I had no plans to write this post, but hearing the same statements repeated ad nauseum by Jazz-owned media since locker room cleanout drew my fingers to my keyboard as my head struggled to not explode.
Here are some of the narratives being touted as fact, and my thoughts on them.
“Every Jazz player during locker room clean out was complimentary of the job Tyrone Corbin did managing the team and rotations, which shows what a great job Ty did.”
If there are any free agents that want to return to Utah or keep that door open, it’s not rocket science that they’re going to say good things and praise the coach. Furthermore, there is no way after last season’s locker room cleanout that they would dare say a word against Ty.
Look at what happened to the three guys that raised questions on Ty’s communication skills (I would not phrase it as “spoke against Ty,” because C.J. Miles and Devin Harris were merely giving honest answers to questions that they had been asked, and weren’t spouting off or criticizing Ty). Raja Bell was told to stay away from the team. C.J. was let go after seven years (and has been painted as a disgruntled former player since). Devin was traded.
Marvin Williams, Mo Williams, and Randy Foye have been cited specifically for being free agents that were complimentary of Ty, which therefore means Ty did a fabulous job this season.
Marvin will in all likelihood be back next year after he picks up his player option.
Mo Williams? He wants to return. On his last team, he was the third-string point guard and was asked to play shooting guard. In Utah, he’s a starter and took more shots than anyone on the team not named Al Jefferson.
How about Foye? He started the most games of his career this season (72) when he had never started more than 61 games before coming to Utah. He also played the second most minutes of his career (2,249) when he has not surpassed 1,682 in five of his last six seasons. He probably wants to return too.
Another consideration in Ty doing a fabulous job keeping the locker room together, which some are billing as his top coaching accomplishment this season: Mo and Al have been friends for at least a decade and even their foundations work together. Al and Foye played together in Minnesota and have also been friends for a long time. Mo and Foye played together last season in L.A. Paul Millsap has said that Al is one of his best friends. We also know the lengths to which Al has gone to bring a lost Enes Kanter into the fold and work with him outside of practice. These things have nothing to do with Ty, but may have something to do with why the locker room was tight.
One more factor in the number of Ty compliments during locker room cleanout: The Jazz-owned media went around soliciting such responses with leading questions (“Talk about what a great job Ty did this year” / “Talk about the tough job Ty had this year with so many free agents”). Side note: Makes me wonder, did they feel the need to do this when Jerry Sloan was coach?
Some of the players may believe Ty did a good job and their comments may have been sincere, and there were definitely other considerations going into the Raja/C.J./Devin situations beside their comments. However, it’s not black and white like it’s being made out to be.
“Paul Millsap was disengaged, out of it, upset over his role, filled with regret over turning down the extension, etc. and it was obvious all season long.”
If you buy into the “Ty took over the team under difficult circumstances, had so many free agents on the team, etc.” stance — and everyone is entitled to their own opinion on that — then you should consider Paul Millsap’s difficult circumstances as well.
“He had 19 straight double-doubles as Carlos Boozer’s backup and he didn’t have that many this whole season!”
Millsap entered the league and excelled in a winning system where there was ball movement and sharing the ball and cutting and screens that actually involved physical contact. The team had an identity and his role and position were clearly defined.
This year maybe even more than last year saw a Jazz team with no identity, no system (I know some people say Ty’s system is Jerry’s system or based on it, but that’s only true to the extent of Jerry’s system is Jerry’s system, and Ty’s system is an osteoporosis-ridden skeleton of Jerry’s system), very little ball movement (as is evidenced by how the Jazz have fallen in average assists and assist rank)*, guys standing around watching, etc. To add to all this, Millsap was at times being played out of position, and yes, you also take the free agency factor into account.
Gee, I wonder why Millsap’s performance might have suffered this year for reasons other than he had quit on the team or was so filled with regret over turning down the extension that he couldn’t focus on basketball.
* The Jazz ranked first or second in the league in assists from 2007-2010. Even during the horrible 2006 season, they were ranked eighth. In Ty’s two full seasons as head coach, the Jazz have slid to 11th and 13th in the NBA, respectively, in assists.
The decision by the Jazz-owned media to demonize Millsap — and it’s been happening all season long — for turning down the extension is also flabbergasting to me. Why shouldn’t he see what’s out there? Why shouldn’t he see what he can get? (And it should be mentioned that this is exactly what Kevin O’Connor told Millsap and Wesley Matthews to do–go out and see what you can get–when they were restricted free agents, rather than make an offer.)
“Paul Millsap’s locker cleanout comments were super revealing and in direct contrast to everyone else’s comments.”
First of all, a mountain has been made out of a molehill here.
The ongoing narrative is that every member of the team talked about what an incredible group it was, except Millsap. This leads the Jazz-owned media to conclude that Millsap was clearly talking about himself and only himself when he said that it had been a difficult season. He said the extension wasn’t the issue, which means the difficult part had to refer to touches and playing time.
I did not take Millsap’s comments that way at all.
Here is what Millsap said when he was asked what was difficult about the season, if it wasn’t turning down the extension:
I don’t think the free agency was a big part of it. The free agency is gonna handle itself, you know? All I had to do was go out there and play. I think it was everything else. Just trying to figure out a way to get to where we wanted to be, with what we had, and the situation and circumstances that we were in, so, which was tough. So I mean, I think most of it came from that.
(He also said while addressing the media that it was a challenging year not just for himself but for “everybody, from the players to the coaches to the management, to everybody.”)
This is all subjective, of course, but note that he kept saying “we.” Not “I”; “we.” To me, it sounded like he was talking about the team and losing games and players not knowing their roles on a team that lacked identity, direction, and system. Could that be what was difficult about this season?
Millsap experienced going to the Western Conference Finals his rookie year and went to the Playoffs in his first four seasons. Losing games and not making the Playoffs isn’t something he’s used to. Could that be what was difficult about this season?
