I have so many questions.
–Who decided that everyone should wear the same outfit?
–Why the matching outfits?
–Did everyone get dressed at home and arrive at the practice facility in matching outfits?
–Or did everyone get there, head to the locker room, change and come out in matching outfits?
Why should fans be excited about Exum?
The tools. He’s 6-6 in his shoes. He’s got close to a 6-10 wingspan. He has the ability to accelerate in a short period of time, and he makes it look smooth. Some of us, when we run hard, we’re gritting our teeth, and Dante seems to make everything look easy.
And so, there’s some ability to break through the line of the defense, array of finishes, his ability to score. And so, as much as anything, there were some speed and some tools that really intrigued us, and we’re gonna have to spend a lot of time working with him [on] his body, his skills, his mindset. But I think we have a development program that will allow all that to come to fruition.
On Quin Snyder’s impression of Exum
We were playing catch-up with Quin, and then the assistant coaches that have been hired in the last 10 days or so. And so, I really appreciated Quin’s approach. He came in, and was listening to our management and scouting group talk about each prospect.
And so, Dante we watched a few times on video, and Quin initially didn’t have a lot to offer. And we had a quiet moment. We were talking, and he asked, “What about Dante?” And “Are you seeing what I’m seeing with his speed and ability to get to the rim?” And I said, “Yeah, that’s who he is.”
On how Exum and Hood will fit into the Jazz system
Within our, what we call our motion-based offensive system, it’s a very dynamic offense where we use pick and rolls to create the lead and separation. And then, like some of the better teams, we don’t want the ball to stop.*
So we really like Dante’s ability to create on the front end of the possession, and we really, for a young guy, we liked his decisions once he was able to get into the paint. So, we think there’s significant ability there to do that.
And then with Rodney, Rodney’s a very good pick and roll player. He was really efficient in what they did with Duke, and Duke has some of the similar spacing that we wanna have, and the nice thing with Rodney is his size and shooting ability. I think he’ll also complement our primary players that will have the ball in Trey [Burke], and Alec [Burks] and Gordon [Hayward].
* I like how Lindsey pretends the last few years didn’t happen.
At 6-6, does Exum have the lateral quickness to guard all three positions on the perimeter?
I think going forward, that will be Dante’s biggest challenge, is the size, physicality relative to the 24-sh–second shot clock and defense. And, but the one thing that we found out through the interviews and through our diligence, he’s a very competitive, driven young man.
So, I think in time he’ll be a good defender, and certainly [has] the size to play the wing, the speed to play the point guard. But Dante’s in store for a NBA introduction on how quick, how fast, how violent NBA basketball will be. But we’re confident over time that his makeup and work ethic, he’ll be a good player.
Lindsey’s version of Kevin O’Connor’s “Judge this pick in two years”
The evaluation will be years from now on how Dante develops and how Rodney contributes.
Why did you decide to trade away the last pick [Jarnell Stokes]? Too young of a team?
We actually liked the player that we traded away, but with our youth movement last year, adding two very young players and one extremely young in Dante, we felt like we needed to push out that pick going forward. It’s something that we did last year, so our ability to accumulate assets is key for us to be able to make deals in the future.
Was the organization close to making a deal to move up at any point tonight?
We really looked at trades in all directions, and certainly moving up was something that we were very aggressive in doing. There, I’m glad you asked the question. There were several media reports that were wildly inaccurate. And so, those type of things are unfortunate, but we were looking several different directions.
What was wildly inaccurate?
I won’t get into specifics.
On Hood the person
Rodney, our intel around Rodney was top-shelf individual, first-class all the way. So, the Jazz fiber, culture that we always talk about, he really fits in seamless.
We got another Dukie in here, so, we’ve added a few of those over the past few weeks. But it’s safe to say the connections that we have with coach [Mike] K[rzyzewski] and the Duke program gave us good certainty that Rodney could fit our group.
Exum is handsome, among other things
There was real maturity there [in the way Dante dealt with being away from home], and we were really impressed. And you won’t ever make a selection because of an interview. You make the selection on their basketball talent, but certainly their health and their character and makeup, and we felt really good with the interview, and that was a key part of our decision-making process.
And so, he’s handsome.* You know, he has the natural Aussie charm. He’s very humble and self-effacing, so I think the media and the market will really appreciate him.
** Exum’s agent is Rob Pelinka. Ugh.
** Has never been to Utah.
** Will wear No. 6.
** Is from a town about two hours away from Al Jefferson’s hometown. Watched Big Al play in high school. “He was a monster.”
