Kevin O’Connor on what he saw at the Jazz’s first draft workout (5/14):
Well, you know, what we saw was some older players, you know, juniors and seniors, that are in the draft. And when you do that, you always see a little bit more experience and you always see a little bit more focus on guys.
Dennis Lindsey on the Chicago draft combine:
(According to this list of combine participants compiled at SLC Dunk, just nine of 63 players taking part in the combine were 23 or older: Mason Plumlee, Gorgui Dieng, Jeff Withey, James Southerland, Jackie Carmichael, Trevor Mbakwe, Kenny Kadji, Colton Iverson, and DeWayne Dedmon.
Colton Iverson is the only player that is at least 23 years old and at both the combine and the Jazz workout. FWIW.)
In conclusion: Move along, no young hotshots to see here.
Rest of the interview here.
Player A (will have long, solid career as a backup) or Player B (could either be big-time star or big-time bust)?
We do our homework on those things so that there’s no surprises, and so that we really have assessed it.
As we look at putting, building our list then, we put that list based on the Utah Jazz. We don’t go in and say, “OK, this is what the NBA gurus are saying, how this list should run down here,” or how the best minds in all of sports or basketball is thinking.
It’s, we take our mind of what is best for our team, and what we know is gonna be helping our team win a championship, and build the list from that. And then based on that, it’s very set…
There are player, that, in our mind, at any point, could also self-implode, and we look at those players and we red-flag ‘em and say, “We’re not gonna take that risk there.” We, this is too important for us, of what they can mean to the locker room, what they can mean in the community, and then what, ’cause that translates to how they perform also on the floor.
But we say, “Are these people of the quality and character that is deserving to put on a Jazz uniform?” and if that, they meet that qualification, then we’ll put them on, we’ll list them according to their talent level on our list, and work it in that direction.
To tank or not to tank
I think the best thing that happens for teams and marketplaces is, you know, we’ve always taken a position that we wanna, we’re gonna play our very best with the talent that we have, and expect our coaching staff to get out there and try to win every game.
And I think when you start setting a process, a precedence, of, kinda tanking, I think that sends a wrong message to your team, to your coaching staff, and also to your community.
How big is the Jazz’s scouting staff?
Well, we’ve got, full time, we have, three people, full time, that are doing nothing but really scouting, for us, and managing the scouting, of different people.
We’ll then have, on a part-time basis, and that’s, when you include in there, Dennis [Lindsey] and Kevin [O'Connor], who will also go out on a regular basis. And they’re probably spending, wow, easily 50, 60 percent of their time, also, like, on looking at that information, and going out with them.
So we’ll have three full time, and then we have some regional scouts that will do this on a part-time basis for us. (1280)
“I am coming, live from New York.” — Randy Rigby
What good luck charms did Rigby take to New York?
Well, I’ll tell ya, it’s been a, it’s been fun, to just kind of, as I’ve talked with people, and tell them about what we’re doing, and going back there, how people have a story here or there…
So my fly fishing guy says, “I’ve got just what you need.”
bow chicka wow wow And he gave me his lucky grasshopper, that he uses to catch a lot of fly fishing, a lot of fish, on the Green River.
One of the most interesting stories is, it had been heard on the radio, and one of our season ticket holders called. And her father was a veteran of World War II. And she says, “My father was on Pearl Harbor the day that the Japanese attacked. He was on one of the main ships there, right, in the middle of the harbor. And his ship had not been hit nor had he in any way been injured, and so I want you to take back with you my father’s dog tags from World War II.” And so I’ve also got his dog tags.
So I’ve just got a few little odds and ends like that, that, is kinda making this kinda fun.
Randy Rigby explains how the draft lottery works
What happens, is that, you basically, the 14 teams that are in this lottery, I, you are based on your ranking, you are assigned so many ping pong balls, that as, from a thousand ping ping balls. And they’re all numbered.
And you’re assigned w–I believe we are assigned five of those 1,000 ping pong balls. And, those, and based on where you rank, is how many of those, what percentages, those balls, that you’re entitled to. And then, what they do, is actually then in a sequestered area, those are put in randomly.
Then the numbers come out, and based on the first ball that comes out, will be the one that gets the number one pick. And they do that for the first, the top three picks. And then the rest of those, you fall into your automatic ranking.
So if those top three picks come out, which statistically should come out the top three, the worst three teams, they will then, and then they, the rest of ‘em then fall into order based on what your win, your record that you stand with, in those 14 teams.
On the ping pong ball room (and giant UDQM)
You know what, I think the league has done a very good job of trying to eliminate any question of accuracy, and you know, correctness, on this whole process.
And so, Dennis [Lindsey] is actually back here with me, and Dennis is going to be back witnessing the actual process of the ping pong balls, and that process happening. So he’ll be there seeing it, and that’s gonna be Dennis’ first experience of being back here as well, being, of course, for, long time with San Antonio.
