Bits from Dennis Lindsey Interview, 1/15
On the Jazz’s 21-19 record
Certainly, it’s not exactly where we want to be…but when you wrap up, you know, the number of Western Conference opponents that we’ve played, you know, and, you know, the record of those opponents, the home-road disparity, the loss of Mo [Williams] to injury a few weeks ago is, you know, I think we have stabilized. I think we’ve, and Mo’s injury, while it’s a battlefield promotion, and you know, no one really wants that, you know. To a certain extent we have made lemonade.
You know, the, our two veteran backup point guards have done a good job of organizing us, and you know, Alec Burks has had minutes with the ball in his hand that, you know, have been positive. And Gordon [Hayward] gets the ball more, and I think Paul [Millsap] and Al [Jefferson] have provided the necessary leadership with Mo’s void. So I think there are quite a few things that we can point to that are positive, and certainly, you know, over the last week, we’re trending in the right way.
On “data points” gathered thus far in the season
As far as the data goes…we can prove we have an unselfish team. I think we can prove that we have good depth, especially, you know, relative to our payroll, now and going forward. I think we can prove that we have the ability to score the ball where we’ve been, you know, bobbing back and forth between, you know, the 10th, the 11th best team, roughly, offensively.
You know, I think even with an untrained eye, you know, I think everybody sees that we need to guard better, to be more consistent, you know. And you know, consistency is the result of a lot of underlying issues…And then from a chemistry standpoint, you know, we’ve got the vibe around the team, again, I think we have a bunch of guys that want to be here, that want to make a good season, that like each other, that respect Ty’s leadership.
What do you know about Al Jefferson now that you know him on a personal level?
There are a lot of things that, you know, are really redeeming about Al. One, like you said, I think he has a really good heart. I think that he does appreciate the organization and the competitive DNA that the organization has. I think he’s been a really good leader for Derrick [Favors] and Enes [Kanter]. I, you know, I think the environment he’s in, you know, it brings out his care factor towards the result.
You know, everything that I’ve asked Al to do, he’s done, so he’s been really professional. You know, asked him to drop a couple of pounds this year; he did, and his mobility is better because of it. So we’ve gained really good momentum there. So there are a lot of positives…We all have strengths and weaknesses, and it’s our job collectively to bring out all the strengths that Al has as a player, and minimize those weaknesses. And we’re trying to do that, and you know, we appreciate him working as hard as he has to help us get where we wanna be as a team.
How significant are Al’s 1) defensive deficiencies; 2) infrequency of trips to the stripe?
They’re there, but I would say it’s…defensive, we want to isolate it, and there’s so many parts that go into it, you know. There’s the coaching, the teaching, how connected is your five-man unit. So there’re certainly some things that we have to improve upon and Al has to improve upon, and those are being mentioned, you know, to him on a daily basis by Ty and the coaches.
So I, you know, I don’t know if it’s overstated [or] understated. I’d have to get a better judge of, you know, what’s being said and unfortunately I don’t have all the time in the world to kind of poll opinion out there. From a, you know, getting to the free throw line standpoint, you know, there’s a lot of ways to look at that, you know. We benchmark, you know, positional averages, and actually Al comes out, you know, right at league average as far as ability to get to the free throw line.
Would we like that to happen more? Yeah, but the other thing Al does well, on the flip side, is he can get you a shot when you get him into the low post, and he’s someone that you can throw the ball to…Even though Al doesn’t get to the free throw line a bunch, his late-clock ability to get a shot is well above average. He doesn’t turn it over, you know, so you know, he can help you close games effectively like you’ve seen in the last few years.
In which areas are the Jazz “trending much better” than earlier in the year?
Those early games without Mo, we had to adjust, and you know, we’ve been able to find Alec Burks a role. I think that is something that, you know, winning now and developing later, that we’re, that’s a good trend. I think while Mo, we’re really going to miss his shooting now and later, the fact that, you know, the other players may be, you know, getting more opportunities.
I think that’s been a great adjustment by Ty, that you can ramp up the usage in Alec Burks or Gordon Hayward, you know, where they have the ball a little more….I think, you know, there’s some positives and certainly this last road trip, I think if you would’ve put our team in that road trip early in the season, they would’ve, you know, been challenged to be in all three games.
On the Jazz’s coaches
Jeff [Hornacek] has been really good with Gordon on not only his approach towards the game and the shots that he’s gonna get, but the technique. Johnnie [Bryant] was a superior shooter in college, and he’s really a good ball-handling series that, you know, he was helping Mo with quite a bit. Mo’s pure point rating was up, you know, to an all-time high, and I think some of Johnnie’s work was starting to show there before Mo took injury.
Brad Jones specifically has helped Derrick Favors, you know, with some of his approach towards the free throw line and getting his shot a little bit quieter. So, you know, really the whole staff has helped. You know, Mike [Sanders] and Sid[ney Lowe], you know, in their areas of expertise, and as ex-players. So I’m really pleased with where our player development’s going towards.
How do you feel about Derrick Favors’ development and amount of playing time?
We’re trying to do a lot of different things here. We’re trying to win games and develop and you have to give Ty and Kevin [O’Connor], the organization, you know, before me a lot of credit that at some level, we’re doing both. Keeping our culture strong, and you know, there’s, you always, there’s a lot of things that can chip at the integrity of your culture, and certainly losing a bunch of games in a row is one of them, where it’s hard to keep the ship steady.
So will Ty in any one game, you know, you know, get the perfect balance of, you know, minutes for the veterans and minutes for the young guys? You know, that’s a real challenge, but when you look at the overall body of work and, you know, I don’t know what the perfect amount of time is for Derrick at this stage. You know, I think he’s at 21-22 minutes. Is 26 better? Maybe, but you know, there’s also multiple factors to consider when you’re sitting in Ty’s seat…
Many times playing choices are less clear and you’re doing that, you know, you know, not with hindsight. You know, you’re doing that in-game, and so I’ve been pleased, frankly, you know, and some with Ty’s choices, with both of our ability to win and still get Derrick the appropriate minutes to develop.
How do you feel the number of free agents on the roster has impacted the team?
I think [everyone has dealt with it] very effectively…With young players, it’s like, you know, raising one of your child or children. You give them too much too soon and you’ve got spoiled and entitled, and I don’t think any of us wants that, you know, those characteristics in our players. (LOJ)