One. The Jazz have signed a number of training camp invitees, marking the first time (in [my] memory, and without checking) that invitee signings have been announced this early in the summer, or even announced at all.
Signings so far include Dee Bost, Jack Cooley, Brock Motum and former Jazzman/Jazz-Stampede affiliation poster boy Kevin Murphy.
As it turns out, Snyder may merely be carrying on the (heretofore unknown) tradition of the Jazz Deep V, with the originator being everyone’s favorite Moneyman, Memo Okur. IG posted by Jarron Collins of his son:
Burrowing into the archives, I found these pics (along with some truly awful and objectionable sartorial choices by Deron Williams, but we’ll save that for another day):
#euro #toptwobuttonsdontexist #mashaissportingavtoo
Three. The size of Rudy Gobert’s feet continues to be a source of fascination for his NBA brethren:
Previously, we had Brandon Rush posting not once, but multiple times about the size of Rudy’s feet:
Four. Enes Kanter’s younger brother, Kerem Kanter, will be playing college ball for the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay (H/T @prodigal_punk and @5kl):
The Green Bay men’s basketball team will be adding Kerem Kanter to its roster beginning with the 2014-15 season, head coach Brian Wardle announced on Tuesday afternoon.
Kanter, a native of Istanbul, Turkey and brother of Utah Jazz forward Enes Kanter, played the 2013-14 season at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, where the 6-foot-9 left-handed forward averaged 17 points and nine rebounds while shooting 64 percent from the field.
“I decided to come to Green Bay because of their winning attitude,” Kanter said. “The program is about winning and improving their players. Another reason is the relationship I built with the coaching staff. They did an amazing job recruiting me, and I felt like this place is where I want to be. I know they won the Horizon League last year and had a great record. Coming to a team which has a chance to win their league again and go to a tournament and make some noise is a great opportunity.” …
“We are very excited to add Kerem Kanter to our program,” Wardle said. “To have a young man come over from Turkey and represent our program is exciting not only for Green Bay Basketball but also for our entire University. Kerem is a skilled forward that brings an ability to score from the inside and out. He has a great bloodline of basketball in his family, and we know he is extremely excited to get to Green Bay to pursue his dream of getting a college education and being a Division I player.”
Five. Carrick Felix is in Utah.
Take us through the timeline of chatting with Dennis Lindsey and accepting the Idaho Stampede coaching job.
Well, I chatted with Dennis Lindsey 15 years ago…I was with Dennis eight years in Houston, so we’ve been, you know, very good friends, and, for a long time. So, I think our first, actually, my first conversation wasn’t with Dennis.
I, you know, [it was] with Justin Zanik, and going through that process–’cause Justin was gonna have, had the NBDL process–probably was, oh, I don’t know, a little over a month or so ago? Five weeks ago? And then, in contact with my agent and then going, getting set up for an interview and then interviewing with coach [Quin] Snyder, I guess three weeks or so ago?
And then got, I think it’s been about two weeks since we came to agreement on the job. So, it was a good process. Very timely.
Talk about what the Stampede’s exclusivity with the Jazz means to the team and to you as well.
Yeah, well, I think it’s great on a lotta levels for a lotta people and for a lotta reasons. …
I think for the people of Boise, it’s really a very positive thing because they’re gonna, I want them, like I said earlier today, you know, I want the people of Boise to be excited about the Idaho Stampede and the Utah Jazz, because, I, the players are gonna be coming back and forth.
We’re gonna play the same way that coach Snyder teams play. We’re gonna use the same terminology. We’re gonna make it as seamless as we can for our players.
And so, I want, it’s my job is, I’m kind of in a unique position, sort of coach Snyder’s assistant coach, and I’m the head coach of the Idaho Stampede, which is a great opportunity. And I think it’s great for the fans.
Is your top priority player development or winning games?
Well, I think we’re gon–you know, we’re gonna try to do both. We’re gonna, you know, our job is to develop our players, obviously. But inside of developing players is learning how to win.
