“While the season started three weeks ago, you played a total of 21 minutes, spread over four matches. Not the debut you were hoping for?
It’s a first season. I come from Europe, and people don’t necessarily know me much. So it’s complicated at first, there’s nothing surprising about it. For now, I just need to be focused and gradually gain the confidence of my teammates. I knew it would turn out like this. And the good results of the team mean that there is no reason to turn everything upside down. It’s not easy, but I’m biding my time.
While waiting for responsibilities on the floor, what are you working on?
There are a lot of new defensive things in particular. The coach expects me to be good in this area. I have to anticipate things and analyze quickly, understand what is happening on the floor, why we are making this or that movement. I’m trying to improve the tactical aspect. I am inspired by those who are already there. Because once you have that, everything becomes easier.
Does your trainer Brad Stevens communicate with you a lot?
He is intelligent, close to the player. But I don’t expect him to talk to me every day. I am a pro, I know what to expect. He often has two or three words to remind me to stay ready, to tell me that the season is long. So far the team is doing well, but that can change at any time.
How do you cope with the difficulty of waiting?
Being the fifth wheel of the carriage and not being counted on is a position I’ve been in before. I like it because it forces me to work every day to earn my place. And I know I will have it someday. In the NBA, with so many matches, it can happen quickly. I work as hard as I can to be ready when I am needed.
“Rudy Gobert taught me a lot during the World Cup”
What did the World Cup in China bring you for your first NBA season?
I brought back a (bronze) medal, from experience. And playing alongside Rudy (Gobert) has helped me a lot. He taught me a lot of things about investments in particular. It helps me a lot because the defense we practiced in blue looks like Boston’s. Afterwards, playing against great players, great teams, measuring myself against them and being able to see that I was no less than them necessarily made me grow as well. “
Interview conducted as part of the NBA Sundays, European prime time matches broadcast on Sunday evenings on beIN Sport. On Sunday, November 17, Boston moves to Sacramento where it will play at 9:30 p.m. French time.