DALLAS - Willie Cauley-Stein, an artist on the side, has said he thinks of basketball as a sort of art form. On Tuesday at the AAC before the Suns at Dallas Mavericks tipoff, he showed that being interviewed is an art form, too. A Q-and-A from his pregame group media session:
On his recent trade from Golden State to Dallas
“It’s for sure a great opportunity to kind of restart my career and try to find a home. It’s a perfect spot, just the way they play kind of fits the strengths of my game and defensively, there’s a lot of freedom to just create havoc and that’s what I do. It’s going to be fun.”
On if he feels like he’s getting up to speed quickly
“Yeah, it’s been a good two days. I think I’ve got enough under my belt where I could come in and make an impact. After that, it’s just comfort-ability at that point.”
On how he thinks he fits in with the Mavericks
“I think I fit in great with these guys. The way I play is – I think it has the strengths of what they do with the floor spread and the spread pick-and-rolls with me and Luka (Dončić) or me and any of these dudes.
"The way our spacing is, it’s deadly.”
On his impression of Luka Dončić from afar and what he thinks it’ll be like playing with him on the same team
“Incredible pace for (age) 20. His pace is crazy. The way he controls the game is fun to watch and it was hard to play against. Now, I’m glad I get to play with him.”
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On how he thinks coach Rick Carlisle can help him improve his game
“That’s why I’m here. I’m a big believer in God’s plans and how the road has gone for me. I think it’s perfect. He’s the type of coach to get the best out of his players and he challenges you everyday to get better. I like that. I like the work. I like the challenge of coming into a new spot and trying to fit in right away. Your IQ really gets to come out. It’s just an exciting time.”
On the emotions of hearing the news of the passing of Kobe Bryant
“I think it hit me like everybody else. Shock. It’s a tragic ordeal. You still don’t even know what to do with that in the back of your head and heart. You’ve just got to really keep your faith and hold it. It’s a hard thing, for sure.”
On what he wants Mavericks fans to know about him
“They’re going to find out. I play hard. I play extremely hard and I play for my teammates. I just want to win and I think that’s why I’m here too, is I just give another dimension to the team. That will to win and that competitive spirit, that’s what you guys are going to get.”
On moving from a team not in the playoff picture to a team in the middle of the race
“You’ve got to check back in, you know what I’m saying? You’ve got to check back in and lock back in on the season.
"It’s exciting, though. Coming from knowing that you’re going to be done in early April to (now) ... I’ve got a chance to play in my first playoff series. It’s crazy. It’s kind of surreal.”
On what his former Sacramento Kings teammate and current Maverick Justin Jackson told him about his new situation
“He’s got good things to say. That’s for sure. I remember talking to him last year when his trade went down and how happy he was after seeing him here and getting to really rock and play in that 5-out. To touch the ball and move it and be a part of that, he already had me geeked from the jump. He texted me right away, too. Real love, back in it, so it’s fun.”