** How’s been your reaction with Trey Burke been? And how has he helped you with your game at point guard?
You know, just looking at things he learned, you know, it’s helping me through open gyms. And then starting tomorrow, I feel like I can learn some more things, you know, and just continue to get better as a point guard.
** What are your thoughts on Quin Snyder so far?
I feel like he’s a great coach, you know? He know what he talking about, and you know, hopefully he can change the organization. And I feel like he’s a great coach.
** What are your goals this season?
Just to help the team win and whatever I can do, just to help us get better.
** Tell us about yourself.
I’m from Glenview, Illinois. I went to the University of Notre Dame. I graduated in 2013. I have a degree in finance. And I grew up, I’ve, I lived with my mom and dad and my sister Blair. She goes to the University of Missouri. She’s a journalism major. And I’m engaged to a beautiful fiancee, Jackie Oberlander.* And, no date yet, but you know, we’re just still working on that. But, I mean, just, life’s pretty great now.
* Which is cuter, Jack and Jackie or Rodney Hood’s parents, Ricky and Vicky?
** Is your fiancee moving to Utah?
She will be coming out in January. She’s finishing up an internship. She’s an architect. She’s working in downtown Chicago, so.
** You look pretty comfortable from 20-22 feet.
I showed [my range] a lot better this summer league. I can shoot threes, and I can shoot outside jumpers. I mean, in the system right now, I’m trying to see where I can find my shots and stuff like that, but coach [Quin Snyder] is doing a good job of recognizing that I can shoot. And I mean, I’ve been doing it a pretty good amount in the open gyms and making those shots. So, I just wanna–the offensive end is good. I just want to try to learn all the defenses and just keep playing hard.
** How does Quin Snyder’s system fit your game?
No matter how good of a shooter you are, there’s always gonna be misses. So, having, coach is great at having guys crash the glass and play hard and physical, and he respects anyone who plays physical, so it’s good to be able to do that and seem to fit into the system. And the system’s been working pretty well so far.
** What kind of coach is Quin Snyder?
He’s a very, very good coach, and an extremely intelligent coach. You can tell that right away. And he’s very adaptive to what’s going on and makes good adjustments, which is what a coach needs to do. And I, he’s been a phenomenal coach so far.
** Where are you from in Australia, and what’s your basketball background?
From Brisbane, Queensland, so I grew up playing there until I was about 17. Then I moved down to Canberra, the Australian Institute of Sport, the thing that Dante [Exum] came from. I was there for a year and a half, and then I went up to college.
** You know more about American culture so you can compare. What’s the Australian Institute of Sport like?
We can go there either when you’re in school, or when you finish school. So it’s basically, you wake up in the morning, you shoot, you go to a class, you come back, you do weights, individuals, go to a class, and then team practice. And then, you live on-site. And then when you finish school, you do the same thing, but a little extra practice. I’d say you can compare it to a prep school.
** What did you learn about Exum from playing with him on the Australian national team this summer?
I think he’s got a lot of potential. He’s a very exciting player. I played alongside him, obviously, this summer, and I got to know him a lot. He’s a great kid, and I think Jazz fans are gonna be really happy with what they see.
** What’s the first CD you ever bought?
Probably the Macarena or something. Played that thing until it stopped playing.
** Tell us about yourself.
Well, I’m from Houston, Texas originally, born and raised. I have two older brothers, one younger sister. And my career, I went to s–well, I went to college at Witchita State University, four years. Got my degree, and you know, from my first year of pro, starting off in the D-League, you know, everything was kinda slow, at first. And then as the season progressed, you know, call-ups and people leaving to go overseas, you know, things bounced my way and I finally got to start at point guard. And that’s kinda how my situation at point guard started, from the D-League. And we ended up winning the championship, and I played really well in the championship games. Had a triple double, and my team went on to win the championship. And then went into summer league with the Rockets; it didn’t work. And then the Knicks picked me up, and from then on, you know, Knicks, went into training camp, played really well and pretty soon played, well, and the team voted me in, basically. You know, everybody was a big fan of Toure’, and that’s how I got my career started in the NBA.