** Alter ego is named “Roscoe.”
** On dropping in the draft
It’s, just adds to the chip on my shoulder. You know, I always felt like I was a, you know, an afterthought, and you know, tonight was a perfect example of that. But you know, God puts you in, you know, in places that He wants you, and you know, you just gotta believe in it, and roll with it. You know, I think I landed in a great spot for me.
** What was it like sitting there waiting for your name to be called?
It was kinda nerve-racking. You know, you wanna hear your name called as quick as possible, but at the same time, I landed with a really good team, you know, with great fans, and you know, a great coach, you know, in his first year. So you know, I’m excited I landed in a really good spot.
** Talk about being a kid from a small town in Mississippi now being in the NBA.
It’s unbelievable. You know, you think of, you know, I, excuse me. You think of, you know, just a little kid, playing at the Boys and Girls Club, you know, wanting to be, like, a Big Brother. You know, and getting the chance to walk across the stage, and give some people hope, you know, from where I’m from, you know, that means a lot.
** Do you know any of the Jazz players?
I know Trey Burke. And you know, I heard about Dante [Exum], and I’m excited to be playing with him and coming in with him. You know, Derrick Favors, I played against him back in high school.
** Have you talked to Derrick Favors?
I haven’t talked to him. You know, that was, you know, he was a senior in high school. I was a small kid. You know, he was, so he probably doesn’t remember me. But I just remember playing [against Favors' AAU team] the Atlanta Celtics.
** On playing for a coach that is also a Duke alum
I heard a lot of great things about him, and I’m sure, you know, he learned a lot from coach. And you know, it’ll be a, not a easy transition, but a more comfortable transition knowing that he went to Duke.
** Does it excite you to be part of a youth movement?
Oh, most definitely. You know, going to [an] up and coming team, that’s right there on the verge and got a lot of talent, and I think I can add to that and we can make a playoff push this year.
** Which players did you admire growing up?
Man, I grew up, I watched some really good players. You know, Monta Ellis, I watched, you know, him b–since he was in high school. Al Jefferson, who used to be with Utah awhile ago. You know, Jonathan Bender. I mean, it’s a lotta guys come from Mississippi. Antonio McDyess, you know, is from around there. So we got a lotta good players I was able to watch as a young player.
** What do you have to say about other players saying they won the style game tonight?
Aw man, I think I did good. You know, a lot of people was complimenting me on the way I dress. A little bit flashier than I’m used to, but you know, it’s a one-night thing.
Gotta get used to wearing purple.*
Yeah, most definitely.
* I know purple hasn’t been a Jazz color in a decade, but I still love this. Jerry Sloan used “bleeding purple” last year to describe being a long-time Jazzman, so purple we are.
** Is there anything in particular you took away or learned from your draft workouts?
The main thing, I’m not much of a leader, a vocal leader. And you know, teams want that. And I went into the workouts, my first workout, and they didn’t see that much from me, but I started to get a hang of it, and went into the next workout just making it a goal to be the loudest guy on the court even when things weren’t going my way.
** What is your goal for your rookie season?
My number one goal is to improve on the record of the team in the previous season.
** Have you met or interviewed with Utah?
Yeah, I did meet with them at the combine, but I didn’t work out with them.
Because you don’t expect to be there at five?
No, it wasn’t that. It was, just didn’t think it was, they just drafted a point guard, so we didn’t think it was a good situation.
** On American stereotypes of Australians
Yeah, so one guy gave me a nickname called “Crocodile Dee-ee.” And, I’m like, I’ve never seen a crocodile in my life. But, yeah, it’s like, every time [they] see you and someone says, “Crikey” to me. Someone says, “Throwing shrimp on the barbie.” So you know, I’m like, yeah, I just go with it, and I say, “What’s up, mate?” or “G’day, mate.” And just kind of play off my Australian accent, and people love it.
** Has never been to Utah, but knows where it is on a map.
** Called Utah a “city.” Good omen. (See Malone, Karl.)
** Will wear No. 11.
** Dad played with Michael Jordan at North Carolina.
** Why didn’t you work out for Utah?
Looking at the draft and where I was placed, me and my agent thought that I wouldn’t get down to five, but you know, anything happens in the draft…I’m lucky enough that Utah believed in me, and picked me up at five.
** What excites you the most about playing for the Utah Jazz?
It would have to be being under the coach of [Quin] Snyder. He, had a little talk to him and he talked about how he was a point guard and how he think he can, he thinks he can help me [on my] journey.
