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Rex Walters, NBA Assistant Coach

JR Sports Brief / JR
The Truth Network Radio
April 19, 2024 9:48 pm

Rex Walters, NBA Assistant Coach

JR Sports Brief / JR

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April 19, 2024 9:48 pm

Rex Walters joined JR to preview the NBA postseason and discuss who he thinks will win The Finals. 

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Plan features and taxes and fees may vary. What up y'all? It's your boy Danny Green, three-time NBA champ.

You either rooted for me or rooted against me. Join myself and my co-host Harrison Sanford on the Inside the Green Room Podcast. It's a podcast that brings you never before told tales from the locker room to candid interviews with basketball legends to breakdowns of what's happening in the NBA right now. Whether you're a diehard fan or casual about your hoops, this podcast brings you the game like never before.

Follow Inside the Green Room on the Odyssey app or wherever you get your podcasts. Hey coach, how you doing? You good? Yeah, I'm good man. Thanks for having me.

No, absolutely. I appreciate your expertise having coached and played all over the world. I guess to open things up, what are you most excited about seeing with these playoffs? We have some great matchups, some great teams, great personalities, and unfortunately some injuries. Yeah, that's that is too bad with Giannis being out.

You've got some other guys banged up. I guess the the thing I'm looking forward to the most is Denver, LA, right? Because those are those are two teams Lakers.

Obviously, they've got the they've got the coronavirus championship in the bubble. Then you've got Denver last year that won it all. And, you know, Denver is a different team this year.

They don't have the same bench that they had last year losing Bruce Brown, losing a guy like Jeff Green and L.A. is playing pretty good. And they've got a guy named LeBron James. They've got a guy named Anthony Davis.

And when you got those two guys, you know, you've got at least a couple of double doubles in the bank. It's going to come down to whether or not those other guys, Austin Reeves, Tim Whitty, DeAngelo Russell, can those guys step up and make enough plays? Because, you know, Denver's going to get easy shot. They've got an unguardable guy in Jokic that's also a phenomenal passer that makes his teammates better. So that's the matchup right now that I'm looking forward to watching in this first round.

Well, Coach Rex, let me ask you this. Do you think the Los Angeles Lakers have enough in them? Is there enough gas left in the tank to pick up a championship this year?

That'll be interesting. Anthony Davis has always battled with injuries. LeBron being at his age now, at any moment, you just it's like a ticking time bomb. Can he get through it?

He always has in a lot of different seasons. But at the same time, again, I think it's going to come down to those other guys. You know, Denver's done a number on them and they've still got last year on their mind and just the total domination that Denver put on them.

So they've got a lot to overcome. Rex Walters is here with us, the J.R. Sportbreeze show on the Infinity Sports Network. You've had to coach and have the watch and coach against and watch Nikola Jokic. And I've asked players about this and everybody talks about just how he moves in slow motion. He does what he wants. He gets to his spaces from a coach's perspective. For guys not jumping out of the gym. What makes him so spectacular?

He just does it all right and does it efficiently. Yeah. So, of course, you can score at all three levels. You can score from three.

You can score mid range. You can score off the bounce. You can score at the rim because he's great with his ankle.

And on top of that, he's a phenomenal passer. So now your double teams, you've got to be really intelligent with when you're doubling him, how you're doubling him and who you're doubling him with. It just presents a lot of problems as a coach and his guys know that if they're open, they're going to get the ball. So it just makes it an unbelievable challenge, especially in a seven game series. How you're going to figure out a way to do enough things to not only limit his scoring, but limit his ability to facilitate the offense.

Like it's it's it's a unique thing. And again, because of his maybe lack of athleticism, he's a great athlete, but he's not going to win any Olympic decathlons anytime soon. But because of that, he does see the game so clearly, right?

He does know how to get to his spot and he makes you pay for every single mistake. And coach Rex Walters is here with us. The JR Sport Reshow on the Infinity Sports Network. We got a final score here. Miami just knocked out the Bulls, 112 to 91. Miami advances to the eighth seed to take on the Boston Celtics. We know Jimmy Butler, we don't necessarily know the full status of his MCL.

