Bits from Kevin O’Connor, Tyrone Corbin, and Phil Johnson Interviews
** On addressing the Jazz’s needs: The first way we [improve] is from self-improvement, from the guys that are under contract for next year and how do they get better and improve themselves in the off-season, and that’s what we’ll spend some time on.
** If you had a do-over, would you sign Josh Howard again? Absolutely…he brought a defensive presence which certainly helped us, and he rebounded the ball nicely and he knows how to play, and I think he got some respect from his teammates when he came back [from injury], and even after he got hurt with the knee, if you look at the games that he played, he helped us in, and that was important. And he got a great deal of respect for somebody that tried so hard to rehabilitate himself from surgery to get himself back into being able to play so he could try and help in the Playoffs.
** Bigger need: shooting or better leadership at the point guard position? Some of the players, whether it’s Alec [Burks] or Gordon [Hayward] [or] Devin [Harris], those guys have got to spend the summer and improve their 3-point shooting. It’s gotta come from within…Are we willing to change it around [through player acquisitions?] I think our consideration is really a focus on [getting] Al [Jefferson] and Paul [Millsap] and Devin to be a little bit better next year, and the [young] guys to make more of a leap.
** On Ante Tomic: He’s got one more year left on the contract over there [with Real Madrid], and we obviously had gone over and seen him play this year. He probably didn’t have as good a year this year as he did last year, and we’ll continue to evaluate…He still needs to add some strength, but he’s got some skills and he is 7’1″.
** Is there anything more that the league can do to deter tanking? I don’t think so. I think it’s difficult to do that. I do think some teams can certainly want to play their young players more and I understand that part of it, but I think you try and win. That’s the bottom line. (KALL)
I still don’t understand this “playing young players more” = “not trying to win” equation…
** What are you expecting this summer from Enes Kanter? Just his growth. He gotta continue to develop. He needs to play, play a lot.
** On defending the pick and roll: That’s one of the things we gotta make sure we continue to grow on, because we struggle in it some. And [opponents put one or two guys] that they don’t think handle it very well, and they use it time and time and time again. So individually it has to get better, and as a team we have to get better understanding that if you have a teammate that struggle in the pick and roll, how rotations have to be sharper from the weak side…
** As you reflect on what happened with Raja Bell and grow as a coach, have you learned anything? It happens, man. Guys are frustrated for whatever reason; they make comments. I know who I am.
** If there’s something you’d like to see added to the team this summer, what would it be? Just everybody getting better…we need some shooters from the perimeter that’s gonna be consistent, and the low post guys gotta get better.
** What did you tell Alec Burks at the end of the year? Gotta get better. We gotta, we gotta, got a big summer to get a lot of work in, so get better on both ends of the floor, defensively and offensively. Get his body a little stronger, and his thing is understanding the entire dynamics of the game on both ends of the floor.
** Are you prepared to start Derrick Favors next season if his play demands it? I want all 13, 14, 15 guys that we have on the roster to work this summer to take the starting spot, and that’s what your focus is all summer. “I want to start. I don’t just wanna be on the team. I wanna work to be a starter.” I want everybody to put that pressure on me to be able to start all the guys who’s on the roster. Whether it happens, well, it can’t happen, but you wanna have great guys on the team that [you want to] put in the game, and Derrick certainly has the ability. He’s demonstrated that he deserve more time on the floor whether that’s starting or coming off the bench, but I want him to work to be a starter. (1280)
** Who are your favorite young “rising star” coaches that are “doing it right”? I think Indiana has a really good organization, and their coaching staff has done a great job. I think they are at the top of the list as far as young coaches coming up and doing really a good job. You look at a Nate McMillan, he got fired this year. It’s ridiculous, because he’s a very, very good coach. That happens in this league. I think Mike Woodson, although he’s not a real young guy–he happened to play for me with the Kings–I think he’s one of the best coaches in the league.
** On Corbin’s coaching performance in the Playoffs: I told everybody I thought [the Jazz] could probably play .500 basketball. Well, they overachieved in my mind. They got in the Playoffs, which was a huge thing for this franchise, and they happened to play one of the best teams that’s ever been in the league.* I mean, [the Spurs] are a very, very good basketball team…
I was upset with everybody talking about how [Corbin] was getting outcoached in the Playoffs, this and that. That happens maybe some, but I didn’t see a whole bunch of mistakes that he made…so that upset me at that time, and I thought that that was way overblown, that on a game-by-game basis he was getting outcoached.** Yeah, maybe some, yeah, you got a very good basketball coach on the other side obviously, but I don’t think that was the reason the Jazz lost in the Playoffs…Yeah, there are obviously better coaches than others in the league, that’s the way it works, but it has a lot to do with the talent you have, the organization you have, and so forth. (1280)
* Earlier in the interview when the question wasn’t about Corbin, Phil said that the current Spurs team isn’t the best Spurs team that he’d seen, and that the ones with Tim Duncan and David Robinson were better.
** Corbin was going up against GREGG POPOVICH, and he wasn’t getting outcoached? (I wouldn’t make that statement about any other coach in the league. The statement isn’t about Corbin’s performance, but more about how highly I think of Pop.)