** What do you bring to this team?
I’m able to bring defensive capabilities. Defense is really one of my key components of my game. And offensively, I’m a versatile point guard. Also, I can score the ball, so that makes me, you know, a reliable, you know, scorer and not just a defender.
** What do you think of Quin Snyder?
He’s very intelligent. He knows the game, and he’s young, and he’s a, he wants to win. And he doesn’t care about us being young. He feel like if you prep–when you prepare yourself, and you know, work hard everyday, you can have a chance to win in this league.
** What are you trying to get done in Utah?
You know, just being around a young team, new coach, new organization, for me, I just, I came to a situation where I feel like I can get more playing time, and you know, have an opportunity to showcase my talent on a, you know, it might be on a smaller market, but you know, you still in the NBA.
** On headbands
I’m definitely gonna ask, ’cause you know, I really enjoy wearing headbands. But we’ll see. I axe Quin Snyder.
** On being back with the Jazz
Back for a second chance. You know, it feel good to be good. Just trying to give it, go out here and try and kinda, try and have a opportunity to make this team.
** What have you learned since you were here last?
Basically, it’s a business, you know what I’m saying? It’s just something you gotta, it’s not just basketball. You gotta play all, like, all aspects of the game. Just being a good community guy, being a good teammate, locker room guy, everything.
** In DL’s estimate, it will take around 25 games for Quin Snyder’s system to take hold and for Jazz games to stop being ugly.
Will we see some toughness and nasty on this team this year? Will Trevor Booker provide that? Would Gordon Hayward still let Delonte West “wet willy” him? Do the Jazz have the personnel to get that needed “edge”?
So, great question, and we talk about edge all the time…Hopefully Trevor will provide experience and some physicality, some pop around the rim to finish, but certainly urgent, edgy play. So, I think Derrick [Favors] can provide that. We certainly need to, there’s some other things that Derrick needs to do for that to come out. Number one, being more vocal.
But at the end of the day, you know it’s athletic competition, and bodies w–even though it’s not a collision sport, it’s a contact sport, and when one body moves another body, and you get deeper position, that’s a good thing* whether it’s post position or a ledge rebound.
And 50-50 balls don’t come up as much as an open jump shot comes up in an NBA game, but there’re 50-50 balls, and there’re certain guys that are just more apt to not worry about the contact in that situation and come up with the ball than others. And it’s certainly to gain possession of the ball, there’s a level of physicality you have to have…
In San Antonio, there’s competing with an edge but competing with great poise. So there’s that fine line of being very physical, yet not being undisciplined. And so, to be able to have good body position and stances and communicate and play with physicality, but not too much so so your opponent’s at the free throw line, is a huge part of your success too.
Jazz management likes to talk about acquiring good citizens and good people. Is there a contradictory element to good people versus nasty on the court?
Awesome question. I’ve had this debate with a lotta different types, and certainly there is a coaching and personnel element that could lend itself to, if a guy is maybe a little more rough around the edges, and their away-from-the-court life that they’ll naturally bring back to the court.
It, the thing I would say to it, it, that may be true, with, let’s just say, in this case, it would be, that is true. I would argue that, the, to, it’s been my experience you get high-character guys that are highly motivated, and by definition they’re tough. And then, if they’re not losing the game out late at night or certainly doing something illegal, if that’s something you can build around…
We believe in high-character guys, and we believe in workers. And we believe those guys, you can get your “tough quotient,” if you will, out of those guys. It’s been my experience, and you can also build around those guys long term.
Because even if you do get a tough guy and he’s a, he goes out and he commits a felony, what’s the rationale behind it? They’re not gonna be with you long term anyway. And you guys see the level of scrutiny that is placed upon public figures and sports figures and teams, and so, we’re in this for the long term, and we b–we really believe in building around high-character guys.
On Dante Exum having access to money and fame at his age
I would be very surprised if Dante is polluted by the attention, or the money. We’ve had multiple interviews and conversations on this topic. I know, we feel like we have a great pulse for his heart, his motivation, his family structure; the support, the fact that his dad is, was a professional basketball player. He’s been around it, and he’s in it for the right reasons.
