Q&A: Denzel Valentine

Courtesy of Slam

SLAM: How did it feel to hear your name called on draft night?

Denzel Valentine: Man, it was amazing. It was so surreal. Just watching the drafts in the past with LeBron, Anthony Davis, you can name all these great players, but to walk up on that stage and shake the commissioner’s hand, it’s everything I dreamed of. It’s here! It was really surreal.

SLAM: Your reaction was priceless!

DV: I know, I know. Especially going to a city like this. When you think of basketball, you think of the Chicago Bulls because the greatest player ever played here. They want to win here, I want to win, it’s just everything I believe in is the Chicago Bulls.

SLAM: How do you think you will fit in with this roster?

DV: I think I fit in really good. Coach Hoiberg seems like he has a great feel for what he wants. That’s big guards that can do a lot of things—handle the ball, make plays and be able to knock down the three-ball. That’s my makeup, so I’m very excited that I got selected here.

SLAM: For those that don’t know, what does Denzel Valentine bring to the table? 

DV: I think most important is versatility. Being versatile, being able to play 1 through 3, being able to get in the paint and make plays, make decisions for other people, being able to play in the pick and roll, and also being a knock-down shooter. I’m able to space the floor and let other players get in the paint and open the floor up a little bit so people can do what they gotta do. I can guard a point guard or a 4-man, even. We’ll be able to play different lineups with me in there. I’m also a winner. I bring toughness to the table, and I’ll compete every single night.

SLAM: What part of your game needs the most work? 

DV: Probably just getting caught up to the speed of the game. I haven’t played one NBA game. I don’t know how the game works completely yet. As soon as I can get caught up to that, that’s when the best comes out of me. That’s why I’m here this week working out and trying to get ahead of the game.

SLAM: Has Draymond Green given you any advice about transitioning from the college game to the pros?

DV: Yeah he’s talked to me. He gave me advice on what to do and what not to do. He pretty much just told me to stay true to myself, keep doing what I’ve been doing and don’t change.

SLAM: Since the Draft, a lot had been made about your past knee surgeries. What do you say to those who doubt your durability?

DV: I’m going to do everything I can do in my power to have a long career. I’m healthy right now, I’ve been healthy in the past. I can’t control the wear and tear that I have on my body. Obviously it’s not that bad because I can still play and I’m healthy right now. I know that it’s a concern for other people, but it’s not a concern of mine. I’m going to do whatever I can do to stay healthy and have the longest career that I can.

SLAM: What’s your goal for your rookie season?

DV: I wanna win Rookie of the Year. I mean, why not? I feel like I’m the best player if not top 5. I think coming to this team I’m going to be put in great situations to be successful. I wanna go get that Rookie of the Year and hopefully make the Playoffs, and make a championship run. Why not?


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