Rudy Gobert seems to be making a difference for France at the FIBA World Cup…
Well, you know, playing time, as Rudy has really matured and had an opportunity, both playing with us last year, and then seeing the pro–the growth per, that he is making, individually on his game, and feeling more comfortable at, in the professional ranks, it’s been really enjoyable to watch and see that kind of (audio skips) that he’s made.
It’s, it reminds me a little bit of one that we all got to experience, kind of a big, tall man, that as he had an opportunity to really experience the professional game, with Mark Eaton, that, of how they were able to really take advantage of it, and really make a difference. And I really think over some time, I’m very hopeful and really high on the possibilities that Rudy can really help make a difference for the Utah Jazz.
Gobert didn’t get a ton of playing time last year, so how can you gauge how much he’s improved from the end of last year to now?
Well, I think number one, with Quin [Snyder], you’re gonna see more playing time with Rudy Gobert. And he’s earned it; he’s paying the price. And I think, again, we’ve always said players have to, they don’t just get playing time. They have to earn it.
But I see the time and the effort that Rudy has put into the gym this last off-season. He’s, and if he continues on that path, he’s gonna earn some good playing time with the Utah Jazz, and that’s very important. He’s putting, he’s put the time in to really, also, and as he gets older, his body keeps now going from being a young man to more of a man’s body. And I’ve seen, really, strength, that Rudy’s, he’s developing more strength as well.
And I’ll tell you, in the game, the professional game, getting pushed around there, you’ve gotta be able to push back. And he’s paying that price as well. And so I think that’s going to really bode very well for Rudy in being able to be able to be on the court, because he can be able to hold his own ground.
So I think those are some of the things we’re gonna be looking at, and I think, you know, those are, what he’s been able to accomplish and the experience he’s now had at the World Cup is gonna be, I think, another great stepping stone of giving him some confidence and giving him the comfort level: “Hey, I have the, I deserve to be on the floor. I’m gonna, I want to be on the floor, and I’m gonna pay the, am I working hard enough to be able to get on there.” So, I think we’re seeing a lotta good signs.
Have you gotten any progress reports on any of your other players?
I’ve been really excited with what we’ve ha–what this last week [of open gym]…We’ve had here, literally this week, everyone on our team, with the exception of Gordon [Hayward], and we’ve intentionally wanted Gordon to have a little down time, ’cause he was very heavily involved in July and August in building up for the World Cup…[and] Rudy and [Brock] Motum and also Dante Exum, because of their participation on Australia’s team.
Everyone else has been here working with the coaching staff and doing some conditioning. And I’ll tell you, I am really excited about what I’m seeing, with what coach is implementing, with the uptempo that we’re looking at, with the defensive intensity that we’re talking about. The pacing of these practices are very impressive.
And as I was sitting next to Jerry Sloan two days ago when we were kind of watching the workouts and the open gym process, Jerry said, “You know what? I’ve yet to see any of these players that don’t look like they’re in shape.” And that’s a very good sign.
We’ve had years where all of a sudden, the players have been coming in and we can see that they have not been paying the price to keep themse–their bodies in shape, and so they think they’re gonna use training camp to get in shape. Well, that’s not Jazz basketball. We expect players to be coming in in, literally, game shape by the time they’re here. And as we’ve watched them working out here, our players have really been paying the price.
Leadership Question of the Week: If one of the players doesn’t show up to camp in shape, who on your team will be the one to call him out?
Well, you know what, and that’s a very good question. And that’s one thing with a young team that we have, and, that I’ve appreciated, is I’ve reviewed some of the materials and information that Quin is talking about. Right now, I th–because we have this young team, our coaching staff is gonna take that role.
But one of the things that I know that we’re looking at is not only developing our players offensively, defensively, and on the court, but we’re also having discussions, there’s discussions about teaching and training of leadership. Because we’ve got to identify, and as much identify, we’ve got to develop some players also in their dev–in their leadership skills so that they take that role and allow the coaches to not have to do all of that leadership.
We see more coming from maybe a Gordon Hayward and a Derrick Favors, of making those same comments to players if they’re not rising to Jazz quality as a player.
How is Jerry Sloan doing? What’s his role with the team?
Well, Coach is, his involvement with the Utah Jazz is felt in so many different fronts. It’s very interesting to watch the awe and the respect that our players and our young coaching staff have, to see that when they come in here and step on the floor, that there in the s–in the, our stands here at our practice facility, Coach Jerry Sloan is still passionate about the Utah Jazz, is still over here doing the hard things, doing the behind-the-scenes, unglamorous things.*
He’s here at the workouts and the practice, watching. And that’s one of the things I love about Jerry Sloan. He’s about loving the game of basketball, and loving the process that it takes to be great. And a lotta that process isn’t the glamorous stuff, of when you’re walking out and there’s 20,000 people in our EnergySolutions and you’re playing for those championship games or playoff games.**
It’s about what you’re doing in the quiet times to prepare yourself as a team to get to that point. And that’s what I think is very impressive of, about Jerry, being there, and his presence being there.