And really, the goal for Dante is really simple. It’s to build a physical, emotional, habitual base that he can perform from after this season. We just want to support him in every way, challenge him in every way, have a, and then have a great spot to work from when, you know, he turns 20 next July…I think in time, everybody will be pleased with the returns.
Greg Miller described the Jazz’s team-building approach “organic.” What is your interpretation of that?
So, it’s a great term, and look, it’s, when you’re in a small market, it’s, in my opinion, it’s the best way. I’m not saying it’s the only way. There’s certainly the Reggie Whites,** the Green Bay, they can happen. That’s a different sport, and a different collective bargaining agreement. And you don’t want to rule out free agency and trade in your team building.
But the, when you are able to draft and develop a base, a, there’s just something about it. It’s a little bit like raising your own kids and there’s an organic feel. It’s just, it feels right. It tastes right. It looks right.* …
Just step by step, and with the right people, the right amount of character and talent and skill level on your team. (1280)
** DL’s poster boy for “a small market CAN attract a decent free agent!” DL has cited Reggie White in this context probably a dozen times–that I’ve heard–since he joined the Jazz.
It’s White Kobe.
…aka Dennis Lindsey, Unintentional Dirty Quote Machine. The following UDQMs are all from today’s interview.
** DL on the Jazz’s media training camp: I think it’s probably hard to fit PK’s head in the studio right now. That’s what I think. So, let’s talk about the shot, guys.
** DL on whether the Jazz will add a hook shot for a gaggle guy: There’s no question we gotta reevaluate what we’re doing and make sure that that shot, especially at the buzzer, is inside of our repertoire of things to pull out.
** DL on a shot PK made during the camp: You know, I had a suspicion that it was going in, and I had an inkling that we would be talking about this for years to come.
** DL on a shot Jody Genessy made during the camp: Jody’s was pretty good. You know, given the context of everything, it definitely rivaled PK’s.
** PK on what happened after he hit the shot: And then I come back, and Brad Jones says, “You’re not going in. You’re done.”
** DL on the media training camp: Quin had a lot to do with the famous Duke fantasy camp.
** DL on teaching the system: Whatever you emphasize, is what the players grab on, hold to.
** DL on setting good screens: When I was playin’, I wasn’t, I didn’t have Alec Burks’ or Gordon Hayward’s size and quick twitch.
** DL on Snyder’s system being a reactive one, which means he probably won’t be standing up to call plays a great deal: Yeah, so, I’ll be interested to see if he’s be able to sit down. I think I told you, I don’t think our team’s gonna, in the experience level especially of our team will allow him to do that. He’ll have to come out and orchestrate.
** DL on learning the system: I think any time you have a young and relatively inexperienced team, you have natural inclinations and then you have reality where the rubber hits the road.
** DL on why the Jazz decided to field such a young team: It, way back from the Deron Williams decision, and then Kevin [O'Connor] and I coming together with the Miller family.
** DL on the Jazz’s decision, part two: There hasn’t been anything that has been compelling enough for us to change, you know, what was a, you know, a monumental moment in Utah Jazz history, of when Jerry [Sloan] resigned and then quickly moving off Deron.
** DL on the young guys: We’ll see which of that young talent rises. Hopefully, it’s all of ‘em.
** DL on the Jazz having several ball-handlers: You’ll see multiple people bringing it up, multiple people playing inside.
** PK to DL: I’m sore and my knee is swollen. You’ll be hearing from my lawyers.
More UDQMs below…find your own.
How much of Quin Snyder’s offense would have been instituted by him wherever he is, and how much is specific to the personnel he has?
There will be periods where we’ll come down and play inside of our concepts, inside of our flow, if you will. And then certainly, if there’s angles that Gordon [Hayward]‘s better attacking at or rolls that Derrick [Favors] is better rolling to, shots that Enes [Kanter] is better playing from and certain areas on the court, and I think attack angles for Alec Burks and pull-ups from Trey Burke, that can all be incorporated inside of what you do.
So, it’s not just straight, formulaic and cookie-cutter.
