After Monday’s practice at Cleveland Clinic Courts, Amico Hoops conducted a brief chat with Cavaliers rookie guard Kay Felder about his first taste of the NBA.
Q: You made your NBA debut Saturday night against Orlando. Before we get into details and specifics about your first game, how did it feel?
Felder: It felt great out there. I just went out there — had fun, made the passes I’d seen, tried to be aggressive on defense and that’s about it. I just really wanted to have fun. That’s what was important.
Q: You only played five minutes and it was a small sample size, but what was the biggest difference about the pros that you immediately noticed compared to college?
Felder: It’s a much faster pace. You have much better athletes that you’re playing against. See, I played at a small school (Oakland, Mich.) so we didn’t have the athletes like the Michigan States and the Virginias and things like that. So it’s kind of different playing against these athletes.
But in practice it’s the same kind of athletes. I can adjust pretty well. It’s going to take time, but I feel like I’ll get there.
Q: Not many players can say that they scored their first basket on a buzzer-beater. Even more astoundingly, your first points came on a drive to the hoop against one of the league’s best rim protectors in Bismack Biyombo.
I’m guessing you probably didn’t expect it to happen like that, so take me through that moment.
Felder: No I did not. I actually thought he was going to block it, but I’m like, ‘You know what? I’m just going to attack the rim. You have five seconds left, so just push it down the floor, get to the rim and try to make the layup.’ And that’s what I did.
Q: You had one of the best training camps on the team, but only days before the season-opener you suffered a concussion during practice. Your debut had to be pushed back. What was going through your mind?
Felder: Oh man, it was definitely tough to get over. Been healthy all preseason, then right before the first game you get an injury. It was kind of hard to get over, but I’m over it now. I just said, ‘I’m going to go through the process. I’m not going to try to rush back, or anything like that.’
I got through it and made my debut, now it’s time to move forward from it.
Q: What actually happened on the play you were injured?
Felder: I was running through the lane. I guess [Chris Andersen] was coming over on a switch or something and elbowed me. It wasn’t lights out. I was just like, ‘Oh snap.’ I just wanted to make sure and see if I was bleeding or not.
Q: According to Tyronn Lue, the backup point guard situation was yours entering the season. The injury obviously derailed that to start and Iman Shumpert has taken the spot for now it seems. What are your thoughts on the situation?
Felder: Just come to practice and earn your minutes. Compete every day you’re in the gym. That’s what I’m going to do. I’m not going to pout about it or anything like that, because coming in I knew last year they tried to put [Shumpert] at the backup point.
They had [Matthew Dellavedova], so them two were playing backup point. I see they brought in DeAndre Liggins too to play some point. I’m just competing for minutes right now. That’s what I do. I’m a fighter. I’m not going to quit. I’m not going to give up.