Bits from Dennis Lindsey Interviews, 2/14-2/17
Overall thoughts on the first half of the season
Well, you know, obviously the first month we learned a lot of lessons. And I think we persevered and stayed together, which I think there were some positives in that. I think Ty[rone Corbin] is now understanding our group, clearly, with who we let go and to allow the young guys to take primary roles. There was an adjustment in system on, really, both sides of the ball. …
[According to David Locke,] it’s 16-9, 17-9 with this starting lineup, and in a weird way, I think Ty’s done a real nice job developing our bench, you know, most prominently, you know, Enes Kanter, Alec Burks, Jeremy Evans have really led our efforts, and little surprised with that.
So you know, we’ll just judge these next 30 games, you know, and see if we’re, you know, continuing to trend in the right direction. Which I think we are. But look, you know, there’s no escaping it, you know, a youth movement, a rebuild, a look into the future. Those are all difficult things for us to go through.
So we would like to, you know, speed up the process as best we can, growing these young players without skipping steps. There’s a fine line. You don’t want to give ‘em too much too soon, or you’ll create entitlement. You don’t want to give ‘em too much too soon, or you’ll have an injured player. So there are a lot of factors that we’re trying to balance right now.
Has Gordon Hayward done anything to change your mind about what he’s worth?
I know that, you know, there were some fans that, you know, felt like, you know, he’s being greedy, another greedy athlete. And if we just move away from that hyperbole, it’s just, you know, he and [agent] Mark Bartelstein had a job to do, and decisions to make, and they made theirs, and we made ours.
And, but, you know, we anticipate Gordon being with the Jazz for a long time…I think his best basketball is still far ahead, and we look forward to supporting him, you know, by providing him with, you know, coaches and teammates and facilities and technology that will, you know, maximize his abilities.
If I, Spencer Checketts, was the genie from Aladdin and you could rub the lamp, and have a coupla wishes, what’s missing on your team? What holes need to be filled?*
Yeah so, you know, there’s just no one on the current roster that hits the level of John [Stockton] and Karl [Malone]. So you know, some franchise-level play. And certainly, you know, John and Karl weren’t John and Karl one and two years into their careers.**
So we gotta continue to develop the talent that we have, and you know, we have to draft and sign and trade appropriately. I think there’s many, many things that our group needs and really, experience, game experiences, is important. Playing for something, games that are meaningful.
Luckily, the, you know, Derrick [Favors] and Gordon and Alec and Enes have all, the last few years, played in very meaningful games in the last 20 games of the regular season. And then, the year before last, into the playoffs. I think they understand that probably better than what Trey [Burke] and Rudy [Gobert] understand at an NBA level, even though those two players have played in big games.
* [Adjective of your choice] Dirty Quote Machine.
** I agree that there are no Stockton and Malonesque players on the current roster, but for the record Karl averaged 21.7 points and 10.4 rebounds in 82 starts in his second season, while Stock averaged 7.7 points and 7.4 assists in his second season (9.2 points and 8.5 assists in his 38 starts).
On Tyrone Corbin’s status
We’re not going to get into specifics on Ty. The head coaching position of the Utah Jazz is held in trust…
There was an internal succession plan put in place with Ty.* We’ve moved forward with that. I think I, Ty’s the eighth most tenured coach now in the league, and that’s not lost, you know, on the Miller Group. You know, we’ll take the season and add it all up, but beyond that, we’re not gonna comment.
* Let’s remember Ty got the coaching job only because Phil Johnson, who was offered the job first, turned it down to leave with Jerry Sloan. Ty had also interviewed for multiple head coaching jobs elsewhere while with the Jazz.
On tanking and future planning
We didn’t, we wanted to keep our balance sheet very flexible, as these offer sheets and as contracts come up, we wanted to be able to either sign our players or match offer sheets. So we know those things are coming. So again, future planning.
And then, you know, the aggressive asset accumulation, if there was a free agent in last year’s market that could’ve been a franchise or core player, we would’ve grabbed him. The Millers would’ve fully committed to that, and then we would’ve built from there. That didn’t come up in free agency.
Are you happy with the way the season’s going?
Yeah, so clearly development was a big piece, and, or an emphasis, I should say…
Enes got off to a rough start, but I think it’s fairly explainable. He spent the summer rehabbing, and now that he’s catching a rhythm and playing more basketball consistently over the last few months, he’s played very well offensively.
Alex Burks* got off to a rough start. I think as Ty understood the tactics and the strategy of the playing court and the chess board, so to speak, we understand him and how to get him the spacing that we need. Clearly, Marvin [Williams], Trey, Jeremy [Evans] getting back has helped us become more competitive the last two months. So again, there’s, you know, the good, the bad and the ugly.
* People calling Alec Burks “Alex”: Dennis Lindsey.
You said “offensively.” How is Enes Kanter’s defense?
You know, he needs to improve, but he, Enes is not the only player. We have to improve collectively as a group. That’s on me to continue to add defensive-minded players, and players that value that, that can complement, you know, some of our young offensive players.
How has Derrick Favors played since he’s gotten his big contract?
We feel good about that deal. We feel very good about Derrick’s character…He was really raised the right way, and he embodies a lot of the Jazz values and the things that we want to, the type of people that we want to build with, that, who’s very talented.
So, you know, motivation, we’ll, you know, look, I think a lot of times motivation can be overrated. I think if you collect the right people, and you put them in a very secure, competitive environment, the motivation kind of takes care of itself. If Ty has to come in and motivate a player to play hard on a daily basis, then I haven’t done my job.
So are you happy with Derrick Favors’ offensive game?
You know, again, there will be games that you can point to where he shows some growth on the post. There will be other games where, again, he’ll take a step back. I think to his credit, and Ty’s credit, they, we, the role that we envisioned is the role that he’s playing now.
I think Derrick will score points just ’cause he’s on the court, you know, as a finisher of plays…Look, you know, we should be evaluating at Georgia Tech this year. He’s 22 years old.
On Derrick Favors not being selected to the USA Basketball player pool
The positive is, is that, you know, he can spend more time with our coaches working within our system.
On what Karl Malone brings as a big man coach
There were some times when Karl joined us in training camp, where I really got to see his work up close. And not only did he bring a presence there and his history of the way he approached it, Karl actually had very good technical knowledge on how to guard the post.
And not a lot of people would understand that, you know, Karl, you know, was a self-admitted, he wasn’t a shot blocker. So he had to use positioning and strength. And there’s a lot of things that Karl will add that, you know, just because Derrick might never be the scorer Karl was, that Karl can help Derrick, Enes, Jeremy, you know, Rudy, all of our bigs.
What’s causing Gordon Hayward’s shooting woes? His actual shot? His shot selection? Being asked to do too much on a below-average team?
Maybe a combination of [all those factors, and age, new role, and injuries to other players]…
I think Gordon needs to enjoy the process, you know, and Ty and the coaches are working with him. You know, it’s not only shooting; it’s finishing…I think as our other players who can create shot opportunities where he can stand and get his feet set, I think his percentage can go up.
You know, his touch is fine. The shooting eye is fine. Is he trying to do too much? You know, maybe that you can point to some games, but that also could’ve been out of necessity due to injury and having a very young set of teammates. (KUTV, 1280)