Utah Jazz star Donovan MitchellThe Woj Pod add
Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell joins The Woj Pod to discuss his breakout rookie season, his battle with Ben Simmons, learning how to become a franchise player, Quin Snyder, and why he believes he can be a recruiter to bring star talent to the Jazz.
1:38: The whirlwind of the last two months for Mitchell, including leading Utah’s playoff run.
2:52: How much has changed for Mitchell after being doubtful whether he should turn pro last year.
3:58: The Jazz going on a phenomenal run once Rudy Gobert returned from injury
5:01: Mitchell’s relationship with Jazz coach Quin Snyder, who gave him more responsibilities throughout the season.
8:21: Leaving Louisville before the program became entangled in controversy.
9:03: Mitchell’s Jazz teammates helping him in his transition to stardom.
10:43: Learning the responsibilities of being a star player, including the ferocity and energy it requires each game.
16:53: The Jazz not thinking about rebuilding after losing Gordon Hayward.
18:22: What Mitchell learned from growing up around the Mets clubhouse about how young players should interact with veterans.
19:56: Attending Greenwich Country Day School and the benefits of being a late bloomer on the court.
23:21: Going to the EuroLeague playoffs in Serbia and seeing how much the entire country loves the sport.
26:48: Mitchell emulating the mentalities of Kobe Bryant and Russell Westbrook.
29:46: With Mitchell and Gobert in place, the Jazz being an attractive destination for free agents looking to win.
31:46: Staying the same person after achieving success.
33:25: The adidas sweatshirts trolling Ben Simmons and his Rookie of the Year candidacy.
38:19: Other players being willing to answer Mitchell’s questions about the league.
Trail Blazers star CJ McCollumThe Woj Pod add
Portland Trail Blazers star C.J. McCollum joins The Woj Pod to discuss the Blazers playoff exit and future, building an identity in an NBA small market, growing up a LeBron James fan outside Cleveland, his new Pull Up podcast, the league’s salary cap and much, much more.
1:26: C.J. McCollum’s new podcast Pull Up.
3:07: Damian Lillard and McCollum having large brands despite playing in a relatively smaller market.
4:52: Being recognized for his podcast instead of being a basketball player.
6:26: Growing up in Ohio while LeBron James became a global star, and the evolution of his game.
9:58: Championships being the measure for how James’ free agency will be judged.
11:32: James’ game showing no signs of slippage in his 15thseason.
12:37: McCollum leading the league in miles run per game.
14:20: The potential impact of legalized gambling on the NBA.
17:50: Is McCollum happy that his Cleveland Browns drafted Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield?
19:30: How would Cleveland react if the Browns won a Super Bowl?
20:28: McCollum’s brother Errick playing professionally in Europe.
21:22: Gaining an appreciation for the European game by watching his brother play.
23:02: The Trail Blazers being shocked by the Pelicans in the first round of the playoffs.
25:57: Does Portland need a star swingman, like Paul George or Kawhi Leonard, to take the next step?
27:48: McCollum’s go-to drill to start his workouts.
30:15: Why McCollum picked the Cavs to win the series vs. the Celtics.
30:56: The potential for a woman to become a head coach in the NBA.
32:08: How do trades impact the locker room?
ESPN draft analysts Jonathan Givony and Mike SchmitzThe Woj Pod add
ESPN draft analysts Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz join The Woj Pod to discuss the aftermath of the NBA Draft lottery, how Phoenix, Sacramento and Atlanta will view their picks, the politics of the draft combine process for players, and how Danny Ainge and Boston has managed to have so much success in the evaluation of players.
ESPN’s Bobby Marks and Brian WindhorstThe Woj Pod add
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Bobby Marks join the Woj Pod to discuss Dwane Casey’s firing, the coaching market, Boston’s future, and how the Cavaliers can sell LeBron James on a future with the Cavaliers.
Ian BegleyThe Woj Pod add
ESPN’s Ian Begley joins The Woj Pod to discuss the New York Knicks hiring of David Fizdale, the process leading to his four-year deal, its impact on Kristaps Porzingis’ future, and the Celtics and Sixers rapidly moving toward years of dominance in the Eastern Conference – and perhaps the NBA.
1:06: The Knicks hiring David Fizdale as their next head coach.
2:22: Fizdale wanting to be in New York and having his choice among the open jobs around the league.
3:25: His plans to build a strong relationship with Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis, including a trip to Latvia.
6:14: The Knicks needing Fizdale to be a face of the franchise and to establish a winning culture.
9:41: Porzingis and the Knicks being cautious with his return from injury next season.