There’s a lotta ways inside a situation, dead ball situations, after free throws, where you wanna attack a matchup. But the problem, in our opinion, at playing solely matchup basketball or post-up basketball or pick-and-roll basketball or pin-down basketball is many times, the ball really has to stop while you get yourself organized on the court.
And so, a big part of what we wanna do is we wanna play on the second side of the court, so the ball being swung. We wanna play on the third side of the court; and if the ball’s really humming and popping, sometimes the fourth side of the court where you’re really getting the defense to change their body position.
And any time you get defenses to change the body position, usually there’s somewhere inside the defense that there will be a breakdown and the integrity of the lines of the defense can be compromised through penetration, whether it be with a dribble or with a pass.
So, that’s the whole goal, but yeah, there will be situations where we’ll definitely want to exploit matchups, but if we do that, it will be situation-specific, because we don’t want the ball to stop to try to get it to one person.
You guys have seen that, and really, if we thought that was the most effective way, if we had a player that would be good inside of that, maybe you would see that more. I don’t think you would see that solely, but we don’t believe it’s the most effective way.
The math shows it’s not the most effective way to play basketball. So, we’re using some intuition, some teaching, and some math of the game to help guide us in the directions that we wanna go.
What kind of role will Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors have in Quin Snyder’s offense?
Yeah, so there are multiple things within the offense that they can do. There’re a couple post-up sequences that we like, for both of ‘em, that they can be slightly different.
There are some options where they’re setting screens, whether they’re pin-down screens or pick-and-roll screens that moves the defense off their body and allows them to take a deeper offensive position. So that could be via a duck-in into the paint, or a roll into the paint.
You guys saw Derrick’s finishing last year; really, really improved. We hope to capitalize on that. With Enes, he has a variety of talents and skills. We’ll allow him to shoot deeper shots this year. That’s a natural progression. He’s worked very hard at increasing his range, and so we’ll take a look at that.
And then within the offense, it’s going to be very important for both of ‘em to grow, frankly, and the, when they’re on top of the key and moving the ball from one side to the other in a swing or passing the ball inside to a slip. So they’re gonna have to grow quite a bit…
If you can get your bigs to really be able to make good decisions–they don’t have to be Vlade Divac every night–but if they just make good, solid decisions with the ball, it allows you to play five-man basketball and be more effective. (1280)
One. Back in the summer of 2009, Ronnie Price (forever “Ronnie P” to me) was asked how much of the final 17 minutes of the Jazz’s last Playoff game was “Hey, you forgot about me and I’m proving to you what I could have brought.”
His response: “It was more ‘I hate the Lakers’…It was more about that. It had nothing to do with trying to prove a point to Coach or anything like that. I just like getting my name called and like being on the court and having a chance to compete, especially against a team I can’t stand.”
Price just signed with the Lakers, and the comment was picked up and tweeted out by a Lakers blog.
How are Lakers fans responding? Pretty much how you’d expect:
Two. I’ll let Kyrylo Fesenko break the news himself:
For the record, he was listed at 288 when he was with the Jazz.
Three. Patrick Beilein’s path to Jazz player development coach/video analyst:
Patrick landed the job with Utah after being approached from deep left field by the Jazz. The team’s front office came calling this summer to gauge his interest in being head coach of the Idaho Stampede, the franchise’s NBA Developmental League affiliate. He was one of three finalists and, after interviewing with general manager Dennis Lindsey and others, was confident he’d be hired.
Instead, not long after, the Jazz called Patrick Beilein to say he’d be more valuable on Jazz coach Quin Snyder’s staff. The offer came despite Patrick having “no connection whatsoever*” to Snyder or the franchise. He accepted with little hesitance, leaving his head coaching gig at West Virginia Wesleyan after going 35-24 in two seasons. (M Live)
* His dad, John, was Trey Burke’s college coach.
Four. I believe the new season of Downton Abbey isn’t airing stateside until next year, but for those who have already watched the Season 5 premiere, did this scene bring to anyone else’s mind one Carlos Boozer?
Five. The new Stockton and Malone (aka your beloved Jazz beat writers Aaron “Stockton” Falk and Jody “Malone” Genessy) at the Jazz’s Media Training Camp, via @DJJazzyJody:
On Derek Jeter
I love watching Jeter. He’s a class act…My wife’s a huge Yankees fan and a big Jeter fan, and she twisted my arm to take her back there and watch Jeter at Yankee Stadium one last time.
