NP What is your average day like right now?
DD I get up. I work out in the morning. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, I work out twice a day. Tuesdays, Thursdays and on the weekend, I play with the pros. We have open runs. Thatís my week. I do that every week Ö We go to [Loyola Marymount University] thatís out here. There are 10 or 15 pros. We just play games all day.
NP Who is playing in these games?
DD Al Harrington, Rudy Gay, Gary Forbes, Corey Maggette, Earl Watson. A lot of guys. Itís been pretty competitive.
NP Has there been a focus to what youíre trying to improve this summer?
DD I am just trying to improve my overall game. I never look at just one part of my game. I try to complete everything in my game and put everything together.
NP Where have you seen a noticeable improvement in yourself?
DD My three-point shooting has been a lot better. Iím more comfortable with it. Iím a lot stronger and a lot more confident. Thatís one aspect I definitely feel comfortable with now.
NP It was sort of a last resort last year, maybe at end-of-shot-clock situations. You feel like it will be part of your game now?
DD Definitely. Iím pretty sure Iíll be shooting a lot more threes, catch-and-shoot off the dribble, spotting up, all different type of shots. I feel confident with it.
NP Are you surprised the lockout is still dragging on?
DD I kind of figured it was going to happen like this. Thereís a lot that has to be done. They only had a short amount of time to do it when they started meeting. I was prepared for it. I hope they can figure it out so we can get back on the court.
NP How are you staying informed about what is happening?
DD I definitely stay informed, with the emails we get from [union executive director] Billy Hunter and [union president] Derek Fisher and all of that. I went to three meetings. I went when they were in L.A. I went to a meeting in Vegas. I just try to stay in tune and educated to whatís going on.
NP What is the mood like at those meetings?
DD I think itís optimistic. Youíve got to go in with a positive attitude toward the whole situation and hope for the best at the end of the day. Weíre slowly making process. I think everyone will be happy and everyone will be back to work.
NP How weird is it to not be able to talk to your new coach, Dwane Casey, with only a few weeks separating his hiring and the beginning of the lockout [which does not allow for player-organization interaction]?
DD Itís definitely strange. Itís frustrating at the same time, because that is the guy youíre going to be with throughout the season, day in and day out. Weíre going to go through a lot with all of those guys. Itís definitely tough not being able to speak with him and not being able to be on the same page with the guys you are going to be working with.
NP Did he give you a message before the lockout set in?
DD He gave me a lot of information, a lot of ideas about my game and about things outside of basketball. He said to put in the work. He said who knows what will happen with the lockout, and that because weíre a young team, you never know. If the lockout goes on, we have to continue to work. I have to make sure the guys on the team are prepared and ready to get it started whenever it starts back. Just be a leader.
NP How much are you talking to your teammates?
DD Oh man, I was just talking to Jerryd [Bayless] last week. We were in Mexico. We played in two games in Mexico. I always talk to him. I always talk to James [Johnson]. I talk to all the guys as much as I can.
NP Is there any thought to getting a few of the guys together and working out?
DD Yeah. I talked to Jerryd a few days ago. Iím going to go out to Phoenix. Weíre going to get a couple guys to come to Phoenix this weekend.
NP What took you to Mexico?
DD There were two exhibition games that were played out there. Theyíve got a couple of pros, maybe 12 pros out there and we played. It was pretty good. It was in Mazatlan. That was my first time there. It was a great city. The atmosphere was great. I had a lot of fun. I would definitely go back if they had a couple more games.
NP If the season gets cancelled, is playing in Europe or anywhere else an option for you?
DD Itís definitely an option. At the end of the day, I want to play basketball. I want to play at a high level. I think the next option if the lockout goes on is going overseas. A lot of guys have done it because of that. Itís an option.
NP When would you start seriously considering it?
DD Iím not sure. Iím taking it day by day. It depends on the lockout. But if things donít get better with that situation, I might make that move.
NP Have you talked to Sonny Weems [who has signed a guaranteed contract to play in Lithuania] at all?
DD I always talk to Sonny. I try to stay in touch with him, Skype him, [BlackBerry Messenger] him. Iím checking up on his stats. Itís different with him. He says he likes it, but there ainít no telling with him. I know him. He misses home. He misses those home-cooked meals.
NP A lot of fans have no patience for this lockout, because there is little sympathy for either rich athletes or even-richer owners. What would your message be to them?
DD To all the fans, weíre definitely working hard. Theyíre not the only ones who want us to get out there and play basketball. On the business side of it, there are a lot of things that need to be taken care of. [Everybody] should be fairly compensated, so to speak. Weíre working hard. We miss it more than anybody, being out there and playing for our fans. I just plead that the fans stick through it with us. When itís all said and done, I think it will be worth it.
NP What do you make of all the charity games that have happened?
DD Theyíve been great. I havenít seen so many games before that are played at such a high level with as many guys as I have this summer. This summer, basketball has been the best itís been in a while because you give fans who come out to watch top players to see for free. Itís definitely great. Itís good to play in a gym, even if there are 500 people in there to watch you play.
NP What did you know about Jonas Valanciunas before the Raptors drafted him, and what have you learned about him since?
DD I really didnít know much about him. But ever since we drafted him, Iíve tried to pay attention to what heís doing. And heís doing well. Itís been good to see. I think thatís going to be helpful, especially whenever he comes over to the team. Heís already playing at a high level. The things heís doing ó scoring, rebounding, blocking ó they are great, and thatís what we need.
NP Is that what the team needs most: an anchor at centre?
DD Yeah. Thatís one aspect that we were really hurting at last year. Once we get that going, I think we should be fine.
NP How much have you heard from veterans about what the shortened season in 1999 was like?
DD A lot of guys tell me it was tough. They fit so many games in a short period of time. There were back-to-back-to-back games. I remember it because thatís when the Spurs won for the first time. It was tough. They said it was just a different situation from what it is now.
NP Have you thought about how you the Raptors would do in such a season? Would it hurt because you have a new coach who is trying to implement new systems, or help because you are a young team with young legs?
DD I think itíd be good for us. If we just come out and jump on peopleís backs and just let them know weíre for real. Maybe weíd win five games, 10 games in a row. Then youíre up there with the top three or top four teams. It could be helpful to us. Weíd just have to learn on the go.
NP With no basketball, what are you watching these days?
DD ESPN. Thatís all.
NP Have you adopted a football team?
DD I like everyone but the Cowboys. I hate the Cowboys. Iím talking trash to every Cowboys fan.