Bits from Dennis Lindsey Interview, 2/21
How close were you to making a trade?
You never really know, because you don’t exactly know where the other teams’ walkaway is, and how close, you know, at some level it doesn’t matter. It’s, you know, we went through the league a few times, and we just didn’t find anything out there in the market that was compelling enough to, you know, to move our picks or move our young players, move our vets, you know, reduce our [cap] room.
You know, there were avenues, you know, in each particular area, but I think, you know, Kevin [O’Connor], Kevin just did a real good job over the years of balancing, you know, where we’re at, you know? We’ve got some very good young players, and didn’t have to take a lot of lottery teams to do that. You know, he and Bob [Hyde] and Randy [Rigby] have been very disciplined with the salary cap and you know, what am I gonna be, undisciplined to trick it up for a few games? …
I think we got something special and organic going, and we just decided that our hand was the best hand to play, you know, moving into the draft and then to free agency.
Were there thoughts to make a trade not to make the team worse, but to further development this year?
Yeah, if I felt like the development was being interrupted by the veterans we have. But you know, you just, it’s the proverbial “You can’t grow a flower amongst rocks and weeds.” And so, I feel really good about the opportunity that our young guys are getting.
And it’s a balanced opportunity, and it’s an opportunity that is being earned by those guys, not given. You know, Rudy [Gobert]’s played some minutes of late because of Derrick [Favor]’s injury, and you know our defensive challenges. And so, he’s had to work to, and fight for that opportunity, and guess what, our defense is better when Rudy’s on the court. And we expect that to go forward as well.
And you know, Alec Burks, you know, has had to earn his opportunity behind, you know, the veterans we’ve had the past few years. Last year [with] Randy Foye, you know, this year, [with] Gordon Hayward and Richard Jefferson, and you know, he’s earned the opportunity to be one of the better, you know, offensive perimeter guys off the bench in the league. And we expect more going forward, and you know, those steps need to be earned.
** Dennis Lindsey does not play golf.
Greats like Hakeem Olajuwon, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan were all number one offensive options from the jump. Is this always the case?
Well, I wouldn’t totally agree with that…You’ve seen John [Stockton]’s evolution. I don’t think anybody would have said his first four years that he would’ve been a primary piece, the primary piece, however you’re looking at it. Hakeem’s development was really late-career development.*
Now, you wouldn’t ever want to bank on that when you look at, you study the historicals. It basically backs up what you’re saying, that if they’re a primary option, they’re a primary option really quick. And you know, look, that’s our challenge. …
This is gonna be tricky going forward, continuing to add young guys to our group, because if you get too many, you might like them all individually, but collectively you can’t win with ‘em because they’re all looking for, you know, the bigger prize and to get paid. …
I think [we have] an interesting mix, and certainly, we’re not perfect and certainly, we need to look for the proverbial franchise player, where it’s, you know, obvious to all of us that that’s the guy, and you know, we’ll continue to look at that while we’re developing the young players that we have. (1280)
* By Stockton’s fourth year, he was a full-time starter who averaged 15 points, 14 assists and 3 steals per game. In his fourth season, meanwhile, Olajuwon was already a four-time All-Star who led his team in minutes, points, rebounds, blocks and steals.