You are your father’s son, but you’re a different alliteration* of what your dad did here. How have you put your stamp on the team and what would you like your stamp to look like moving forward?
My dad was a self-made guy, classic entrepreneur. And I tell people that if–I really think in his heart, if he would’ve been able to do things the way he wanted, he would’ve fixed every car that came through his service department. He’d’ve scanned every Jazz ticket. He’d’ve torn every ticket at our theaters, and touched everything.
And our organization got to a point long before he died where that entrepreneurial, hands-on [approach] actually became counter-productive. And I was witness to that.
And I saw that we could do more if we would just let the talented people in our organization have more authority and autonomy to exercise their ideas and to develop their talents and abilities. And I always felt that if I ever had a chance to make that decision, that would be one of the first things I did.
And I’ve restructured the company since I became CEO, and the first thing I did was install presidents over our various business units who are very, very good at what they do….
It’s served the organization very well, a–but it’s also allowed them and those who work under them or support them to grow as well as they’ve employed that same philosophy. And so it’s, I think it’s fostered growth throughout the organization.
Another difference is that, as we all know, my dad was a very passionate guy and he wore his emotions on his sleeve. And I think there’s a time and a place for that. But I saw the remorse that he felt that night that he got into it with a Denver fan and had him in the headlock. And he regretted that so deeply, that it was such a public event. There was no hiding from it.
And then there were times, the time that he came over and yelled at Jerry [Sloan] for the, Karl Malone having a bad night. And that got a lot of coverage. And other nights he’d go in and throw furniture, metaphorically or maybe literally, in the locker room. But every time something like that happened, it was followed by a measure of remorse.
And I just decided that I wasn’t gonna do those things. I’ve worked hard to not do anything to embarrass the organization or the family, and I try really hard to keep my emotions in check. And a lot of times people misinterpret that as disinterest or I’m not as passionate as my dad. I beg to differ. I’m every bit as passionate. I just try harder to keep it in check so I don’t have to apologize to folks after I misstep.
There are, I can tell you stories like that. I can go on and on, but the main thing, to answer the rest of your question, is that I think it’s my responsibility to honor my dad’s body of work, what he did throughout his life. …
My hope is that when it’s not my turn, hopefully many years into the future, that whoever follows me will say, “Wow, Larry started a really great thing. Greg picked up where Larry left off, and made it even better.”
* I’m guessing Spencer Checketts was trying to use one of Dennis Lindsey’s favorite words, “iteration.” Sadly, it didn’t work out.
Jazz fans are excited about this year for a lot of reasons. Why are you excited about this season?
I should probably preface my remarks by saying that I’m very thankful for the years that Tyrone [Corbin] gave us. And I may have never met a finer gentleman in my life. He is just a genuinely good guy, and there’s a big part of me that’s sad to see him go, on the personal level. And I do think that he gave us everything he had and I have absolutely no complaints about the time he was with us.
But having said that, I am very excited for Quin Snyder to be here. And the main thing that is apparent to me with Quin is that he is one who will lay out what he expects and then he will hold the guys accountable to execute his game plan. And if he’s not liking what he sees, he’ll stop it, and he’ll tell the guys–I mean, essentially, he’ll say, “Listen, we can get through this in an hour, or we can take all day. It’s up to you and how well you execute.”
And that level of accountability is one of the reasons that I’m excited, because if our players are held accountable to do what they’ve been coached to do, then I think you’ll see us perform at a level that we haven’t for the last few years. …
I think we’re very young; we’re very fast; we’re very athletic. And I think properly coached, these young guys can develop into something very, very special. And that’s what I expect.
When did you know Quin Snyder was the next coach of the Utah Jazz?
When we were interviewing Quin, we got to the part about what’s your defensive philosophy, how are you gonna improve our defensive performance. And he said that the, everything hinges off the defense.
And it’s not just from a basketball standpoint, but it, if a team plays defense well together, it means they know how to trust each other. And when you have that level of trust, you can do just about anything. It creates wonderful opportunities for, not only for chemistry, but then you look at the offense and the opportunities that spring from the defensive side.
