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Bits from Summer League Training Camp, 7/9: Rudy Gobert, Rodney Hood and Quin Snyder

July 10, 2014
tags: , , ,


** How’s the appendix?
It’s gone. It’s gone, so I feel good.
** First impression of the new coaching staff?
Great. I really like the new coach philosophy, the way he want us to play defense, and the way he want us to move the ball. So, I think it gonna be great.
Do you feel like Quin Snyder can help your game?
Of course. He already helping me, and he put me in confidence. So, that’s great for me.
How has he helped you?
Just tell me to play simple, and he communicate. I like to communicate, so talk to me, and I just learn.
** From what you’ve seen, do you think Snyder’s system will benefit your game?
Yeah. Yeah, I think that would be better, because I play with less pressure. And we just play, you know, every team plays with freedom, always better. So I think it’ll be good.
Did you feel like you were under pressure and didn’t have that freedom last year?
I was, yeah, I was really under pressure. Little bit more. And I was a rookie, so that was even harder.
** Have you talked to Gordon Hayward at all?
Just talked about the French national team. We didn’t talk about basketball.
** Are you bigger? You look bigger.
Yeah, I’m bigger.
How much more do you weigh?
I got, like, 10 pounds, but I just lost five because [of the appendectomy], so I’m, like, 245 right now.
You look taller.
No, I’m just bigger.


** Quin Snyder said you looked a little tentative on the first day and he talked to you. What did he say?
Just be more aggressive. You know, not to try to ease my way in. You know, he know I can play. Everybody know I can play. Just go out there and be more aggressive. And today, I did that. You know, I was handling the ball more. You know, I wasn’t giving it up and just running. I was handling the ball more and getting to the basket, things like that.
** What has the coaching staff been emphasizing? Defense? Shooting?
They actually been surprised by my defensive ability. You know, the thing with me is making it consistent. And you know, I been, you know, playing on a NBA level, I think I can get more steals…just making read. You know, sometime I might gamble too much but at the same time, they like the effort I’m putting up.
** What do you like about this offense for your game?
‘Cause it’s space. You know, ‘specially when you got guys like Trey [Burke] and Dante [Exum], who’s able to get into the lane and make things happen…Just do my job, knock down shot.
** What has been Trey Burke’s role in these practices?
He’s pretty much been the leader. You know, he’s been out there, going first in all the drills, teaching us, showing us different things about the NBA game. So he’s been really good for us…You can sort of tell from guys, see if they got that quality. He has that quality to be a really good leader.

** Do you have any comment on the Gordon Hayward offer sheet?
It’s probably not the right time for me to react to any of that…At this point, you know, it’s probably best for me to talk about the guys that are on the floor right now.
** On Trey Burke’s leadership
One of the things as you see him out here is he’s verbal. I think he’s getting more verbal, which will help his ability to lead. But he’s definitely got a presence.
** What have you seen from Rodney Hood?
He was a little tentative yesterday, which is natural. And I kinda gave him, ribbed him a little bit this morning in front of the group when we were putting in a few little plays. You know, and I, he responded. He came out and shot the ball. I, at this point, I’d rather have him, you know, miss a tough shot than pass something up.
** Is there one thing that you just want to put your stamp and let these guys know what is up?
Since I’ve gotten here and even before I arrived here, one of the things, the themes that you hear is accountability…We all, you know, as human beings, we have a level on our own, and then someone encourages us, pushes us, challenges us, hopefully we can raise our level. So that’s something we wanna start doing right now.
** What have you seen from Dante Exum?
The thing that I’ve enjoyed seeing, and that we were giving him a hard time, when he was playing in Australia–not with his national team, ’cause he competes with his national team and is in the stance–but it’s good to see him against better competition and be in the stance and really focus on defense and play a passing lane. And I think that’s where some of his speed, he’s figuring out how to use it with the ball, or excuse me, without the ball on the defensive end, and dishing on the offensive end.
** On how the summer league gives the coaching staff the chance to get used to each other and work together
When I came to Atlanta last year, you know, I coached the summer league team. You know, [Mike] Bud[enholzer] wasn’t around as much as I am right now. Its h–you know, I tell Brad [Jones] it’s, you know, I apologize ahead, in advance when I jump on the floor and try to say something. But we’re a young team, and I think all the teaching and things that we can get right now is important. We’ll spend a lot of time meeting, you know, preparing practice as a group, because I think each minute we have with them right now can be impactful. (KALL)