And to go back to the first point, Millsap saw firsthand what happened with Raja, C.J. (one of his best friends) and Devin. Could that be a reason why he declined to go into detail when broached for specifics?
If this is the case, Millsap is being condemned for giving an honest answer because all the other guys gave PR answers.
Lastly, I’ve heard Millsap’s comment combined with Ty’s quote that he dealt out playing time based on 82 games and not winning individual games as evidence that Ty had his hands full managing mildly bubbling insurrection in the locker room all season long. Seeing as how Ty admitted no fault for losses or acknowledged that there were any areas upon which he could improve, his comments could easily be just another excuse of many for why the Jazz failed to perform up to expectations.
Nevertheless, I see this explanation of managing 82 games rather than trying to get a win on any given night as the latest in the “difficult circumstances, lockout, no summer league, no training camp” line of excuses.
P.S. Jazz-owned media has also stated as fact that Millsap 1) “griped” about playing small forward; 2) did not take the extension because he didn’t want to come off the bench. The first is not true, and the second is pure speculation.
What Millsap said about playing different positions:
The different positions was just different. You know, but I’m a guy who work through everything, you know, the coaches ask. You know, I’m willing to try a new position if that’s gonna help me get more playing time, if that’s gonna help our team. It was challenging. You know, that adds to the challenges of the season, as you know, but no regrets about it. You know, I’d do it again.
That’s “griping”? I guess it is if you have a certain way you want to portray Millsap and comments need to be twisted to support that narrative.
No one is disputing that Millsap had a less than stellar season. I don’t think Millsap himself would dispute that. I just think it’s a shame that a guy who’s been with the Jazz seven years and may still return for years to come has the team-owned media slamming the door on him, all the while trashing him. Sadly, that’s just what they do. Anyway, those are my thoughts. Take of this what you will.
** Thoughts on the season: We can look back at particular games or calls, and you know, do the “If we were in the Eastern Conference” thing, but you know, I’m of the Bill Parcell’s mindset that your record doesn’t lie, especially over 82 games. It always tells you the truth, and we gotta own where we’re at, and it wasn’t good enough to be in the Playoffs this year…I expect the fans to be very disappointed, and let us know, and hold us accountable. Make us all work a little bit harder…Now, within reason, I think we all have to look back at the Deron Williams decision. That point in time, the decision to recreate ourselves based upon our thoughts and abilities to keep, you know, Deron under contract for a long time, and I think that Kevin [O'Connor], Coach [Jerry] Sloan, Ty[rone Corbin], the whole organization, Randy [Rigby], Greg [Miller], Bob [Hyde], they really had some foresight, and that’s why we’re on steady ground.
** If you had known you’d be ending the season out of the Playoffs, would you have made a deal at the trade deadline? I don’t think so, because of the contracts associated with the vig, the positive, that we were getting, wasn’t strong enough to take on the players that we had to take on, to make a deal work. I’d rather have our players, with their Bird rights, and the flexibility either to re-sign them, to work with them and their representation in a sign-and-trade, to pick up some positive assets, or to, the trade then goes from, you know, salary cap allotment for this player for another player. And our books were so clean and without mistake, for me to trick it up, and you know, acquire a very middling pick at best for the contracts associated, just to say, “Hey, Dennis can make a deal,” I think would’ve been, frankly, selfish.
** Is this a bad time to have flexibility? I don’t subscribe to “this is a bad draft”…We hear this every third year, and it’s our job to go and find good players.
** Top priority: Our top priority is to be a consistent contender. So the best way to that, whether it’s quick and bold, or long and painful and patient, you know, we’ll figure out. But that’s the top priority. / We’re not collectively afraid if, that the best alternative is to go young, and be very patient with the flexibility that we built in. I’m not afraid of that. You know, if, in, so to speak, take a step back. If we need to do that, then we’ll do that.
** Our top five-man lineups weren’t good. Is that a sign of Corbin misusing talent, or Corbin adapting to matchups, or nothing? You know, look. The NBA has chosen to share their data with bloggers, and writers, and you know, it’s a pretty transparent process. So you know, on some of those things, we can’t run and hide that, you know, there’s certain big-minute lineups that didn’t perform very good…There’s such a human element to, you know, keeping a locker room, and keeping a locker room with a lot of veterans, keeping a locker room with eight or nine free agents. And you know, if it’s, you know, just play the young guys and you know, everything else be damned…it could become a very chaotic situation. So there’s a lot of things that go into those decisions…While I believe in the numbers and I believe in the analytics, that doesn’t mean you paint by numbers either. That doesn’t remove the human element and the emotion out of it.
** Are Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors ready to put their stamp on this team? I think they’re clearly both ready to take bigger roles…Ty really challenged Derrick defensively, and I think he is one of already the better, one of the better defenders in the league. But he needs to take two or three steps forward where, you know, he can be our version of Tyson Chandler or Kevin Garnett or Tim Duncan, where not only is he a good defender, he’s quarterbacking the whole thing. And we’ll lay those challenges to the coaches to, can we build that?…And then, no one wants Gordon to set standards on how we do things, whether it’s how we travel, how we talk to the media, how we practice, how we play, no one wants those standards set more by Gordon Hayward than Ty Corbin…And there were a lot of big requests of Gordon made by us to start setting those standards, today, Apr. 18.
** Do you have to clear the deck to allow Hayward and Favors to take that challenge? Um, it’s hard to say on Apr. 18 because we don’t know what’s gonna come our way. Again, that’s where superior flexibility has been built in, so we can take this a lot of different ways…No matter what alternative it is, we expect Gordon, Alec [Burks], Derrick, Jeremy [Evans], Kevin [Murphy], Jerel [McNeal] to appropriately participate…you know, Enes [Kanter]. Enes as well.
