Q+A: Arron Afflalo
A summer sit down with the Denver Nuggets guard at adidas Nations.
by Nima Zarrabi / @NZbeFree
Arron Afflalo put together the best season of his NBA career last year for the Denver Nuggets, averaging 15.2 pts per game while shooting 47 percent from the field. It was Afflalo’s third season as a starter in Denver, and the LA native continues to improve on both ends of the floor.
Afflalo was at the Next Level Sports complex in Garden Grove, CA on Sunday to take in the pool play at adidas Nations. As a member of the adidas family, Afflalo attended the camp to offer support to the many talented players in attendance and he even had time for a run with the college counselors that attended the camp. During a break from his shooting routine, Afflalo gave a little bit of his time to SLAM.
Arron Afflalo: Just been working out, spending long hours trying to get ready for the season. I’ve been back and forth between here and Las Vegas. I’ve been working with the Nuggets coaching staff and my high school coach.
SLAM: Your season ended after a hard fought series against the Lakers that went to seven games. Do you believe this team is making the right strides and is on a good path?
AA: It was a good experience for us. Obviously we’ve retained our core now with JaVale and Andre and myself and Gallo. We have Ty and other players back from that team so we look at it as a good experience for us and we’re anticipating growing on it.
SLAM: What are your personal goals for the upcoming season?
AA: Just getting better. I’ve always taken pride in trying to be an all-around player and just letting that process slowly move for me. I’m looking forward to be a better all-around player on both ends of the court.
SLAM: How would you describe your relationship with Coach George Karl?
AA: It’s been great. The entire Nuggets organization gave me my first true opportunity to expand as a player and coach was at the forefront of that. He’s kind of a free spirit and open minded which just lets you develop. I’m excited right now.
SLAM: You mentioned JaVale McGee. He is a very intriguing young player. What has it been like seeing his development each day?
AA: He’s honing his skills, his maturity level and understanding of the game. I think the change of atmosphere from Washington to us will help him in the long run and will help us all together as a team. He’s been a great teammate and I can’t wait to get back on the floor with him for a full season.
SLAM: You were Coach Ben Howland’s first recruit at UCLA. There was an article in SI this past year that portrayed the program in a negative light and it seemed like the UCLA family rallied around him. He clearly got through it and delivered a wonderful recruiting class—what did you think about the situation?
AA: He’s a tough-minded guy on and off the court. I wasn’t worried. UCLA has a rich tradition and history and coach is a great coach. The school and coach Howland—I always knew they would be fine.
SLAM: Do you think there is some good energy and buzz building back up with the program now that top recruits like Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson have arrived and the renovation of Pauley Pavilion?
AA: I hope so. That’s obviously a good start by keeping that appeal that it deserves. With the new arena and rejuvenated recruiting class, these are all positive things that are good to look forward to.
SLAM: You’re an NBA vet now, so what’s your role here when you speak to young kids at events like the adidas Nations?
AA: Seeing if they have questions and being able to give them some type of enlightenment through my experiences in terms of what the game of basketball can hold for you as a player and as a person.
SLAM: What are these young kids interested in finding out?
AA: What it takes to make it. I’m still fond of speaking to veterans who are in their 12th or 13th year just to understand the different phases of life and different phases of the game that you go through as you mature and get older. I’m going into my sixth year now and it wasn’t too long ago that I was at camps like these. Time goes by and you just have to try to have fun with it.