** You’ve said that you are a point guard, but the Jazz already have Trey Burke…
Looking at the team, we’re both players that can play the one and two. You know, it’s gonna be a shared role, I think, and it’s the best way to go if I’m on one wing and he’s on the other wing, it’s who’s quicker to get it to. And you know, I’m sure he can play the two as well and I take the one, and I can ta–play the two while he plays the one…I look forward to getting out there and having the chance to play with him some.
** How do you see the point guard partnership with Trey Burke working?
I’m sure it’s gonna be a good relationship. In my Australian national team, we play, we have three point guards, with me, Patty [Mills] and [Matthew Dellavedova]. So I mean, rotations, so you know, it’s nothing new to me.
** Is it a big jump for you to go to the United States of America?
Both my parents are American, so I’ve been over here many times. But you know, it’s not too much of a culture shock coming over here. Australia’s very much like America, so you know, I’ve been over here for about five months now, and I’ve gone very well in adjusting.
** What do you promise to deliver to Jazz fans?
I promise to deliver someone that’s gonna go out and try to win every night. You know, it doesn’t matter if it’s the first game, it’s the last game, it’s, we’re down 20. I’m gonna try to win, and that’s the mindset I’ve always had, and I’m gonna try to bring.
** Who was your basketball idol growing up?
I wanted to be Paul Pierce.
** On the nickname “Crocodile D”
Yeah, don’t call me that. You guys can make up a new name.*
* Music to Craig Bolerjack and Matt Harpring’s ears.
Take us behind the curtain on the Jazz’s draft preparations.
Well, let me paint a picture for you. Just walked out of our video room, where everyone is huddled in there still watching video. The temperature in the video room is probably about a nice 60, maybe 63 degrees.
I think we keep it nice and cold in there. It’s like a meat locker, I think to keep us all awake, ’cause of the amount of video that’s been watched over not only the week, the last week, but the last number of months, in just regurgitating all of the video and really fine-tuning and having s–continuing our discussions.
But there is a real buzz, there’s real excitement. We literally have our whole team in town, from discussing, talking, analyzing, and it’s been very gratifying for me to watch the process and see how, the feedback and input that is given, and the respect that is given, from the top to the bottom, of people weighing in on, as we kinda fine-tune our decisions.
** The Jazz front office had Olive Garden delivered for lunch.
On player development and the coaching staff
These are some very, very good young players [in the draft] who have a lot of talent, but they also have their deficiencies. They have some areas that we are going to need to k–be a little patient with, that we’re gonna have to help ‘em grow up and develop.
And that’s why I’m also very excited that we have a new coaching staff that has extreme amount of talent and ability to really, I think, help us develop this young team, and mold this team to take us where we all want to go.
Talk about the discussions that go on about making a move or not making one.
For our fans, they oughta be interested to know, there’s probably about hundreds of conversations that even start floating out the idea that, you know, that those odds are one in a thousand.
And then, when you even start looking at something in a more serious nature, and start having more dialogue, and again, you’re looking at, there’s a lot of factors that can come into play, and people are cautious not to want to show their whole hand and still look at and keep it in generalities. And in those cases, it then is, it’s now, you’ve moved up to maybe there’s a 5 percent chance of something happen.
Further dialogue, further discussions moves it down to maybe you could get to 10, 15 percent. And, but at the same time, you gotta keep in mind, while dialogues are going on with one another, there mi—they may be having dialogues with two or three other teams, as you’ll have be having also other dialogues going on.
And so, it is a very dynamic process, and a lot of moving parts, a lot of factors that come into play, and that’s what makes the odds of many of these things that people hear rumors out there happening.
Or in many cases you might have agents that are, all of a sudden, floating out to the marketplace that these dialogues are happening, that in reality are not happening, but they’re trying to create a market to happen, for the good of their client, and, or, in trying to plant a seed out there.
So, there’s a lot of gamesmanship, there’s a lot of moving parts, as you look at, really, what happens before a trade or a deal is consummated.
How much do you guys weigh whether or not you get a feeling that a player wants to be in Utah long term when you draft him initially?
Well, that’s part of our process…There’s a lot of young men, unfortunately, that come with some real baggage and some real challenges, and we’ve flagged ‘em. And we’ll say, “You know what? There’re some concerns there.”
You have to look at people not only from their physical well-being, but also their mental well-being and their social well-being, and, to, really, as you analyze ‘em, because all of those areas can come back to bite you.
And we wanna make sure that, as I said earlier, that the players that we’re looking at, then, have, are Jazz fiber, have the Jazz character, and, because we’re gonna invest a lot in them, and we want them to be excited about that investment as well.