** Does the aforementioned flexibility have to be used this offseason? No. We’re not gonna let it burn, the money burn a hole in our pocket…I would say that, you know, if the opportunity to be bold and build the team immediately to be a contender is not there, we’ll be very patient and discerning.
** How do you evaluate Tyrone Corbin and what is his status? Status is, is Ty’s our coach, and has the Miller family’s full support…Ty is, one, the right person to lead us. Two, he’s really growing as a coach. Kevin, who had the benefit of previous seasons with Ty, saw a lot of growth.
** Further evaluations of Corbin: You know, I think when we get into evaluations of Ty, we always talk about the things that did happen. And we all need to be evaluated on that; Kevin, myself, Ty, the players. But a lot of things didn’t happen, that were positives…Ty really did a good job, ’cause of his character and the type of person he is, that he didn’t create problems where there weren’t. And that needs to be recognized…Ty was really poised and steady under a very difficult coaching situation, and I appreciate that. And the players acknowledge that.
** How challenging was it for Corbin to manage all those free agents? Really tough. Really tough. Kevin and I put him in a tough position, and you know, the conversations and arrows, frankly, on Apr. 18, need to be pointed at us…If you just took Ty Corbin’s name off the head coach ledger, and you put any coach up there–John Wooden, Jerry Sloan, Gregg Popovich, Rudy Tomjanovich, Jeff Van Gundy, all coaches I’ve dealt with before–you guys would be [asking] the same questions. And the fans, and the talk shows, and the blogs would have the same complaints*…By and large, Ty did an outstanding job managing, you know, nine free agents and four quality big men.
* Personally speaking, not true.
** On Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap’s appreciation of Tyrone Corbin: I do think that, you know, they both appreciate the situation that they’ve had there. They were both glowing in their exit interviews about their experiences here, and they both really appreciate Ty and how he handled the four bigs.
** More praise for Corbin: One of his greatest qualities is, he’s a very poised man, and I think in this business where it’s “critique the coach” era, with new media, you really, I mean, you have to be tough and you have to be poised…The organization and the community should know that we have a good man, that’s an open man, and he’s growing, just like all of us.
** Looking back on this season, what’s one thing you would do differently as coach? Well, the first thing would, if I could have done it a little differently, is not have guys get hurt. I mean, I, you know, that throws a wrinkle in it. I mean, and then Mo [Williams] was one of the guys we were really counting on, to create the pace for us. We talked about pace at the end of last year, and we talked about pace at the beginning of training camp. And then we got the guy, and we’re coming along, and then he got hurt. And he was hurt for 36 games.*
* I’ve talked about this before but I have to talk about it again. Mo Williams was going to get hurt. He has only played more than 69 games twice in his 10-year career. He was going to get hurt. The coaching staff should have started preparing for Mo missing games the moment the trade went through. So for the team to be caught off-guard and unprepared when he went down is inexcusable. And don’t even get me started on how Alec Burks couldn’t step into playing point guard right away after Mo got injured because he needed to “get reps” playing point guard in practice first. They should’ve been getting him reps at PG from the first practice of the season. / end rant
** What was the biggest problem of the season? Well, we didn’t win some games we should’ve won, you know? You know, you, consistent play, had some ups and downs, had a lot of injuries. We had guys in and out. We changed the lineups a couple times to try and get something going. But you know, it’s NBA season.
** Did you seek any advice on managing so many free agents? Most guys I talked to just felt for me. Honestly, they just, you know, it’s a, they understand, it’s a difficult thing, position to be in.
** How many times this year did you have to focus on keeping a guy for 82 games instead of winning a game? It was more than normal, because of so many guys being free agents.
** You learned what most about coaching this year? How much more than Xs and Os it is when you’re dealing with eight or nine free agents, at one time, on the team. How much you have to pay attention to the other things, other than just the basketball part to get the guys to the basketball part.
** How hard was it for you to make this team play like a team rather than individuals? It was some work. But as I said before, man, we talked about it, and the group of guys were really good. And you know, I thought for the most part we hung in there playing for the team, and although guys had a lot on the line, and you can say, and you know, try and downplay as much as you want. The guys, it’s their livelihood and you know, they gotta stay healthy and they don’t wanna get hurt at this time in their career. Because if you hurt, you’re going into a free agent year, it could hurt you. So getting them to stay on the court, playing their way through it, is a juggling thing. And you had so many guys in it, that it’s hard to work around it at times, because the next guy was in the same boat. So it’s, it was a little difficult. But it was a learning experience, and the guys were great. So, I can’t say enough about how good this group of guys was.
** How much farther ahead are you and the team than one year ago? I think we’re much farther ahead. You know, the experiences that this, you know, you look at [Derrick] Favors, and Enes [Kanter], and Enes, and Derrick and Alec Burk*, the young guys we’re growing with, and who we know we have under contract, and you add Marvin Williams, who could probably be back, you know, I think the experience just put us further ahead because, we, you know, last year we were in the Playoff run. We made the Playoffs, and we lost in the first round there, but this year, the finish at the end, and every game, the last 11-12 games, man, was like a Playoff game, and do or die. You lose one, and you fall back. You win a couple on the road, and you’re back in it. And it’s wearing on you. And so, I think the experiences that we’ve had over the last two years will make us better down the road.
* People still calling Alec Burks “Alec Burk”: Tyrone Corbin
** On Randy Foye: Great, great, great pro for us. He was huge for us all year. Played all 82 games for us, and did some great things for us. Really, really enjoyed having him on this team. He was a great pro, a great guy in the locker room, ready to go every night. Ready and willing to do whatever he can do to help us win. So I really enjoyed having him on this team.
** Are Kanter and Favors ready for bigger roles? They’re better. You know, we’ll see where it goes. If that’s where things end up, then they’ll be ready to go. The experiences the last couple of years, that’s helping those areas. They’re still two young guys. They’re 20 and 21 years old. So it’s a lot to axe of them, but the experiences we’ve had the last two years will help in those areas.