And you know, I think the, my first and foremost task relative, I wanna create a culture, I, in standards and an environment, that has standards where we believe in work, and we believe in getting players better, and players believe in getting themselves better, and the winning in all that will be a by-product of the more detailed things that we’re doing.
What have you taken from working with coaches like Rudy Tomjanovich, Jeff Van Gundy and Kevin McHale?
I’ve taken a lot, not just a little, I’ve taken a lot from each of those guys…
I just had this conversation with Rudy a couple days ago, is, I can’t coach like any of them. I can’t be any of them. I have to be Dean Cooper and just use the tools that they’ve given me. But I gotta be me.
You will be marrying Quin Snyder’s philosophy, correct?
That’s right. You know, we’ve been in the think tank the last few days in Salt Lake, and you know, getting everything, you know, I gotta learn, you know, how, coach Snyder’s terminology, how his mind works, what he thinks is important, how he prioritizes things.
And obviously, I mean, there’s always, like, tweaks because you don’t have the exact same players that have the exact same skillsets. But the pillars of what we’re doing are gonna be the same. …
This is about the players, and we need to make it as seamless as possible for when they get allocated to us in Boise, getting ‘em ready to go back to Utah to be, to produce and be at their best. And the way to do that is to have clear, consistent messages, terminology, style of play, etc., etc. (1280)
Gordon Hayward will likely be cut from Team USA.* Do you think he learned a lot from the experience?
Those experiences are great. You mix with the other better players…and the other players give you feedback on what you do, and it gives you a sense of appreciation towards your work, and you learn.
I think I mentioned this, if not the last phone call, maybe two ago, that Quin [Snyder] wanted Gordon to watch how Kyle Korver and Steph Curry do their pre- and post-practice shooting routines and little things like that.
I think it’s always great to go in and continue, even though Kevin Durant’s no longer with this iteration of USA Basketball, those days of Gordon having to guard Kevin Durant and learning what those guys do well, I think it’s a great thing.
* He was.
Were you expecting Hayward to get a max offer sheet?
We, I, I’m not sure how to answer the question.
We were expecting a very significant offer. We were in the midst of negotiating, and for a lotta different reasons, Gordon and his agent wanted to go to market and we certainly understood that when we couldn’t strike a deal in our exclusive negotiation period. …
It’s my job to explain rationale, but sometimes “max” doesn’t do justification for what Gordon got, ’cause there’s several different types of maxes. There’s the designated player; there’s a fifth year involved with the incumbent team; there’s a four-year [contract] where you lower salaries…
What Gordon got is not the same type of contract as, that Andrei [Kirilenko] got, you know, six or seven years ago. It’s a different collective bargaining agreement.
What can you tell us about the new additions to the Jazz staff?
Two of the new hires are on the coaching side in player development, and with video, and they’re two young men that are outstanding young basketball professionals growing into coaches, if you will. And really, the credit to find those guys both, and hiring them ultimately, goes to Quin. And we think that [new Jazz player development and video analysts] Patrick [Beilein] and Lamar [Skeeter] will add a lot to our organization.
We, in San Antonio we used a model where we kept a lot of young talent in our offices, whether they were interns or video guys or assistant video guys. We liked the energy that young people bring to the organization and these two have quite a bit of experience in basketball. Lamar in Atlanta with Quin; Patrick as a player for his father* at West Virginia and then a really good start to a coaching career.
So, we’re just, we’re thrilled to have them and their youthful energy. Quin’s going to run a very dynamic, youthful energetic practice, so I think these two people in particular will add a lot to our day-to-day work capacity, both on and off the court.
And with [new Jazz coordinator of analytics] Taylor Snarr,* we’ve made several different investments into analytics. We’re, we have agreements with universities–I’m gonna withhold names wi–to acquire data. And we’ve bought data; we’ve bought software; we’ve bought analytical systems, and we need more personnel to help us organize the data, analyze it, tell us what we need to be paying attention to, and Taylor’s a talented young person in this area.