What is the Jazz’s greatest need right now?
Well, you know, I think one of the areas that we’ve constantly looked at is that we wanna continue to strengthen our wing area. That’s one of the areas that we, we’re looking at and meaning to continue to strengthen that area.
You know, we have a number of needs, that, you know, Walt [Perrin], and, I know Dennis [Lindsey] has talked about. But I think the wing position is the one for me that is probably the most glaring that I, that we look at in trying to strengthen. So, that would be the, you know, in that area. The “two,” the “three” position. Even the “three”-“four” position, depending on how we play.
It’s gonna be fun, by the way, to see how, we’re gonna see, and I think Jazz fans are gonna be excited. They’re gonna see a different style of Jazz basketball than what they’ve seen for many years, with Quin Snyder and our coaching staff. And so, it’ll be interesting.
I’m excited to see how, even our existing players, the Gordon Haywards, the, you know, Derrick Favors, the Jeremy Evans, Trey Burks*, respond and play into this, into a different style of Jazz basketball for this coming year. And hopefully, maybe that’s gonna help them in their talent and their performance.
* People calling Trey Burke “Trey Burks”: Randy Rigby.
Randy Rigby, Unintentional Dirty Quote Machine (UDQM)
** On the Jazz’s draft preparations: We really know where things are going, where we’re at, how we feel about these players, how we feel and how we sense things could go. I think we’ve really done our homework to be prepared, for any type of, for maybe the public-perceived unusual actions, but we think we’ve anticipated everything that could go in different directions, and we’re ready.
** On the Jazz’s draft preparations: Our guys have done all the homework, of knowing kind of the holes, in many cases, in other teams, lineups, and where their needs are. (1280)
Are you and Karl Malone still friends? Do you talk much?
Oh, absolutely. We don’t talk a ton. He’s down in Arkansas. We’re in, and I’m up in Washington, and both pretty busy. We have a lot of children, and they’re all involved in sports.
And I actually saw him on TV with, I think it was Miss America. I don’t want to, Miss America or Miss USA pageant, and his family was there.
So, we’re running amok pretty good, but every once in awhile, we sit down and make sure that we communicate, and it’s as if we never left each other’s side in the locker room when we do that.
What is your life like these days?
It’s really busy. And I know that’s kinda, sounds, everybody says, “Oh, it’s busy-busy.” I have a very active family, all the way from, what, 26 years old or 27 years old down to 13, and they’re all involved in things.
And one of the things I’ve enjoyed about being retired is that I get to enjoy ‘em with ‘em. I’m not missing games; I’m not missing events, and each child brings something that we can share in.
I have one son that’s playing [basketball] in Germany. I have another son that’s working on a construction project. My son David, who a lot of you have seen with Gonzaga, and my two daughters are both active basketball players, as well as other sports. And then young Sam, my youngest, he’s involved in everything. So, and I’m coaching most of those things…
So, at the end of the day, it’s a very busy day along with some of the other stuff I’m involved with, some businesses here and there, but I go to bed tired most days.
Would you ever want to be a head coach in the NBA?
Not right now. And I, that’s, you know, I’m enjoying this. I’ve coached my youngest daughter Laura since she was a second- or third-grader in basketball, and she’s now going into her senior year in high school, and I’m still helping assistant coach there. So, we’ve been in this journey a long time [and also coaching my youngest son].
We’re not separating. Our family’s sticking together, one way or the other, and there’s just no way for me to even consider something that would either split me into another area that they aren’t, or ask them to move at this stage of their life.
It’s just not something that could possibly work for me and my family, and that’s, makes the decision easy even though there’s a lot of excitement being able to coach athletes and players and being part of an organization like the Jazz again. That part’s very exciting, but there’s just no time right now.
What is it like for your kids to compete in sports as John Stockton’s son?
All of my kids have had to deal with that, I think to some degree, and they haven’t really shown that it’s a problem. They just kinda do their thing.
David, in particular, has probably been the most visible, although Michael played at Westminster there, right there in Salt Lake City, and had a nice career there and got asked all the questions, of course. But David was a little bit more visible, and they just seem unaffected by it.
Like, they’re on their own path, and I’m glad. I feel like we’ve done something at least a little bit right. I think they feel comfortable in their own skin even playing a sport that their dad’s well-known for, and even if it’s at the same place their dad played. So, I have been very proud of how they’ve all handled it.
Do you remember what the 1984 draft was like?
Oh, I sure do, yeah. It was something new for, I mean, really, it was new for the NBA. They were just starting to grow, I guess, as far as, that the draft was still fairly small, and there was a number of guys in New York.