Best interview of them all, in my opinion.
** On the uncertainty of the future: You know, I sit back and think it could be a totally different Utah Jazz team next year. Then I sit back and think we could all be, it could be the same team coming back next year, you know? So, but one thing I do know about the Jazz…they always gonna make the best decision for the Jazz, because the fans deserve it. The fans deserve a great team, you know, out there, ’cause they great fans. They support us, night in and night out, you know, and the Jazz gon do what they gotta do to make sure they get the right players here to try to make that playoff push next year.
** Did your role with the Jazz differ from your expectations at the time of the trade? Yeah, it did. Actually when I came here, you know, I was coming in to just help, you know, glue this team together, you know, far as the loss of Carlos Boozer and just coming in and just pick up where they left off. Then, I became one of the leaders, you know, on this team. You know, and I wasn’t coming in expecting that. I was coming in and just doing my part and trying not to mess up, you know? And coming in and being one of the leaders on this team just, you know, showed how I just worked my way up. You know, and that was a honor too.
** Does that show your personal growth as a player? I hope so. I think so. I think I have shown that I’m not just a black hole that I had a reputation, have, some years ago. You know, and hey, I lived up to that name, so…But you know, it’s just I hope it show people that I can do other things, and I’m working my butt off every year to try and get better and better on defense…I got some ways to go, but that what’s it’s all about. Just getting better every year.
** Who do you credit your defensive improvement to? I credit to y’all who said my defense sucked. And the Utah Jazz, who also agreed that my defense sucked. And they helped me work with it. You know, P3, you know, Santa Barbara. I’m going to P3 every summer to work on my quickness on my foot, being able to move out there on the pick and roll, keeping my weight down, you know, all that. The Utah Jazz. If I had to sum it up in one word, UtahJazz. Like I said, just made me grow as a player.
** On the futures of Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter: All-Stars. Superstars. Hall of Famer, in my opinion. You know, just the way Turkey just, you know, you teach him something, you show him something, he picks up on it real fast. You know, high IQ of the game, understanding the game. And then on top of that, he works real hard. You know, Derrick Favors just a animal, a man-child, you know what I mean? So you know, them two, the sky’s the limit for them.
** On mentoring Enes: All I ask is he do it for somebody else, you know? Another young guy coming in, do it for him. But you know, I really didn’t think, me teaching him what I taught him, he was gon do it and also do it better than me. That wasn’t the plan…He doing it better than me, and I don’t, that’s, you know, so Imma have to polish my game a little bit. Maybe come out with a left hand or something.
** How deadly would you be if you added the left hand to your arsenal? (UDQM) I had a left hand one time. Then I woke up. I don’t know, man. I guess the right hand is so special.
** On the city and state: I love the city of Utah. You know, it’s a great city. Salt Lake, sorry…I love the city of Salt Lake, though. You know, it’s a great place…you know, stay out of trouble, just focus on your game. You know, the fans, the people here, it’s just everybody’s just like a big, happy family, you know, and I love it.
[insert Karl Malone reference]
** Offseason plans: I’m gonna relax for a little bit and then I’m going right back to Santa Barbara, you know, and just really hit it hard.
** On this season: It was challenging, a very challenging year. I mean, not only for myself, you know, but for a lot of the guys on this team. Dealing with the free agency, dealing with the, you know, the rotations, or how you gon play guys, and stuff like that. So it was tough for everybody, from the players to the coaches to the management, to everybody…I feel like when we all put it behind us, you know, and not worried about it, that’s when we played our best basketball. When we weren’t thinking about it, when everybody got out there collectively, pretty much for the most part we played for each other. [Were you able to keep all that out of your mind?] Personally? I’m human, so no. You know, that’s me being honest, you know. Me being honest. It’s a tough thing to try to put in the back of your head and not think about, you know, but for the most part, I feel like I done a good job of doing it. You know, I feel like a lot of guys on this team did a good job of doing it.
** On being played at different positions: The different positions was just different. You know, but I’m a guy who work through everything, you know, the coaches ask. You know, I’m willing to try a new position if that’s gonna help me get more playing time, if that’s gonna help our team. It was challenging. You know, that adds to the challenges of the season, as you know, but no regrets about it. You know, I’d do it again.
** On saying goodbye to teammates: I’m sure we’re gonna see each other. A lot of us gon keep close tabs, you know, we’re gonna hang out during the summer. A lot of us are gonna work out together. So I mean, that’s how close we are, you know? We’re willing to meet up somewhere and work out together and try to get better.
** On the Jazz: The organization took a chance on me. It turned out to be a good chance, you know, turned out to work on both ends, you know, so words can’t explain how, what that means to me, for the organization taking me in and doing what they did to care for me. And hopefully, you know, we have plenty more years together.
** Was it good to have four bigs? It worked out both ways. You know, for them, you know, it helped them have two guys ahead of them who can teach them and help them grow as basketball players and as persons. For us, you know, we had competition in practice everyday, so it helped us get better. So it worked out both ways…Those two gonna be pretty good. You know, they gon be real good in the future and for years to come, and working against them everyday, you know, getting better, not only helping them get better, but improving myself getting better against some of the top talent, you know, they’re talented guys. And so, you know, I appreciate the competition.
** David Locke: You had a strange year, getting offered the extension and the whole way through the year…
Millsap: It was more mentally challenging than I expected. You know, it really tested, you know, my mental capacity this year, especially with everything that went on. But I feel like it made me stronger. I learned a lot from this year. So I think it was a pretty good year for me to learn.
Locke: Do you wonder what the year would’ve been like if you had just taken the extension and relieved that pressure?
Millsap: No. It probably would still have been tough. Probably still would’ve been a tough year.
Locke: So then, what was tough if it wasn’t turning down the extension?
