Lakers guard Chris Duhon was in studio on Monday night and he sat down with us for a Q&A session. He shared his thoughts on the state of the Lakers, what makes Dwight Howard so funny, how the Duke-North Carolina rivalry plays out in the locker room, and more. Enjoy:
SPORTSNET: You’ve been spending a lot of time around the Time Warner Cable SportsNet studios lately, are you preparing for a career after basketball?
DUHON: I'd like to eventually be a coach. When I’m done with my career, if a coaching job is not available, this could also be a segue for when I have an opportunity to coach. But this is something that I definitely enjoy doing, and I would like to get better and better at.
SPORTSNET: Are you learning much?
DUHON: I’m learning a lot. It’s not as easy as anyone thinks. It’s funny but you can go talk with your friends about basketball and it comes out so fluently, and then you get on camera and there’s someone in your ear, and then you’ve got to talk in a certain period of time, and you get nervous because you’re trying to make 18 points when you only need to make two. So just learning that is fun, but you respect the people who do it.
SPORTSNET: You played for Mike D’Antoni before. What should fans expect to see, and why do you think it will be successful?
DUHON: Expect to see what you’ve been seeing, but just better. We’re going to clean up our offense a lot more. We’re going to run a little bit faster. We still haven’t gotten to the speed that we need to get to. We’re going to try to bring the “Showtime” back to L.A.
SPORTSNET: Have you talked to James (Worthy) about that?
DUHON: Didn’t talk to him. (laughs) Going to have to ask his permission or just have to name it something else.
SPORTSNET: On the defensive side of the ball, D’Antoni is often criticized. Do you think it’s merited at all? Or if not, why?
DUHON: I think he’ll be the first one to tell you that he believes if we score more than the other team then we played the better defense. But I think with the team we have here with Kobe, Darius, Dwight and Metta, those guys have a lot of pride defensively, and we’re going to make sure that the defense is going to be right. Coach is a player’s coach, so if we have any suggestions that we want to do things a certain way on guarding the pick-and-roll, on guarding a certain player, he’s all up for it. He just wants it to get done, and our main goal is to win.
SPORTSNET: You had a couple steals (against Houston). Who is your toughest guard?
DUHON: Oh man. As a point guard, every night is a tough one. I remember days in Chicago where you have Steve Nash, and then you have (Rajon) Rondo and then you have Chris Paul and then Derron Williams, so the point guard position is very tough. But for me, it’s always been Chauncey Billups, just because of his size. He’s a guy that doesn’t need to dominate the basketball. He can post up. Obviously he’s a great shooter and he can create. He’s always been a tough matchup for me.
SPORTSNET: What is the best college basketball program in the nation, and have you talked to (ex-North Carolina Tar Heel) Antawn Jamison about this?
DUHON: Don’t need to talk to him about that because I think he knows that Duke is the best basketball team in the country. It speaks for itself you know? Since 1987, there hasn’t really been any collegiate program basketball-wise like Duke.
SPORTSNET: That should make for some fun times this year.
DUHON: Oh I can’t wait. We’re definitely going to go somewhere and watch it (when Duke and Carolina play). I already beat Jodie Meeks – we already beat Kentucky. We’re going to send Maryland (Steve Blake’s alma mater) on their little farewell to the Big Ten, and then obviously with Antawn and Carolina. So you know, it’s gonna be a fun year this year.
SPORTSNET: There are a lot of characters on the roster. Who is the funniest guy in the locker room?
DUHON: Man we have a lot of characters on this team. I’m going to have to say Dwight. I wouldn’t say as much as he’s so much funnier than everybody, he’s just non-stop. He’s making jokes every five seconds to where guys kind of pick and choose their times. When you have a guy who’s just constantly going, I guess you have to give him the nod.
SPORTSNET: Is there anything specific he’s done?
DUHON: Oh he’s done everything from making jokes about everybody who works there to now his main target is Dan D’Antoni, because he has that little southern talk. So he just acts like he’s Dan everytime he brings it into the huddle or anytime he talks to anybody he acts like he’s Dan. So it’s pretty funny. It was Bernie for a while but now it’s Dan. So he just kind of switches it up, and imitates pretty much all of the coaches.
SPORTSNET: Let’s say it’s Game 7 of the NBA Finals and you are in charge of drawing up the play to win the championship, how would that play go?
DUHON: There would be a little misdirection. Obviously we want to get the ball to Kobe, but just get it to him in a spot to where he doesn’t have to work so hard to get the basketball, to where he’s already in his scoring area, his scoring spot, his sweet spot, and then let him make the play from there.