And it was in that vein of the conversation that I looked over at [my brother] Steve and I said, “This is our guy.”
Talk about the process of pursuing a championship. How patient do fans have to be? How patient should they be? Is there a time frame?
Well, I wouldn’t want to quantify it from a timing standpoint…
There’s a, probably several ways that you could get a championship. One would be to just do like Miami did and go out and hire a bunch of free agents and more or less, I’d say, buy a championship. I don’t wanna be unfair to them because I have a lot of respect for the Heat and the Arison family, but our style is different.
And we’re more organic. We’re not looking for the quick fix. We’re looking for long-term success, and that’s why we’ve chosen the route that we have. We’re gonna recruit young guys who are good citizens, that are not troublemakers, that follow direction, that can work well together, that represent the franchise well and the community, and then we just nurture them, and build and invest and hope that dividends come.
And that process takes longer, but I think it’s more durable, and it is more rewarding if and when the payday comes. And I’m confident that it will.
If you’re stumped, where do you go?
That’s a, that’s true. I mean, there’ve been a number of times where I’ve just thought, “Man, where do I go from here?” and knelt down and said a prayer, and the answers come.
I also have been, as I said earlier, very, very blessed to be surrounded by extremely talented people who are very good what they do, at what they do, and my style is very collaborative.
Getting back to your question earlier about some of the differences between my dad and me, one of our presidents said, says that, “Greg, the difference between you and your dad can be summed up like this: Your dad ran the business from his desk; you run the business from your conference table” — which means that I’m a lot more collaborative.
Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines (UDQM)
** Miller to Checketts: We ran into your dad and your mom there…It was neat for me to see the success your dad’s having back there.
** Monson on LHM saying Greg should be able to run the empire as he sees fit: I looked at Larry and I thought, wow, that’s, coming from him, and you know how he could be pretty set in his way, that he was willing to release it and feel good about that.
** Miller on when he knew Quin Snyder was the one: Well, it came during the interview process. (1280)
One. The Lehi Mascot Bowl took place on Sept. 22. Jerry Sloan was there.
Asked jokingly about there being rumors that he would be coaching the game, Jerry said, “I’m through coaching…I don’t wanna coach football. That ball won’t even bounce right.” Classic Jerry :)
Oh and by the way…I never knew the Jazz Bear had his own assistant:
Two. Fuel for the insecure Jazz fan with an inferiority complex:
Three. Derrick Favors, asked if he’s talked to Quin Snyder yet and what kind of guy he is (H/T @My_Lo):
“He’s cool. I talk to him every other day almost. We sat down and had a conversation about the upcoming season and how I should play.” (Hoop)
For an article published on nba.com–Hoop is the official magazine of the NBA–it’s surprising how many typos there were in the post (including Quin Snyder’s name being spelled wrong).
I mention this because of the following #UDQM, when Favors was asked about the Jazz’s young guard trio of Trey Burke, Dante Exum and Alec Burks:
“All three of them are going to be really good. Dante just played for Australia in FIBA and should be on his back.”
Four. Watch this. Big Al truly does what he does better than anyone (H/T @OhioHadley):
Five. Five days until Media Day! Have you told your boss you’re taking a vacation day yet?
I just cannot wait to see Rudy Gobert doing this in a Jazz uniform.
H/T @dianaallen for the audio of her exclusive interview with Idaho Stampede head coach Dean Cooper.
Will you have freedom in deciding what kind of offense you run, or will you be running Quin Snyder’s offense?
The plan is basically to play the way that coach Snyder’s gonna play. You know, always because of types of players, the types of talent, skillset, there’s always a, gonna have to be adjustments kind of inside of the shell.
But for the most part, yeah. Both sides of the ball, not just the offense, but both sides of the ball, we’re gonna play the way so that it makes it an easy transition for when we have assignment players with us. You know, Jazz players or whatever the situation is, or if we just have one, guys that start on my roster and then they’re called up, in that way when they get there, it’s a, they’re not trying to learn a new language, a new way to play, etc., etc.