And there’s just a overall mindset that we want the you–the young professionals with the Utah Jazz to bring a curiosity, energy, work ethic. PhD, if you will: Poor, hungry and driven is what we call it…If we’re performing right, we need to be hiring young people that will eventually gain leadership roles, and the internal hire, so they can grow within the Jazz walls. (1280)
* John Beilein, aka Trey Burke’s college coach
* Son of Jazz Vice President of Strategic Partnerships Mike Snarr
I love that:
1) Mike Brown identifies himself as having played for Utah even though he played for a bunch of teams;
2) He is recognized/remembered for having played with Karl Malone.
** Randy Rigby on the Jazz’s schedule to start the season, Unintentional Dirty Quote Machine: Does it feel like one wave after the other, after the other?
Rigby, unintentionally(?) revealing how he thinks the season will go
There’s some great ga–there’s some great basketball that’s going to be coming to Salt Lake City, and our young players, they’re gonna have to be ready for it. And they’re not, we’re not gonna feel sorry for ourself. As soon as we’re done with one game, we’ve gotta pick ourselves up, depending on the outcome, and be ready for the next night.
How much control do teams have over the schedule?
We really have no, you know, in fairness to the league, to keep parity, and to keep a balance, it, that is handled by [NBA Senior Vice President of Scheduling and Game Operations] Matt Winick, who has done it for, it feels like 100 years. It probably does for him as well, but he’s been doing it for, ever since I’ve been in the league, so it’s been over 28 years. Does a great job of it.
Now, you can appreciate trying to deal with the schedules of those 30 teams and all of those buildings they’re dealing with. At, they try to really give fair, a real fairness to it. Our only input that we get to have is, is we sit down–[Miller Sports Properties Chief Operating Officer] Jim Olson, myself, [Vice President of Events] Mark Powell’s now involved in it, Dennis Lindsey–and we have an opportunity to actually identify certain times that, night, games that we definitely want to have a game at our building.
And there’s a computated formula that goes with how many dates that you can, you want to set, but then how many dates that we, are left open, and, so that we can give them the flexibility of, then, scheduling those games. And then it’s a matter of, you know, I know they sit down and look at the TV–meet with the TV people, they’re, comes into play on certain big games, where and when, and to put that whole schedule together.
Does it bother you that the Jazz only have one ESPN game and two NBA TV games?
I have to tell you, this morning when I looked at that schedule and went through those number of games, that did bother me.
And you know what? It’s bothered me to the point that I’ve said, “Okay. Fine. Everyone knows that this is a young, starting team. I, a growing team. You know what? Now’s our time, we gotta start really proving some people and earning our right to be seen more nationally, on both ESPN, NBA TV, and really, and TNT and ABC, eventually.”
But we’re, you know what, that’s still, that’s part of this rebuilding process, that, you know what, it’s, I don’t, angered me enough that, you know what, it’s got my juices going that, you know what, we’re gonna st–I’m gonna prove them, that they should be having the Jazz on more national games, because these guys are gonna be very fun and exciting young players. So I think not only locally, but nationally, people are gonna wanna start watching them.
* Personally speaking, if the Jazz never have another national appearance (i.e. late games), I’d be ecstatic.
How do you feel about the longer All-Star break?
I do, I will say this. We’ve done a lot of work recently, and doing, starting doing even more. And there’s been work done on analytics, on literally looking at the impact of a long, arduous schedule has on the body of these players.
And I think there’s something to be said of truly giving our players, all of the players, but particularly those that are asked to be participating at All-Star Weekend, giving the body a chance to get in a little rest, and you know, repair and getting ready for the next, then, big, final stretch going down the back half of the season.
So, I actually am in favor of seeing a little bit more of a break during that All-Star Weekend. There, I think we’re looking at it as well, of potentially some future opportunities that we maybe can tie in with those little longer breaks. That’s something that Adam Silver is looking at. So, I think there’s more to be seen as we, in the future as well, on that issue.
Will the Jazz continue to have a pre-Christmas road trip or will that change under Quin Snyder?
Well, that’s, I, as we have explained, you know, as Dennis came on board, and Kevin [O'Connor] and I sat down and explained the logic and thinking behind it, Dennis sat and has been very supportive of it.