He, then, is a person that is there, that also, Quin came up and while we were talking, actually, bounced a couple of things off him* and says, “O–when you were coaching, how did you handle this situation?” Or “How did you handle this kind of defensive setup, and, or these type of drills?” And Jerry could just bounce off him, and, or reconfirm to Quin, you know what, I did it the same way you’re doing it.* Here’s s–or here’s an idea you might want to think about.
That, those kind of, that institutional knowledge of a Jerry Sloan, from the last 25 years of coaching, plus the years of playing, is invaluable for, also, for Quin and his staff to glean from. So, those are some of the ways that we’re using.
** Technical note: The Jazz have never played a championship game at EnergySolutions Arena.
Has Deron Williams ever talked with you, or do you have any impression that he regrets the part he played in Jerry Sloan’s resignation?
We developed a very good friendship. Deron has, to me, a lot of very strong and very good qualities, that I think he has, Deron was young and immature on some things. I know, he hasn’t, he didn’t say it directly to me, but I know from very reliable sources that, his comment was, he says, if he could do it all over again, he would not have pushed and, as, the way that he did. And that he made some mistakes.* …
And I think he went, as he then went to Brooklyn and realized, “Okay, let’s play for the–one of these big markets.” There’s some attractive things to it. But there’s also some real challenging things if you’re trying to be a father, and a husband, and it, just logistics of even getting around to get to practices, and then get to arenas. It’s, there’s some challenges that go with it, and they realize how great it is, it, particularly in this community to play.
And that’s, tha–it’s been really gratifying for me, to now hear those comments. And I gotta respect Deron for having the courage to stand up and actually defend this community and make people aware of it.** A lot of people [are] coming now, and more and more. This, people’s ability to travel around is so much easier now.
* I’d love to hear Deron’s take on this.
** Um…Here’s the Deron Williams quote Rigby is referring to:
“I’m not going to lie. I don’t really feel so much like a New Yorker. I grew up in an apartment in Texas where you could send your kids outside like ‘yeah, go play in the sun.’ Here it’s more challenging. The process of getting them into school is a nightmare. Even private schools where you pay are an ordeal. In Utah, you just send your kids to the first public school in the area because they’re all great. Truth is, we enjoy getting away from the hustle and bustle and going back to Utah every summer. It’s a relief to take that timeout. No traffic. No crowds. My daughters still have their friends there. There’s a big backyard. They go to the pool; the playground and they jump on the trampoline. Kids running wild and free here…? I don’t think so.” (Resident)
To me, Deron is more complaining about New York than “defending” Utah. To characterize these comments as “having the courage to stand up and actually defend this community and make people aware of it” smacks of insecure desperation to latch onto any positive comment and blow it out of proportion, which I assume was not Rigby’s intent.
One other thought: It’s frequently been mentioned on social media how the Williamses must love Utah because Deron’s wife and kids lived in Utah this past year. With the kids back in New York and attending school there this fall, I wonder if the reason they were in Utah was because they couldn’t get into the schools they wanted in New York last year? *shrug*
Excluding John Stockton and Karl Malone, is there one player that you can think of, that it just so hard to see him go?
The one that probably I got to know in a really deeper way as well was Jeff Hornacek. And it was really hard, because Jeff, as Jeff was coming back and getting involved at, I had numerous conversations with him and, in trying to help, also, mentor Jeff ’cause I knew he wanted to get back involved in, also, coaching.
And so, and to talk with him about, saying, “Jeff, you know what, the, it’s a new age of coaching as well, and so here are some of the things that you need to think about, not only just on coaching the Xs and Os on a basketball court, but also what we, as presidents of organizations and our owners expect from you to do to help us as well, with fans, with ticket sales, with sponsorships. And so, you have to be, there’s much more to it now.”
And w–it was fun to kinda help mentor him and kind of preparing to be a all-around coach. And so, it was, you know, and to see him then get the opportunity, which I was really excited for, with Phoenix, though it was hard to see him go. And he’s just a great human being, and contributed a lot to the Jazz organization, both on and off the court.
Gordon Monson: I thought you were gonna say Luther Wright.
Rigby: I luckily didn’t get as close to Mr. Wright.
Spencer Checketts: You weren’t out playing the bongos or whatever?*
Rigby: No. No. (1280)
* Making fun of mental illness. Wow, SO hilarious.