Millsap: I don’t think the free agency was a big part of it. The free agency is gonna handle itself, you know? All I had to do was go out there and play. I think it was everything else. Just trying to figure out a way to get to where we wanted to be, with what we had, and the situation and circumstances that we were in, so, which was tough. So I mean, I think most of it came from that.
** Locke: Were you healthy at the end of the year?
Millsap: I played at the end of the year. I played, so it doesn’t matter if I was healthy or not. I was on the court.
Locke: What was bothering you?
Millsap: I don’t know. I was good, man. I had no pain.
Locke: This is on radio…He didn’t look me in the eye when he just lied to me there.
Millsap: That’s ’cause Randy Foye was looking at me, messing around.
** What was the message you got during your exit interview?: “Just keep improving.”
** On Al Jefferson: He been a pretty big help for my development, offensively, far as, like, footwork and just talking to me about how to play on the post, being patient, how to work on post moves, just little things like that.
** UDQM: [How do you feel about your left hand?] I’m very good left. I’m very good left. [How about your right?] I’m really good right too…I’m good either way.
** Offseason plans: I’m going back to Atlanta for a little while. Then I be back up in Salt Lake…Santa Barbara too, yeah. Love Santa Barbara.
** Will you watch the Playoffs? Nah, I’m not watching. I’m not watching. Usually I watch ‘em every year, but this year I’m not watching. [Why?] Just the way our season went. You know, I don’t, I just don’t want to watch it…Taste of the Playoffs last year, then being out of it this year, you know, I don’t want to watch it.
** Was it tough not getting as many minutes as you wanted? Just something you gotta learn to live with. You know, everything not gon go your way all the time. Just gotta learn to live with it, continue to work hard, and you know, just wait for your opportunity.
** On the possibility of signing an extension: I don’t know. We just gotta wait and see. You know, it’s just something that the front office and my agent gotta go through, but you know, we’ll just wait and see.
** On seeking help from the coaches on his free throw shooting: I just walked over to one of the coaches and like, “Man, I need help with my free throws. You know, I been getting to the free throw line a lot, and I’m not making ‘em.” So we just spent time in the gym before practice and after practice just working on technique, and just getting reps up.
** On seeking help on offense: I just went up to [one of the coaches] and told him what I was thinking, what’s the problem, or what I was thinking I needed to work on. And we did the same thing, just repetition, technique, watch film. You know, they gave me feedback on what they saw. I gave ‘em my feedback on what I was seeing, what I was thinking, and what I think I need to improve on, and just working on that. And I kept improving. [What was the problem?] Basically, just angles really, you know, and just being patient on the post.
** How comfortable are you in Utah? I’m comfortable here. I like it. You know, kinda remind me of Georgia a little bit. You know, it’s kind of slow-paced, not too fast, you know, quiet. So you know, kinda remind me of Georgia, so I feel like I’m at home. [What about your mom?] I don’t think she wanna move out, but she likes it though. She like me being here.
Is it concerning that the Jazz coaches do not actively identify areas where players need help, and instead wait for players to come to them? Kevin O’Connor even said in February that Alec Burks only started working on his shooting with the coaches after he asked for permission to do so. Management (or the coaches) did not ask Burks to work with the coaches because they “wanted to see what Alec would do.”
** What were you happy with this season? I feel like I got to play multiple positions. Got to play the one a little bit, show people I can play the one at times. And I got better, you know, throughout the year.
** Do you feel like you could be a point guard in the NBA? I feel like I could be, if I needed to be, you know? If it came to that situation, I definitely could be one.
** What will you be working on in the offseason? Just my in-between game. You know, I pride myself on getting to the rim, but you know, I feel like my in-between game should get a lot better. And you know, definitely getting defensively a lot better, and getting stronger.
** Offseason plans: Go back home, you know, and enjoy my loved ones, you know, and get better.
** What was the message in your exit interview? “Get better.”
** Do you feel like the young guys are ready to step up? You know, I feel like we a very talented young core. You know, I feel like we ready for anything. If it happens, it happens, you know? But I think we are ready.
** Will you be playing in the summer league? We’ll see, you know? You might, you probably see me down there. I don’t know yet, but you know, most likely you probably see me down there.
** How good do you think you can be? I think I can be a All-Star, you know? I’m very confident in my abilities, you know? With my athletic ability and my talent, I feel like I can be a All-Star.
** What has been harder than you expected? The rotation. The playing time. I did not expect it to be like this, but you know, you gotta roll with it, you know? It’s the NBA. [Do you think it's been fair or unfair?] I can’t speak on that. It ain’t my decision, you know?
Speaking of Alec Burks, Bill Simmons included him on his “Bill Simmons All-Stars for ‘The Guys I Inexplicably Like Much More Than I Should Probably Like Them’” team with the following description: “puzzlingly buried by the wildly incompetent Ty Corbin.”)
** Gordon Hayward, aspiring songwriter: You say goodbye for the summer, every year. It’s just, sometimes, it’s weird ’cause you never know if you’ll be saying “hi” again next fall.
** Offseason plans: Go back to Indianapolis, and continue to get better.
** On Al Jefferson: He’s been great. I mean, probably the best post player, you know, I’ve ever seen in person. And we leaned on him a lot, you know, especially he had that big, huge game to even keep us, keep the Playoff hopes alive.
** What will you be working on in the offseason? A little bit of everything. I think you can always be a better shooter. You can never be good enough, so that’s gonna be one. And you know, ball-handling, again. I think you can always be a better ball-handler as well. So those two things are gonna be key.
** How good can you be? I think I have potential to be an All-Star. And that’s a goal of mine. That’s what I’m gonna work towards.
** Are you ready to put your stamp on this team? I think so. You know, three years have come and gone, so it’s time to step up.
** Summer plans: Just to go into summer and working harder. Come back, try to get a little bulk here, put a little muscle on, and just, you know, come be active and just do what I do…I think I can get a lot stronger, but I’m not sure about how much bigger I can get. But far as stronger, I think you can always get stronger so Imma work for it.