** Kyrylo Fesenko, windmill dunk at the Minnesota Timberwolves’ open scrimmage (original video via @BCookMN):


** More from the T-Wolves scrimmage. Fes, throwing his wristbands into the crowd while the rich folk in the front row give him a nice, polite golf clap (via @JBHoopsFan):


** Jazzmen, watching the World Cup (via @utahjazz):


Bits from Summer League Training Camp, 7/8: Dante Exum, Trey Burke and Quin Snyder

July 9, 2014
tags: , , ,


** How was the first practice?
It was good, you know? We started just running up and down, and the high altitude got to me a bit, so, but I had the coaches on the sideline stressing defense, so I was trying to stay locked in and get through the practice.
** What was the first experience playing with Trey Burke like?
It was good. It was, like I’ve said, with our Australian team it’s whoever gets the ball, and we had Ian [Clark] as well playing the point with us. We had all three of us on, and it was, if he got the rebound, he goes. If Trey got it, he goes. So you know, it wasn’t a problem for me, and it’s good to get off the ball sometime and let someone else run the show.
** What are your summer league goals?
I just wanna go in and play hard. Coach [Quin Snyder] has stressed defense a lot and I know a lot of people have knocked me on my defense, but people haven’t watched me play in awhile. So I wanna go out there and play as hard as I can. Try and help my team on the defensive end and turn defense into offense, and I know coach Snyder has stressed that a lot, and all the coaches. So yeah, it’s just about working together on the defense, and we’ve been doing drills, and everything in preparation for that.
** What is your impression of Quin Snyder in a practice setting?
I think he’s a great coach. He knows the team, and I think that’s important, because coming in, running the plays that we’re running, he knows that we’ve got two point guards that can run the show. So it’s not this kind of set offense. It’s kind of a free flowing-type offense. So I think that benefits us a lot. For him to notice that and be able to adjust to that in coaching style, I think it’s been great.
** On the present he got from Derrick Favors
Second day there and I’m already getting gifts, so the veterans aren’t too hard on me…He gave me Aussie shampoo, which I actually haven’t seen before. So, about to go hit the showers and test that out.
** You posted a picture on Instagram of John Stockton’s autobiography on your shelf. Is he someone you look up to?
It’s actually funny. My dad roomed with him at the Portsmouth Invitational, and so my dad’s talked about him and how he didn’t, how he got into the league…He kinda worked his way up, and you know, you look at him and ho–and what he’s done over his career, and definitely as a point guard and what he’s done, you definitely look up to that. And it’s an interesting book, so yeah. I hope I get to talk to him and the Jazz bring him in and [he can] teach me a few things…I’m sure he’ll be happy to come in and help the Jazz out in any way possible.


** What is your first impression of the new coaching staff?
I’m excited, man. I think they’re giving us a lot more freedom, and they’re emphasizing defense a lot and you know, that’s one thing that I think myself and everybody that was here last year, you know, was concerned about, you know? The coaching staff coming in, you know, what they would emphasize and what they wanted out of us. And you know since Day One, since we’ve been here, they’ve been emphasizing defense a lot and kinda getting on us about making that a priority. So that’s good.
** How has the Trey-Dante relationship gotten off?
It’s going good, s–thus far. You know, I didn’t know him before he got drafted, but he’s really a good player. He has a lot of potential. Still young, but his work ethic is, you know, is gonna allow him to continue to grow and get better in this league. So, I definitely think we can play together. You know, I like how coach allows me to bring the ball up, and then sometimes he’ll tell me to just go to the corner, let him bring the ball up and kinda play off the ball. So, you know, it’ll be interesting to see how it works.
** On whether he’s feeling more comfortable now than he did at this time last year
Much more comfortable. You know the game’s slowed down, you know, a lot for me. You know, I’m seeing things, you know, quicker out there. Slow in the mind, fast on the court. So I feel good right now. Just looking forward to continuing to get better.
** Have you been able to get a sense of Quin Snyder’s personality?
Yeah, I’ve already, you know, built, a personal relationship with him already, you know? He br–he pulls me to the side, gets on me about being that leader out there, you know, being that voice that the team needs to hear. So you know, I’m excited to play for him. Very excited.
** Have you talked to Gordon Hayward at all during this process?
A little bit. You know, I texted him, you know, a couple months back, you know, when he got married…If he decides to come back, that’ll be great. If not, then, you know, I wish him the best of luck.
** What do you want to work on during summer league?
I think, first and foremost, being the leader. You know, I think that’s something that I, you know, gotta continue to grow it, specifically at this level. You know, I was used to it at Michigan, going into my second year, and now I’m tryna, you know, get all the way used to it now going into my second year here. So, I think that’s one thing. And then just being confident out there. You know, not second-guessing anything. You know, playing aggressive, and you know, doing what it takes to win.
** What are the biggest differences between this year’s coaching staff and last year’s coaching staff?
Well, you know, I think last year’s coaching staff was good as well, you know? As much as, as much negativity as they got from, you know, the fans or whoever, you know, threw negative things at ‘em. You know, I think, you know, they knew what they were doing. I think we were just a young team and it was a rebuilding process for us last year. You know, now with the new coaching staff, I think they’re giving us a little more freedom on the offensive end, allowing us to, you know, play more and you know, bringing that potential out of everybody even more, so. And then on another note, you know, I think both coaching staffs really emphasize defense, and that’s one thing that I really like about this new coaching staff as well, ’cause coach Snyder and you know, all the other guys are really on us about, you know, being in our spots, talking, and we’re gonna need that, you know, coming up for this next season.