Do you know if the Jazz plan on sending players down on a more consistent basis than they have in the past?
I think it’s just gonna depend, honestly, on, like, kind of how it’s going. You know, we, it’s, we have a fairly young team up there, but at the same time, because we’re young kind of across the board, those guys might have to play up there a little bit more than, say, maybe a couple young guys on a more [veteran team]. …
It’s one of those things, like, I don’t think any team, like, truly plans it out unless you’re, like, really veteran and you just got, like, one young cat.
Have you had conversations with Quin Snyder about the offense you’ll be running?
We’ve been getting in different situations [at the open gym] and putting in the system.
And you know, we’re gonna play with pace. We’re gonna play with, we’re gonna get the ball up and down the floor. We’re gonna try to take the right shots…
It’s gonna be a different style of play, but the team’s set up for that now too, whereas it wasn’t in the past.
On the coaching staff’s decision-making process
Coach Snyder’s been great at, you know, making me part of his staff, which is why I’ve spent so much time in Salt Lake prior to coming here.
And we share ideas, and, in that, so you know, we have a really exhaustive collaborative effort which I f–you know, from the coaching staff as, in its entirety. I think our discussions are healthy. And we come to a decision, and once a decision’s made, then we just, boom. This is the way it’s gonna be.
So you know, I think, you know, hopefully I’ve been able to contribute, you know, some things that I’ve learned along the way, and obviously that’s gonna transfer to here because we’re gonna play in the same way, but it’s been a collaborative thing.
Does it help that Quin Snyder, Brad Jones and Alex Jensen coached in the D-League, and know what you’re going through?
They’re a great resource for me, because I’ve spent 15 years in the NBA. You know, so I’ve seen it from 10,000 feet, but I haven’t been on the ground…
They’ve been an unbelievable resource, and they’re gonna continue to be–probably moreso Brad and Alex. You know, it’s not gonna be time to bug coach Snyder to get over here, but Brad and Alex will be guys I can call and, you know, get advice about different situations. …
They’re just both good guys, so it’s very open communication.
How will your NBA experience benefit you with the Stampede?
I’ve been very fortunate to coach with some very successful coaches in my career. I mean, very, very lucky. But you know, I’ve, everybody’s dream is to play in the NBA.
I’ve spent 15 years there. I have a, I know what it takes to play in that league, to have a chance to play in that league and what can help you stay in that league.
And aside from just the Xs and Os and how we’re gonna play and all that, I think, I feel I can help them understand, like, I truly know what it’s like. So, it’s gotta be a partnership.
You have to trust me when I’m trying to help you get there. I hope that, like, I have, like, half my team that I start the year with, hopefully in the playoffs with me because the other half has been called up. That’s my goal. …
I mean, if we’re doing what we need to do to develop them, we’re gonna win along the way.
Do you have to do more teaching here than in the NBA?
I don’t know if you have to teach ‘em more. I think you have to refine them more. ‘Cause the, usually what it is, it’s the refinement of their game is what allows ‘em to play at the next level…
There’re areas of opportunity, what I call ‘em, like, there’re, or you know, the things they need to work on. Instead of being a 6-inch hole, it’s a 9-inch hole. Now you just gotta shrink it.* So you just gotta refine it, you know, more so than even up there…
[NBDL players] might have, like, different, like, overall games might be more complete than the NBA, but a lot of the NBA’s about being special at something…
So you try to find something that these guys, maybe they’re, they have, they’re more utility guys, but you try to find that one thing that you can, that they can become elite at, and then, boom, and then now they’re in the NBA. (@dianaallen)
Head here for Diana’s observations from the Stampede’s open tryout.
What are the goals for this season?
Things like, from a team standpoint, connecting our defensive effort. You’ll hear that as a common theme. Communicating very effectively on the court, especially defensively. That will help us connect our effort. Playing with the pass.
And then for some of our players, like Dante [Exum], for example, you have individual goals, where really the highest goal that we have for Dante is just to build a foundation from which he can work from next year. So, that could be the speed of the game of the 24-second shot clock with men. That could be a strength component. That could be working to clean up his jump shot.