Being a winning team, they also don’t have the experience very often of coming to the lottery. So this is gonna be a first time for both Dennis and myself. (1280)
After ESPN’s coverage of the lottery concluded, the feed switched to the San Antonio – Memphis game. Antoine Carr sighting!
Kevin O’Connor on the draft combine, UDQM: You get, you know, COACH Corbin, just see ‘em, in, on the hoof, so to speak, in a pair of shorts and run it up and down. Now, they only do, the most they ever do is, like, really, 2-on-2 stuff.
On what happens during the Chicago draft combine
Here’s what Chicago really is for us, and I think it’s important that, you know, people don’t look at the combine, because, I think, whether it’s football or basketball, you go back, one, you make sure you get a complete physical.
We bring our doctors back, on, as every team does. They set up in teams of physicians. Your orthopedic, internists, etc., etc. They evaluate every player. They get X-rays and MRIs on anything that was injured in his college career.
And, so, that’s one of the checks that we have, is to get the physical, because you don’t know if you got a player coming in, if he’s had previous history, which you do, what does that do to his draft stock, etc.
The second thing we do is, we get to interview 18 kids, and, of the players that are at the combine, that are usually, they usually give you the ones in your, kind of in your area, to be able to talk to, which we did.
And the third thing is, you get ‘em, you get, you know, COACH Corbin, just see ‘em, in, on the hoof, so to speak, in a pair of shorts and run it up and down. Now, they only do, the most they ever do is, like, really, 2-on-2 stuff, as far as that goes.
But they do put ‘em in some NBA drills, but it’s not 5-on-5, so it’s not game-like situation. So the physical basketball stuff is really third on the list compared to the interview and the physical.
On what the Jazz ask during interviews
Well, I mean, the first thing you wanna do, is you wanna get a little background on, on where he grew up. Family situation. You know, why he chose the University of Oshkosh.
And, then you get into some basketball stuff, and you might ask him how you defend the pick and roll, and somebody’s coming at you in the pick and roll, what’s your first look, what’s your progressions.*
You ask ‘em what they know about the Jazz. You ask ‘em if they’ve, you know, what his teammates would say about him, and then we ask some other questions I probably not like to share…
I think what you look for is how quick they give you the answer, and how quick they, you know, they align themselves to understanding what we’re talking about.
And, you know, generally, you’ve got some information on ‘em from all the background work that you’ve done on ‘em. And you wanna see if they’re forthcoming and forthright with it, ’cause if they’re not, then you put a check next to that.
But again, it’s all part of the process, and I think I’ve said it before. You know, the first thing you gotta understand is, you’ve gotta be good enough to play in this league. You can be a great guy, and not be good enough to play in the league. And, you know, that trumps everything. But then once you get into that, you better make sure you’ve got somebody that you can trust, that you can count on.
* I would like someone to ask Tyrone Corbin these questions.
How do players respond when they’re asked what they know about the Jazz?
Uh, you know, in a positive way. Most of them have watched the NBA for a long time, and certainly anybody that has aspirations of playing in the NBA certainly looks and evaluates, you know, teams and programs.
And one thing they, that they like, and that they’ve seen, obviously, is they like our crowds. They think it’s as much as a college atmosphere as most places are.
They see it, obviously, pretty full almost every night. They see it loud, and if they come from any kind of a program, whether it’s a Michigan, or Indiana, or Wisconsin, or, you know, they have seen places filled. And they like that.
What if you like a player but his agent is sketchy?
You know, you have to understand that’s part of the process. But it, depending on the player. I mean, it, we try and stress to them that they, they’re in their corner, and you gotta listen to ‘em.
But they also have to understand that the agent doesn’t run the operation, doesn’t run our operation. We’ll do what we feel is best for our team and for our program, and that that agent works for the player.
Sometimes you think it’s the other way around, and you gotta make sure that they understand that, you know, the agents has zero influence over who we take in the draft, and zero influence over how he’s treated here. He’s gonna be treated according to how he plays and how he acts.
* So remember when Corbin said that Jamaal Tinsley had earned the right to be point guard #2 and Earl Watson said he would have to talk to his agent, and by the next game he was point guard #2 again? And remember when Corbin wasn’t playing DeMarre Carroll and Carroll said he would have to talk to his agent, and then he started getting more minutes?
In both cases, the agent in question was Mark Bartelstein. Why might Bartelstein have influence over the Jazz? For starters, he represented one-third of last season’s roster (Watson, Carroll, Gordon Hayward, Mo Williams, and Jeremy Evans). If you’re only counting unexiled players, he represented more than one-third of the team.