And we’ve done that for a reason, not only just team-wise, we felt that it’s a very good move for our team, to not be distracted by, as we move into the ear–Christmas, you know, those last couple weeks before Christmas, for ‘em to really stay focused, to then be able to get home, and be able to be home for Christmas, and then after Christmas.
And we’ve had great reception from our fan base, of coming in and seeing games between kinda that Christmas and New Year time period. So it’s worked out for us from a business standpoint, as well as from a team standpoint.
And you know, as we’ve explained things to Quin, I think he has seen that wisdom in that. Now, once he goes through that, we’re going to, you know, invite him to give a better weigh-in on his impressions on it as well. But right now, it continues to make sense for us.
How good is it for the Jazz that the Clippers just sold for US$2 billion?
Steve Ballmer is no idiot. This man has made a lotta money, not just by chance. He’s a very smart businessman, a very wise individual, and I think for him to see the value of not only that franchise, but the NBA, I think it speaks to him of the upside of where this league is going, not only nationally, but internationally.
And the, and we feel that same upside, all of us, as, that we’re excited about what the future is looking like for this league. And so, and the numbers reflect that, you know, as the n–those time the numbers come in.
Does the Dean Cooper hire as the coach of the Idaho Stampede mean more now to the Jazz than it would have 10 years ago?
You know what? It does, in two fronts. Number one, Dean is a very accomplished individual and had been very engaged in the NBA. And for him to want to be involved with the Utah Jazz, and with our coaching staff, I think speaks volumes, that he believes in this system, believes in, in wanting to be with us and grow with us, in wanting to take a role–I, you know, you’re seeing more and more pl–coaches in this league who have, their roots, have been deeply entrenched with D-League programs.
We have on our own staff, three of our coaches with Alex [Jensen], with Brad [Jones], and with Quin now, all D-League coaches, or with D-League experience.
And I think you’re going to see more and more, the role that the D-League is playing in the development of your, not only your players, and potential players, or, helping yourself to identify those players that unfortunately we realize don’t have NBA capabilities. It’s gonna be a great tool for that.
So we’re using it, also, in the development of our coaching staff, and how we, and looking at what we start, in considering, in implementing in the NBA, as our team, but using the D-League as a way that we can explore and test certain philosophies, certain approaches, and try it up there, and see if it’s worth its merit to, then, bring them down and incorporate ‘em in, and then, our style with the Utah Jazz.
On Paul George’s injury
You know, I think those things we need to continue to analyze, and study, and minimize the risks, and identify what could’ve potentially caused those things, and make sure we’re helping to protect these athletes, and minimize those problems, so that this comes with, you know, unfortunately their bodies.
Some of it could be just y–timing thing and just a unlucky luck of the draw. You can’t stop living, and we can’t stop playing this game, and we can’t stop letting and wanting our players to excel and be on the top opportunities in the national and international game of basketball.
On Gordon Hayward’s participation in the USA Basketball program
I still see this as a real opportunity for Gordon Hayward. We’ve wanted Gordon to continue to develop. There’s an opportunity here, playing with that caliber of team, and playing against other teams, that’s gonna give him more of that experience that we hope will help increase his basketball skills and his maturity as an NBA player. And I think that’s a very valuable tool and benefit for us, for Gordon to have that.
I’m hoping that he’ll see how other players are using that and how they are leading, and their attitude about leading their teams, and I’m hoping that Gordon comes and wants to be more of a leader on our team as well, and develop more of his leadership skills.
You have rural roots. How do you fence $12,000’s worth of bees?
Wow. $12,000, of bees? … I have never heard of that much bees, and like you say, that’s, someone’s gonna pay for that one, I think. (1280)
How do you think Raul Neto played against the U.S. team?
Raul’s really put a lot of time into his body. It came through from the TV, if you hadn’t seen Raul since last year, he’s moved from a young man to a man with just his physical maturation, and really pointed work, so we were really pleased.
