Locker Room Cleanout, Part 4 (Jefferson and Millsap)
Best interview of them all, in my opinion.
** On the uncertainty of the future: You know, I sit back and think it could be a totally different Utah Jazz team next year. Then I sit back and think we could all be, it could be the same team coming back next year, you know? So, but one thing I do know about the Jazz…they always gonna make the best decision for the Jazz, because the fans deserve it. The fans deserve a great team, you know, out there, ’cause they great fans. They support us, night in and night out, you know, and the Jazz gon do what they gotta do to make sure they get the right players here to try to make that playoff push next year.
** Did your role with the Jazz differ from your expectations at the time of the trade? Yeah, it did. Actually when I came here, you know, I was coming in to just help, you know, glue this team together, you know, far as the loss of Carlos Boozer and just coming in and just pick up where they left off. Then, I became one of the leaders, you know, on this team. You know, and I wasn’t coming in expecting that. I was coming in and just doing my part and trying not to mess up, you know? And coming in and being one of the leaders on this team just, you know, showed how I just worked my way up. You know, and that was a honor too.
** Does that show your personal growth as a player? I hope so. I think so. I think I have shown that I’m not just a black hole that I had a reputation, have, some years ago. You know, and hey, I lived up to that name, so…But you know, it’s just I hope it show people that I can do other things, and I’m working my butt off every year to try and get better and better on defense…I got some ways to go, but that what’s it’s all about. Just getting better every year.
** Who do you credit your defensive improvement to? I credit to y’all who said my defense sucked. And the Utah Jazz, who also agreed that my defense sucked. And they helped me work with it. You know, P3, you know, Santa Barbara. I’m going to P3 every summer to work on my quickness on my foot, being able to move out there on the pick and roll, keeping my weight down, you know, all that. The Utah Jazz. If I had to sum it up in one word, UtahJazz. Like I said, just made me grow as a player.
** On the futures of Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter: All-Stars. Superstars. Hall of Famer, in my opinion. You know, just the way Turkey just, you know, you teach him something, you show him something, he picks up on it real fast. You know, high IQ of the game, understanding the game. And then on top of that, he works real hard. You know, Derrick Favors just a animal, a man-child, you know what I mean? So you know, them two, the sky’s the limit for them.
** On mentoring Enes: All I ask is he do it for somebody else, you know? Another young guy coming in, do it for him. But you know, I really didn’t think, me teaching him what I taught him, he was gon do it and also do it better than me. That wasn’t the plan…He doing it better than me, and I don’t, that’s, you know, so Imma have to polish my game a little bit. Maybe come out with a left hand or something.
** How deadly would you be if you added the left hand to your arsenal? (UDQM) I had a left hand one time. Then I woke up. I don’t know, man. I guess the right hand is so special.
** On the city and state: I love the city of Utah. You know, it’s a great city. Salt Lake, sorry…I love the city of Salt Lake, though. You know, it’s a great place…you know, stay out of trouble, just focus on your game. You know, the fans, the people here, it’s just everybody’s just like a big, happy family, you know, and I love it.
[insert Karl Malone reference]
** Offseason plans: I’m gonna relax for a little bit and then I’m going right back to Santa Barbara, you know, and just really hit it hard.
** On this season: It was challenging, a very challenging year. I mean, not only for myself, you know, but for a lot of the guys on this team. Dealing with the free agency, dealing with the, you know, the rotations, or how you gon play guys, and stuff like that. So it was tough for everybody, from the players to the coaches to the management, to everybody…I feel like when we all put it behind us, you know, and not worried about it, that’s when we played our best basketball. When we weren’t thinking about it, when everybody got out there collectively, pretty much for the most part we played for each other. [Were you able to keep all that out of your mind?] Personally? I’m human, so no. You know, that’s me being honest, you know. Me being honest. It’s a tough thing to try to put in the back of your head and not think about, you know, but for the most part, I feel like I done a good job of doing it. You know, I feel like a lot of guys on this team did a good job of doing it.
** On being played at different positions: The different positions was just different. You know, but I’m a guy who work through everything, you know, the coaches ask. You know, I’m willing to try a new position if that’s gonna help me get more playing time, if that’s gonna help our team. It was challenging. You know, that adds to the challenges of the season, as you know, but no regrets about it. You know, I’d do it again.
** On saying goodbye to teammates: I’m sure we’re gonna see each other. A lot of us gon keep close tabs, you know, we’re gonna hang out during the summer. A lot of us are gonna work out together. So I mean, that’s how close we are, you know? We’re willing to meet up somewhere and work out together and try to get better.
** On the Jazz: The organization took a chance on me. It turned out to be a good chance, you know, turned out to work on both ends, you know, so words can’t explain how, what that means to me, for the organization taking me in and doing what they did to care for me. And hopefully, you know, we have plenty more years together.
** Was it good to have four bigs? It worked out both ways. You know, for them, you know, it helped them have two guys ahead of them who can teach them and help them grow as basketball players and as persons. For us, you know, we had competition in practice everyday, so it helped us get better. So it worked out both ways…Those two gonna be pretty good. You know, they gon be real good in the future and for years to come, and working against them everyday, you know, getting better, not only helping them get better, but improving myself getting better against some of the top talent, you know, they’re talented guys. And so, you know, I appreciate the competition.
** David Locke: You had a strange year, getting offered the extension and the whole way through the year…
Millsap: It was more mentally challenging than I expected. You know, it really tested, you know, my mental capacity this year, especially with everything that went on. But I feel like it made me stronger. I learned a lot from this year. So I think it was a pretty good year for me to learn.
Locke: Do you wonder what the year would’ve been like if you had just taken the extension and relieved that pressure?
Millsap: No. It probably would still have been tough. Probably still would’ve been a tough year.
Locke: So then, what was tough if it wasn’t turning down the extension?
Millsap: I don’t think the free agency was a big part of it. The free agency is gonna handle itself, you know? All I had to do was go out there and play. I think it was everything else. Just trying to figure out a way to get to where we wanted to be, with what we had, and the situation and circumstances that we were in, so, which was tough. So I mean, I think most of it came from that.
** Locke: Were you healthy at the end of the year?
Millsap: I played at the end of the year. I played, so it doesn’t matter if I was healthy or not. I was on the court.
Locke: What was bothering you?
Millsap: I don’t know. I was good, man. I had no pain.
Locke: This is on radio…He didn’t look me in the eye when he just lied to me there.
Millsap: That’s ’cause Randy Foye was looking at me, messing around.