Still a Rising Star In 2 Years, Tisdale Grows Up in NBA

Ed Kelley Published: March 4, 1987
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Q: What are your biggest accomplishments so far in your NBA career?

A: Well, one of them is I held Dominique (Wilkins) to 13 points (laughter). That's almost unheard of. But other than that, it's been a good experience for me; I've grown up in two years. This is real life out here.

Q: What are your personal goals? Where do you see yourself in five years?

A: I definitely want to be one of the great players in this league.

It takes a while for everything to develop, but I feel like I can be just that.

Q: Who's the best player in the league?

A: Larry Bird. No question about it.

Q: What makes him better than a Wilkins, or Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson?

A: I think he makes everybody look good, even the bench players.

He's a great player the best player.

Q: You had 35 points in a recent game, the best of your career. How do you explain it?

A: I got in the flow early and got things rolling. I really credit my guards; they really got me the ball good. Things started going well from the start, when I first got into the game.

Q: You're having a good year coming off the bench, one of the best in the league in a reserve role. Has the transition from a starter to reserve been easy or tough?

A: It's been up and down. But you know, it's something I can handle.

I've got to be strong mentally. I've never come off the bench in my whole career. This is just something I've got to cope with. I feel good about it, and I've been pretty productive. So as long as I can be productive, I'll be satisfied. But when I start slacking off in a game, then some changes will have to be made. I know that.

Q: What has been your biggest adjustment in your 1 1/2 years in the NBA?

A: Gosh, just really having to go out and having to play against top-name guys every night. It's not like you have one night where you're guarding somebody lesser than the other. Everybody in the league can play.

Q: You hear that a rookie's biggest adjustment is the transition from college defense to man-to-man in the NBA. Is it true?

A: That's the main thing I was talking about. The defense is so intense; you have to stop a guy from scoring, which is almost non-existent now in the NBA. If your guy is a scorer, he's going to find a way to score.

Q: What about your game in the open floor? You can't play inside as much as you did at OU. Do you feel more comfortable taking the outside jumper, running up and down the floor and having to handle the ball more than you did last year?

A: It's mainly the offense (coach) Jack Ramsay has. I'm getting to play inside a lot more, and play more of my natural position. He plays me mainly with another big guy, so most of the time I have a forward about my size on me. I usually can maneuver and get my regular shots off.

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