Doesn't appear that he's going to be ready to go at the onset. And we know about the Celtics. They are or have been a preseason favorites in the east outside of the Bucks, which we'll get to. What are your thoughts about the Celtics and some of their execution issues? It's like they have the talent, but at the end of games, it becomes real heavy on iso-ball. Yeah, you know, they've been able to win and win at a high level just playing their base defense and their base offense. And it's been good enough in the regular season to be dominant.

64 wins. They've got great shooting and they've got great one-on-one defenders, so they don't have to make a lot of adjustments. That's different, though, in the playoffs, right? I still think that they'll probably come out of the east, no question, but they'll probably come out of the east, no question.

But there are going to be adjustments that are going to be made. You know, Miami's done a good job of throwing his own at them, throwing them different defensive looks and making them defend on the other end. If you're going to try to go one-on-one against Boston, you're not going to win.

All of those guys can lock down and guard the ball, especially in that starting five. So you've got to move them. You've got to play inside out. You've got to make them defend actions. And then on the other end, you've got to continue to change up your coverages, change up your defenses and not let them get in the rhythm.

And if you do that, you're still probably going to lose, but you do give yourself a chance. Rex, you like a lot of people, you look at the Celtics and it's easy to favor them out of the east, especially given some of the other issues that have gone down in regards to injuries. We see of the 76ers with Embiid, you always got to hold your breath every time he runs up and down the court. We certainly can look at the Bucks with Giannis and him being out. What are your thoughts on what the Bucks have done this season and what they can potentially do now? We don't know the status of Giannis.

He could be out there dropping 30 or he could be missing for a few games. Yeah, no question. They've really stumbled into the playoffs. I mean, think about this. Adrian Griffin, if he would have just kept his job, he would have got coach of the year votes. There's no question about it. There were 30 and 13 when he was let go.

That's crazy. Okay. Number one.

Number two. Yes, the injuries. And I think the biggest thing is as great as Damian Little is and he is phenomenal score. He is game time. He is big in crutch situations, but they've gone from a number four defense, a top five defense last year to a top 20 defense this year. They're at 19. And you take a guy like Drew Holliday, right?

And let's be honest. If they have Chris Middleton last year, they probably won another championship. And Boudinold is still the coach. Well, they didn't have Middleton. Now they don't have Giannis. So this is going to be a tough stretch for them. They have a tough challenge ahead of them with their matchup.

And anything can happen. They're not the same dominant team. The Pacers with their pace, with their space, they're shooting. They can present a lot of problems for Milwaukee in this first round matchup.

A coach Rex Walters is joining us here, the JR sport brief show on the infinity sports network. Every now and then we get a team that just kind of pops up and shocks everybody. Obviously, Oklahoma City is a young team.

They also happen to be small and we can look at the wolves. Anthony Edwards has an opportunity to grow his game. Their defense has been amazing on the Orlando Magic, a young, probably too young. But is there a team that has a chance and an opportunity to really put their stamp on the league, this playoffs and say, hey, we're going to be here for the next few years?

Well, I would say number one, you know, the job that Tom Thibodeau has done with the New York Knicks and then losing a guy like Julius Randall, right? They've actually like taken off as a team. And it's all because of Jaylen Brunson, their defense, and they don't beat themselves.

So they're always going to be in games. They play, they play a heavy load. You know, Tom Thibodeau is going to play his guys and play him, you know, play him a long period of time and always have a chance. So it's really interesting.

There's a lot of talk. Can I can a small guy take a team and lead a team to the playoffs like into the championship, like a guy like Allen Iverson did when they lost the Lakers? That's what Jaylen Brunson is trying to do without the same athleticism with a fundamental, super skilled game that again, makes you make mistakes to get off good shots and great defense around him.

So they have a chance. New York Knicks are kind of scary to me and they're not, they're not beautiful to watch. If you don't like great defense, if you don't like, you know, just a great, younger, smaller, not a younger, but smaller player that nobody thought would be this good.

They have a chance to do some special things and then make sure they may get Randall back. And hopefully earlier, they're a team that can really cement themselves as an Eastern Conference power. Oh, well coach, Nick fans listening to you right now, they probably shouldn't have heard you because they're just going to go overboard with your comments. New York fans tend to do that. There's a lot of great teams.