** How did the first practice go?
It’s kinda half empty, half full. You know, there’s things you can get excited about, and there’s always things you feel like, you know, you wanna do better, so. A lotta new habits. I think the main thing is you want ‘em to embrace those things, and I feel like that’s, you know, probably haven’t embraced them as much as we want, but there’s definitely an effort.
** What is your first impression of Dante Exum?
He’s fast. I think, more than anything, he really looks like he knows how to play. And you say that, you know, you have to illustrate situations, but he knows how to play in pick and roll, he kicks the ball ahead, you know, willing passer. It was fun to see him and Trey interact…Clearly, they’ve done a really good job teaching him in Australia, and he knows how to play. I also, you know, there’s an aptitude that sometimes guys that just, you know, the game comes easy to ‘em, and he’s one of those guys. The neat thing is, he loves to play. And I think you could see his personality come out when he played.
** What were you looking for as you assembled your staff?
Wanted to get guys that can really coach. You know, it’s just a premium on guys, and when I say “coach,” that can teach, that are capable of organizing…Obviously, we got a couple D-League guys with D-League experience in Brad [Jones] and Alex [Jensen]. And Mike Wells has, you know, been coaching a long time. He’s probably had every job in the NBA except head coach. Tony Lang’s been a head coach in Japan. Talk about trying to communicate, you know, he’s learns Japanese. And Johnnie Bryant, you know, is very good. You know, he’s been here teaching everyone from Paul Millsap to Trey Burke.
** What have you seen from Trey Burke in the last few days?
Yeah, you know, he, there’s a willingness from him, right away. I mean, you talk to him; he’s engaged. You know, I wanna see him get over screens. I wanna see him defend pick and roll and the ball. And he’s, you know, you can tell it’s important to him. That gets me excited. I think, you know, offensively, he’s got a great tempo. You know, he just has a really good feel for the game and pick and roll…I think, you know, there’s gonna be a pride that we all have in defense, and specifically pick and roll defense. That’s gonna be an emphasis. And it’s not easy, you know, especially in the West.
** What are your impressions of Rodney Hood?
Good. He’s bigger than, you know, any time I’m around him, I’m like, “Yeah, you really are 6-9.” So, you know, I think Rodney’ll be a good piece for us this year. Like all our young guys, he’s got a ways to go, but again, there’s a willingness to learn and I [think] that’s what you want.
** How involved will you be in the summer league?
I’ll be involved in practice. You know, like I am now. If I see something, I’m gonna go talk to the coaches about it. Maybe, you know talk to one of the players as we’re going, and, or do something afterwards if we feel like I need to. But once we get to Veg–you know, I, again, Brad’s terrific, and he’s gonna coach the team, and you know, we’re, we feel comfortable, you know, with me not distracting them. (KALL)

** Gordon Hayward and the Charlotte Hornets have reportedly agreed to a four-year, $63 million offer sheet.
** Alec Burks is celebrating his 23rd birthday on July 20 and he wants you to be there:

burks bday
** Dante is finally getting some real fan mail:

dante fan mail

The captain is already spoiling the rookie

July 8, 2014
tags: ,

Enes Kanter got hazed; Dante Exum gets presents. :)

favors exum

A quick jaunt through the comment section of Trey Burke’s Instagram

July 6, 2014

Trey Burke (@_burke614) posted this selfie a few hours ago:

A sampling of the 200+ comments on this post:

trey ig comments

And the winner is… (H/T @SurlyMae):

trey ig comment winner

Dante Exum and Rodney Hood throw out the first pitch(es) at Salt Lake Bees game

July 6, 2014
tags: ,

exum-pitchvia @utahman130, H/T @5kl

hood-pitchvia @saltlakebees, H/T @utahjazz

Welcome Steve Novak and Farewell Diante Garrett

July 6, 2014



David Locke Talks Gordon Hayward

July 4, 2014
tags: , ,

Will Quin Snyder be able to get through to Gordon Hayward in a way that Tyrone Corbin just couldn’t? Could they have a bond or chemistry that’s way more positive?
Well, it might be as important as just being far enough removed from Brad Stevens, right? I mean, Gordon had this incredible relation with Brad Stevens, and a really good relationship with Jeff Hornacek. And you know, I think, just maybe the door closing on the possibility of playing for those two and moving forward may be as important for Gordon as anything else.

But I think there’s definitely a hope that, you know, Quin can relate to Gordon. Gordon’s not an easy one, though. He’s a natural doubter…His first instinct is to not necessarily believe what you’re telling him, and he’s not an easy one to coach in that regard…

I think that it’s not an easy task that you’re asking for Quin with Gordon, but I do think hopefully he’ll be more successful. [Hayward] and Ty just, for whatever reason, they never clicked, and that was obvious. You know, it could simply just be as simple as circumstances, that Ty takes, you know, he’s post, he’s still, shortly removed from Brad Stevens. The Jerry Sloan-Deron Williams thing happened, and it’s just kind of a mess, and Gordon just never was connected to Ty the way he needed to be.

You’ve shared a lot of Subway sandwiches with Gordon. Does he want to come back to Utah?
I think so, and I think he wants to come back more with Quin than he did with Ty, frankly. I think that relationship wasn’t great. Nothing sinister; I just don’t think that they ever really connected…

They just didn’t connect. They just, and Gordon didn’t feel as though, you know, Ty put in a bunch of stuff later in the year and it opened some things up for Gordon, and that’s where he started to have some success. But you know, Gordon really likes to play the space, and not a lot of stuff for our wing players create space. Snyder’s whole offense is based on space.

Last year was not a good year for him, both emotionally, he didn’t play particularly well. He didn’t deal with it particularly well…[but] he was bothered by the losing on a year when, in which he very easily could’ve just been totally numbers-oriented.

On living up to the expectations that come with a big contract and the next step
I like Gordon an awful lot. He’s, frankly, just as surly as Deron in some other elements in the kind of personality that make him at times difficult. The key is, he is a good person who’s very conscientious of things around him, and I’m concerned on him [in terms of the mental pressure that comes with] a max contract…

He’s gotta find a way to be more charming than he is with the media. That’s a step in his career.

But I would also say, I’m gonna jump to his defense for a second. He’s [improved]…He has taken himself from a bench-playing, you know, wing player into a formidable piece that clearly a franchise in the NBA has deemed important enough to roll out stupid money for.

Another one of Hayward’s frustrations last year was…
Locke: [Another thing] that Gordon was really frustrated with last year…was we never broke the system for a matchup. There are guys out there that Gordon thinks he can beat, and he never got to do it. Think about that. We never do that, right? Have you ever seen us change what we were running for a mismatch?

Craig Bolerjack: Dennis [Lindsey] let Ty just work, and try to bring these guys along. But yes, I think that’s probably some of the frustration that, and again, you can’t speak for, I won’t speak for Dennis, but from my observation, there wasn’t nights when change was made for matchup purposes.

Locke: Let’s make sure we understand that we’re not necessarily being critical of Ty, because there was a, there’s a philosophy behind that…I’m just sharing an individual player’s frustration.

Boler: Don’t you agree though, David, that at times they did run it to perfection, but the shots just weren’t made?

Locke: Yeah, you know, it was interesting when I was doing that research last night, we had three of the 10 worst catch-and-shoot players in the NBA: Trey Burke, Gordon Hayward and Marvin Williams.

One possible reason Hayward’s stats were the way they were last year
I don’t see a lot of scripts right now where free agency’s adding a lot of wins to us. I think the wins are gonna be in growth from internally, and if Quin Snyder somehow has a modernized offensive system that matches our players better than we had last year, and, which we, you know, really played l–incredibly methodically…

We used the most possessions of any team in the league in the final 12 seconds of the shot clock, which is very difficult to do when you don’t have guys that can make plays.