What are you seeing from your players that are playing in the FIBA World Cup?
Yeah, yeah. So, Justin Zanik and I, we were able to make it over to Granada, Spain for a couple days. We saw Rudy [Gobert] and Raul [Neto], and then we spent another two days in Gran Canaria to see Australia and Dante [Exum] play. And so, as you would imagine, it, there, each guy’s at a much different stage of their career with the national team.
Dante’s always been kind of the premier guy on the U-17, U-18, U-19 teams. Even sometimes as a younger player, and now he’s getting his first introduction to the men’s national team.
And we really like the Australia program. We had a little bit of a relationship with them previously with my days in San Antonio, and they have a bunch of neat programs. They literally have a program on teaching their players how to be a mate, how to be a teammate. And all the protocols that young players have to go through in the NBA is somewhat similar to what Australian basketball institutionalizes. So, we’ve really appreciated that.
Dante is, we were in the lobby together and he was telling me he was, they had a roommate. So, for 31 straight days at this point in time, you know, he’s had a roommate in his room with him, who happens to be the team captain for the Australian national team [Joe Ingles]. So, he’s been indoctrinated, of, with playing against men, and the speed, the physicality.
One game a few games back, he was able to get 31 minutes and put some good marks on the board. When he played and when we saw him, it was much shorter minutes and he was able to create shot opportunities…We think he’s, has great character, and we look forward to helping him develop his talents over the next couple of years.
With Rudy, he’s a year or two ahead of where Dante is, developmentally, being 22 years old, even though there’s a age, chronological gap there of 19 to 22. But Rudy’s able to, he’s been able, in the last year, to gain strength, and so his play early in the FIBA friendlies, if you will, was really prolific.
He had several double-doubles in big-minute games, but much like Dante, as some of the other players have come back to the national team, his role has been more of a backup the last few games. And he’s been very efficient, I think shooting close to 70 percent from the field. Been really good on the glass, and a great presence with his size and length.
And his frame of mind was really, you could see not only physical maturity, but mental maturity. And so, I think he’s made a compelling case to move from more of a situational player for us last year to an everyday player, and, but, you know, Quin [Snyder] has to make those decisions–Quin and his staff–going forward.
And then with Raul, Raul has, much like Dante, he was lucky enough to be part of a national team that, at 18, 19 years old, there’s not many point guards in Australia, or Brazil, that he’s had to experience not playing everyday, and, those early years, and now he’s moved into more of a, an every-game role.
And here at the last two games, I think the game before last, he had 14 and 10, and last game he had 21 points and shot 9 of 10 from the field, and we’re just thrilled with his work ethic and improvement, and we look forward to the day to bring him to the club.
Some people say, “Dante Exum was a high draft pick. Shouldn’t he be able to be dominant at a thing like the World Cup?”* Would you explain that to folks?
Yeah, yeah sure. Well, you know, look, Dante’s gonna have to play well. We picked him very early, and we expect that. But we didn’t draft Dante Exum to be the quickest contributor in the NBA. There were probably other players that we could’ve selected that would have made a, more of an immediate impact.
When we make draft decisions, there’s, sometimes you want to make a real conservative pick, if you will, and there’s other times where you want to take as much risk associated with the pick. And players are much like stocks, right? IPOs, the earlier you’re getting in, the more potential for return is. And with Dante, again, we made a pick based upon projections.
He just turned 19, so he’s either a, an old freshman this year, going into his freshman year in college, or a very young sophomore. But again, there’s world class speed, and length, and each stop along the way, when Dante’s played with his age group or an age group above, if you wanna go look at those stats, and his production has been just superior.
And so, again, I know you set this question up on the tee for me, but I’m more concerned about how Dante Exum’s going to perform at 24, 25, 26 than I am [at] 19 or 20. Now, if we’re, of course you have to live in the years of 19 and 20 to get those maturity years going forward, but we look forward to the journey with him.
And we just got a letter from his national team coach, Andrej Lemanis. He’s an excellent coach, and the letter was very positive about [Exum's] talent and his skill level and his approach and all the things. We just gotta help him develop the gifts, so it, again, it was a long-term play.
* I want to say I can’t believe there are people out there that think like this…but sadly we all know better.
Which FIBA rules would you like to see implemented in the NBA?