Raul came in, prior to the draft, came into Salt Lake for a few weeks to work out with our coaches and work in altitude to prep for trying out for the Brazilian national team. He played well in several friendlies before the Brazilian starting point guard was back, and so he’ll back up [Marcelo] Huertas, who’s the starter.
And against Team USA, he did very well. He got beat off the dribble a couple times, and he was able to beat some of the USA players off the dribble a few times. And I thought that he played very unselfishly, and I know it’s something that this market appreciates, and we’re really excited about his development, about his character and about the future prospects of him being on the Jazz.
As it worked out this year with Trey [Burke] just being 21 and us drafting Dante [Exum], it, from a contract and a stage-of-their-career standpoint, it didn’t make a lotta sense to line three young point guards up all on top of each other. So we wanna stagger that, but it’s safe to say we’re, our future planning has Raul in it, and we’re really excited about his development.
He and Johnnie Bryant really, besides the conditioning element, really worked on his 3-point shooting, his range shooting, and they made quite a bit of gains during his time here. And so we were glad to see that, not only in the USA game, but other games, he’s been able to knock down some shots.
Tell us about Dee Bost and Jack Cooley.
Yeah, so, guys that, again, will compete for those last few roster spots. We’ll have, I think, a very interesting training camp in a lotta different ways. And we’ll try to hold at least one roster spot open for competition, and will someone grab that or will we keep it open, or we, will we do it with a partial guarantee?
Again, the relationship of moving players back and forth to Boise, Idaho logistically, since it’s a single flight, and from a system standpoint, with Dean [Cooper] running what Quin [Snyder] wants to run with the Jazz, and then developmentally, it’s just going to be much more seamless.
So, I don’t know how much we’ll use Boise this year in regards to that and roster players because many of our roster players are currently at least rotation players if not more. But we can foresee in the future that there be, there’ll be a very aggressive platform for us to sign players and move players back and forth.
What are you hearing about the off-season development of your players?
Well, so, I’m, we’re working hard. Now, time will tell if we’re working smart, and directed, and are we going to be able to connect all the individual work? That’s something that Quin and I have talked about a great deal, actually yesterday when we were walking in the gym together, at our practice facility, is making sure that what we’re working on on an individual basis connects to what Quin wants from a scheme and tactic standpoint.
So, all of that is very dynamic. It has to be very well planned, communicated. There’s a lotta things in player development that you would think would be good. “More is better.” That’s not necessarily so. There’s things where–expanding a player’s game. Well, if you expand it outside of the scope of what you’re doing, that may not be a great thing and sometimes a player trying to expand his game can lead to some entitlement and it puts the head coach in a very difficult position. So because of that, coming from the programs that we’ve come from before, we wanna make sure the development is very specific, very well communicated.
And specifically, look, Derrick [Favors] has had a great summer. P3, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, plugging in with our coaches, plugging in in summer league training camp, going to Salt Lake, or excuse me, to Las Vegas for the first couple games of summer league, video sessions. He’s really made a concerted effort.
We think Gordon [Hayward]‘s had a great summer, just in a much different way. He got married, his diet’s better, he was working out three days–three times a day in Indianapolis. He’s gained 10 pounds of good weight. He’s plugged in with USA Basketball.
So Rudy Gorbert*, same thing, French national team. We think with Dante, the national team effort, playing against men on an everyday basis, whether he plays a bunch with Team Australia or has the ball, all those interactions just in practice and shootaround hopefully will expedite his transition to playing in the NBA, and, versus men.
So, Alec Burks has just had a continuance of finding him in the gym on an everyday basis. Our coaching staff has really plugged in individually and connected with guys. Enes [Kanter] has had a very good summer. It’s just been a little more rehab and here, recently, basketball. But we’ve had at least three coaches touch him this summer.**
So, we’re planning on a big trip out to P3 and then we’ll hit our open gym phase in September. And so from my standpoint, everything’s been very well coordinated. Now we just gotta piece it all together.
* People calling Rudy Gobert “Rudy Gorbert”: Dennis Lindsey.