So again, we wanna have some individual team goals, or some individual goals that fit inside the team scope as well. And I think if we handle all those things well, we’ll surprise even ourselves with the results of the year.
How can Mehmet Okur help Enes Kanter?
Look, they’re both big men that can step out and shoot, and they’re both from Turkey, and so there’s a lotta common threads there. But Enes is not the sole reason why Memo will do a little consulting work for us. There’s, he’s such a popular figure around town.
There’s many things with our community relations, our corporate sponsorships, doing media with you guys, sitting face-to-face with our coaches, with Randy [Rigby] and Justin [Zanik] and the management staff and myself.
And then if there’s those interactions that will happen organically, it would, look, it may be Memo and Derrick [Favors], for that matter, but I can understand why the question is Memo and Enes. And certainly they’re gonna have those conversations, and to have those common bonds for Enes to see that someone from Turkey and internationally was successful and happy in our organization, in our community is very important.
So, I think by extension, there will be a lotta things that will happen between those two, but it’s not limited to Memo and Enes.
Is there a message you send to your players in the off-season about minimizing the risk of unavoidable injuries while playing basketball?
There’re constant messages that–from a conditioning standpoint, look. We don’t want you out playing a bunch unless you’re in tip-top shape. The surface that you play on is very important to us. The leagues have to be, if you are playing in a league, has to be NBA-approved leagues.
And it’s one of the things we started–we had an open gym in Houston. It was a little bit more loose because we had several NBA players or overseas players that just lived in Houston. In San Antonio, we had to create the gym because we, just from a population standpoint and how many NBA players lived there outside of the Spurs. And it’s very similar to, with that dynamic in Salt Lake.
So, some of the invitees, the open gym invitees, to make good, safe runs, are very important to us just for our players to make good runs, but also to evaluate them in the context of the D-League, and training camp, and our other off-season programs.
So it’s really, we treat it as a season to itself. We try to be mindful of the rules. We can only do so many things, but there’s constant guidance with our guys that we wanna make sure they’re in safe harbor when they’re going out playing and working out.
How will Quin Snyder’s experience with great coaches shape what fans will see on the court this year?
Quin really changed a bunch as a coach, really, when he moved from Missouri and moved to the, moved to professional basketball. By definition, just the rules and the way things are set up. You quickly have to adapt from being a college coach, and two games a week, and five practices, and many times, flip that ratio, right? So how you manage a team, how you pace a team, how you organize a team is completely different because of the power structure, the way the schedule is set up…
One of the most unique experiences that Quin had was really with Ettore Messina in CSKA Moscow and the Euroleague. And you’re talking about beautiful basketball and basketball being played a different way. And so, that experience really, just visiting with Quin through the interview process all the way ’til now, has really branded him. And I think we’ll, he’ll bring some unique ideas and perspectives to what we’re doing, especially with our young team.
And the, again, h–Quin going back to a San Antonio branch with Mike Budenholzer in Atlanta, they ran beautiful offense last year and the ball really moved…That’s really a real higher goal for us.
Now, as I’ve mentioned before, it will take awhile for our, what we call our “flow offense,” it will take awhile for that to take hold, and we, it, there will be some ugly moments the first quarter of the year, but, ’cause we’re teaching guys how to play a little bit differently than the typical NBA team, and so the ball’s going to move, and there’s a lot of coordination that comes along with that, and teaching the concepts, but I’m very confident once that process takes hold, the community will really relate to how we’re playing.
Dennis Lindsey: Unintentional Dirty Quote Machine
** On Quin Snyder: Quin and Staff gets to, they get to touch the players.
(H/T @5kl; capital “S” on “Staff” brought to you by @philip_bagley)
** On coaching: Coaches coach everything, but it’s what you emphasize is really what the players grab on to.
** On working for the Spurs: I got five years of it, and as good as it looks on the outside, it’s better on the inside.
** On the Spurs: When you get within those walls, there’s nothing sacred.
** On Gregg Popovich: It doesn’t matter if it’s a video guy, or an intern, or a first-year guy, or a 30-year coaching veteran. If there’s a good idea, he’ll try it even if it’s against some of his general inclinations. (1280)