11:21: Knicks GM Scott Perry cementing himself as the leader of the front office with the Fizdale hiring.
13:42: Were the Knicks under pressure to hire Fizdale before another team did?
20:37: The ACL tear making Porzingis more likely to sign an extension with the Knicks.
21:09: The Celtics and 76ers being poised to swing the balance of power to the Eastern Conference.
23:52: Danny Ainge’s tremendous patience while rebuilding the Celtics in the post-Big 3 era and having the assets to acquire any star that comes on the market.
27:00: Sam Hinkie’s success finding players like Robert Covington and T.J. McConnell during his tenure with the 76ers.
28:46: The Knicks front office placing an emphasis on Frank Ntilikina’s development.
ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Royce YoungThe Woj Pod add
ESPN’s Royce Young and Ramona Shelburne join The Woj Pod to discuss the NBA playoffs.
Steve CliffordThe Woj Pod add
Steve Clifford joins The Woj Pod to discuss his dismissal as the Charlotte Hornets coach, Kemba Walker, earning players’ respect in the NBA, the loss of practice time in the NBA, coaching Yao Ming.
0:39: Clifford’s days recruiting players in the northeast as a college coach.
3:19: His exit from the Hornets after five seasons and a change in the front office.
4:57: The Hornets lacking consistency this season and a mentality of wanting to improve.
8:15: The changing role of big men like Dwight Howard in the modern NBA.
10:45: Kemba Walker being fully invested in Clifford’s vision for the team.
16:30: The traits of successful players that are harder to find today than in previous generations.
20:28: How Clifford built relationships with his players when they have many people in their ears.
24:45: The evolution of how head coaches lead and interact with their players.
26:13: The successful coaches that Clifford worked with as an assistant during his career.
30:58: What are the hardest decisions that head coaches have to make in the NBA today?
32:55: Clifford showing his players what he wants from them instead of merely yelling at them.
35:12: Balancing the need for rest with the need to practice and how players view practice.
41:45: How great Yao Ming could have been if he stayed healthy.
43:29: Yao’s sense of duty and obligation to represent China in international competition, particularly the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
45:34: Yao’s global impact on the game.
ESPN Front Office Insider Bobby MarksThe Woj Pod add
ESPN Front-Office Insider Bobby Marks joins The Woj Pod to discuss the NBA Playoffs, breaking down the coaching searches, tanking, and the race for NBA Executive of the Year.
0:35: The tremendous pressure on the Thunder to beat the Jazz in the first round.
2:28: The Heat having the veteran leadership and coaching to challenge the 76ers.
4:31: Marco Belinelli making a real difference for the 76ers since getting a buyout from the Hawks.
6:29: The Rockets facing championship-or-bust expectations after a great regular season.
7:47: The Warriors needing to be at full strength to beat the Rockets.
12:09: Stan Van Gundy’s future with the Pistons and the start of the coaching carousel.
16:07: The Knicks placing an emphasis on someone fans can get behind in their coaching search.
22:00: Teams waiting to see which coaches become available after the first round or two of the playoffs.
23:16: The Magic being an attractive coaching job because of ownership’s willingness to spend and the city having previous success in free agency.
26:46: The widespread tanking during this season across the league.
30:21: The unlikelihood of another team following the 76ers’ approach of tanking for a prolonged period.
31:55: Daryl Morey being a heavy favorite for Executive of the Year.
33:10: The importance of coaches and GMs being on the same page, like with the Raptors and Jazz.
Mina Kimes on Euro prodigy Luka DoncicThe Woj Pod add
Mina Kimes joins The Woj Pod to discuss her newly released and remarkable ESPN The Magazine story on European teenage basketball sensation Luka Doncic, who could be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Mina talks about her time reporting the story on Doncic in Spain, including her conversations with NBA stars Goran Dragic and Kristaps Porzingis about him. Mina and Woj go in-depth on a teenage prodigy still largely shrouded in mystery to NBA fans.
1:17: Kimes’ story on potential No. 1 pick Luka Doncic.
3:08: Doncic dominating the EuroLeague at a very young age.
5:00: Doncic’s maturity on the court while simultaneously being a regular teenager.
6:37: Doncic being sheltered by Real Madrid’s culture.
9:25: His standout performance in Euro Basket and not deferring to Goran Dragic.
13:55: Doncic’s awareness of the stereotypes of European players.
17:38: The competition in the EuroLeague being higher than in the NCAA.
18:36: The similarities between Doncic coming to the NBA and Shohei Ohtani coming to MLB.
20:48: Doncic having star qualities in his game and personality.
23:47: Kimes’ career path helping her write profiles.
