Antonio McDyess Q + A
by Jonathan Santiago / @ITSjonsantiago
In 14-NBA seasons, Antonio McDyess has seen and done it all.
He’s played on bad teams and good teams. He’s competed on the international stage. And he’s even suffered career-threatening injuries, only to come back and reinvent his game.
It’s been quite a career for McDyess, who at age 35 could be calling it quits sooner rather than later. I got a chance to catch-up with the Spurs big man prior to the end of the NBA Regular Season.
SLAM: How does this Spurs team feel right now going into the Playoffs? Do you feel like you are peaking at the right time?
Antonio McDyess: I wouldn’t say we’ve reached our maximum peak. I think we still have a good ways to go. We’re still getting comfortable and things are coming along a lot better. We’re winning against (good) teams, but we kind of have let downs against teams we feel like we can win against. We kind of relax against them. I think we need to go out there with a killer mentality every night. And if we do that, I think we’ll be OK.
I think (this season) has been a let down for this organization though because this team has been so successful in years past. And this year there’s still success, but it’s not the success they’re used to here. And I think things are just coming along a little slowly. But I think we, right now are still at that point where we can get a little bit better each game.
SLAM: Despite the contributions of George Hill and rookie DeJuan Blair, this team is still veteran at its core. Do you guys put more pressure on yourselves knowing that this team doesn’t have many years left of championship contention?
AM: It’s a small window of opportunity here and it’s closing fast. Like I tell the young fellas all the time, with the team we have, we’ve got to make the best out of the opportunity. You never know when you get the opportunity to play with Hall of Famers like Tim (Duncan) or great players like Manu (Ginobili) or Tony (Parker). You just have to make the best out of the opportunity.
Like you said, the window is closing. You never know (how much longer you’ll play). The next thing you know, you might be retiring (soon) like me! But we’re just trying to make the best out of it. And hopefully something happens where we can contend for that championship in the Finals.
SLAM: Over the last month, Manu has really carried you guys. He’s looked like the Manu Ginobili of old, showcasing that crafty yet effective style-of-play.
AM: He’s been like Superman. I know Dwight’s Superman. But lately, I think Manu’s been Superman with the injury we’ve had with Tony. He’s just put this team on his back. If I can actually say, the past month or so if you asked me about any guy who’s had to really carry their team — I’d have to put Manu up there with the Kobes and LeBrons. I mean you have to. You look at the level he’s played at over the last month; he’s been great for us. And I think without him, we’d just be another on-the-bubble team.
SLAM: Another guy who’s stepped up big in the absence of Tony Parker has been his backup, George Hill. Talk about his play a little bit.
AM: Huge. He’s been huge
SLAM: Did you think he was capable of what he’s accomplished this year before the season started?
AM: Oh, definitely. I saw him last year as a rookie. Me and Chauncey (Billups) used to talk all the time about how good of a defender and scorer he is, and just how knowledgeable he was of the game. He always had that potential. So, you know it’s not very surprising to me. It’s surprising that he did pick it up so fast and that he’s been ready to step up in Tony’s place and play well.
SLAM: Now with Tony back in the fold, what’s that going to mean for the team moving forward?
AM: Tony is that player that will get everyone involved. He will make a team better. So, it’s not going to be a huge adjustment for us. He knows how to play the game. He’s a veteran point guard that knows what to do when he steps on the court. It’s definitely going to help us down the road.
Jonathan Santiago also co-hosts the weekly Davis Sports Deli Podcast, which can be found here.