That’s part of the reason why Gordon’s numbers are where they are. If you can push Gordon’s possessions earlier into the shot clock with a little bit more space, I think you’ll have a much more successful player. (1280; H/T @clarkpojo and @theshums)

Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines
** Spencer Checketts: What’s up, man?
David Locke: Not much. Sorry. My apologies for not connecting last segment. And you know, I’m already, would be scared to spend three hours trying to hold my own with Spence, Boler.
** Checketts to Locke regarding FantasyCon: It would be right down your alley.
Locke: Yeah, ’cause I’m an out of the box guy. I mean, that’s who I am, I’m, you know, that’s…
Checketts: That’s what I’m saying.
Craig Bolerjack: Out of the box.

Bits from Randy Rigby Interview, 7/2

July 3, 2014
tags: , ,


On Dante Exum and Rodney Hood
We’re really excited about these two young men. I think, not only did we get players that, I think, for us of where they were on the board, that we moved up significantly, but also we got players that are of Jazz caliber, and they have, come from wonderful families, and I think they’ll, our Jazz fans will be extremely happy with who they are on and off the court…

They speak well. They’re very polite. They’re very appreciative. And, but you can see where it comes from. Their parents are very, very quality individuals, and they’ve taught their children to, also, be respectful and so I think our fans will really enjoy who these players are, and you know what, they have a little passion for playing the game of basketball, and we really hope so.

On the state of negotiations with Gordon Hayward
Well, the conversations go between Dennis [Lindsey] and the agent, and those conversations are being discussed, are open and alive, being very open in our discussions. We’ve said all along that Gordon is a Jazz-caliber individual, that we like Gordon. We like what he does.

We think he has a lot of upside and a lot of potential, and so, for those reasons, we feel very strong that it, most likely if the situation’s, continue, that a match would be something that we’re looking at.

I’m not, that’s Dennis’ role. I respect him in making those final decisions, that, and recommendations, I should say. But having said that, you know, we’ll, we’re gonna just wait and kinda see what the market actually bears and what happens on this whole arrangement…

[Hayward] was one of our first calls that we was made, to his agent, to tell them that, “Hey, we’re serious about Gordon,” and he’s part of our long-term plans, that we would like to see being a Jazzman.

Match or not match, Gordon Hayward’s situation is completely different than Andrei Kirilenko or Wesley Matthews
We’re in a very good place financially, and with our cap room, and with our space, to really make wise, prudent decisions on how we want to continue to build this team, to, and put the necessary pieces in place, that, are, we’re giving a chance to really succeed, and co–and to grow.

And I think, again, our messaging to our fan base is, continue to help us, understand, we are committed to this. We’re in a great place. So many teams would be very jealou–are very jealous of where we’re at financially, that gives us those, that kind of flexibility. And we don’t wanna misstep that.

The same time, we want, also, the players to realize, when you take on certain responsibilities there comes with it, at, or, certain that, even dollars, it comes with that. Certain perceived responsibilities from the fan base, and fr–and even the team. And so, we wanna make sure that the players understand what the, that role is, and what the consequences could be in taking on certain roles.

When do you start talking with Enes Kanter and Alec Burks’ camps?
Well, we’ll start that very similar to the same time period that we did with Gordon and with Derrick [Favors]. And again, it’s gonna be a preference of what that i–that player and their agent and families may choose. I think it’s, I, the one positive thing that I’m happy about is we’ve made it very clear, based on what we did last year, that we’re not afraid to go either direction.

If they want to sit down, and we can structure what we think and they think would be a win-win, then we could sign, and that’s what we did with Derrick, great. If they have higher expectations and we feel it passes our threshold, we’re also very comfortable to say, “Let’s see how they end up performing and let’s see what the market, then, will bear for the future as well.”

You can use your cap space to go all-in on your young players, sign free agents outright, or do another Andris Biedrins-Richard Jefferson-Brandon Rush-type trade. Which are you looking at more?
For the listeners to understand: There is limited dollars that you have to spend. And there’s limited time that you have to give to athletes on the floor during the season or during a game.

And so, when you actually, then, make the decision to add in some key veterans into that mix, those veterans are gonna come in, of a s–of, that are veterans of a high caliber, they’re looking to say, “Okay…[I] want to use a lot of my time and be out there a lot, to help us to win.”

And so, right now, when we’re still developing these younger players, if you bring in these top-notch veterans, they’re gonna want more playing time, which means that we’re, then, gonna be taking away from the development of these younger players.