I wasn’t invited. I wasn’t expected to be drafted. And when that announcement came through, my house became bedlam, or my parents’ house became bedlam, with neighbors and teammates and coaches…
I remember being a little bit in a daze afterwards, going, “Wow, what just happened?” But, pretty cool experience overall, and it sure led to an even greater experience with the Jazz.
What did Larry H. Miller mean to you?
It started out a little rough. I was used to–I shouldn’t say “rough.” It started out with Mr. Battistone, Sam Battistone, his family and their, just immaculately dressed, you know, just everything perfect on the sideline there, and great people.
And then Larry Miller comes to town, and he was wearing the sand-knit pants, and he was kinda storming around everywhere, involved in everything. And as a player, you, I said, “Wow, there’s a new sheriff in town here.” That was a little odd.
But over time, I just grew to love him. Gosh, he’s such a caring guy, and he cared about each one of us, and cared about his team and his city, and picked himself up from his own bootstraps way back when and helps people still to do that even if, even with him gone. And I don’t know, you just don’t come across people like that every day.
Is it still odd to you that Jerry Sloan is no longer the coach of the Jazz and the organization you played for, those times are over?
Sure. I knew our time, I knew our stage was over when Jeff [Hornacek] left. I mean, I shouldn’t say that, that’s just a, every, it’s constantly evolving.
And when Jeff retired, that took a big hole out of what I perceived as our, as what the Jazz were. And then little by little, of course we all get older, and move away or move out, just like a family.
So, I, you know, I have no doubt in my mind that the Jazz, with their current ownership with Greg and Gail running things, I know where they wanna be and I know that they wanna get there now, and it doesn’t happen now very often, but they’re gonna get there. And I’m just gonna continue to be a fan here at home and know that it’s gonna happen. (1320)
Not a single “you know” from DL in this entire post…
With you as the point man, what would be the process if the Jazz wanted to move up? Who has a say?
We serve at will to the Miller family, and really, the buck stops there. The things that Kevin [O'Connor] was able to do in the past, that was always under the Miller family review.
And because of that, what we try to do is, we wanna create a very transparent environment internally, and our philosophy, our, all of us, are smarter than any one of us. And so, that debate, we want to really have really strong debate across the table.
And who knows, that, who knows who that person is, that’s giving that pie–infor–key piece of information to swing the vote and sway the room? And that could be, it could be a video guy who’s watching more video than any of us, and says, “Hey, I see this. Let’s go review that.” And we come back, and all of a sudden, hey, that guy’s right.
And it could be a person steeped in analytics that says, “Hey, this guy is showing some statistical markers that we wanna pay attention to,” that maybe we wouldn’t have otherwise.
And then, it could be the long-time scout that understands the organization and players at a really deep, intimate level and in an intangible way.
So, what we’re trying to do is get all those key pieces of information, and then simply talk and review and many times decide how we’re going to decide. That’s a fluid, that’s a very fluid process.
I found that each draft’s a little bit different relative to the themes, and our job is to grab onto the most important themes. So, it’s part art, it’s part formulaic, it’s part gut, and again, so the, even if I were to try to describe going forward, it would, I wouldn’t do justice because when I’ve looked back on the notes to assign credit or blame on every decision, when we keep really good notes, is really difficult.
But it’s safe to say we’ve spent a lot of try–time trying to understand the decision-making process and most specifically, the late draft process.
Everyone gives input. The Millers have final approval.
What are the odds you know which draft pick you’ll be introducing on Friday?
I think we know, fairly good odds, if we were to stay at five, who that group is, and we’re comfortable with the group. There’re many different prospects that add different athletic attributes and skills and mindsets, and there’s no perfect prospect.
There’re a bunch of very good prospects, and to be frank, much of this draft, in my opinion, is how good you are organizationally at supporting and developing the prospect that you take.
I was with a program in San Antonio that, many times we were selecting guys with significant holes, and you try to fortify their holes,* while accenuating** the positives that they have on the court. And I think the program there has done a really good job of making their young players systematically better.
And so, I think that’s going to be a real challenge with whoever we were to select, at really any position. Five, 23, 35, all of the above, that we’re going to have to do a real good diagnostic look under the hood, athletically, do those correctives, look at their skillset, help them tighten skillset, and then support ‘em, because these are really young men.
So, our, we’ve really invested in off-the-court player development. Richard Smith has headed that. We have Dr. Keith Henschen*** that does our psychological component. So, we’re really comfortable with that, but I really think that’s a key part of this process.