I think a great thing, if we could ever figure it out–and look, TV money pays all of our salaries, right? That’s the reason why we have jobs, is because the media are associated with television. But I think if we could learn from international basketball where there’s no live ball timeouts, to keep the flow going.*
I think it’s the one lesson we can learn from soccer. It’s not really scoring that makes European football the world’s most popular sport. It’s continuous action.** And I just remember, maybe it’s me being an old fogey, but back in the ’86, ’87, ’88, and the Celtics-Lakers, and that Laker team that could go on that 27-4 run, and there wasn’t as many TV timeouts. There wasn’t as many coaching timeouts, so you could get that uninterrupted action.
I, so when you go and see a basketball game in Europe, the game is not as athletic, but the game flows better because there’s less timeouts, there’s less TV timeouts.*** One of my pet peeves in college basketball…is that situation where there’s a timeout, there’s a possession back and forth, and then there’s another TV timeout. And why we as fans put up with that situation, it makes our game less watchable.****
So I really believe in continuous action, so if we could eliminate a timeout and figure out a way for our TV partners to still sell ads, you know, where they’re going to want to sponsor our game, it would be good for all parties involved.***** …
There’s that phenomenon in every sport, where what may be good for you to win the strategy, or win the game around strategy in that particular game, it may make it bad for the fans to come watch it. So are you really defeating the purpose at the end of the day?
*** YES YES YES YES YES!!!!
**** SO MUCH THIS!!!!!!!
***** #UDQM me and Lindsey (“continuous action”) all you want, but the man is speaking truth.
Can you give an update on Enes Kanter’s knee?
Enes has responded very favorably. We’ve been really conservative, per doctor’s and physical therapist’s orders, and we wanted to not skip steps with him and not get really impatient. I, Enes is in town and I just had that conversation. He’s very fit. He looks good. He’s obviously spent his time and worked very well the last few weeks to get in basketball shape.
We had some contact [training] today…but we’re not gonna let him transition for awhile. He’s not ready to go up and down and transition and still handle contact. So we’re gonna stagger that in, but, so we’re very pleased with where he’s at, and we think we have plenty of time from today’s date all the way to the end of training camp and into the preseason to get him ready for an NBA basketball game.
So, hopefully we won’t have any hurdles along the way that would slow us up, so, but he’s done well.
Are you any closer to figuring out if Kanter, Derrick Favors and even Rudy Gobert can play together?
Look, there, Derrick just turned 23. Enes is 22. Rudy just turned 22, and again, we’re f–I think at this stage in, of our evolution, when we went with a rebuild, it’s more about talent accumulation, and then we’re gonna have to figure out fit a little bit farther down the line.
Now, with that said, I do think Enes and Derrick can play together. Enes can really shoot the ball on the perimeter. Derrick had a great year last season rolling to the paint, and finishing and being really efficient.
I do think Derrick is r–working really hard to develop “four” skills, if you will, that would allow him in concept to play with Rudy. And look, there’s other players that we could have now that we haven’t had in the past that we could bring to the equation that would allow Rudy and Derrick to play together. So, I do think it’s possible…
You interject new coaches into the equation, new philosophies, and how guys fit and don’t fit. I think it’s really, at the end of the day when you wrap everything up, way premature to, for me to tell you how one seed’s gonna grow and another’s not…I think we’re still probably a year or so away from making those determinations.
Can you talk about Toure’ Murry?
So, another young player that has some defensive length. He’s a high-character player. He was a very good player at Witchita State. We have a lot of respect for the Witchita State program, and how they defend and how serious they are as a group, and so Toure’* came out of that program. Had to work his way up to the D-League. He got short minutes with the Knicks last year, but when he played, he played well.
We really like his length. He’s a guard that has had to convert to a point guard, but we do think his size and length is complementary to Trey [Burke], and we think his experience could be complementary to Dante. And just another good, young prospect that we want to take a long look at. (1280)
* Lindsey pronounced Toure’ “tor-RAY.”
Top pic via @VarejaoAnderson
I’m dying of the cuteness.
…to wear only one earring.
Yes, this is totally breaking news that is only found here.
Thankfully, training camp is just three weeks away and y’all will soon find better updates here than ones like this one and “Alec Burks, eating on a boat.”
Drama erupting every summer between Enes Kanter and the Turkish national team is starting to reach “certain as death and taxes” level.
To recap, Kanter had previously played for Turkey’s U-16 and U-18 teams but declined a call-up to play for the men’s team in 2010. Just weeks after being drafted by the Jazz, he joined the Turkish men’s team for the first time, prior to Eurobasket 2011.
It seemed to be a big deal at the time, with the team even holding a press conference at the airport upon Kanter’s arrival in Turkey.
The coach of the national team, Orhun Ene, was quickly impressed by how Kanter was able to integrate himself into the team:
“He is already playing as part of the team,” [Ene] said. “Both on the court and off it, he has become part of the team very quickly. The fact that he had not played for so long posed a serious question in our minds at first, but he has adapted very quickly.”