And our strategy, from last year continuing in this year, I think you will continue to see us stepping that up. But I th–the same time, we need th–we just now picked up two more young players. And they need time to really develop, a–so that they can become serious NBA players. And that doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes some time. And so, I, we want to be patient. We want to continue to l–give time for these players to grow.

* Like I’ve said previously, it’s hilarious how the Jazz are pretending the last few years never happened, like we haven’t spent the past three years being repeatedly told that the young guys couldn’t get more playing time because:

–You can’t give young guys playing time because they’re like children and they’ll become spoiled and entitled
–Player X played the same number of minutes in his third year in the NBA as Tim Duncan did his senior year at Wake Forest and Duncan developed just fine
–Game minutes =/= development because development happens in the gym or weight room
–John Stockton didn’t start until his fourth season
–Players A, B, C and D are only W, X, Y and Z years old
–22-year-old Player X would be a beat up 26-year-old if he got 35 minutes a night in his first few seasons
–Players have to earn their playing time so they’ll appreciate getting more minutes, if they get more minutes

Who will be on the Jazz’s summer league team?
We’re gonna have, on the team this year, in fact, eight players. Two of our ne–our two first-round picks, then six, also, of our players that were on the roster last year with us, from [Rudy] Gobert, Trey Burke, and we also have, you know, Diante Garrett, and a number of our other, our players as well. So, we’re gonna have some very good players on there that we’re really looking at and seeing how they’ve developed their’s off-season.

On the upcoming “open” scrimmage
That is definitely happening. We’re going to be having that, which, gonna actually be a week from Thursday, on July 10. We’re going to have, the doors will open here, we’ve actually moved it over here to EnergySolutions Arena, so that we can actually have more fans be able to s–watch that open practice. Doors open 6 o’clock.

Coach [Quin] Snyder will then talk. We’ll have some Q&A and introductions of the players, and then at 7:30, we’re actually gonna have about an hour of an open practice.

And we wanted the fans of Salt Lake City and of Utah* to have the first opportunity to watch these young draft picks and our young team in their, you know, kinda debut going out into the NBA. And so, it should be an exciting evening…We’d really invite everyone to, who would like to see these young players, come out and watch this open practice.

* As originally conceived by the Jazz front office, this “open” scrimmage was open only to “our good sponsors, also our season ticket holders–another plug, by the way, of why you should be a season ticket holder.” Good to see the definition of “fans” has been expanded to, you know, all fans.

Randy Rigby, Unintentional Dirty Quote Machine
** On studio headsets: I know that Austin’s really pulled out the number one for me.
** Jake Scott on Lindsey not being afraid of other people’s opinions: You’ve got a guy in this market you can, you know, tap a little bit.
Rigby: As we sat in the video room the weeks leading up to it, and I’ll just jump in from time to time, but I loved to watch kinda how the room works, because they’re watching and analyzing it. And they’ll be taking just one position and one player at a time…
[Dennis] does it not only with the Walt Perrins or the Justin Zaniks, but he’ll also reach down and say, “Bart Taylor”–Bart’s been in this for a couple years now, but still relatively young–“Bart, what’s your feelings on this?”
** On negotiations with Burks and Kanter: We’ve made it very clear, based on what we did last year, that we’re not afraid to go either direction.
** On weighing the pros and cons of possible moves: We’ve been doing it for some time, and measuring it.
** On the summer league: I think we’re, every night, in Thomas and Mack.* (1280)
* Thomas & Mack is the arena where Vegas Summer League games are played.

Off-season Odds and Ends

July 1, 2014

One. Dante Exum growing up story:

When I was really young, me and my brother used to play [pickup games], and he was always two years older than me, so he always used to beat me.

I would always cry, and run into the house and tell my mum and dad. And you know, and they said, “One day, you’ll beat him.” But with my dad, it’s, I finally beat him a couple of years back, and we haven’t played since. But you know, I always say, “You’re only as good as your last game,” and that’s what I’m gonna hold on to.

Remind you of anything?

John Stockton growing up story:

As for my brother Steve and I, we competed const–I competed constantly. I think that, I’m four years younger than him, and it was never very difficult for him to beat me…

I remember coming in crying a couple of times, and my mom wouldn’t even stop washing the dish. She’d just say, “Well, if he’s too big, don’t play with him.” And then I’d run out in the living room and see if dad would do the same thing, and he’d say, “Don’t go play with those big kids if they’re too tough for you.” And a few minutes later, I was out there pestering them again, trying to play. …

My brother Steve boasted a record of about 1000-1 in bloody driveway battles. And that victory, though, ended all the games, so that’s my one claim to fame with Steve.