What can Gordon Hayward take away from his experience with the Team USA coaching staff?
Yeah, so, so many things. Tom Thibodeau’s individual greatness, as far as creating a defensive accountability and identity, and being around him. And coach [Mike] K[rzyzewski] and his presence [and] leadership.
There’s one thing that we wanted Gordon to do, is to plug in with the [Stephen] Currys and the [Kyle] Korvers of the world in pre- and post-practice shooting routines. And so, Gordon’s done that.
He, Gordon’s played a lotta practice minutes and some scrimmage minutes at the “four,” so he’s, their schemes are a big man with four smalls, with Gordon being the biggest of the small perimeter players to play fast and more skilled basketball. We’ll see how that take hold, takes hold with us, and if that’s a good alternative and lineup choice for us…There’s, I could go on and on.
What rule change would you like to see implemented?
Let me just, I would say this. And it’s already an NBA rule in place, that Euroleague’s adopted, and youth leagues in Europe. But I think for the health and continuity of basketball, if everybody could move to a 24-second shot clock, in, the, when there’s a longer shot clock, it becomes more of a coach’s game. And to help young players dribble, pass, shoot, on, immediately and make good decisions on a short clock, it’s just really, really key.
And it makes a more watchable game for the average basketball fan, so you won’t get the high school games where it’s, a team’s facing a superior team and they let the air out of the clock. I’m not sure that’s what competition is meant to be, but if you’re a coach in that situation, look, there’s always selfish strategy. What may be bad for fans to watch and players to play in may be best for you to win that particular game.
So, I think to have rules where young players on a shot clock have to be able to dribble, pass, shoot, read quickly is a good thing, and it would be a neat thing for high school basketball, college basketball to mirror Euroleague and NBA basketball.
And the thing that I would say is, don’t underestimate the players…I’ve been to Serbia before, and before a, the l–the game that I’m watching or the practice that I’m watching, there’s a youth league that’s going on, and these young kids are playing on a 24-second shot clock, and it’s such a, it’s a more dynamic game, in it, that actually increases the basketball players’ IQ, ’cause they have to do everything with more urgency, and skill level has been raised because of that. (1280)
Has Gordon Hayward bought you lunch yet?
No, I haven’t spoken to him too much. You know, I told him that he’s probably got a little big time on me, but hopefully by the time I see him again, he buys lunch and dinner.
First impression of Quin Snyder?
Mainly, you know, he had us on the court and all I can remember right now is, you know, we were running. So, he’s not playing games.
Are you excited about your role on this team?
Yeah, I’m always excited…Just, you know, whatever coach asks me to do, I’m always, you know, ready to do it and I think that shows the young guys that, you know, if you ask this guy to do this and he does it, you know, that shows me that, you know, I can do it too. So, when we have a whole team of guys doing that, I think we’ll be, it’ll be great.
What’s the most fun part about being an NBA player?
I would have to say, probably just seeing the fans and reacting with ‘em. Course, like I said, I always like doing Junior Jazz stuff and not only this…I see so many kids I see from these trips up there in the arenas, and you know, just happy to see their faces and you know, feel like they know one of the players.
What’s the most common thing you’re asked by the kids?
The most common thing I’ve been asked by the kids would probably be…Is [Jazz Youth Programs Coordinator] Nate [Martinez] my bodyguard?
What are you working on, art-wise?
I’m doing a couple of NBA players that I think are gonna be pretty good. They’re pretty big pieces, but I think I have LeBron [James], Kobe [Bryant] and then [Michael] Jordan…I think I’ll end up probably doing a [John] Stockton. (1280)
Is there one thing about the NBA that makes it preferable to coaching in college basketball?
I think honestly, in, n–with no disrespect to college basketball at all, that there’s a few things that agree with me a little bit more. I think the obvious stuff that people talk about is the, you know, it’s “just basketball.” There’s part of the “it’s just basketball” that makes me miss college, really. The, some of the mentorship component that you get with the students and the players.
