Bits from Kevin O’Connor Interview, 10/1
Rookies aren’t ready to play NBA basketball
This year, obviously, we’re gonna start, you know, players that are gonna be very, very young…If you really want to stop and think about this, this should be the year that Derrick Favors graduated from college, and should be entering the pros.
You know, so what has happened, going back to Michael Jordan playing three years and Tim Duncan playing four years, to Grant Hill, we’ve, you know, i–put the process in overdrive, and the players that are coming into the league really aren’t ready to play NBA basketball.
Their talent level dictates that they have to be drafted where they are and that they should be very good players in a few years, but the painful way of going through it is difficult first.
And then, you can learn really bad habits. You know, I got–IGM–I got mine. So, hopefully that’s not happened with some of the young players.
Is Trey Burke an exception to the rule? Can he be a major contributor in his first year?
Well, you know, again, in a way, that he’s played two years of college, and certainly he’s been on a national stage. He’s gonna have a learning curve.
Can Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter co-exist?
I think they can. Will they, you know, they’re all not gonna be in the same time at the game together all the time. So, that, we gotta have other players to be able to pick up some of that time.
But I would like it if, a little bit too, maybe one being able to guard the pick and roll a little bit better, one being able to score inside a little bit better, one being able to make a jumpshot better, one be able to, you know, run the screen and roll and be able to finish at the rim better.
So I liken that to the fact I think they can play together, but I also think that there’s gonna be times when, if teams go very small, that we’re gonna have to adjust to that.
What will the roles of Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins and Brandon Rush be?
We did enough homework to know that they’re good people, first of all. Brandon Rush is not gonna be able to be on the floor for awhile, still recovering from an ACL.
But the other point is that they’re in the last year of their contract. So it would behoove them to help us win, because most of the time, the guys that get the contracts are the guys that help teams win. Not the statistic guys.
On Favors’ and Gordon Hayward’s contract extensions
Well, what I would say is that I would have absolutely no comment on that. …
While I think the publicity has been that there’s been people signing [extensions], there were 30 draft picks in the first round, and I think only four of them right now have signed extensions…You know, there’s only been four, and you know, we’ve got ’til Oct. 31.
How can the Jazz get better™ defensively? Addition by subtraction? Young players evolving? Changing schemes?
That’s probably pretty accurate. You know, I think the focus, as COACH has said, is on that. We can’t let that go. We can’t let go of the rope, as far as that goes.
I think the other point is that just because we’re young doesn’t mean we have to be dumb, on defense. We can compete on the defensive end in that respect.
And the third thing is that, you know, you gotta get some players that are willing to commit to it. And I think at times, we didn’t do that last year. And then, COACH, you know, has sold everybody on the fact that we are gonna be a better defensive team.
At what point in the season would you like to know who the Jazz are?
I think it’ll be done in segments, and you know, I can’t really give you an answer because we’re younger than we normally are. …
I believe that with the age and the “inexperience” that we have in terms of number of minutes played in the league, it’s gonna be almost a daily thing.
But what I do want to emphasize is that by no means is this, you know, we giving a check mark to playing hard, or moral victories. That’s not what we’re about. We’re about trying to win basketball games. (1280)
Five months ago, the Jazz issued a statement in Randy Rigby’s name denying reports that KOC was stepping down. KOC also went on KALL to refute reports that his role was changing (by arguing semantics and minor details):
I’m disappointed that it came out, you know, all the things that came out like it did. And you know, to me, “stepping down” means I’m resigning, I’m retiring, or whatever. And that’s not the case…
[The house that was sold] certainly wasn’t a mansion and it certainly wasn’t, you know, something that was newsworthy, but you know, we did sell it. We are renting right now, and looking to decide what we want to do. Do we want to continue to [rent], but I, you know, again, and then I read where I was going–North Carolina–and it’s actually South Carolina where the place is, and then I read where, you know, I was gonna be close to Belmont Abbey, which I wouldn’t be…
So I think it was pretty inaccurate all the way around, to be honest.
Just goes to show, he can never be straight with us (sour grapes from someone getting the scoop before he could announce it himself?) From Steve Luhm:
In fact, O’Connor will continue to play an important role for the franchise, although his home base will be in South Carolina. …
O’Connor remains the Jazz’s executive vice president of basketball operations, but he is no longer the team’s primary decision-maker. That job belongs to Lindsey and his new assistant general manager, Justin Zanik. O’Connor will scout for the Jazz, in addition to offering advice when Lindsey or Zanik ask for it, which will probably be often. (Trib)