Two. Wow. So style. Much approve. Amaze. (via @utahjazz):


Three. Quin Snyder and Dennis Lindsey, Bromance Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines:

Snyder: Dennis and his staff are so good. You know, they wanted my input.

Lindsey: Frankly, Quin’s input was huge. Quin waited about a week. I thought I hired a mute for awhile.

Four. Dante Exum, asked what Americans are missing:

Tim Tams. You guys need some Tim Tams, though. No, I brought over some Tim Tams, but those are all for me. But yeah, Tim Tams are the greatest thing that’s ever created.

I concur. Especially dark chocolate mint. Om nom nom.

Five. Rodney Hood on playing AAU basketball against Derrick Favors when Favors was a senior and he was in ninth grade:

He probably doesn’t remember, but I do…He was taller than everybody, you know, and dunking everything.

Will he be dunking on you in practice now?

Nah, I probably can catch him now.

What were they saying about Dante Exum before he was drafted by the Jazz?

June 30, 2014
tags: ,

According to Craig Bolerjack, he was told by Randy Rigby and members of the Jazz front office on draft night that they thought Aaron Gordon would be sitting in their lap (#UDQM) and that they did not expect Dante Exum to still be on the board at five.

David Locke, meanwhile, was asked on the day of the draft who he’d pick if it came down to Noah Vonleh and Exum at five. His response:

“Well, it won’t. Dante E—I have been told by numerous people there’s just no scenario that Dante Exum gets to the Jazz at five…There’s really no, I mean, huge stunner, huge stunner, from all the inside people I talk to, if Dante Exum’s on the board at five.”

Given that no one thought Exum would fall to the Jazz, I thought it’d be fun to see what LHM media members were saying about Exum before he became a Jazzman.

What is something the listeners have to know today in preparation for the draft?
Locke: I thought the only newsworthy thing…Dante Exum informed me that he didn’t work out for the J—he met with the Jazz in Chicago. He didn’t work out for them because of the fact that he thought that Utah, he and his agent thought Utah was a bad situation for him with Trey Burke having already been drafted there.

On which player had the biggest “aura” during pre-draft interviews
Locke, day before the draft: Jabari [Parker], actually, now that I think about it, really didn’t today. [Andrew] Wiggins might’ve had it a little more than he did. And [Aaron] Gordon actually might’ve had it as much as anyone.

Locke, day of the draft: [Aaron Gordon] had the biggest aura about him of any athlete I talked to yesterday in that draft room…I didn’t feel that out of Jabari or Andrew yesterday, but I would say Aaron Gordon was probably the closest to having that of anyone in the group. I really like him an awful lot, and I hope he’s there at five, and I hope we take him.

Locke, day after the draft: That [aura] did not exist as much with Wiggins and Jabari. More Wiggins than Jabari…But both Exum and Gordon owned the moment more than anyone else in those interviews. I thought Gordon particularly, but I think Exum as well.

On the scouting report on Exum
Locke: [Exum] is 6-6, lightning fast. Talked to a guy today who loves him, knows what he’s talking about, loves him but says it’s gonna take awhile. I mean, it, probably not gonna add a win to your ledger next year. You all right with taking that?

Is Exum a point guard?
Locke: He is, every game he’s ever played in his entire life has been at point guard. Now, it’s Australian high school, but…

1280: He’s not a point guard in the NBA.

Locke: He thinks he is…[Like Noah Vonleh,] Aaron Gordon thinks he’s a three too, but he’s been smart enough to go through this draft process and say, “I’ll play whatever position you want me to play.”

Who are the guys projected to be drafted in the top eight or nine that will make us think “That team blew it” when they are drafted? Who are the two or three guys that will be busts?
Locke: I think Doug McDermott would, might bust. I think Dario Saric might bust. … I think Dante Exum has gotta be on the list.

Is Dante Exum a foreign Nikoloz Tskitishvili or a foreign Dirk Nowitzki?
Locke: There are not a lot of 6-6 point guards in the NBA. I get nervous when guys are outside of their regular realm and if he’s not a very good point guard, then he’s a terrible shooting guard. But people love him.