26:47: The questions that exist around Doncic’s game entering the NBA.
28:51: Doncic entering the NBA in what will likely be Dirk Nowitzki’s last season.
David GriffinThe Woj Pod add
David Griffin joins The Woj Pod to discuss the NBA coaching market, how NCAA coaches like Jay Wright and John Beilein could fit into the NBA, how he conducted the search for David Blatt in Cleveland and his years with new Basketball Hall of Famers Steve Nash, Jason Kidd and Grant Hill with the Suns, and much more.
1:18: Jay Wright building Villanova into a true powerhouse program and his NBA candidacy.
5:14: John Beilein’s humble beginnings and his Hall of Fame candidacy.
10:55: How NBA teams have changed what they want from college coaches making the jump to the pros.
15:55: Griffin on evaluating candidates who haven’t coached in the NBA yet and the Cavs’ 2014 coaching search.
20:35: In hindsight, would Griffin had waited to hire a coach if he knew LeBron James would return to Cleveland?
23:58: Jeff Van Gundy refusing to discuss a coaching job while the position is still filled.
25:54: Common mistakes from coaches when interviewing.
30:25: The trend of teams interviewing assistants for the purpose of gaining knowledge about opponents.
33:26: The Spurs developing coaches and helping them find head-coaching jobs.
36:46: Koby Altman deciding to stay with the Cavs amid interest from the Spurs in 2016.
41:43: How building a front office has changed during Griffin’s career.
46:08: Griffin’s memories of Jason Kidd and Steve Nash as Suns teammates.
48:11: Why Nash’s career went to new levels when he returned to Phoenix.
49:39: Grant Hill’s second chapter with the Suns.
Kelly DwyerThe Woj Pod add
Popular NBA writer Kelly Dwyer joins The Woj Pod to discuss the league as its rolls into the final days prior to the playoffs, as well as the early days of the basketball internet, his time together with Woj at Yahoo, mental health in the NBA, and much, much more.
ESPN's Tim LeglerThe Woj Pod add
ESPN’s Tim Legler joins The Woj Pod to discuss James Harden’s MVP season, the Rockets-Warriors matchup, the evolution of the three-point shot in the NBA, Legler’s incredible journey to the NBA, how much more valuable Legler’s shooting talent would be in the modern NBA and his desire and belief that he could succeed as a college basketball coach.
1:19: Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni calling James Harden the best offensive player he has ever seen.
3:15: Harden being in his prime and having his best supporting cast yet.
5:20: The Rockets’ chances against a healthy Warriors team in the playoffs.
7:26: Harden and Chris Paul needing to overcome past playoff failures.
11:00: How Legler’s career might be different if he was playing in the current era.
14:00: The three-point shot being added to college basketball before Legler’s junior season.
15:48: The slow adoption of the three-point line.
19:40: Legler’s career in the basketball minor leagues.
22:33: The limited opportunities in a 10-day contract.
24:43: The USBL being filled with talented players, including the Miami Tropics.
29:48: How important winning the three-point contest in 1996 was for Legler.
34:07: Legler’s interest in a college coaching position and how he has prepared himself to lead a team.
39:48: Would Legler consider taking an assistant job to gain experience?
41:18: Legler’s work ethic being a key part of his candidacy.
Portland president Neil OlsheyThe Woj Pod add
Portland Trail Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey joins The Woj Pod for a wide-ranging visit on Rip City, chasing Golden State and Houston in the West, the Chris Paul trade/Chauncey Billups waiver claim with Clippers, NBA playoff realignment, the idea of the NBA possibly returning to high school gyms, and much, much more.
1:15: How bartending helped him learn to interact with a wide range of people.
4:28: His father’s career as a police officer.
5:33: The Trail Blazers fighting for position in the crowded Western Conference playoff field.
6:47: Good teams in the West being overlooked because of the Warriors.
9:27: Where do the Trail Blazers fit into the Western Conference hierarchy?
11:53: How seeding the playoffs from 1 to 16 could help curb tanking.
14:53: Why has the Western Conference been consistently better than the East for so long?
19:00: How Olshey balances trying to compete in both the short and long term.
23:05: The Trail Blazers still not having a G-League franchise.
26:20: Can the NBA create a better environment to develop and evaluate players than the NCAA?
31:00: The potential impact of allowing players to enter the draft straight out of high school.
34:33: The benefits of the old rivalry between Nike and adidas to recruit players.
37:32: Claiming Chauncey Billups in 2011 against his wishes.
48:20: How Billups’ Hall of Fame candidacy mirrors NFL quarterback Ken Stabler.
