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Dime Q&A: Damon Stoudamire Calls Toronto A Top 5 NBA City & Talks Coaching At Memphis

By 06.17.11

Damon Stoudamire

Dime: This is a different topic … Toronto, where you spent some of your better years in the NBA, has a really passionate fan base, really knowledgeable. What was your experience with them like, as fans?
DS: Personally, I loved Toronto. For one it was a nice city. I mean, us as a team, we didn’t have a lot of team success … but it was a great city, the fans were passionate. I was there at the beginning so I saw it at birth. They really were excited and really supported the team. Some of the best years in my life were in Toronto. It was a great, great three years for me to be there, had a lot of fun. I wouldn’t change that time period for anything.

Dime: Recently they had Chris Bosh leave … (Andrea) Bargnani sort of said he wasn’t happy there. Do you think it’s hard to sell free agents to Toronto or is that just a couple guys, personal things?
DS: Definitely not the city. I don’t know what’s going on out there. I wouldn’t blame it on the city. Toronto is one of the best cities to go to. It’s a multicultural city, and they have great restaurants, great shopping. It’s a lot to do; they have great entertainment. As far as being on par with other NBA cities, I mean, Toronto has to be in Top 5. All the other dynamics I don’t know because I’m not there. But Toronto’s a great city.

Dime: Watching the Finals with little guys like J.J. Barea running around, do you think height is an overrated thing that teams look at. Like in the draft, there are guys like Isaiah Thomas, guys that aren’t 6-feet tall. You were one of them. Is that something that people look into too much?
DS: I think they always have. Once you get stereotyped it’s always going to be hard. There’s no substitute for height anyway. Kids have got to understand that this day in age, everybody is always looking for something better. Play with a chip on your shoulder, understand what’s going on, understand that they’re trying to replace you every year. Everybody’s going to go through it, I went through it. Isaiah Thomas, like you said, he’s going to go through it. It’s like you’re trying to prove everybody wrong at every stop.

Dime: Do you have any ideas on, this draft class has a lot of guards …
DS: You know what, what’s funny is that I haven’t even really been keeping up with the draft process. Before I took this job, I was at the Chicago Pre-Draft Camp though, and off the top of my head, I was happy to see a lot of small guards get the opportunity to hone their skills in front of a lot of general managers and scouts. When I look at the guard position right now, you’ve got to mention Kemba Walker, and then you got Brandon Knight. But for me, Kemba Walker, I love him because he’s a winner and he hit big shots. And I think he’s going to be a solid NBA guard. I think Brandon Knight is going to be a solid NBA guard too, but I think that he has some things that he has to learn. I think that he’ll get to that point. If I want an NBA ready guard right now, to me, it has to be Kemba Walker if you want a guy to walk in there Day 1.

Dime: If I were to make you the GM of the Cavs, who would you take with the number one pick between Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams?
DS: Uh, if you were to make me the GM of the Cavs … that’s a hard question. You know, if I look at that situation, if Baron Davis is going to be the best Baron Davis he can be, he’s a Top-10 point guard in this league – I’d probably pick Derrick Williams. If Baron Davis is going to be the best Baron Davis he can be, he can help the Cavs right now. He’s better than half the point guards in the league. He’s been an All Star. But like I said, that’s only if Baron Davis is going to lose the weight and be the best Baron Davis he can be. I’d pick Derrick Williams.

What do you think? Is Toronto a top 5 NBA city?

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