Two out of every five top five picks do not become NBA starters
Locke: Top five picks, from 1997 to 2010, 17 [percent] become an all-pro…Another 17 percent become all-stars. So, that’s 34 percent become all-stars. And 29 percent become starters, so that becomes, 63 percent become starters. So the top five picks, 63 percent are starters. Well, that’s three out of five. So two of these top five picks, on average, do not become starters in the NBA…So, to me, that is Dante Exum and Joel Embiid.

Would the Jazz draft Marcus Smart?
This doesn’t have anything to do with Exum, but is being included because Exum also declined to work out for the Jazz.
Bolerjack: [When] he’s turned down twice for a workout? I don’t [think so]…The agent’s kinda making a stand, saying, “Look, Marcus doesn’t really have interest. Pass him over so he can go to Los Angeles and bask in the sunlight of Los–of L.A.”

So again, what does that tell me, if I’m going to sit down and judge personality, which I do on part of my draft process, then right now I’ve got a negative feel for Marcus Smart. If that’s the what, if that’s the way he’s gonna approach me and start his career, by not allowing us to, you know, work him out, then that’s a huge red flag on my part.

If, in these players’ positions, they oughta be chomping at the bit. Who cares where they’re playing? They have an opportunity of a lifetime…You get an opportunity, you take it. You’re in no position, in my opinion, to say “No thanks” for a workout…

What you don’t need is a pouter. What you don’t need is disruption in the locker room. This team’s young enough. That, this pick, I think, has to bring it mentally. And if you have any fear that he’s not on board with your plan, then I think maybe you have to give him his way, because how many guys do you see in this league that sit and pout?

Other notes:
** Boler on the Derrick Favors and the fifth pick to Cleveland for the first pick trade talk (summarized):
The big take is that [Favors and Enes Kanter] cannot survive and play together. At one point, the Jazz were 1-24 when Kanter started. The Jazz have probably gotten to the point where they’re saying no, it’s not gonna work. Therefore, both of those players being named in trade rumors gives Boler belief that the experiment is over.

This is not a knock on Tyrone Corbin, but could they play together for a new coaching staff and in a new system?

Quin Snyder was a point guard at Duke, so you’d think he’ll be a more offensively-minded coach. Also, good coaches vary their systems to fit the strengths of their players. He is working in tandem with Dennis Lindsey on the future direction of the franchise.

** Boler is sick of hearing Salt Lake City referred to as a small market, and dubs it a mid-market.

** Locke’s response to 1280 question, “Why do you like Evan Fournier? Who the heck is he?”:
He’s a French player. Played in Denver. He’s actually kind of Dante Exum-esque, actually, except for he can shoot it. Not as quick.

** Boler believes the Jazz will match any offer sheet Gordon Hayward may get and the number won’t be as lofty as some may fear based on the season Hayward had last year.

** Per Boler, KJZZ will televise three of the Jazz’s summer league games.

** Locke on the maturity of 18-year-olds Vonleh and Gordon:
Vonleh seemed much younger than Aaron Gordon, and you know, frankly, without being rude to Enes, we’ve done this game before with a young 18-year-old. I’m not sure we need to do it again.

** Locke on the Jazz trading the 35th pick (summarized):
People unhappy that the Jazz gave up No. 35 for a 2016 second round pick should “shut up.” …Response to the “six people” unhappy about the transaction that “in this day and age they get a voice, which is our failure as media members to react to them,” is “The guys running these things are not idiots.” Furthermore, the Jazz were so fortunate to get the two draft picks they got that the third one was just irrelevancy.

** Locke on the 76ers’ draft:
I hope they never win another game…I think we have a responsibility, even if maybe you’re in a rebuild process, to put out quality every night. That’s a joke. They really drafted two players that aren’t gonna play? It’s beyond me. It’s bad for the game.

** Boler on the Marvin Williams to Miami rumors:
I’ve heard that as well. But I also heard that, I’m not sure, he may wait to see what LeBron [James] is thinking. But I do know that, and he told me straight up, he’d love to come back. Randy Foye told me that, but you know what happened there. He decided to, well, he did move on.* And there’s players that, DeMarre Carroll, but now he’s in Atlanta. But a lot of players, I think, find out that they like it here in Utah once they land in Salt Lake City, and it’s not as bad as people sometimes make it out to be.

* What happened there was that the Jazz traded Foye. Foye in December: “To be honest with you, I thought I still was gonna be there [after last season]…Me and my family really enjoyed [living in Utah], and I wanted to be there for awhile, but things didn’t work out that way.”


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