Bits from Dennis Lindsey Interview, 5/28
On Jeff Hornacek’s departure
We’re happy that a brother and a teammate has, you know, accomplished one of his career goals. And it was pretty apparent to everybody when Jeff first joined the organization as a development coach, you know, with Andrei [Kirilenko] and then moved to an assistant coach role, that we weren’t gonna be able to keep him long as an assistant.
You know, his basketball acumen is superior, and he’s a good man, and I think it’s a great fit for Phoenix. Not only because Jeff played there and was a significant player in the Suns’ history, but also with the way Jeff used the game, his willingness to play young guys.*
You know, I could tell when Ryan McDonough called for permission to ask to talk to Jeff that a lot of Jeff’s natural abilities had bent towards how the game should be played. You know, it was gonna mesh well with the conversation that Ryan and I were having on the phone. So we’re really happy for him.
* Emphasis mine.
Where are you looking for a new assistant?
Those questions are, frankly, are better posed for Ty[rone Corbin], and I don’t wanna put him in a box, that, you know, I, you know, Ty has been really good about his approach towards staff.
You know, we had two development coaches hires last all season,** and I thought, you know, we worked very well to add Johnnie Bryant and Brad Jones, you know, and moved Mike Saunders* up when Scott [Layden] left.
So I would imagine, you know, Ty and I have visited a few times, but you know, I wanna give him a little time and space to digest, you know, skillsets, mindsets, you know, who’s potentially available, different structures.
But you know, Kevin [O'Connor] and I, and you know, Randy [Rigby], Bob [Hyde], we’ll give him the appropriate support…I’m sure, you know, Ty has a lot of thoughts right now. …
I think you, you know, you look at all hires, you know, in a pre–it’s a pretty simple thing. You have a high bar of expectations, and if you wanna reduce it, you know, in a simple form, it’s very high level of competency; very high level and threshold for work capacity.
And then, you know, you guys know the program here, and what loyalty and continuity means, and you can make an argument that’s the most important characteristic, is being loyal to Ty and, you know, the organization, and the greater good.
And so you can get, you know, you can get a lot of coaches that, you know, may have checked the first boxes, but they come in with a hired hand mentality, and you know, we prefer to stay away from that. You know, we like our coaches to be here for a long time.
* People calling Mike Sanders “Saunders”: Dennis Lindsey
** Lol. I wonder if that’s on Ty’s CV…”Accomplishments: Successfully retained two staff members who did not have seats on the bench for period of one NBA season without anyone resigning.”
What is the Jazz’s most pressing personnel issue right now?
You know, and I don’t mean to punt on the question, but I think we have so many, and the thing that I’ve learned in my days in Houston and San Antonio, there, you know, the goal isn’t to draft or the goal isn’t to trade for a star player.
The goal is to get as high a functioning team as possible that is financially stable, that you can sustain over a period of time…
Ultimately, connecting all those decisions and not having any one decision, whether they be monumental and a big free agency acquisition or trade, all the way to connecting the decisions to what you guys would think, you know, would be more minimal move, whether it’s the 46th pick or a rookie free agent like Wesley Matthews, you know, you hit on a Wesley Matthews or a Danny Green, then you guys, as you know, you can reallocate those dollars…
Hopefully, you have a definitive direction that you procure to, you know, whether it’s high standards for character, or shooting, you know, to emphasize, you know, your primary players and get them the proper spacing, to players with a defensive mindset, to players who are, as Gregg Popovich would say, who are “over themselves,” that are more concerned about the group than they are about individual numbers and contracts.
So I think you have your overriding principles, but really, you know, there’s so many decisions to be made. My goal is not only that we make good decisions on an individual basis, but we connect those decisions.
How far away are the Jazz from being competitive in the West?
You know, we’re right in the middle of a rebuild. Now, I think Kevin O’Connor is such a talented executive…We’re just, I think we have a real sober look that we’re a competitive team, that was just in the playoffs last year, just out [this year], winning record.
The nice thing is, is, you know, the common NBA saying is, you don’t wanna be in the middle. I think being in the middle is fine, as long as you have flexibility to improve. When you’re in the middle and you become concrete. …
Our mission here is to become a consistent contender and if that means investing, and going all-in this year, we’ll do that. If it means being very patient, and taking our lumps, we won’t run from that alternative either.
So again, I don’t know totally how to answer the question, because we’re so incomplete right now relative to the draft, and free agency, and trades, that’s, that are all coming up here real quick, but I’m confident that once we decide on a direction, we’ll stay true to those principles. …
If [standing still early in free agency, building with value free agents, and going young] is the right alternative based upon the things that are presented to us, and the opportunities that we create, you know, during this next 30- to 60-day window, we’ll jump up and say that, and hopefully we’ll make a compelling argument to the public that we’re selling hope in the future.