* UDQM, H/T @Mac_Jazz
** “Accentuating,” probably.
*** The Jazz’s sport psychologist consultant for the past two decades. Here’s a podcast in which he talks about his approach to mental coaching, if anyone’s interested. He mentions in the podcast that one thing he learned from Jerry Sloan over the 25 years they worked together is “the great ones play forward,” that the most important play in sports, regardless of mistakes, is the next play, not the last play.
The odds are unknown.
Is Kawhi Leonard a system player?
When Kawhi was the, first came [to the Spurs], to plug him into the defensive role, the wing defensive role, it was so key. And then their development people really worked on Kawhi.
Much was noted about the Spurs changing Kawhi’s jump shot, but one thing that I believe really has gone unnoticed is how much better Kawhi finished. Kawhi was a two-foot-gatherer-jump-stop, and so their development people really worked with Kawhi playing off one foot as well. So not only did he become a better shooter, but he became a better finisher through just a lot of analysis and hard work, and it’s a real credit to their program and to their coaching staff.
And so, while he came into the program in a certain role, he came in in that role very young. And now, he’s, his abilities and his development has allowed him, the Spurs, to win that matchup at the small forward positionally, and in the past, it was more of a placeholder type of position.
He has been developed into one, yes.
Have you had any secret workouts with players?
I’d rather not comment on that, but I understand the question.
You know we’re going to assume that means “yes,” right?
I can understand the assumption, but I’ll let you make an assumption instead of commenting.
What is the earliest and latest in the day you could call someone from another team to propose a trade?
Earliest in the morning? Yeah, so, we’re, as you would imagine, every team right now is, it’s 24-7. So, the days of the week and the hours on the clock and our birthdays and holidays that may come up, nothing’s sacred on the calendar or the clock.
[Host relays story about David Stern calling Larry H. Miller at 3 a.m. during labor negotiations and saying he couldn't call anyone else but he knew he could call LHM, and that he wanted to run the parameters of a proposed deal by LHM because if it works for the Jazz, it works for other small markets.]
I’ll say this. I feel like I know Mr. Miller because of all the stories and his book and the organization, and his capacity for work. His mental acuity and grasp for numbers are far past mine and probably anybody else currently in the organization.
And I’m not sure I’d function real well on a late-night call, especially if it’s the commissioner, but yeah, that story, I haven’t heard that story. That doesn’t surprise me giving, given Mr. Miller’s work ethic and natural intellect.
** Dennis Lindsey on Kevin O’Connor, UDQM: He likes to give our group the business. Systematically. He spares no one. (1280)
On playing two point guards together
You know, I saw it just because I saw what Kevin Johnson and I did when we were here in Phoenix. You know, I was a point guard. He came in, and he was the fast, you know, a better penetrator,* and it moved me to the 2-spot where I could shoot the ball, but I could also make passes and plays.
So you know, when we, when Er–when we got Eric [Bledsoe], we kind of, I kind of thought the same thing. You know, Goran [Dragic] is a guy who can sh–really shoot the ball. He can also penetrate and handle the ball. So we figured with two guys out there doing it, we could push the ball up the court, get up and down.
You know, I think it might be hard if teams start to go that way, you know, ’cause we’re fortunate enough to have two really good guys at that position. If you have, you know, a shorter 2-guard who’s not as good as, you know, like a, the way Goran played, I’m not sure it would, you know, it could work, but maybe not to the level we have it. …
Goran’s got pretty decent size. He’s not 6-5, but he’s, you know, he’s about the same size I wa–I am, about 6-4, maybe. But you know, he’s special the way he can get to the basket.
And you know, we got the right-handed Bledsoe, the left-handed Dragic, which allows us to do certain things from certain sides of the court, and still have those guys go to their strong hand. So you know, it’s maybe something te–we still didn’t make the playoffs, but you know, we won 48 games and we improved, and you know, we think those two guards will really lead us.
* UDQM, H/T @Mac_Jazz.
Have you talked to John Stockton? Does he have any interest in coaching?
I did talk to John. His daughter was out here playing in a basketball tournament, and it was right in the beginning of the [Jazz's coaching search]. And I’d asked him if they’ve, you know, talked to him yet, and at that point, they had not. And he was kinda, “Maybe. You know, I might consider it.”
You know, I think he’s also in that stage where, you know, he’s got a couple more kids that he wants to see them finish growing up and maybe get into it after that. But I, you know, I think he’d definitely be a great coach, and will probably get to it at some point.
Was your first year as a head coach easier, harder, or as you expected?
