Locker Room Cleanout and the Occasional Random Observation, Part 2: The Old Young/Young Old Guys
** [If the Jazz want to go young next season with Favors at the 4, would you be all right with coming off the bench again?] I’m not going to comment on that. I’m not going to even look at that as an option.
** [Can you reflect back on what this season was like?] I don’t want to. I’m going to let it be where it’s at, leave it where it’s at…it’s been tough, mentally. It’s been real tough for us to try to get out there and play basketball during the hard times.
** [Will Derrick need a little more attention from his teammates since it’s his first offseason, can’t contact team personnel if there’s a lockout, etc.?] I’m sure he got his own guys he work with. But with him, he’s going to get better. He knows that, we know that, so…attention? I don’t know.
** [Will you be trying to get guys together during the offseason?] We all want to play basketball. We all want to be playing at a high level, so we will get together. I will be one of those guys calling, trying to gather as many people as we can but that’s on everybody else if they want to come and get some of that.
** [Will you be staying at the same playing weight?] I feel like if I get my legs under me, strengthen my legs up a lot more, which is what I’m going to work on, I’ll be able to get out there and face the challenges at the 3. I’m not going to focus on [slimming down].
** Summer plans: I’ll go home. I’ll coordinate these guys; I think we have a plan of working out in Santa Barbara. So we’ll definitely spend some time together, but I think it’s good to get away and relax.
** [What do you have to work on the most individually?] Continue to work on my shot. Shooting. I’m not used to having great post players like Millsap and Al Jefferson, so look forward to getting those open shots; it’s my job to knock them down. Obviously we have one of the better shooters in NBA history in Jeff Hornacek, so I’m definitely going to try to take what I can from him and create more open shots for myself.
** [Do you see yourself as the leader on this team next season?] It is my job as the point guard so I definitely take pride in that. It’s kind of what we talked about in the meeting too, taking ownership and obviously it’s going to be heavy on my shoulders as well as Al’s, and we look forward to having that type of pressure.
** “It was a roller coaster ride. It was a roller coaster ride, a lot of ups and downs.”
** “I’m really looking forward to this off-season. I’m still just as excited as I was the first day I got traded here.”
** [Where do you think we’ll see the most difference in you next season?] Get in top, top, top shape. I think that can really help the whole team on the defensive end because that’s going to be the big reason why this team get back to the Playoffs, on the defensive end.
** [What was your feeling on the city and community?] Just like I always said from Day 1, Salt Lake City was always one of my favorite cities to come play, I think it got the best fans in the world. They make it worth getting up every morning, every day to play in front of them because they always going to be there to support you through the thick and thin.
** [How important was it for you to play 82 games this year?] It’s very important to me, because I don’t want people to think I’m injury-prone. I had that one setback the one time, I got through it, put it behind me. So finish the season, play all 82 games and being able to start all 82 games really mean a lot to me because not only show myself, but show the world that he’s going to play night in, night out.
** [Do you anticipate being back with the Jazz?] Of course I want to be back. I want to be a part of this team. I want to have a chance to play for Ty Corbin…if I’m in their plans to be back, I would love to be here. If not, then I guess I have to move on.
** Me and Earl just talked about it today, you couldn’t tell us at the beginning of the season after our first 20 games or so, you couldn’t tell us that we weren’t going to win the West. That’s how we felt. Me and Earl always talked about it. We were talking championship. We were talking about making it to the Finals. We didn’t see a team at that point in the season that was playing better than us and was growing faster than us at that point. To see everything turn around and make just a complete 180, it’s tough to be a part of. But even though we didn’t play well at the end of the season, I still think that a lot of guys got the chance to grow, and got a chance to learn a lot so it’s nothing but upside for next year.
** On Gordon: Seeing a rookie come in with the mentality that he had and the work ethic that he had, and just to see certain things he would do on the floor that he didn’t realize how special it was. Even though he may have missed a shot at the beginning of the year or maybe something didn’t go his way, turnover or something like that, but the things he did was so special, and his attitude to go with it after he would have a bad game or have a good game was just as special. I tell him all the time, you got a left-handed big brother in the NBA. His name is Manu Ginobili. And when he had a chance to play against the Spurs and had a chance to guard Ginobili, I was like, you’re stronger than him, you might be more athletic than him, but look at his season and look at his career and the things that he’s done. You can do that in this league. I think you have that capability. He’s going to be great.