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)
How are things?
Things are great. I’ve spent the last seven or eight years kinda building this business doing motivational speaking and corporate training, and it’s going very well. I’m speaking about 60 times a year right now. …
Did you ever experience nerves or anxiety?
Oh yeah. Always nervous. I mean, I’m not exactly the extrovert to begin with, and, so, to get up in front of a room of 300 people,* and, you know, it’s one thing to play basketball in front of them or talk on TV or the radio, but to actually deliver a message that they’re gonna listen to for an hour and actually take something away from was a little intimidating.
But I worked hard at it, and found the right people to help me and develop the message that really has impact and some good takeaways, and so it’s been going very well. But yeah, it was definitely, took me probably 200 times before I finally got over the anxiety.*
You were working as an auto mechanic when you were “discovered” to play basketball. Did you love the game of basketball?
Well, I didn’t as a young man. When I was in high school, I sat on the bench and, at Westminster High School, and didn’t play much, and honestly just thought that was the end of athletics and it was time to go do something else.
And went to trade school in Arizona for a year to be an auto mechanic–my father is a diesel mechanic–and then I was working in a tire store at Lincoln and Knott–they’re right down the street from Cypress College–and I’d been there about a year and a half when a junior college assistant coach came buzzing around the corner and saw me standing out there talking to this customer, and said, “Whoa, who is that big guy?”*
And he came in, and over a period of a couple of months, convinced me to go out on the basketball court with him for just about 30 minutes, and show me some things he could teach me. And he had some experience working with big men, and convinced me to give basketball one more shot.
So I went back to school at age 21, and spent two years at Cypress College, and, with him, and then two years at UCLA, which didn’t go very well. But eventually, we marketed ourselves to the Jazz and they gave us a shot.
Have you ever thought about what your life would be like if you hadn’t been outside the tire store that day?
Well, you know, I was perfectly happy doing what I was doing, and I’d probably own a tire store in northern California somewhere or something. That was my big dream, was like, maybe move north, get out of the big city. And so, I think I’d be fine, but it was rather annoying having everyone walk into the store and say, “You should play for the Lakers.”
* Is anyone else hearing “bow chicka wow wow” in their head? Just me? Fine, as you were.
It kind of seems like basketball was your destiny.
I always thought there was something else out there. I didn’t know what it was. And it wasn’t until all this, coach came along, that I said, “Well, maybe,” you know, “Maybe I’ll think about this one more time.”
And I got out there and gave it a chance, and then I decided, “All right, I’ll play this through. I’ll do the four years of college and just see where it goes.” And there were a lot of times I didn’t think it was going anywhere.
But yeah, it turned out well in the end, and thank goodness for Frank Layden, who came down and watched me play in southern California at summer league, and said, “You know what? We’ll give you a shot.”
How did you learn to be a defense and rebound guy when everybody probably wanted to throw you the ball in the low post?
Well, you have to remember what the, you know, the Jazz was like when I first showed up, with Adrian Dantley, who was scoring 35 points a game and was really the main cog of the offense. Then the Mailman [Karl Malone] came in, and so, you do what you’re good at.
I mean, you, everyone can’t score 20 points a night on, you know, in the, on the team. It’s, you got, there’s a give and take. And so, if you got the choice between giving me the ball or Karl Malone, I’m giving it to Karl Malone.
So, and [back then] we had the illegal defense rule, things like that, where the focus then was pull the center on offense away from the basket to pull his man up above, you know, the defensive player up above the free throw line to give Adrian Dantley or Karl Malone more opportunity to get down there. Well, didn’t leave a lot of scoring opportunities in the meantime.
And Frank Layden will still tell you, he laments about that once in awhile, he’s like, “Yeah, we should’ve gotten him more involved in the offense.” But, you know, I knew what my job was. I did it well…My biggest thrill in basketball was really blocking a shot, collecting the rebound, and throwing it up to Rickey Green or John Stockton and watching ‘em sail down the floor. I mean, my, I loved outlet passing and all that part of the game.
And then I really didn’t care if I scored or not, and, because I knew we, you know, we were covered in that area, and hey, if I got a, you know, got a hook shot in here or there, an offensive rebound, great. But I knew what, you know, where my bread was buttered, and that was, you know, Wilt Chamberlain taught me too in summer league, was park my rear end under the basket and stop players from getting there.
So you got tutelage from Wilt Chamberlain?
I did, yeah, and I use that in my presentation a lot, about focusing on the one thing you do well. You know, know your job. And, yeah, he grabbed me one day at the men’s gym at UCLA and said, “Dude, why are you running up and down the court all over the place?”
[He was] like, “C’mere.” You know, put me right in front of the basket, and said, “Stay here. This is your job. Your job is to stop players from getting there. You know, collect the rebound, throw it up to the guard, let them go down the other end and score,* and then kinda cruise up to halfcourt and see what’s going on.” And he redefined the center position for me, of what was important.
And it was like a light bulb went on, and I went, okay, I understand now how I can compete and succeed out here, rather than just being another guy running around trying to do everything. And so I just focused on that one thing, and that became the core, the center of what I did.
And then it fit well with the Jazz, because when it came with the Jazz, to the Jazz, Frank Layden was changing everything from that run and gun-style offense to one that ran on opportunity and used defense–everything was predicated on defense.
And we overplayed, we rotated, you kn–we took chances defensively with Rickey, and with Darrell Griffith and guys like that, to create opportunities for ourselves, and it became a style of basketball that has stayed with the Jazz for years and years and years, of that, you know, “Let’s play good defense first, and then run when we can.” And that worked well for me, because I got to be the center of that, at the defensive side to help make that happen. (KFAN)
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)