It seems like everything went well enough through Eurobasket, although one member of the coaching staff did express sentiments early on that he didn’t feel Kanter was ready for the NBA:
“All the coaching staff and people around basketball think that it is too early for him to go there (to the NBA),” said Nihat Izic, an assistant head coach of the Turkey National Team told Beyond the Beat.*
“He has the chance to play in the Euro League and then after that, when you feel you are ready, then you go to the NBA. He decided to go, and I’m not sure who gave him that advice.” (Pro Basketball Talk)
* This website no longer exists.
Fast forward eight months. The Jazz’s 2011-2012 [regular season] campaign ended with Kanter’s mic drop. He again declined to play for the Turkish NT, and proceeded to have himself a summer of fun on Twitter while dropping 50 pounds on a salad and seafood diet that he invented himself.
In August 2012, a Turkish NT technical coordinator, Bogdan Tanjevic, was quoted saying:
He is a great talent and we miss him a lot. He decided not to join us but honestly, he needs us more than we need him. He has not played or trained with us in the past three years…Without Kanter, it will be a little more difficult but I think we’ll be able to get into EuroBasket 2013. …
Kanter has forgotten how to play basketball. He will never be a center but he always starts with his back to the basket. As a power forward, this would be devastating. He’s 2.10 meters tall and [could be] the best shooter on the Turkish team, backcourt included. But in the NBA, he never takes a shot.” (Ball in Europe)
(This led to Jazz-owned media lambasting the entire Turkish national team and mis-attributing these quotes to the head coach, presumably because Tanjevic said in contrast to Europe, the NBA only has a few great coaches, and included Tyrone Corbin on his list of “weak” NBA coaches.)
Fast forward eight months again. Kanter’s 2012-2013 campaign was cut short in late March by a shoulder injury, making him unavailable to the Turkish NT even if things had been all peachy and dandy between the two sides.
Turkey lost three straight games and was eliminated from Eurobasket 2013 that summer, and all T-H-I-S unfolded from there (including a scolding from Memo Okur).
Fast forward, like, 10 months. When the news first broke in late June this year that Kanter needed knee surgery, the initial reports all included notes about how the surgery meant Kanter was out for the FIBA World Cup.
It was somewhat surprising to me that it had been announced or it was assumed that Kanter was on the Turkish NT, because he had talked with David Locke about the “bad blood” between himself and the team during the 2013-2014 season, and said he hopes to repair the relationship “one day,” but “I think right now, I think it’s a little early.”
In late July, the Turkish NT’s team doctor, Tahsin Beyzadeoğlu, gave an update on Kanter’s current condition that appeared on the Turkish Basketball Federation’s website. The gist of it, from what I can gather through Google Translate, was that Kanter was recovering well and could still potentially join the NT in August.
This brings us to an interview with Kanter published by Turkish newspaper “Hürriyet” on Sept. 2, entitled (translated) “I’m Not a Traitor.”
Quotes from the article, as translated by (and with notes from) addictionary on Jazzfanz:
–I have informed the Turkish Basketball Federation and their doctor about my operation. What he said afterwards was irresponsible. I am the most criticized giant in the 12 Giant Men (Turkish NT nickname) even though I wasn’t playing in it for the last 2 years.
–It went far to calling me traitor Enes, but I believe the truth will reveal itself soon.
–I will be joining my team in the trainings in the 1st or 2nd week of September. I’m looking forward to be beneficial to my NT in the years coming.
–We (the Jazz) want to build a strong chemistry this year and surpass last year. This of course is about playoffs. Personally I want to do the best to represent Turkey and get selected to All-Star. And most importantly, carrying a team to the championship and be the 2nd Turkish player to wear the ring.
–Obradovic (Fenerbahçe’s coach) and Ivkovic (Efes’ Coach) are two of the best in Europe and better than most NBA coaches (was that to Ty?).
–I have watched the lies with patience. They try to make Turkish fans distrust me. Enes is fine. His knee is fine. He uses this excuse to skip NT. He doesn’t tell anything to NT. There was not an MR report by my doctor when they said my knee was OK. I am more willing than previous seasons to wear the Turkish NT jersey. I will be fully ready to join full performance matches at the end of September. Turkish Basketball Federation Chairman said the other day “We believe in Enes.” Made me very happy.
–My laughter tweet “hahahaha” was not for the NT, not for the people of Turkey. It was for some names,* who came to their status and power by “knowing” some higher ground people and could not help get jelly about my success and talk BS back then. I pray for Allah to forgive them anyway. I will try to repair the broken hearts of young basketball fans because of that.
* At the time, Kanter said the tweet was to his brother.