Probably as expected. You know, being an assistant coach under Tyrone [Corbin], you know, Tyrone, you know, really kinda showed us how to be that head coach and all the stuff that comes with it. And he did a great job of talking with us and you know, kinda showing us what to expect as a head coach. And so, I was prepared, you know, to go through all the stuff that you ha–you need to.
It was probably a little more on the front of, you know, handling media stuff, talking with season ticket holders, you know, that kind of stuff, you know, off the court stuff was probably more than I expected.
But you know, on the court, it’s kinda what you expect. You know, as a player, you go out there. You play. There’s obviously a lot more, you know, as a player you get to go home after practices. A coach, you’re here ’til five o’clock, you know, watching the next game or the next tape and trying to figure out the next thing.
So, it was fun. You know, we had a good group of guys who really responded, and you know, at least tried to do most of the stuff we were asking ‘em to do. So, it was a good year. (1280)
** Joel Embiid — C, Kansas
Well, we’re gonna try, again, try to get the doctor’s report, if we can, get it from the agent. If we get it and the reports are good, he probably still won’t be there at five.
If the reports are bad, then, if we think he’s still the best player and we wanna take a chance, we’ll have to talk about it, talk about it with management, with ownership, and then decide what we wanna do.
** Julius Randle — PF, Kentucky (Jazz draft workout interview)
Oh, he’s a beast inside. He’s really physical, strong, as I, as we’ve talked about. He’s pretty athletic and he’s in attack mode all the time once he gets the ball…He’s probably a little bit more athletic than Zach [Randolph]. Zach’s probably got a little bit better shooting touch…
He’s got a NBA-ready body. I mean, we can make it a little bit better once he comes into the league. I think he can get a little toner, leaner. And probably, you know, even though he is strong, he can get a lot stronger…I don’t think we’re overly concerned about his foot.
** Jabari Parker — SF/PF, Duke
Out of the players in this year’s draft, especially those in the lottery, he’s probably the most ready to step in and play major minutes in the NBA next year. He’s very aggressive. He’s, again, he’s an attack-type player at his position.
He’s an inside-outside player. He can post up; he can step out and shoot the college three and I think in time he’ll be able to shoot the NBA three quite regularly. He’s a very smart player.
He’s been a winner wherever he’s been. He won four straight state championships, high school states championships in Chi–in Illinois, which is a major feat. It’s never been done before. So, he, and again, going to Duke, which is a outstanding program. He’s been, always been a winner.
** Andrew Wiggins — SF, Kansas
I’ve probably seen Andrew more than anybody else in this dra–oh, excuse me, let me change that. Not more, but sooner. I’m able, we’re able to go to the Global Challenge in the summer, which is an event run by Nike that brings, it has five U.S. teams and then, oh, excuse me, it has three U.S. teams and then bro–brings five foreign teams over, and it’s under 18 years old.
Andrew was playing when he was a freshman in high school. So I was able to see him then, and the first time I saw him, I saw the athleticism. He didn’t play a lot, again, because he was a young kid coming from Canada and they had a pretty good team. But you see the athleticism, and at that time, you say, “Whoa. We’ve gotta keep an eye on this kid for the next three, four years, because he could be something special.” …
At his age level, he’s been either the first or second best player at his age level whenever he’s played. So, going to Kansas, I think the expectations were extremely high. He had another player on that team in Joel Embiid, who was pretty good. So, I think he wanted to fit in more as a teammate and didn’t show the aggressiveness at times. He didn’t show the focus at times. But I think he can become a better NBA player.
** Noah Vonleh — PF, Indiana (Jazz draft workout interview)
He’s 6-10. He’s got extremely long arms. He can handle the ball for a guy his size, and he has the ability to step out and shoot a jump shot. Most people, or most teams in the league are looking for bigs that can shoot outside, stretch the floor a little bit, and he’s got that ability.
In high school, he played mainly facing the basket. At Indiana, they moved him to the, with the back to the basket along the blo–box, and he was able to improve his post, or, excuse me, his post-up game. So now, he’s got the inside-outside game, so that’s why his stock is kinda rising…
He was one of the few guys we brought in at the fifth pick that was able to go, his agent allowed him to go with a three-on-three workout. So, we were impressed with a lot of things he was able to do. He was able to show us some things that you can’t show in a one-on-one workout…He’s got the second biggest hands in the history of the NBA combine.*
* Behind Greg Smith. Also, they’ve only been measuring hand width since 2010.
** Marcus Smart — PG, Oklahoma State
He played a little bit of point guard and he wanted to go back [to school for another year] to improve his point guard skills. He also wanted to go back to help his team, hopefully, win a national title. They had a pretty good team until their center got hurt and got lost for the year.