And I think, to be honest, I think that’s becoming, you know, less impactful as kids are even more focused on the basketball side. I don’t know that kids are going to school right now saying, “Gosh, I’m, you know, I’m gonna go get a great education. Thank goodness I get basketball to help me get there.” I think people are really focused on the NBA.
So when you’re in the NBA, you get players that really, really wanna be there. And to have their attention, to have them kinda in the present like that, for a coach, you have a willing pupil, so to speak. And that part of it’s really fun. It’s a challenge.
And then, really, the players are just so good. I mean, it’s crazy. You think about these guys, they’re the elite of the elite. And if you can do something as a coach to help ‘em, you really can see the impact of what you work on in your profession.
How do you get players to buy into your system?
I’ve been a part of a new staff every year for, like, three, four years now, and this is the first time I’ve been part, really since the D-League, this is the first time I’ve been the head coach of that team, of that new staff…
I think the biggest thing is not to try to force it. That’s not really a great plan. You essentially do nothing. It, but it’s not, you know, it’s not nothing, obviously. It’s being, you know, being real, and understanding that, this, I’m gonna show you who I am, and then in time, you know, you can ask for them having some faith. You know, give me an opportunity here and see where it goes.
And I think more often that not, players are inclined to do that in the beginning anyway. But then it’s up to you, really, to do the things you’re gonna say and coach them with integrity. And if you make a mistake, ’cause you will, “Hey, I was wrong.” And by the same token, and when they make a mistake, you, you know, “Hey, you were wrong.” And I think it gradually just builds.
The other thing, I think, is credibility. You know, players, I think players, and especially players in the NBA, they know if you’re working, and they know if you’re prepared. So the sooner you get an opportunity to show them that and for them to see that, I think that some respect seeps in there and it’s easier to begin to try and have that belief and trust when there’s respect too.
So, that would be a little formula that, in my mind, co–you know, comes to the surface.
What did you take most from Larry Brown and Mike Krzyzewski?
I’ll throw coach [Gregg] Pop[ovich] in there too. When I got the job, those are three guys that I talked to, and really talked to coach Brown a lot more recently about putting a staff together. I think that, and talked to coach K and coach Pop about the same thing.
When you really boil down, right, you hear about coach K’s coming and being with Paul George in the, you know, the sympathy there that is very real. And you see the things that coach Pop is with his players. Just visibly, you know, the connections that they have.
And you see someone like me who, you know, [Indiana Pacers GM] Kevin Pritchard and I were laughing in the stands the other night about when we were working summer camp for coach Brown at Kansas, like, 20-some years ago.
I think those people all value those relationships in the business maybe more than they should, more than the wins and the losses. That they’d be content to just have that and you know, forgo maybe some of the success.
The irony, of course, is that with those, the success comes. And they’re all not doing it just ’cause they’re the nicest, sweetest men either. You know, they’re saying the hard things and doing tough things and driving people. And to be able to have that and have those relationships endure even when you’re, you know, you’re not just being somebody’s pal, it’s a pretty special thing. And clearly, those guys being great coaches, they have it.
First impressions of Dante Exum?
Well, he’s very, very good. You know, I think, it’s, the first time I saw Dante Exum play, I was in the airport getting a burger, waiting for a flight, and I looked up and Serbia was playing Australia in the Under-19s, and I was like, “Okay, this guy’s fast.”
And then the next time I saw him was on tape and he was still fast, and getting faster. And you know, that speed, that gear and kind of the ease with which he accelerates and plays the game is really, really unique.
And then you meet him, he’s just a quality young man. He’s, you know, the accent kind of adds a little mystique to his persona. And he’s, I think he’s a special kid. And he’s 18. You know, it’s, and you keep saying that almost to remind yourself, you know, as much as anything, not to have unrealistic expectations.
The interview ends with…
You’re gonna have me back? … I’ll be the regular if you need me. If you want me. I’m serious…If you put me on, we gotta monitor my time [so] I don’t talk too long. Dennis Lindsey, my GM, got pissed at me the other night. I was talking too long at a banquet or something, so you gotta help me with that. (CBS Sports)