Chat with Detroit Shock Head Coach Bill Laimbeer
|Bill Laimbeer's name sparks one thing in the collective mind of the Detroit community - the desire to win and achieve success in whatever he is involved with. As the leader of the defending WNBA Champions, he enters the 2004 season with nothing but a repeat performance on his mind.|
During the offseason, Laimbeer took on studio broadcast responsibilities as a member of ESPN's NBA Shootaround and the 2003-04 NBA season was Laimbeer's third as Pistons television analyst, working alongside George Blaha for all UPN-50 telecasts.
Do you have a question for Bill? Send your questions below and be sure to tune in at 4:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, April 15th to check out Bill's answers!
Moderator (4:02 PM)
BIll is here, get your questions in!
Michele (New York, NY)
Coach, Do you really think that this yrs draft is as deep as most people say? I've been watching closely and feel that there are only 3 or 4 that might make some sort of impact in their first yr of the WNBA. You've done a really great job with the Shock- sure wish other teams would do the same so the WNBA could get more respect. Shock basketball is exciting and fun to watch! Thanks for being so fan friendly too. I enjoy reading your posts on the ESPN msg board. I'm looking for the Shock to 2-peat in 2004!
Bill Laimbeer (4:03 PM)
Yes, this is the deepest college draft there has ever been. Normally there is only 6 or 7 players that will make the league. This year there is at least 11 or 12 solid players and six or eight role players who should stick for a couple years. Thanks for all the good words about the Shock.
Eric (Haslett, MI)
Hey Bill - I thoroughly enjoy your unwavering confidence. It seems that staying on top is much harder and takes more mental toughness than getting to the top. How does the team's mindset have to change now that you're champions?
Bill Laimbeer (4:04 PM)
I disagree, I think it is easier to repeat than to win the first one. The experience of winning makes the mental part easier. Sustaining championship level for 3 or 4 years becomes more difficult, but to repeat I think is easy.
Shock Fan (Lansing, MI)
I love to watch the Shock because i want to play for you when i get older it's my dream and I think you would be an awsome coach. My question is how hard is it to get drafted into the WNBA?
Bill Laimbeer (4:06 PM)
This year 39 players will be drafted and they are only college seniors, so many are drafted. Making a team is very difficult. There are only so many jobs and the competition is fierce.
Jermaine Garnes (Detroit, MI)
Hey Bill are there any tactics that you used in your wnba championship that you used in your nba championship?
Bill Laimbeer (4:07 PM)
I don't know about tactics, but many of the plays we used with the Shock, we also used with the Pistons. Also, I try to instill in our players the same mental toughness that we exhibited as Pistons World Champions.
Whats more important? Winning or having fun?
Bill Laimbeer (4:08 PM)
Well we are paid to win, that is the nature of professional sports. But if you don't have fun doing it, then you should not be in the business. That is the best way I can answer that question.
One-on-One right now, who wins you or Rick Mahorn?
Bill Laimbeer (4:08 PM)
That sounds RIck Mahorn wrote in that question! He constantly harasses me about how he beat me one on one last year, but it was close.
Sevallis (Jersey City, NJ)
Bill, Why did you trade Dedra Holland-Corn? She was the major part of you winning the championship.
Bill Laimbeer (4:10 PM)
Kedra was a restricted free agent and she wanted to go play in Houston which is her hometown. And her husband has been living in New Orleans which is close by. We try to accomodate our players wishes within reason. Her situation seemed like the right thing to do.
What's the best thing about coaching a wnba team and don't you hate Greg Anthony who always says you're a homer by picking the pistons?
Bill Laimbeer (4:11 PM)
The best thing about the WNBA is the ladies listen a lot more than the guys do. They want to be successful and know they don't have all the answers. As far as Greg Anthony, he is just very political and will hardly ever take a stand on anything.
Carl (Ecorse, MI)
Who do you think will still be available when it's your turn to pick? I know you're looking for some help in the 3,4,5 spots. What do you think of Iciss Tillis?
Bill Laimbeer (4:12 PM)
Iciss Tillis should be available at 11 or 13. She is a smart player and is more perimeter than post. She would fit well on our team.
Mindy Cucinella, Shelby Township
I'm a teacher who often tries to inspire my students to overcome what other don't think they can achieve. (Similar to the Shock's recent accomplishment of winning the WNBA Championship.) What words of wisdom did you share with your players to inspire them to realize and fulfill their dreams?