You said Minnesota, they've got that huge frontline, they've got great defense and they do. They have a dominant young player that's only going to get better than Ant Edwards. That kid is phenomenal. He does things that you haven't seen since a guy like Michael Jordan play hitting his head against the backboard, hitting his head against the rim, scoring at all three levels. I mean, there's a lot of, the league is in a good place right now. And you talk about OKC, very young team with, you know, Shay Gillis, Alexander and Chet Holmgren, who in any other year would be rookie of the year, no question. And people will be talking about what a great skilled four, five perimeter shooting three that can make plays. I mean, this league has some really good young players. When you see now some of our old guards starting to show their age a little bit, it's in a good place to see these young players stepping up. As an overall, who do you think is going to walk away with the Larry O'Brien in a couple of months? I think the one team that can beat Boston is Denver.

I really do. The way Jokic plays, the way that he can create havoc offensively against the team and get easy shots. And they don't play a one on one game. They play a movement game. They play a passing game. They make you make mistakes. And then they do have a solid defense on the other end where, again, Boston, they like to go one on one.

They love to isolate. Well, I don't know if they can beat Denver in seven games. I don't know if they won four games playing that kind of basketball against a team like the Denver Nuggets.

So if I had a gun to my head, I'm going with the Denver Nuggets to win it all. Well, coach, final question. You've played in the NBA. You've played around the world. You've coached on the college level.

You've coached here most recently with the Charlotte Hornets. You've seen the game and you've seen the game of all here in the States. There are so many international players who are dominating. There's so many conversations about how the skill level has changed. The players are the fundamentals is reliance on on athleticism, less reliance on skill and and so much three point shooting. What do you say to how the game has developed and some of the criticism that some folks have about the European players coming over and destroying the league?

Well, here's the difference between Europe and America. I'm at an AAU tournament, my son playing AAU right now, and they'll play three games. And overseas, when I was in Spain, playing in Spain, they practice in the morning, a lot of skill development, a lot of shooting, and they practice again at night, usually two to three hours each.

So that's six great hours of good fundamental work and then playing the game with coaches. And they're taking their younger players, right? They're 17 and 18 year olds, and they play against grown men. Like you look at Lucas Donchas.

That's what he did. And so when those guys come over here, they do. They play a completely different game than what the American kids are going up to. We're wasting time with some of our AAU stuff because we're not teaching our kids how to play. So we're letting them play, but we're not teaching them to play because at the end of the day, all you have are your habits as a basketball player. The European system does a much better job of building the right kind of habits. Are you comfortable that over time that things can be readjusted here or is the system too invested financially to change?

It all starts at the top. So whatever the NBA decides to do to help the NCAA, to help high school basketball, to make it more uniform, to have more of a teaching environment. My son's coach is a high school coach, so it's great for him, right? But a lot of these guys I'm watching them coach their teams. These guys haven't played. They're rolling the ball out. There's really no practice or structure once the high school season is over.

If kids don't like the system that they're in, they transfer and leave, and they wait to hear from someone that's going to tell them what they want to hear as opposed to what they need to hear. So it is an issue. We're still going to have the best athletes in the world, and we're still going to have a lot of the best players just because we have the numbers. But at the end of the day, though, we have to look at, like, the best player in the world right now is a guy named Jokic. It's not a Smith or a Peterson or a, you know, Walters for that matter, right? It's a Jokic. And then there's a Doncic. That's scary. There's an Antetokounmpo.

That's scary to me that when you talk about the best players in the world, they're learning a system that helps them build the habits to be the best players in the world. Absolutely amazing. Hey, Rex, thank you so much for the great conversation.

Where can people follow you? And what a great basketball mind. Go ahead. Fill us in. No, I appreciate it. You can find me on Twitter at Coach Woltz, at Coach Rex Walters. You know, I'll be on Instagram too.

You can look me up. And if you ever have questions on anything, please don't hesitate. I love to talk about the game.

I'm 54 years old, so you know, I don't know how much basketball has to lessen me, but I do love coaching the game. I do love talking about the game. It's been really good to me.

It's provided for my family in ways I could have never imagined. And most certainly. Well, listen, coach, we're going to get you back on soon. It's such an amazing conversation delivered in such an excellent way. So enjoy the weekend and make sure you get up some threes yourself. Okay. Sounds great.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-19 22:08:59 / 2024-04-19 22:16:44 / 8

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