With the D-League expansion draft today, it is the perfect time for us to hit you up with some more D-League knowledge. Yesterday, new Armor Coach and Director of Basketball Operations, Dee Brown was kind enough to take time out from his busy schedule (the expansion draft remember?) to answer some questions we had for him.
NAS: Along with being the head coach of the Springfield Armor, you are also the Director of Basketball Operations. What are the responsibilities of that role?
Dee Brown: The responsibilities is to oversee the on court and some off court basketball decisions of the franchise. Evaluate talent, personnel decisions including tryouts, drafts and trading players. I will work side by side with our GM Alex Schwerin on making decisions off the court as it pertains to the players and franchise and the marketing of the Armor.
NAS: How can your NBA experience help when dealing with players trying to make the NBA themselves?
Dee Brown: I can speak on 12 years of hands on playing experience in the NBA on the do’s and don’ts of getting to the NBA and most importantly staying when you get there. I’ve played with great players and for great coaches so I’ve got tons experience on how to communicate with all levels. I’ve also been in the front office at different capacities from Director of Player Development to Community Ambassador. So I know what NBA Execs look for and expect from their players on and off the court.
NAS: You are CEO of the EDGE Basketball, LLC, and have shown an interest in developing players. Is that why you have decided to make the transition to the D-League? So you can both coach and help develop young talent?
Dee Brown: I’ve owned EDGE basketball for 4 years and have been training every level of player from talented middle school players to NBA players like Grant Hill, Drew Gooden, Chucky Atkins and Deshawn Stevenson. The most important thing to me is developing young and even experience players. I’ve been doing that since I retired and always felt like a coach on the floor or leader in the locker room when I was a player. That’s why the D-League excites me. My job is to make these players better and put them in a situation on the court to succeed and showcase their respective talents all in the concepts of winning and competing.
NAS: You have mentioned before that this is a unique situation because you are dealing with three different affiliates. Are you going to be running your own offensive stuff or are you going to use a blend of what the three affiliates (Sixers, Knicks, Nets) do offensivly?
Dee Brown: Obviously you can’t put everyone system into place but you can take bits and pieces of what each affiliate runs and incorporate it into your system. Most NBA teams run some similar sets. So you speak with each affiliate coaching staff and get input of key components of their offense and defense philosophies and try to mesh as much as possible into what you want to accomplish as a coach. The names might be different but you want to make sure that the things you are running are NBA sets and consistent on both ends on the court what these player will see if they get called up. Also it gives NBA teams a real look at players in NBA situations so they can get a true evaluation of the players.
NAS: You come from a WNBA background where for the most part offense is based on movement without the ball and quick passes. Are you going to bring that offensive style to the Armor?
Dee Brown: Ball movement and quick passes are always important at any level of basketball. We will push the ball every possession to put pressure on the defense and get the best shot available based on ball movement, screens on and off the ball.
NAS: For the expansion draft, you are selecting players from a pool of two teams that ended up shutting down operations. Do you feel like that puts your team at a disadvantage or do you think there is enough talent in the pool of players to put out a competitive team?
Dee Brown: I think it will help us because there is plenty talent on both teams. You get a chance to choose from the D-League Champions Colorado team. That has to be a good thing for us and Maine. So it will give a good foundation to start with and have some players with D-League and pro experience.
NAS: Is there a max number of players you can have on your roster? If so, how are things handled when a player is sent down from one of your affiliates? Are there roster spots reserved for them? Does the fact that you have three affiliates make roster moves harder to handle?
Dee Brown: The max number is 12 but you will keep 10 because of the players that might be assigned from affiliate teams. Whenever a players is assigned from one of your affiliates you must make room on your roster and since we have 3 affiliates we can have up to 6 assigned players at once but I’m sure that will be unlikely to happen but would be great for a D-league team and a city to have NBA roster players playing in your market. We want our affiliates to trust and believe that we can make their players better if they send them down to Springfield for development and growth.
NAS: Another question about dealing with multiple affiliates. Let's say that you have guys not on a NBA roster on your team, and more than one player wants to bring them up for a stint on their NBA squad. How is that handled? Which team would get that player?
Dee Brown: Any player on our roster can be called up by ANY of the 30 NBA teams. The first NBA team that contacts the D-league will have the rights to get that player. Our 3 affiliates can assign their 1st or 2nd year players to us in Springfield.
NAS: How are you going to fill your team roster? Strictly through the expansion draft? Try-outs? Invites? Anything else I didn't mention?
Dee Brown: We will fill our roster with all of those methods. Expansion draft 1st then we will have a local tryout, the D-league draft. So we will always be looking for ways to find talented players.