Denver owner Josh KroenkeThe Woj Pod add
Denver Nuggets owner Josh Kroenke joins The Woj Pod to discuss alternative ideas to NBA early entry, how he chooses his GM’s, inside the legendary Carmelo Anthony trade, the passing of agent Dan Fegan, and much, much more.
2:14: How does Kroenke watch the Nuggets while he is on the road?
3:30: The passing of prominent NBA agent Dan Fegan.
9:14: Kroenke’s mentors as he prepared to become a team owner, including his father Stan.
11:16: The Nuggets getting a tremendous return for Carmelo Anthony in 2011, especially compared to recent trades involving stars.
13:37: How the Anthony trade changed the NBA news cycle.
15:48: The months-long saga that led to the Anthony trade.
17:20: Chris Paul’s famous toast in 2010 about playing with Carmelo Anthony.
19:29: Having the Nets as leverage while negotiating with the Knicks.
24:23: The decision to fire George Karl after he won Coach of the Year in 2013.
29:57: What Kroenke has learned from different franchises in other sports, including the Los Angeles Rams.
34:29: Hiring Tim Connelly as GM after Masai Ujiri left for Toronto.
39:14: The Nuggets’ proposal to change the draft and utilize the G-League as an alternative to the NCAA.
43:02: How the youth basketball circuit has impacted young players entering the NBA.
45:56: Signing Mike Miller in 2015 to be a presence in the locker room and around the league.
49:00: Getting advice from veteran players on how to improve the organization.
52:58: The value of getting a sit-down meeting with Dwyane Wade in 2016.
ESPN’s Ramona ShelburneThe Woj Pod add
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne joins The Woj Pod to discuss the sexual harassment and abuse scandal rocking the Dallas Mavericks, the impact on women working in these environments, the state of Kawhi Leonard’s relationship with the San Antonio Spurs and the possibility of postseason changes in the NBA.
Toronto coach Dwane CaseyThe Woj Pod add
Toronto coach Dwane Casey joins The Woj Pod to discuss the revelatory season for the Toronto Raptors, coaching in the All-Star Game, his years with Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton, pro basketball in Seattle and a conversation about gun violence in America.
2:31: Toronto’s young players exceeding expectations this season.
3:43: The evolution of All-Star Weekend into a major event.
6:39: America’s ongoing gun violence problems.
9:47: NBA coaches using their platform to speak on social issues.
12:30: White supremacists feeling empowered over the past year.
14:33: Trying to explain the gun violence in American to his children who are growing up in Canada.
17:39: The Raptors adopting a new style of play this season and Casey’s partnership with Toronto president Masai Ujiri.
22:29: The Raptors excelling in player development.
26:18: Heat big man Bam Adebayo reminding Casey of Shawn Kemp.
28:23: The Kemp-Gary Payton SuperSonics energizing the entire city of Seattle.
30:00: Seattle being a great market for an NBA franchise with the right ownership group.
34:13: Casey’s extended tenure in Toronto being an outlier in the modern NBA.
39:04: What Casey learned about coaching Payton that he applies to coaching Kyle Lowry.
41:13: The challenge and importance of earning respect from players.
43:30: Which player would Casey have draw up a play?
46:12: The parallels between this Raptors teams and the 2011 Mavericks.
48:09: Casey’s long journey to coaching the All-Star Game.
Golden State's Klay ThompsonThe Woj Pod add
Golden State’s Klay Thompson joins The Woj Pod for a visit live on site at the NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles. Thompson and Woj discuss his future free agency, growing up with Steph Curry in the NBA, Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference Finals, fathers and son in the NBA, his 60-point game and much, much more.
1:45: The Three-Point Contest being easy for Thompson.
2:28: Thompson’s initial expectations for his career upon entering the league.
4:22: How Golden State’s team culture helped Thompson develop.
5:53: Stephen Curry’s willingness to share the spotlight with his teammates.
7:35: Thompson’s 41-point performance in Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference Finals playing a pivotal role in eventually signing Kevin Durant.
9:26: Thompson’s ability to focus on the next shot as inspired by Kobe Bryant.
10:40: Thompson’s 2019 free agency and his hopes to stay with the Warriors.
11:43: The Warriors needing players to take slightly less than their market value to keep their core together.
14:14: The Rockets pushing the Warriors to keep their focus.
16:02: Could Thompson exceed his 60-point performance some day?
17:48: The benefits of having a father that played in the NBA.
19:18: The quietness of Thompson, Curry and Durant being balanced out by Draymond Green’s huge personality.
22:40: Playing in the 2016 Olympics and hoping to play for Team USA in 2020.