In response to Kanter’s interview, the team doctor released a statement saying (in a Google Translated nutshell) that he doesn’t want to respond to Kanter’s comments because he wants to focus on the team and the World Cup.
Some additional clarification, courtesy of @ssan1110:
So there you have it. See y’all next summer (or earlier) for the next installment.
Strong language advisory blah blah…
Inspired by @gothedistance49.
Gordon Hayward didn’t make the USA team, but it’s been fun watching Raul Neto play for Brazil. He’s got a nice stroke and is a good-looking player.*
Raul, I’m been very impressed as I’ve been watching him, and it’s giving me a lot of excitement and encouragement to say, “You know what? I think we may have had, we have, may have a little jewel here that I think can continue to develop, and I hope will be a really great asset for the Utah Jazz over some time.”
And Rudy Gobert has played, I think, for France, very well, and I haven’t seen as much, watching, from Dante [Exum], from Australia yet, but you know, it’s really, I’m excited to see that our young players are getting some experience and some playing time on the international competition.
* This is really how Spencer Checketts phrased the question.
It seems like Dante Exum could be in better shape and develop some things in his game. What should fans expect out of him this year?
I think we need to be s–to look at, well, number one, we need to expect him to continue to discipline himself. He’s now made it into the big leagues. He was a No. 5 pick in the draft, and there was an expectation that sh–goes with that, and I think Dante will rise to the expectation of, really, taking his game, taking this opportunity serious.
Now, from a s–fan perspective of, from a team perspective, I think we need to also show some patience, but show continual improvement and growth. But I think his best years are going to be in the next three to, hopefully, 13 years.
So I think it’s, he’s 19 years old. He just turned 19. And so I think it’s going to take some time for his body to continue to mature, to continue to improve, and he’s got some improvement that we’ve identified in his game.
But what I do like from him, his talent level is there. His heart and his desire to improve is giving us in need, in the, every indication that he wants to improve. So I think all the signs are there. But it’s gonna take a couple years of discipline and hard work for him to really be at a level where he can really compete on the NBA pla–top level.
In your analyzation and from what you’ve heard, where exactly does Exum need to improve?
Well, I think the biggest area he needs to improve is in his shooting. I see, his, and then i–bef–behind that, I think disciplining himself and really controlling himself in, I think his natural athletic instincts has allowed him to steal the ball quick and do some things, but I think he’s gonna have to discipline himself to s–play tougher defense and not try to just gra–quick grabs at, but really stay, play tough, tight defense.
But his biggest improvement in my evaluation and from talking with Dennis [Lindsey], is really also going to be in his shooting, and really learning how to shoot the ball with NBA-type players i–on him.
On this particular team, from where will the leadership germinate, do you suspect?
Well, I think, I’m hoping that we see it in a number of fronts. Number one, I’m really hopeful that with what, the marrying of Gordon Hayward, of maturing that he’s had in the last couple years, the indications I’ve heard about how his body has really grown and developed, I’m hoping that’s gonna translate into, also, mentally, his, also, growing and developing into a real leader as an NBA player.
And I think his experience of going out and now playing with the USA team, of seeing what, you know, qualities it takes and that competitive nature and that desire to be the best, I’m hoping we see some real leadership from Gordon.
He’s, now, can take the contract things and put it behind him, and now really focus on playing the game and leading our team. I’m looking, that, as an example of leadership.
I think, now, we’ve had another year, Trey Burke, is, sorry, Burke is one that also, that I think has, Trey, is one that, I, wants to be a leader. But I think he needs to continue to work on his own personal game, and you know, you need to, you can’t just talk the talk. You need to be, do it by example first.
Derrick Favors showed up this summer…
I think Derrick Favors has shown, his body, trans–has really transposed itself. He looks very good. He’s been in the gym regularly, improving himself. He’s had a desire to want to, also, ask our people “How do I improve myself, and also my relationship out in the community, out with the players?” That’s telling me that he wants to be more of a role with a leader.
With so many young players, should a lot of the leadership come from the coaching staff?
Well, and that’s gonna be, I’m excited to see what our coaches, coaching staff does this year. I will tell you this. I just got done reviewing, and I haven’t done it at, in depth yet, but we had a coach’s retreat this last week, and the work that was put into it with both, with The Quin, and his coaching staff, was very impressive.
And there was probably a book about two inches deep of, really, this whole retreat.
And they, of what they’re doing defensively; offensively; the mindset that we’re, they want to establish with the players. And there was some real thought into, we talked about leadership, but both on and off the court, and what they expected.
