Kevin O’Connor: “The word I’m not ever going to use is ‘rebuild'”
In your mind, what are the primary issues that need to be addressed as you rebuild the roster?
The word I’m not ever going to use is “rebuild,” because you give yourself an opportunity to have an excuse. “Well, we’re rebuilding. That’s why we didn’t play well.” … What we’re looking to do is to get back to where we can compete every night.
How do you make sure your four youngsters [Hayward, Favors, Kanter, Burks/Evans?] get enough minutes in a compressed season?
Tell them to earn it. You don’t give minutes. You earn them…if the young kids can help us win, that’s great. What we’re trying to do is win this year, and that’s our main purpose.
The second purpose is, these guys have got to learn what the NBA is, and learn to help a team win. If you look at Gordon last year, he got opportunities at the beginning of the season and didn’t capitalize on them. The second part of [the season], he certainly did a terrific job and capitalized on it. Surprisingly, he stayed on the floor a lot longer.
Me: I’m not one of the fans that think that Al/Millsap should be traded and the young guys should get the bulk of playing time. However, what KOC is describing isn’t, to me, the solution either. He says we’re in “win now” mode, and the young guys will get playing time if they play well. That’s exactly what the Jazz did last year and we all saw how that turned out. I don’t think we have the roster to be in win now mode. Also, Raja’s minutes actually went up after Jerry resigned, and the reason Hayward started getting consistent minutes was that Raja was injured at the end of the season.
This mentality especially worries me when it comes to Kanter. He needs playing time more than anything else. He needs to be allowed to make mistakes and learn from them and be allowed to stay on the court despite them, and this wouldn’t happen in this situation.
What’s this team about?
It’s about growing and that’s what this team’s gonna be about–about growing into who they are. Whether it’s Paul Millsap, who hopefully continues to get better, and whether it’s Al, who’s supposedly coming back in terrific shape, and whether it’s Devin, who’s got something to prove, whether it’s CJ, Raja coming back. Every year’s different. Every year’s newer. Every year’s fresher.
It makes sense given how KOC described the front office’s mentality about where the Jazz are, but I found it funny that the players he talked about “growing” were the older guys, rather than the younger guys.