Bits from Jeff Hornacek Interview, 1/22
On Gordon Hayward
One thing we’ve talked about with Gordon is, you know, feeling that you are a top guy. It’s a different mentality when you’re one of the big dogs who needs to take the game-winning shot, or make the big play.
You gotta feel that you can do that, and not defer to somebody else, and Gordon’s done that, and he proved it in these last few games that when the game’s on the line, he’s got a shot, he can knock it down. So he’s done a great job of improving there, and I think the sky’s the limit for him. He’s gonna get better and better every year.
Is it true that the Jazz only began winning on the road when you got here, and what do the Jazz have to do now in order to start winning on the road?
It was all me. It had nothing to do with those two other Hall of Fame guys that were on the team…It’s funny because, you know, that comes up a lot, and I don’t think we had a losing record on the road the 6.5 years I was here. And I look at it as, you know, John [Stockton] and Karl [Malone] were two guys that played the same at home as they did on the road, and you know, with two guys doing that, it’s sometimes tough.
And I always thought that maybe I was the third guy who played the same on the road, wasn’t bothered by going on the road, and that gave us a chance to be a good road team. You know, most bench guys, maybe fourth and fifth guys on the team that are starters, if you look at statistical numbers, they do better at home. You know, on the road it drops quite a bit.
So I think at that time, we just had three guys that were pretty much the same, played the same at home and on the road, and you know, that’s where we’re trying to get these guys to be…
Our guys are, a lot of these guys are young and they’re figuring that out. The veteran guys are doing it, but you just can’t have one or two guys doing it every night. You gotta have three, maybe even four guys that play well on the road to actually, you know, end up with an above .500 record on the road.
On transition offense
We still want to push [the tempo] up. You know, we’ve changed a little bit in terms of, we’ve been able to get our guys to kind of cross, like in the old days, every once in a while just to kind of bring the defense away, and then our bigs step in there. We’ve done a better job of our power game, of being in there quickly so that guys like Al [Jefferson] and Paul [Millsap], they don’t double right away. So that’s been better.
It’s great. You’re out there with the guys, you know, you’re doing a little teaching. You see things that you learned as a player that you could take advantage of, and just the process of, especially the young guys, you know, we had a couple plays at the end of our scrimmage today that I watched after practice on tape…I’m going to show them tomorrow.
But it’s little things that, while you’re playing a game, that you have to do to set certain things up. You gotta be a little bit of an actor at times, trying to lull a guy to fall asleep so that, you know, if you’re gonna come off the pick, if you get all antsy and jittery, you know, the defender knows that you’re getting ready to do something and he steps up in the end and makes it difficult. If you can make that guy relax a little bit and then all of a sudden you take off, you might be wide open.
And those are things that, you know, little things that we enjoy doing as coaches with the players, you know, things we learned. And so, it’s a lot of fun, you know?
It’s frustrating at times, you know, especially when we were all players. I think Ty–Coach Ty–and Sid[ney Lowe] and Mike [Sanders], we were all guys that seemed to play hard all the time. And so when our guys don’t play hard all the time, and try to just use their talent to get by, yeah, that gets a little frustrating as a coach.
But I’m sure that when we were playing, that probably happened more than we’d like to admit now anyway. So it’s a good time. (1280)