Bits from Dennis Lindsey Interview, 6/24
Not a single “you know” from DL in this entire post…
With you as the point man, what would be the process if the Jazz wanted to move up? Who has a say?
We serve at will to the Miller family, and really, the buck stops there. The things that Kevin [O'Connor] was able to do in the past, that was always under the Miller family review.
And because of that, what we try to do is, we wanna create a very transparent environment internally, and our philosophy, our, all of us, are smarter than any one of us. And so, that debate, we want to really have really strong debate across the table.
And who knows, that, who knows who that person is, that’s giving that pie–infor–key piece of information to swing the vote and sway the room? And that could be, it could be a video guy who’s watching more video than any of us, and says, “Hey, I see this. Let’s go review that.” And we come back, and all of a sudden, hey, that guy’s right.
And it could be a person steeped in analytics that says, “Hey, this guy is showing some statistical markers that we wanna pay attention to,” that maybe we wouldn’t have otherwise.
And then, it could be the long-time scout that understands the organization and players at a really deep, intimate level and in an intangible way.
So, what we’re trying to do is get all those key pieces of information, and then simply talk and review and many times decide how we’re going to decide. That’s a fluid, that’s a very fluid process.
I found that each draft’s a little bit different relative to the themes, and our job is to grab onto the most important themes. So, it’s part art, it’s part formulaic, it’s part gut, and again, so the, even if I were to try to describe going forward, it would, I wouldn’t do justice because when I’ve looked back on the notes to assign credit or blame on every decision, when we keep really good notes, is really difficult.
But it’s safe to say we’ve spent a lot of try–time trying to understand the decision-making process and most specifically, the late draft process.
Everyone gives input. The Millers have final approval.
What are the odds you know which draft pick you’ll be introducing on Friday?
I think we know, fairly good odds, if we were to stay at five, who that group is, and we’re comfortable with the group. There’re many different prospects that add different athletic attributes and skills and mindsets, and there’s no perfect prospect.
There’re a bunch of very good prospects, and to be frank, much of this draft, in my opinion, is how good you are organizationally at supporting and developing the prospect that you take.
I was with a program in San Antonio that, many times we were selecting guys with significant holes, and you try to fortify their holes,* while accenuating** the positives that they have on the court. And I think the program there has done a really good job of making their young players systematically better.
And so, I think that’s going to be a real challenge with whoever we were to select, at really any position. Five, 23, 35, all of the above, that we’re going to have to do a real good diagnostic look under the hood, athletically, do those correctives, look at their skillset, help them tighten skillset, and then support ‘em, because these are really young men.
So, our, we’ve really invested in off-the-court player development. Richard Smith has headed that. We have Dr. Keith Henschen*** that does our psychological component. So, we’re really comfortable with that, but I really think that’s a key part of this process.
* UDQM, H/T @Mac_Jazz
** “Accentuating,” probably.
*** The Jazz’s sport psychologist consultant for the past two decades. Here’s a podcast in which he talks about his approach to mental coaching, if anyone’s interested. He mentions in the podcast that one thing he learned from Jerry Sloan over the 25 years they worked together is “the great ones play forward,” that the most important play in sports, regardless of mistakes, is the next play, not the last play.
The odds are unknown.
Is Kawhi Leonard a system player?
When Kawhi was the, first came [to the Spurs], to plug him into the defensive role, the wing defensive role, it was so key. And then their development people really worked on Kawhi.
Much was noted about the Spurs changing Kawhi’s jump shot, but one thing that I believe really has gone unnoticed is how much better Kawhi finished. Kawhi was a two-foot-gatherer-jump-stop, and so their development people really worked with Kawhi playing off one foot as well. So not only did he become a better shooter, but he became a better finisher through just a lot of analysis and hard work, and it’s a real credit to their program and to their coaching staff.
And so, while he came into the program in a certain role, he came in in that role very young. And now, he’s, his abilities and his development has allowed him, the Spurs, to win that matchup at the small forward positionally, and in the past, it was more of a placeholder type of position.
He has been developed into one, yes.
Have you had any secret workouts with players?
I’d rather not comment on that, but I understand the question.
You know we’re going to assume that means “yes,” right?
I can understand the assumption, but I’ll let you make an assumption instead of commenting.
What is the earliest and latest in the day you could call someone from another team to propose a trade?
Earliest in the morning? Yeah, so, we’re, as you would imagine, every team right now is, it’s 24-7. So, the days of the week and the hours on the clock and our birthdays and holidays that may come up, nothing’s sacred on the calendar or the clock.
[Host relays story about David Stern calling Larry H. Miller at 3 a.m. during labor negotiations and saying he couldn't call anyone else but he knew he could call LHM, and that he wanted to run the parameters of a proposed deal by LHM because if it works for the Jazz, it works for other small markets.]
I’ll say this. I feel like I know Mr. Miller because of all the stories and his book and the organization, and his capacity for work. His mental acuity and grasp for numbers are far past mine and probably anybody else currently in the organization.
And I’m not sure I’d function real well on a late-night call, especially if it’s the commissioner, but yeah, that story, I haven’t heard that story. That doesn’t surprise me giving, given Mr. Miller’s work ethic and natural intellect.
** Dennis Lindsey on Kevin O’Connor, UDQM: He likes to give our group the business. Systematically. He spares no one. (1280)