Familiar names also dot his client list. Apart from DeShawn Stevenson, one-season Jazzman Mikki Moore and double 10-day contract Jazzman Lou Amundson, there’s also Jazz D-League call-up Othyus Jeffers, Jazz Summer League player James Augustine, Jazz training camp invitee Chris Quinn, Jazz draft workout invitee Robbie Hummel, and reported Jazz training camp invitee Jon Scheyer.
Maybe there’s something there; maybe there’s nothing there.
Why are players measured without shoes?
The correct answer is that you measure ‘em, in, without shoes, and with shoes. And one of the reasons is, in this day and age, a lot of players have orthotics. A lot of players can measure at 5’10″ be 6′.5″ in shoes. So that’s two and a half inches…
We look at the separation in the possibility of shoes, because, again, it might be orthotics. It might be that one brand is built up more than the other brand. And again, it’s just more information to be able to digest…
The one measurement that’s accurate, totally accurate, is the one without shoes…Bigger’s gooder, as they say.* (1280)
* Literally NO ONE says this.
After the news broke that Jerry Sloan had interviewed for the Milwaukee Bucks’ head coaching job, I opened a “Jerry Sloan” Twitter search tab in my browser to see what people were saying.
Here’s a sampling of the tweets that showed up in that timeline, especially after @YannisHW reported that Jerry was at the NBA draft combine:
And after the Knicks were eliminated:
On teams playing tougher defense in the playoffs
I think what’s fun with the NBA, it’ll be interesting to see, teams look at that, and they learn from it, and they respond to it, and we’ve been teaching a lot of this to our players right now, saying, “We’re hoping you’re watching some of the playoffs, and learn from some of these things, so that as we get back to the playoffs, how do we respond to those kind of things?”
And I think teams, this coming off-season, I think you’ll see more players working on, “OK, we’re working, tough, to be better defensively. We’ve also got to work to be better individually and collectively as a team, offensively.” And teams respond to it. So it’ll be fun to kinda see what happens in the future years.
How’s the shoulder for Enes Kanter? Is Derrick Favors busy getting better? What’s Gordon Hayward been up to?
I’m excited about that one. I will tell you, we’re getting regular updates. I just got an update recently from Gary Briggs. We’re staying very close to our players, and what’s going on with them.
Enes Kanter’s shoulder continues to make very good improvement. He seems to be doing very well.
We have had some specific plans that we, I wanna keep very private, but we’re working on, particularly with Derrick Favors. And Derrick is doing a great job and responding very well, and then, I visited, in fact, briefly, with Derrick today, and he’s in great spirits, and he’s working very hard.
And I’m excited to see what this off-season means, and, for our younger players, because I think we’ve got some players that really want to pay the price and are willing to do what they need to do to step up their games. And so, this is a critical off-season to see how these players continue in their development.
On Andrew Wiggins
In my, in 28 years of my involvement with this league, and I’ve been able to look at our players, and I’ll say something. And this is my opinion.
There’s a real maturing that goes on with a player that gets to go and have some experience in college, and having some time, both socially as well as academically, as, you know, as well as development-wise, in their game. And I like what college does to a, to an athlete.
And so, I’m a proponent of a person, of seeing, that there’s some time for that player to mature. I hate seeing this, grow, kids up, too fast.
And I think there’s something to be said about allowing them to kind of develop emotionally, physically, mentally, and intellectually.
And so, I’m supportive of where the league’s rule is right now, of where that one year. You know, I would probably say on my side, if I, I lean, it was even, to allow even a little more to go on.
If you were emperor of the NBA for a day, what would you change?
Wow. That’s a good question.
I’m, I’ll tell you this. I’ve really been happy with the g–the direction, has been, talked about with the league. And what, where we’re going with the league.
You know, I, I’m, I guess maybe I’m such a big proponent of what we have done collectively, that I don’t have a request on my part of being the emperor.
And you know, if I did, I’d probably be slapped a little bit, and questioned of why I’m going in a different direction than where we are going.
So I don’t have an opinion right now of something that is of a major change.
I’ll be actually representing us on the draft lottery, and well, what I want to do on your show here is, we’re gonna invite our listeners to be able to send in their best idea for a good luck charm.
They might have a good luck charm, our, some of our sp–and I know some of our sport fans are always very superstitious, and so, you know, having a good luck charm.
I’m willing to actually offer two of your listeners their good luck charm for I’ll take back with me. Now mind you, it has to be small enough that I’m carrying it in my suit pocket.
So we’re gonna invite your listeners to maybe send in to  their ideas of their good luck charm in the next 48 hours. And then by Mon–by Friday, we’re gonna have to have them bring that item down to EnergySolutions Arena.
We’ll return it to them, but I’m willing to actually take with, I’m gonna take a couple of good luck charms in my pocket. (1280)
What did you see during the draft workout?
