the Dream Team much better in the upcoming year, Kevin Love, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ star. Why did you decide to sign with the T-Wolves [change teams]?
Kirilenko: The opportunity arose for me to return to the NBA this offseason. I had watched some games of the T-Wolves last season and considered it an interesting team. They move a lot on the court, play a European style. I like that. And I love Rick Adelman. I’m a fan of him since his days with Sacramento. I thought: He’s the coach who can fit me into a system. That is a great opportunity for me. I was intrigued by other teams as well, but they played a different brand of basketball, focusing more on the individual player than team effort [team play]. But that’s exactly what I like.
Question: Along with you, you teammate Alexej Shved will join [move to] Minnesota. What’s you opinion on him?
Kirilenko: I like his game! I think, he had a break out [breakthrough] this year. The Olympics hint at him being ready to compete [play] on the highest level now. I appreciate our coach giving him more freedom and responsibility compared to the European Championships last year.
Question: Can he make it in the NBA?
Kirilenko: I hope so. Everybody sees his potential. Most of all, he has the physical tools that will make it difficult to defend him in the NBA. His ability to create plays for both himself and his teammates will be very valuable in the NBA.
Question: Kevin Love is already very valuable. Can he become an NBA MVP?
Kirilenko: Definitely. He could have already been MVP last season but it really hurt his case that his team missed the playoffs. Additionally, an injury forced him to sit out a few games. If you have a franchise player in the NBA, he needs to play all the time. Otherwise, the whole team looses its balance. The Timberwolves’ whole game was especially dependent on Kevin.
Question: Do you believe you can help the T-Wolves with you experience not to loose its balance so easily and to reach the playoffs?
Kirilenko: I will do my best. As I said, I’m not the big scorer, but I can certainly help the team in many areas.
And once again, check all this out (and more!) in our TWolves Blog Forums!