Skal Labissiere carved out a role with the Portland Trail Blazers during the 2019-20 season with his ability to hit the mid-range shot and face up game. He started to grow defensively with Portland as well. If an injury didn’t happen, the Kentucky product could have played role for the Trail Blazers with the skills he brought to the table.
Labissiere suffered a left knee articular cartilage lesion on December 28, 2019 against the Los Angeles Lakers. That was his last NBA game he suited up in. He was traded to the Atlanta Hawks on February 6 and didn’t play in a game for the team.
After not getting picked up by an NBA team during the 2020 offseason, Labissiere signed with the New York Knicks. He was waived and joined the Westchester Knicks as an affiliate player. The NBA veteran made his debut on February 10 and had his best game of the season three days later against the Santa Cruz Warriors where he recorded 15 points, five rebounds and one block on 4-of-8 shooting from the field.
Note: The interview was done before the conclusion of the 2020-21 season.
Chris Priczak: How did this G League opportunity present itself for you and what was your mindset heading into the G League bubble?
Skal Labissiere: “It was great because I haven’t played since December of 2019, so I was looking forward to just getting on the court and playing again and playing five-on-five full court. It’s been good because I needed to see what I needed to work on. It was fun and it’s been good to get out there with the guys. It was just good getting to play basketball again. I was really looking forward to it and looking forward to playing in the whole bubble, so I can get myself going again. It’s just been a huge blessing for me to really get on the court again and play.”
CP: With the season almost over, how do you feel you’ve played and did you have any goals or expectations heading into the season?
SL: “It was just about feeling like myself again on the court. Playing basketball again and just getting out there with the guys. I just wanted to play basketball. I haven’t played in so long. When the opportunity presented itself, I was very excited about it.”
CP: Westchester has shown in the past where they bring in veterans like yourself and give them an opportunity to work on stuff when it comes to their game. How do you feel Westchester gives veterans an opportunity to work on things and get a second chance in the NBA?
SL: “I think they do a really good job. I think before I came here, one of the people I looked at was, for example, Trey Burke. They give him like a great opportunity to be able to get himself back in the NBA. I was very thankful when I got a call like that. You’re interested in having me so I’m very, very, very blessed. It’s a great opportunity and I just want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for that. I didn’t know I was in a time of uncertainty with as far as finding another team and stuff like that. They were the only one who actually gave me a deal, so I was very excited about that.”