Well, you know, what we saw was some older players, you know, juniors and seniors, that are in the draft. And when you do that, you always see a little bit more experience and you always see a little bit more focus on guys.
So you know, it went well, and you know, if you ask me about how this guy did or how that guy did, I’ll just say, “Ask Dennis [Lindsey].” Or “No comment.”
Is there a draft that was the one that got away?
You know, have you made mistakes? Sure. You know, I mean, I look, you look back on things, and you say, one of the things we do, which is an interesting, I think, it, at least we challenge ourselves.
We sit down each year, pull out all the stuff the first one or two meetings,* we pull out all of the stuff that we had from a year ago, and we go over the draft after it’s happened; after they’ve been in the league a year, and see how right we were, and see how wrong we were, and then challenge ourselves to how right or how wrong we were.
Example: Do you look at a player, oh, I don’t know, I’m just trying to think. You know, as far as players go. When we drafted Gordon [Hayward], we thought, you know, he was one of the top five or six players in the draft.
When we looked at that draft and we saw some of the players, and did we like everybody above us that, with a Paul George, who’s having a fantastic year. Where did he rate, on our draft board, and why didn’t we draft him when it was, when he was available? All of those things, we pick apart pretty good.
* UDQM: “We sit down each year, pull out all the stuff the first one or two meetings.”
Is it your job to find a good player, regardless of where you’re picking?
There’ll be a player there that hopefully we draft, but if not, maybe drafted after us that becomes a good NBA player. Our responsibility; our call; our job…and if we don’t do it right often enough, then we shouldn’t have the job.
On Jerry Sloan interviewing with the Milwaukee Bucks
If Milwaukee’s smart, they’d hire him, you know, if he wanted to take the job.*
* By the same token, not keeping Jerry Sloan is not smart.
On rule changes that benefit perimeter players and Alec Burks
Well, it, what it’s, what it basically has done, is you’re not allowed to put your hands on guys out on the perimeter and slow them up by, you know, by putting, you know, hands. So naturally, the draft becomes a little bit swayed towards getting a guy that is able to put it down and take it to the basket.
Like, hopefully, if he contin–as he continues to develop, Alec Burks is somebody that should benefit from that rule. You know, he’s not the biggest guy in the world. He’s, you know, but he’s got a nice body on him,* and he can really put it down and get it to the basket and get a foul. And that’s, you know, that’s one of the things that we like to see.
A guy gets to the free throw line a lot, especially a perimeter player, boy, it takes a lot of pressure off having to score all the time from the field.
What do you expect from players during the off-season?
Well, the, our philosophy has always been that you use the off-season as self-improvement and continue that through the season, but once the season starts, the coach uses, you know, before and after and a little bit during on one-on-one and individual self-improvement, but he works on team improvement during the season. So it’s incumbent on you in the off-season to improve hims–to improve yourself.
Now, we don’t leave them at their own devices. What we do is we use the human performance lab out in Santa Barbara, that we have the players go out to, and work on some of their physical, maybe, deficiencies, or add to their strengths that they certainly, you know, whether it’s the power that they jump with, whether it’s right-footed, left-footed, they evaluate all that stuff.
We send our coaches to work with them. They come back in here, and I won’t say on a regular basis, but they’ll come back in here a couple times during the summer for about three days, and then, you know, kind of an intense one-on-one, two-on-two, you know, skill workout.
So I would say we put our hands on them, especially the younger guys, seven or eight times a summer.* And then we bring them back, which probably people don’t know, is after September, right after Labor Day, we have the open gym and we work individually with ‘em.
You know, it’s all, it’s all, you know, voluntary, but by the same token they know they need to do it. We stress the fact that they need to be here, and you know, we work with their agents, and themselves, and this is their job. You know, you can’t take five months off from your job and expect to come back in and have the same ability to do your job. (1280)
* UDQM; H/T JLT
No one posted any audio or video from the workout (as far as I know), and Jazz personnel either wouldn’t speak to the media or were asked not to speak to the media:
Luckily for y’all though, my sources came through.
P.S. Dennis Lindsey was asked on Friday whether he prefers to draft the best player available, or to fill a need. His response:
I’m a, I subscribe to best player available. And then you get the buts, and here’s mine. You know, if you get two players that you project at the same level, not necessarily how they play but the level of contribution, and you know, we have a pretty defined scale that we’re putting in place.
If you have, you know, two players that you think are generally the same level, you may go with need or sometimes you may go with health. That may be the winning vote. Sometimes you may go with character or intelligence, but you know, there’s a lot of, you know, contingencies you like to build in.
But I just think in the draft, guys, you need to take who you think, from a career standpoint, is going to be best. And you know, that’s difficult, you know? We, you always look back on drafts where you pass on a guy, even if you took a good player, a player behind him’s a little bit better. That happens to us all.
But generally speaking, to answer you question, best player. (1280)