** On what he’s done for his mom: I’ve asked her, you know, where she wants to stay, and just trying to get her out of Crosset just, you know, into a nicer home, but she loves home and I do too. And you know, I don’t blame her for that. And just went home and paid her house off, and hopefully summer she’ll know what she wants to do far as where she wants to live.
** What would you like to see for your role next year? Of course everybody wants to play, but I’m happy just, you know, to do whatever coach asks me to do. And hopefully, if that is getting in the game, and getting minutes and bringing energy, that’s what I’ll do. And whatever they ask for of me, I’m going, you know, into the summer hopefully to work hard and come back stronger, and you know, improve on my game.
** Was it frustrating to put in the work and not get minutes? Nah, not really. Just, you know, you put in the work and everybody doesn’t see the practice players. I go in and work hard and practice against some of the best guys in the NBA, so I feel like everyday I’m getting better.
** On his exit meeting: It was great. Both sides respected each other, and respected the job we both did. They commended me for a lot of great things I brought to the team. And we just, we said, “Hey, you know, the feeling is mutual on the return.”…And I told [Tyrone Corbin], I told Ty in the meeting, I said, “Listen, man. I feel like, I enjoyed playing for you, first off. And I commend you on the job you did with the team.”
** Why do you want to stay with the Jazz? Well, first off, I was drafted here, and this the organization that gave me a shot when I first came in the league as a young pup…Going into your 11th year, you know, you care about winning more than anything. And this team is big on winning. Not making the Playoffs is not a option, you know, and that’s what I like. I want to play in the post-season. You know, that’s where stars are born, and I would like to have that moment, be in that moment.
** Do you feel like you were able to showcase your point guard skills this year? I hope so, you know, ’cause the year before in, with L.A., I was off the ball the whole year, and that was my first time in my career where I didn’t handle the ball. It was extremely tough for me…One thing about me, I lock into a role. So I was really locked into that role, like, off the ball, scoring every time I touched it…I commend the Jazz for giving me oppotunity, putting me in the position to be able to show what I can do, and that’s being a scoring point guard. / Ty put me in the position to exploit my skills. You know, I’m just not a guy that’s just gonna come down and just be a point guard and you know, distribute every time down the floor. He know I have a scoring ability, and he put me in position.
** On spending the season with Al Jefferson: It was fun to play with him ’cause, you know, we always with each other in the summertime and hanging out and you know, doing stuff with our foundations together. And to really be around each other all year now, you know, our friendship has become closer.
**On Al mentoring the young guys: He was extremely vital for, especially, Turk [Enes Kanter] and Big Fav [Derrick Favors]. You know, helping them in they development. I mean, if you want to learn some, how to put the ball in the hole, that’s the person to go to.
** On whether he agrees with Tyrone Corbin saying free agency negatively impacted the team: No. It was nowhere negative. We always stayed the course, and you see it down the stretch, because if that was a factor, trust me, we wouldn’t have went on the run.
** On how he’s turned his career around: Only thing I axe people, is just to be up front with me, and don’t B.S. me, you know, ’cause at the end of the day, I’m gonna go out there and compete and play hard. And whatever you tell me to do, I’m gonna go out there and do it. And I don’t got no hidden agenda; I just want to help my teammates, the organization, and win ball games. And you know, that’s what I think I did this year…As you get older, you know, you separate yourself from being in certain situations that could lead up to something, and you know, as my son got older, you know, it reflect and he get to see what I do and what I do off the court and on the court. And I just didn’t want him to see me just as a basketball player. So you know, I just got smarter.
** On whether he agrees with Tyrone Corbin saying free agency negatively impacted the team: I don’t think so. You know, guys could’ve been selfish and looked for they own shot and not passed the ball. I didn’t see none of that. You know, we all like each other. We all played for each other. We played hard, and we did everything in the right way.
** Favorite part of the season: Just moment of seeing some of the young guys just grow as basketball players and knowing that, you know, things didn’t always go their way, and by me being a veteran point guard, been through a lot, and just letting them know, you know, just stay with it. You never know when your number’s gonna be called. Don’t sit over there and pout. You know, go get some shots up. You know, just be into it.
** Offseason plans: Just spend time with my son [in] Miami. You know, it’s his world in the summertime. You know, spend time with him and teach him certain things, and just be a father now. [How old is he?] He’s nine.
** Plans for next year: That ain’t up to me. You know, I would love to come back. You know, I don’t control that. You know, I let my agent and them talk, but you know, I will always have a heart for the Jazz. You know, they brought me back when I was in the D-League. You know, they trusted and believed in me, and I don’t have nothing bad to say about them.
** On his season: For me, it was challenging from a physical part. The surgeon said it’d be 12 months. It’s 12 months this week, so I’m starting to feel normal the last couple of weeks. And coach had to go with a lineup that was ready, and I wasn’t ready physically. But the type of player I am, I’m always fighting for my team whenever they need me. Mo went down, which kind of forced me into action. You know, I came back a little ahead of time, but I have all summer to get healthy completely.
** On the future: I’m a realist, and for me, a couple years from now, or maybe even over the summer or maybe a year or two from now, this team will not be together, obviously. You’re going to see players go to teams and have amazing runs throughout the post-season, if not win a championship. And you gon sit back and think how good this team could’ve been. We could never really capture our full potential.
** On Gordon Hayward: I’ve said this all along. Gordon is gonna be an All-Star. I said that from the first week he was here. He kinda reminds me of Jerry West, and I don’t even know why. You know, just being around Jerry since I was 17, he has the same mannerisms. Gordon is the type of player where, the media has to understand in the beginning of the season, he’s gonna start not where he left off. So he’s gonna start at 13, 15 points a game. By the end of the season, he’s gonna be around 20. And it’s only because Gordon is a type of player where he analyzes the entire team, and he figures out, he figure out ways to make his teammates better. He figure out how to be balanced within his play. And then, as his teammates get better from him, he gets better…Gordon’s gonna have some amazing post-season runs. He’s gonna be amazing in the post-season.