And these men worked from early in the morning ’til late at night in this retreat, in really preparing so that they were of one mind of exactly where we’re going and what we’re going to try to accomplish, to really help this young team to maximize their potential, and to get them on a trajectory as fast as possible.
How will Rudy Gobert be handled this year, compared to last year when he was seen as a project?
I’ve been really impressed. Rudy was one that also stayed around right after the season, worked hard and really prepared himself before he, then, left for France to play on the national team. His body has made nice improvement, I, as well. His mindset has made great improvement, and he’s really disciplined himself.
And so then as I then watched him, on a couple of the games, in these FIBA World [Cup] games, I, you could see the fruits of that effort coming to fruition, and I’m very high a–on Rudy, and thinking that if he continues on this tra–on this path that he’s going, he’s gonna be a player that can make a difference for the Utah Jazz, and he’s gonna be a player to reckon with in the NBA. He has great shot-blocking abilities, and I’ll tell you what.
In a couple of instances, they made good passes to him, and then he finished ‘em off in some remarkable slam dunks. And a very impressive player. And I know a lot of the play-by-play people were really talking about, they caught his eye. So I think the people in the NBA are gonna see, potentially, a force to be reckoned with in the future.
How did the Dream Team globalize and impact the game of basketball?
It did two things. One thing, in a positive way. One thing, I still feel I have a little bit of concern with.
The positive thing is li–what we just talked about, in bringing basketball alive internationally, and it’s only kept up that momentum now, and, what that team did with [Michael] Jordan and a lot of the players on that Dream Team has continued to do.
The negative part of it, I, that I still have some concerns about, is a lot of these players have now become, as they play together, it’s built friendships…A lot of these players now, I think, they’ll want to compete, and wanna get their, other players to be their friends, and not to have to compete against ‘em, but to compete together.*
And I think that t–mentality, I think, has hurt, to me, a little bit. I like people wanting to compete and be, liking to compete against one another instead of just, “Hey, let’s team up.” I think that weakens the league instead of strengthens it,** and so, I’m always happy to see when we have people stay with a com–a team, and go after another team.
* Rigby shared similar sentiments two summers ago about players getting friendly as a reason why he didn’t like [American] Jazz players playing for the national team.
** In his sales pitch at the end of the interview, Rigby said fans should buy tickets because “The competition in the NBA is as good as it’s ever been, if not great.”
Will the World Cup ever be as big as the NBA Finals?
I see the vision that David [Stern], that Adam [Silver] has, in, and what I think is magical about it in, and soccer has, is a great sport, but there is not the organization.
There’s a competitiveness between some of the top leagues in soccer, that actually serves to hurt each other. The NBA has done a masterful job of, I think, organizing basketball to come, to work together towards the culmination of the NBA. And I think that’s a wise plan.
I think you’ll continue to see, we’ve seen how the rules have actually started to get more and more in harmony with the NBA. And in some cases the NBA, we’ve made some concessions to bring it in harmony with the international community, so that, again, we can make it one common game. And I think you’ll continue to see that more.
Randy Rigby: Unintentional Dirty Quote Machine (UDQM)
** On leadership: I think that’s a very important part for our big guys.
** On Rudy Gobert’s French national teammates: They made good passes to him, and then he finished ‘em off.
** On competition: I think there’s something magical, to me, in life about having that kind of competitive desire, of liking to compete, and h–finding a good foe, but wanting to continue to, you know, compete against them and measure up how I’m doing and how they’re doing.
** On the World Cup: I think it’s going to continue to get bigger.
** On the Jazz’s Select-A-Seat open house: Having you two, you know that it’s gonna be big when we have The Big Show there. (1280)
You signed Kevin Murphy today. Talk about that.
Well, you know what, we’re really, we’re rounding out our schedule. We’ve had some good looks with these players, from both our summer leagues, from previous experience, and we’re feeling very good about the addition of Kevin.
We added Brock Motum, came on as well, to our group, being maybe another one (audio skips) soon, and I think we’re getting to a place that (audio skips).
We’re gonna rock and roll here with this very exciting young team.
You’ve also brought in some new coaches. What can you tell us about that?
Well, you know, we’ve, one of the commitments we made to Quin [Snyder], as he came on with his coaching staff as, and we talked about it with Gail and Greg and Steve Miller, and that was our commitment to the coaching and to his coaching style.
And one of the things that is very important for Quin as a development coach is that he has the, a coaching staff around him that has his same philosophy and style, and that really can work and believes in working, not only in the video rooms and breaking down and looking and preparing, but also at the same time, then, can take what they’re seeing and bring those skillsets and that knowledge also onto the floor, and support the existing coaching staff in really working with these players.
And so, we’ve done that very thing in, with the addition of some additional coaches, who are some great additions for, really, our team.