So, I think he improved his stock a little bit. I think he’s still probably gonna be drafted about the same range he was last year, but the extra year is gonna help him…
Previous to that tweet, I had probably talked with his agent maybe three times about trying to get him in for a workout, and they kept holding me off, holding me off. So, I talked to his agent the night of the tweet, and he said, “Listen. Marcus, that’s not how Marcus thinks.”
Marcus knows that we have an interest in him. We have tried to get him in. It’s just misfortune that the tweet went out. It was quickly deleted. But he said, “If you guys draft Marcus, he would have no problems coming to Utah.”
** Aaron Gordon — PF, Arizona (Jazz draft workout interview)
We love his athleticism. We love his te–he loves to be a team guy. We like that he hates to lose. He’s a very competitive player. He’s got probably a quicker second jump than most people have, in terms of their first jump.
He loves to play defense. He likes, he can, and we think he can play two or three different positions defensively. We just like his athleticism and his enthusiasm about playing.
** C.J. Wilcox — SG, Washington (Jazz draft workout interview)
We’ve been watching C.J., again, for two years, since he was a senior. We had him in for a workout. He is a very good shooter. He struggled a little bit last year because of a foot injury, leg injury. He came back and had a really good senior year.
Very, pretty good athlete. Again, a really good 3-point shooter. Moves well without the ball, comes off screens, can catch and shoot, can spot up and shoot, and does have the ability to put the ball on the floor to get to the basket once in a while.
** Cleanthony Early — SF/PF, Witchita State (Jazz draft workout interview)
He played more power forward [at Witchita State], at his, at that level. He’s only 6-8, so you know, you gotta look at it and see, can he covert to a “three”? And that’s one of the toughest spots to convert to, as a “four” in college, now can you be converted to a three on the perimeter? The other one is trying to convert from a shooting guard to a point guard in the NBA.
So, that’s something that teams have to figure out, is he gonna be able to be a three? He does shoot the ball extremely well from three, so that helps him a little bit. He is a little bit older than most of the other guys, again, because he’s a senior, just like C.J. is. Whether it hurts them or not, I don’t think so, but he’s a guy that you would have to look at.
** James Young — SG/SF, Kentucky
He’s a very good athlete. Quick jumper, can get up and down the court, and he is a really a good shooter. I mean, he can shoot it off the the catch; he can shoot it off, coming off down screens; he can shoot it even off the dribble.
So, I don’t know if he’s gonna be there at [No.] 23. I think he can be gone before us. But he’s a guy that you would have to look at, again, have to look at, because of his shooting ability and his athleticism, if he ever comes to 23.
** Davion Berry — SG, Weber State (Jazz draft workout interview)
With Davion, I didn’t get a chance to see him play. We have a lot of guys here in Salt Lake who had a chance to see Weber State play. What I got a chance to see pl–see him do when he came into the workout was we played him at point guard. And I think he played more shooting guard up at Weber State, so we got an opportunity to see how well he handled the ball, how well in a three-on-three situation he was able to organize and make passes.
I think with him, depending on what route he might want to take, summer league is a route, getting on with a team for summer league. I do, don’t, do not think he’s gonna get drafted.
But summer league route if he gets with the right situation, with the right team, he might be able to get back into vet camp and maybe make a team. If he can’t make a team, he’s got the option of either playing in the D-League or trying to find a situation overseas. (KSL)
Push-off: Phrase that produces instant angst in the hearts of Utah Jazz fans, and Utah Jazz fans only.
John Stockton: Yes, he pushed. Would I have called it? Absolutely not. It was a good play on his part, heck of a shot.
Bryon Russell: Absolutely. Ask Howard that question too.
Howard Eisley: Yeah, uh yeah. He pushed off.
Greg Ostertag: Hell yeah, he pushed off. But you’re not gonna call that call, in that game, on that player, you know, in that situation. He made a great shot.
Jerry Sloan: I haven’t watched hardly any of [that game, except] Michael Jordan pushing Bryon away on the, when he was trying to defend him.
Randy Rigby on a presentation he gave to Charlotte’s management team: I said, “Let me start with a video.” And I actually showed him pushing off Bryon Russell, and hitting the shot…And I froze it right there, and my produ–Brad Pearson (?) did a great job of then, actually, showing a little smiley face and pointing to Michael. And then he zoomed in, because actually as you zoom in on the baseline on the third row, standing there is Randy Rigby with his son and two daughters with a big frown on my face.