** On being a benched free agent at the end of the season: GMs understand what I do, you know, what I bring to the table. You know, championship-caliber teams, you always have those type of guys. You know, you can look at, go on down the line. Miami, you got guys like Shane Battier. Memphis, you got guys like Tony Allen. Oklahoma City, [Thabo] Sefolosha. I can keep going down the line, but you know, what I bring to the table, you got, championship teams, you know, need that, and I feel like a lot of teams understand what I bring. You know, every time I step on the court, even if I don’t play, I have all the opponent coaches coming to me, telling me how they, you know, how hard I play and how they appreciate me and keep doing what I do.
** Would you give the Jazz a hometown discount since they gave you a chance? Man, you know, only time will tell. I let my agent take care of that…I don’t want to sit here and say it’s about the money, but whatever my agent has planned, that’s what he get paid for.
** On the Jazz giving him a chance: Without Kevin O’Connor and Richard [Smith], you know, I wouldn’t even be here. They flew all the way to L.A. to watch me play, you know, stayed in contact with me and they stayed in contact with my agent, and gave me a shot. You know, Kevin O’Connor, that type of guy, he has a nose for finding, you know, diamonds in the sand, and I think, you know, his background speaks for itself.
** On why he’s a fan favorite: My fans just appreciate everything I do. You know, I’m blessed to have fans like Jazz Nation. You know, when I get out there and I leave all my heart on the floor and 110 percent, I think they realize that and they understand. If you just go out there and play as hard as you can for Jazz Nation, they gon love you…This is my home, and Imma be a, Imma try to be a Jazz until they don’t want me no more.
** Offseason goals: I really want to get a lot of film on Bruce Bowen and I actually want to be, my mid-range shot is always good…I really want to be a corner knockdown three. Not necessarily top of the key or you know, on the, I really just want to be straight corner and knockdown defender. And if I keep the energy I got, I think I can probably be better than Bruce Bowen.
** On becoming more consistent: It’s been something that I’ve been fighting with, I think, for the last few years of my career, you know? Just becoming more consistent, ’cause as you say, you know, there were nights where, you know, I’d have great nights and there were some nights where I’d, you know, literally be nonexistent on the offensive end. So you know, it’ll be something I continue to work with in the summertime, you know, I’ll work with the coaching staff, and you know, I will get better, man. I will be better next year for sure.
** What pieces are the Jazz missing? Well, I think we have the pieces here right now. You know, obviously, like I said, we let a few games go that we probably should’ve won this year, but I feel like we’re more than capable of being, you know, a top four, top five team in the Western Conference for sure. We have tremendous inside players; we got some really good perimeter players; and we got a good coaching staff. So I feel like, you know, the pieces that we have together here right now are good enough for sure.
** On his first season with the Jazz: This has been, honestly, man, maybe statistically not my best year, but it was probably my most fun year that I’ve had in a long time. Obviously, it was my first time with a new team, but I couldn’t have axed for a better situation to come to. I came to an organization that’s, you know, family-like, and I’m more of a family-oriented guy. So the city was great, man, the fans were great, and I’m just thankful to be a member of the Utah Jazz.
** On his player option: I haven’t decided. I’ll sit down and talk to my parents about it. You know, maybe in a few weeks or so. Talk to my agent about it, but you know, I love playing here, man. Coach Corbin was great. His coaching staff was great. You know, this organization was really great. So, you know, I would like to be back here for sure.
** On whether he agrees with Tyrone Corbin saying free agency negatively impacted the team: No, not really. I don’t know what guys had going on, you know, personally, but I didn’t really feel as though, no one was being selfish or you know, thinking about their future, at all. I just felt as though, you know, it was some ups and downs. We fought through ‘em, but at the end of the day, we just didn’t get the job done at the end…We knew we were much better team than that, and we knew that we supposed to be there.
** On why he’d like to stay with the Jazz: It’s just a good fit for me. It’s a good fit for me, a good fit for my family. I just love, you know, how everything is done here. You know, me and K.O.*, we talked, we never talked about the future, but you know, when I first signed here, the plan was not to sign for one year. The plan was to sign, you know, for three years. But you know, with the situation with Raja Bell, it just couldn’t happen. And you know, I understood. So you know, I took a chance, you know, playing one year, playing my butt off, and you know, it worked out for me.
* People calling Kevin O’Connor “K.O.”: Randy Foye
** On Tyrone Corbin: He’s good, man. I like him a lot. You know, me and him had an unbelievable relationship. I think he respected me so much because, just my hard work and toughness, and you know, never giving in no matter what the circumstances was…And, but I think he did a great job. I think that he understood, you know, it was tough on, it was a little tough on him because all the free agents. You know, no one really wasn’t locked in. And so, it was tough, you know? And I think that you know, he did a great job in that situation, of just managing guys and just trying to make everything work for the better.
** First NBA season: I felt pretty good, you know? First year, you know, most guys can’t say they complete a year in the NBA, so I feel, like, very accomplished, but I’m not satisfied right now. So you just gotta keep working, you know what I mean? … I already knew coming in that I wasn’t gon be, like, you know what I’m saying, one of the main guys playing. I just hoped that I work myself up to that way in. And I didn’t, so, not saying it was anything I did, it was just we had some vets and stuff in front of me. So I think I just gonna go home this summer, just work hard, and try to get the minutes.
** Offseason goals: My strength, just getting stronger.
** Thoughts on organization: It’s a great organization for me…I mean, I haven’t played for nobody else, but I do think this is one of the top organizations in the league.
Game 82. Season on the line. Playoff hopes live or die here. A study of Tyrone Corbin’s emotional roller coaster on the sideline, presented in chronological order:
Quotage on the Game/Season
** Tyrone Corbin on the game: I thought our defense did a pretty good job on them. We just couldn’t put the ball in the hole.
