In just his first season, Mario Chalmers proved he could make the transition from March Madness hero to a solid NBA player. The former Kansas Jayhawk put together a very nice rookie campaign. He started all 82 games for the Heat and averaged 10 ppg, 4.9 assists and 2.0 steals – which was fourth best in the NBA. In the playoffs, Chalmers bumped up that steals average to nearly three a game and was a key contributer to a Miami squad that pushed the Hawks to seven games.
Just an hour ago, I hit up Mario, who was chilling at home in Alaska.
Dime: What are your feelings of your rookie year?
Mario Chalmers: I feel like I had a pretty good rookie year. I came in and tried to
help the team out and I just got to keep getting better for this upcoming year.
Dime: You guys pushed the Hawks to seven games. What was you playoff experience like?
MC: It was a great experience for me. I mean to be in that position my first year in the NBA, it was a great accomplishment. But at the same time I wish I could have went further. But that’s the goal next year.
Dime: What was the biggest adjustment for you on and off the court coming from Kansas?
MC: I guess one of the biggest adjustments would be going back to the point guard position and just the fact that I didn’t get as many shots as I did at Kansas. Being at Kansas I was one of the top options. But coming to Miami was a great thing. Playing alongside D-Wade and a lot of the other guys was a lot of fun. Off the court, the free time was the biggest adjustment. There’s not much you can do after practice. Usually in college you got to go to class or something like that. But it’s just a lot of free time, so you just got to figure out what to do with it.
Dime: What have you been up to this offseason?
MC: I’ve been in Miami for the first couple of months working out. And I had a golf tournament in Kansas to kick off my foundation that I just started. Right now I’m in Alaska working out.
Dime: What else do you like to do when you get home?
MC: Just hang out with my friends back here. I could a couple of family members still here and just been hanging out with them and having fun but at the same keep working out every day.
Dime: What areas of your game have you been working on?
MC: I say every area. Just get more consistent with my jump shot. I’m also trying to become a better ball handler. Trying to be more consistent with the game like choosing my spots.
Dime: Were you surprised about the Beasley news yestersay?
MC: Yeah I was very surprised about that. I mean I hadn’t talked to Mike in a couple of weeks. But I’m sure he’ll get through and he’ll be fine.
Dime: What is your take on it? Did you see something like this happening?
MC: No I didn’t. It kind of shocked me.
Dime: What about D-Wade’s situation? Do you think he’ll stay next year?
MC: I hope he does. He means a lot to the Miami Heat team and organization. He brought us a championship so we hope he stays and we hope we can get him.
Dime: Do you guys ever talk about his upcoming decision?
MC: No I haven’t talked to him about it.
Dime: All summer long rumors have flying around about AI landing with the Heat. Was this a move you wanted to happen?
MC: I mean, I’m like whatever makes the team better. But at the same time I still want to have my spot and make sure I can be a contributer to the team and keep doing what I was doing.
Dime: Pat Riley has indicated that he sees you as their point guard of the future. How does that feel to know he has that confidence in you?
MC: It makes me feel real good about myself. I mean hearing that from Pat Riley, who is one of the most profound people in the NBA. He coached guys like Magic Johnson and Tim Hardaway and knowing he said I’m the point guard of the future – it means a lot to me.
Dime: Speaking of Magic and Tim Hardaway, did you look up to them growing up?
MC: I studied Magic Johnson growing up. Him and Michael Jordan were my two favorite players.