Locker Room Cleanout Part 5B: Dennis Lindsey (continued)
With Derrick Favors as the defensive centerpiece, what do the Jazz have to do to become defensively elite?
Yeah, a lot of hard work. A lot of introspection. Could be adding some veteran personnel that have been in situations, or it could be, you know, helping Derrick and frankly Rudy [Gobert] grow into anchors at the rim.
You guys saw a little bit what Rudy could do [in the Jazz’s final game]. We expect a great summer for him. We do think that those two in particular are very good foundational pieces from a defensive standpoint.
We think Gordon [Hayward] can be a plus defender, you know, as a wing as well whether it be a “two” or a “three.” So, you know, I’m optimistic, but you know, look. They’re young, and you know, we need to take a look at ourselves.
But I think, my opinion on Derrick defensively hasn’t changed on whether he can be an anchor or not. I think he can be. Now, with that said, does he need to run back harder, low to the ball harder? Absolutely.
Does, you know, Ty[rone Corbin] and I pushed him relative to him leading the defense, and so Derrick has to get outside of himself a little bit and get a little uncomfortable and command the defense from a communication and a verbal standpoint. But you know, he’s very smart. We just have to, you know, appropriately challenge him to do that.
On Enes Kanter
[Due to his shoulder surgery], it took Enes a few months into the regular season to develop a good rhythm. One of Enes’ best strengths is his rebounding ability. He just, you know, he has that natural ability, and I thought even his rebounding, his timing and his rhythm suffered a little bit because of the inactivity [last] summer.
But the last two months, specifically, we saw a big uptick. You saw several, you know, Enes-like rebounding games. I think his post game’s improving.
You know, the defense is well-documented. We’ll have those conversations, and the challenge to Enes was, is be as physical on defense as you are on offense. And I think Enes is very smart. He’s a very committed kid, and I think he’ll accept the challenges to move forward defensively.
On Alec Burks
We played more pick and roll basketball–empty-post basketball, if you will–in hopes that Alec and Gordon [Hayward] could put pressure on top of the basket. They both did so.
I thought Alec and Johnnie Bryant really did a good job of working on his finishing. We wanted to simplify his finishing. There were too many jackknife, highlight-type of finishes, and we want ‘em to be more simple in nature.
I think he needs to get stronger, and as he gets stronger, he’ll continue to improve his productivity at the rim and at the free throw line. So, I’m very pleased with the season that Alec had, especially after the start. You know, he just continued to grind through a slow start, and winded up putting up a very good season for us.
On Richard Jefferson and Marvin Williams
Greg and Gail and Steve [Miller], after our last home game–they weren’t able to do it after the Minnesota game because of the Board of Governors meetings in New York–they came in and said some words to the team.
And really some of the thank-yous were most appropriately directed towards Richard and Marvin, because they were able to help Ty keep control in the locker room. We didn’t have any “young player nonsense,” if you will.
And then, we were challenged from a win-loss standpoint, but the group stayed together. The group worked hard all year long. They followed Ty’s leadership, and I think Marvin and Richard in particular get that credit…
It stands to reason, right, that you need some experience to help show the way with the young guys. And I think, you know, we knew we had that in Marvin. We knew that we really had a high-character guy, especially a guy that was a prodigy and McDonald’s All-American that has just moved into, you know, his, the day-to-day reality that Marvin’s better than actually his impeccable reputation. And so, that’s not lost on us.
And with Richard, I think he really appreciated that Ty helped him recreate his career, and that Ty was honest and said, “Hey, if you win the position, you’ll play.” And Richard did, and Richard was very good in his, you know, the exit interview. Really likes the young guys, thinks they’re about the right qualities.
They just have to grow up and mature, and you know, challenge it, or channel it, excuse me, in the right way. So we really appreciated both. And under the right circumstances, we could see one of those back.
What is the next step for Gordon Hayward?
I think he needs to have more fun, and I think he’s, if he really were to think about it, you know: tall, handsome, smart, great family, you know, beautiful fianceé, naturally competitive, in a good spot in a market that admires him.
You know, I think there are times where he misses a shot and he feels like he’s got the weight of the world on his shoulders. And I’m sure, you know, the wins and losses, you know, weighed heavy on him. He actually shared that.
But we wanted to also clear the path, so he could become, you know, more prominent, you know, with the Utah Jazz. And you know, there’s a lot of responsibility that goes to that. I think once he gets time away and reflects on that, he’ll be better in that role next year. …
The other challenge we have is, is–Kevin said this from the start, and I think it’s true–and you know, Gordon’s very comfortable, you know, educated, smart, talented, and will he let his, will he push through his comfort level, you know, to move past “good,” you know, to become very significant in this league?
And that’s a real personal choice, because if he just continues to do what he does, he’s very professional, and compliant, and he says the right things. So we’re proud to have him, but I think there’s a level that if he really were to reflect, and get uncomfortable with himself, I think he could hit another level. …
You know, we look forward to, you know, him being a career Jazz member.
What does Trey Burke need to do to take the next step?
Yeah, quite a few. Quite a few things. You know, we talked a little bit about, you know, personal discipline. And Trey really wants to lead. And so, not that he’s undisciplined, but he’s gotta take it to a new level. And it would be hard for any 21-year-old point guard to come in and lead, even, you know, a very young group with little experience.
I think Trey’s ambition, his work ethic, his intelligence are all good characteristics that will provide a platform for him to move to greater heights.
You know, I think specifically, technically, you know, with his game, he needs to finish better. I think if he finishes better, and he and Johnnie have worked really hard on that, and we actually saw some progress in the last few weeks.
If he works on that, that will allow his pull-up game, which is very significant, to become more of a weapon, and it will allow his catch-and-shoot game to be better as well. So, I think his array of finishing, specifically finishing off one foot, versus the two-foot gather, is something that he worked on, and will continue to work on this off-season.
There was absolutely no directive from ownership or management to, you know, manipulate games, if you will. I don’t even like to say the word [tank].