** Gordon Hayward: It’s kind of depressing, you know? Season’s over with. And it was a long season for us, definitely had some ups and downs…but proud of the effort we gave, you know, there in the last month just to fight to give ourselves a shot. I mean, that’s all we could ask for.
** Mo Williams on the season: When I look back at this season, Imma look at the uniqueness of this team, where we had a lot of free agents, and we had a lot of guys come together for the better. We coulda went left, easy…At the end of the day, it’s unique and it’s rare that you have [so many free agents] on one team at one time. You [usually] won’t have too many, and if you do, trust me, that team probably won’t be playing for Playoff position.
** Paul Millsap: For it to end like this, it’s tough.
** Al Jefferson: We disappointed, of course, ’cause we lost the game and didn’t get a chance to make the postseason, but overall, the whole season, I mean, I just think everybody should keep their head up, because we should be proud of ourself. There were many time this season that we had a chance to tuck it in and give up, but you know, we kept fighting, fighting to put ourself in a position to get into the Playoffs.
** Randy Foye on the games that got away: That’ll be something that we definitely, you know, next year have to start off and just understand that, you know, you got, you have to win those road games, because if not, you know, you can’t be a Playoff team.
Seeing Al and how crushed he was at the end of the game made me tear up a little…
Quotage on Free Agency
** Foye: I don’t think it’s time to talk about that, about free agency. I do think this, you know, we are a family. We came together in October. We had a lot of ups and downs, but we stayed together. We stayed the course no matter what the circumstances were.
** Mo Williams on whether he has a timetable for free agency decisions: No, no. I haven’t even talked to my agent. And you know, I’m going home, spending some time with my family. You know, pretty sure they miss Daddy.
** Millsap on his free agency timetable: I don’t know, man. I haven’t thought about it yet. I haven’t thought about it. I expected to be in the Playoffs late next week. You know, obviously it didn’t happen, but right now, just take some time. See what happens.
** Corbin: You know, I can’t say enough about the respec’ I have for this group of guys, man…We didn’t have our best game tonight, and that’s still disappointing, but this group of guys, I’m really proud to have worked with them.
** Hayward on whether he wants a greater leadership role: Definitely. You know, the time to sit back is kinda gone now. Like I said at the beginning [of the interview], you know, third year is gone. And I don’t know where the time went, but it’s gonna be fourth year in the league, and you know, can definitely step up in that area.
** Millsap on this team: We are [a close group of guys]. We definitely are. You know, a lot of guys on this team hang out a lot. Pretty close-niche*, and hopefully we continue to be like that.
* Not a typo
** Millsap on whether the uncertainty of free agency hurt the team: Uncertainty causes doubt. I mean, you know, nobody even knows what’s going to happen with their future. So I would say that it did hurt a little bit. You know, but we’re all professionals, and gotta deal with it, gotta live with it, and gotta continue to fight for it.
** Millsap on whether he’ll remember the fight to get in the Playoffs or not getting in: I don’t think it really matters how you finish, how you start if you’re not in the Playoffs. Simple as that.
Random Stuff, etc.
** If this is the way it was going to go, I really wish I could’ve watched the game with Raja Bell.
Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines of the Night (UDQM)
** Boler, pre-game: I’ve got a good feeling inside. (H/T @da_breezman)
** ESPN guy: Randolph a little undersized, but it doesn’t matter. He can get the shot off in a variety of ways.
** Boler on Favors putback: Right place, right time, in traffic, Favors muscles up two.
** Harpring: You hate when you look down and see a guy above his average.
** ESPN guy: That’s two consecutive possessions that Utah went deep, too deep, into the shot clock.
** ESPN guy on Corbin: You gotta try to push a new button. This isn’t working.
** Harpring on Randolph: He’s such a load when he gets it down low.
** David Locke (H/T @blazerdog38)
Today’s Opponent Game Thread host: Grizzly Bear Blues.
this is it!!!
by n8dogg606 on Apr 18, 2013 | 8:53 AM
Don’t let Hayward heat up from 3. That’s what happened last game.
by Okitech623 on Apr 18, 2013 | 9:00 AM
Total break down on defense by the Grizz
by GrizzGirl2 on Apr 18, 2013 | 9:00 AM
Damn, Damn, Damn!!!!
by GrizzGirl2 on Apr 18, 2013 | 9:02 AM
good lord mo williams
by n8dogg606 on Apr 18, 2013 | 9:02 AM
1st half was a complete snooze fest.
by Okitech623 on Apr 18, 2013 | 9:06 AM
nobody seems to be talking about the la clippers…really…did i hear that right
by Fajotni on Apr 18, 2013 | 9:26 AM
yea you did… Love ESPN announcers… not…
by Kwhittington on Apr 18, 2013 | 9:27 AM
wow……………………………………… Getting jobbed by the refs again?
by Kwhittington on Apr 18, 2013 | 9:29 AM
This game stinks!!! What is going on with all the foul calls on the Grizzlies???
by GrizzGirl2 on Apr 18, 2013 | 9:31 AM
I like how when hayward travels in the first they say…well the refs never call it…but when it “appears” that zbo travels its a missed call
by Fajotni on Apr 18, 2013 | 9:30 AM
Yep, i called it people… ZBo has straight up KILLED the Jazz…
by Kwhittington on Apr 18, 2013 | 9:45 AM
someone doesnt want Gasol to get DPOY
by Fajotni on Apr 18, 2013 | 10:05 AM
Damn DA at least put your hands up on Jefferson and not let him get a clean look.
by GrizzGirl2 on Apr 18, 2013 | 10:07 AM
by Okitech623 on Apr 18, 2013 | 10:14 AM
Thank you Memphis
from a Lakers fan :)
by hrghori on Apr 18, 2013 | 10:23 AM