Bill Laimbeer (4:14 PM)
The Shock players are highly motivated, very intense, top of basketball world. They are driven to be successful and are paid to win championships. All I did was assemble the players and try to point them in the right direction. Not much motivational speeches were needed.
With 4 out of the top 5 picks in what is considered the best draft ever and the reigning WNBA champions, has the power finally shifted to the Eastern Conference?
Bill Laimbeer (4:15 PM)
I think the parody will be the name of the game this year. All teams have improved and will make for exciting basketball. I still believe the West is slightly stronger than the East, but give it two more years and the East will be stronger.
I really loved what you have done with the Detroit Shock... Do you think that this win is making more and more basketball fans watch the WNBA?
Bill Laimbeer (4:17 PM)
Yes, I think the final series between the Sparks and Shock was some of the most competitive and best women's basketball ever played. The intensity of the crowd, the caliber of play of the players made for great television. Many people that have never watched the WNBA watched that series and became fans.
Dawn Johnson (Detroit)
What do you love most about working alongside with George Blaha in the Pistons games?
Bill Laimbeer (4:18 PM)
George Blaha is very knowledgeable and is very good at setting his partner up to make me look good. And he is a homer just like I am.
I know Charles Barkley was one of your friends on the court. Who else that you played against did you like to just kick the living snot outta?
Bill Laimbeer (4:19 PM)
Anybody who was on the other team!
The Best .Va
What do you have to say for a girl trying to improve her skills in basketball that was on junior vasity these season?
Bill Laimbeer (4:20 PM)
Play as many games against better competition as you can. Also ask your coach what weaknesses you need to work on and get in the gym and start working on them right now.
What has become of Petra Ujhelyi?
Bill Laimbeer (4:21 PM)
She is Hungary right now and is planning on arriving here on the 26th of April. I'm not sure what are plans are for her. She will have to work very hard to make our team.
carlito (sterling hgts)
hey bill, does greg anthony or my man stephen a. smith ever bother you at ESPN?
Bill Laimbeer (4:22 PM)
No, actually we all get along very well. There are times we seriously disagree. But we all know that it is television which cannot be taken too seriously.
Glenn Danzig, GR, MI
Did you have a good time at the Jim Rome tour stop at the Palace last year?
Bill Laimbeer (4:23 PM)
Yes I did. It was good to see so many fans show up at The Palace to have a great time at the tailgate party beforehand. It just shows that Detroit is a great sports town.
Coach Bill,do you think Shereka Wright can be a first round pick?
Bill Laimbeer (4:24 PM)
I don't think so, she is a very fine player. And in other years, would probably be a first round pick. But this year, the draft is so deep I suspect she will be a high second round pick.
Tom (Armada, MI)
No Lies: You really want the Lakers to be swept in the first round, don't you?
Bill Laimbeer (4:25 PM)
Yes I do. I have never been a Laker fan, even when I lived there during High School. It would be great to seem them bounced early.
Bill will you let D Nolan dunk this year?
Bill Laimbeer (4:26 PM)
No I won't. While she keeps telling me that she can dunk, I'm not so sure and do not want her to get hurt trying. But I will let her keep believing that she can.
who do you think is better Alana Beard or Danina Tausri?
Bill Laimbeer (4:27 PM)
That is the big debate. I believe Taurasi was the better player. In the pros, I think they will be about equal. Beard has more speed and better denfensive skills. But I would take either one for our team.
Andrew Eastwood(Melbourne Aus)
Hey Bill. With your success in the WNBA, can we expect to see you coaching in the NBA someday? Keep bringing the wins to Detroit!
Bill Laimbeer (4:30 PM)
I'm constantly asked that question and I always answer it this way. I'm having fun doing what I am doing now and my daughter is still in High School, so I have no plans to leave until she is out of High School. I am not persuing an NBA job, but it is intriguing and also financially beneficial, a lot more 0's than the WNBA. But, this is fun winning and we have great players who listen well and are fun to be around.
Bill Laimbeer (4:30 PM)
Thanks for checking in everyone. Catch the draft on ESPN this Saturday at 12:00 noon. And who knows, you may even see my mug live on TV. Thanks everyone!