What is “player development”?
Well, you know, it, particularly with the amount of young players that we have, I mean, we’ve got, now, 19-, 20-, 21-year-old players that are now stepping onto the dance floor of the NBA. And this is the best of the best, in all of basketball.
And we’ve got great young men who have a lotta talent, who have been playing for Kentucky, who have been well scouted out internationally, with a Dante Exum, who has great skillset.
But now they need to be mentored. They need to be taught. They need to be disciplined, and, of what it takes to take that skillset, and really develop it in an NBA-style game, and to understand and be taught what it means to be playing in this league, and to keep that mindset, throughout the whole season.
And it, that’s why it’s gonna take a number of people to really be behind that development and support, part of that support team. And that’s what it means in this development effort, and it takes a real commitment, and I appreciate the support we’ve had from the owners, from the Millers, to really see the wisdom and investing in the cost it takes to really, to put that money into the development of these players.
Having spent time with the national team, is Gordon Hayward a better player now? Do you expect him to be a better player now? Do you think he’ll be utilized better in Quin Snyder’s system than he was in Tyrone Corbin’s system?
I’d answer “yes” to all three of those questions. Let’s take ‘em one at a time.
Yes, I expect him to be better than he was in the past, and all indications that were, I’ve heard–I have not seen Gordon yet myself–but what I heard from Dennis [Lindsey] and from Quin in their reports, he looks much better…His body is growing up, and he’s no longer a young man, that he’s, really, more, he’s getting more of a man’s body, and he is physically and mentally, I think, in a better place. …
We’re excited about that. So I’m expecting to see that translate into better leadership, in better commitment. We’ve made a major commitment to Gordon, and we feel good about that commitment, and we’re looking forward to him feeling good about the commitment as well, and being a real leader and an example and one of our veteran players on this team.
And I think that’s, to your second question, one of the things that this experience has provided for him. He is playing now with, again, on a daily basis, that upper echelon of NBA-caliber player, and seeing what it takes to give it and to be competing with those guys day in and day out. And e–picking up maybe some of the other little tricks* and skillsets that maybe some of these other players are using, utilizing in their game.
Hopefully that’ll translate into him bringing it and being a better player and learning some additional things. And I know it’s gonna help him. It’s forced him into playing and being in basketball shape right now in the middle of the summer, so I think that’s going to benefit us. I’m happy that there was no injury with him, that he had a good experience, that I think that is gonna translate into being a better leader and a better player for the Utah Jazz.
A lot of Jazz fans don’t understand or care about the synergy between the NBA and the D-League. You’re all over this. Talk about what the Jazz’s relationship with the Stampede will be like.
Well, I’m excited about it. I, for example, Dennis and Justin [Zanik] and myself spent literally today, almost four hours, I think, really delving into the D-League and the, and our relationship to it, even at a greater extent, today. And I just say that to indicate the amount of time that we’re putting in to really being committed, and really maximizing this tool for the Utah Jazz.
I really, and you know, we’ve, I’ve seen [that the D-League is a] great tool for teams that immediately embrace it, and get on the cutting edge of it. And that’s who we want to be, is one of those cutting-edge teams who look at how they can take a D-League program, and how they can then utilize it to help make their team better, how they can help use tho–the D-League to make their decision-making better, and to understand, and analyze, players that are out there playing in the D-League, or players that are playing in their system, how they’re responding and performing to it.
And so, we’re really committed to really making this D-League an integral part of Jazz basketball.
Hopefully this means the years of the Jazz/Kevin O’Connor dicking around with the D-League are over.
Would the Jazz be willing to play games overseas?
It’s something that we’re going to be embracing because it’s something that’s going to happen. But I think it’ll be done in a very cautionary way, that we’ll do it kind of a step by step. But the commitment is already there.
We’re not on the docket for any international game, I know, this year or next year. But I know with us having international players, such like Enes [Kanter] coming from Turkey; now Rudy Gobert from France; adding players from Australia with Dante Exum, I’m sure we’re going to be, and as we become a real contender in the future, we’ll be one of those attractive teams that, internationally, that I’m sure we’ll be going over in some places.
Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines (UDQM)
The conversation was about Gordon Monson and Spencer Checketts switching positions with Dennis Lindsey and Randy Rigby.
** Rigby: I’d only hope that that switch isn’t done on a Wednesday of when [Lindsey]‘s gonna be, then, the host of The Big Show, on a Wednesday, for me coming on.
** Rigby: So Dennis and I are now, that’s scary to think, of Dennis and I doing The Big Show.
** Checketts: Now we’re getting into sticky territory. I’ll call Greg, see if we can change. (1280)