Bits from Dennis Lindsey Interview, 3/7
What is the good news?
The good news is, guys, is that, as most of you know, post-Deron Williams, you know, we should be in a total rebuild situation.
And for the last two years, you know, we’ve played games that have meant something, and you know, that’s important to the Miller family, you know, when we did make that decision on Deron and the trade, and so in some ways, again, Kevin [O’Connor]’s done such a good job post the Deron Williams decision that we skipped a couple of steps.
You know, you could make an argument right now we should be in the same bucket as Cleveland.
“Come down on us hard.”
The thing that I would say to the fans, and the media, and you guys is that, you know, come down on us. Come down on us hard.
The players, the coaches, management, ownership all need to feel the pressure of the Jazz fans and the media because of what happened last night, and you know, I think we deserve the criticism that we’re going to receive over the next few days for not closing games.
And my hope is, is the pain of this loss, the pressure of the community demanding good, smart, tough, committed basketball will help provide a forum for us to improve and have a great response.
* Wish I could ask Lindsey a follow-up question on past and current 1320 (now 1280) on-air personalities screaming at fans and calling them “idiots” every time they do dare to criticize…
How comfortable are you with Tyrone Corbin’s performance?
The way the team is set up, in some ways, Kevin’s provided so much depth and so many playing options, you know, the very nature, whoever we all think is the greatest coach of all time, if you were to put them in Ty Corbin’s feet today, they would be questioned, and there’s no way around that. We can’t hide from that. Ty can’t run from that.* That’s just the position that we’re in…
It’s a tough position, but Ty was in this league as a player for 16, 17 years because he’s got leadership qualities. He’s got poise.
I think you guys can imagine, you know, that there are a lot of coaches out there that would take a different tact and be really hard publicly on our players, and you know, so I do appreciate Ty, you know, being very consistent and that he’s not gonna throw players under the bus publicly…
I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt until the end of the season, and then we’ll judge the results.
* The way Corbin gets defensive and snippy when he’s asked about his decisions (not even questioned about his decisions, but just asked questions about his decisions), I’d say he does think he can run from that.
“The coach has to be king.”
This has been my experience in 17 years with Rudy Tomjanovich, Jeff Van Gundy, Gregg Popovich, and now Ty Corbin: The coach has to be king. He has to decide playing time, roles.
If the players and the agents and the other people know that they can usurp the coach, then a team and an organization in my opinion, those teams that allow that to happen, and we’ve seen examples of that, will slip into chaos.
I’ve been fortunate to be with, now, three very good organizations, and when tough times come, when rebuilding come, you can run from it, you can question the coach, you can, you know, internally I’m saying, and the players and everybody internally will pick up on that, and that’s really not what the Millers stand for.
As I understand it, there was a whole bunch of criticism of Jerry Sloan during his reign. All I know is, is that was a great run and even though he and Mr. [Larry, obviously] Miller may have had some times together, some emotional times together, they were a team.
And outside looking in, the other 29 teams, the league, the players, the agents knew that the Jazz had some core values they stood for. And my last five years with, you know, the Spurs. Believe it or not, guys, you know, Pop got criticized all the time on young player playing time.
* First, how sad Dennis Lindsey was not our GM when Jerry was still here. Second, all this was actually in answer to the question “Is it more important to win with veterans and get the 7/8 seed and quick out OR playing the young guys even it it means losing more games?” Third, I understand his point that *even* Jerry Sloan or Gregg Popovich got/gets questioned, but if you’re talking about Tyrone Corbin, Keith Smart or Vinny Del Negro would seem to be a more apt comparison.
Minutes are not an issue in Enes Kanter’s development
Enes Kanter’s gonna play the same amount of minutes as Tim Duncan did his senior year. His minutes are not gonna be an issue with his development. The issues with Enes’ development: Is he working hard? Is he working smart? Is he working directed? Is he working consistently?
And I think with the results that we’ve seen, in particular the last week but really over the whole year, that we’re all very excited about, you know, where Enes is moving…
One thing that’s happening a lot of times, we’re seeing with younger kids in an AAU environment where there’re a lot of games and less dedicated practice, less appointed rest is, is, a lot of the players are coming out with orthopedic issues prematurely, guys. So there’s a real balance.
On taking advantage of the Jazz’s financial flexibility this off-season vs. later
I just know we have more options [than other teams] going forward, and that can mean a lot of things. It could mean, you know, re-sign some of our own guys, if the prices and the valuations are right. That could mean sign somebody else. That could mean take someone else in trade.
That could mean being very patient with our rebuild that we have two good draft picks coming due, and just slow growth and you know, in some ways that, you know, take our medicine now. That could be an option as well. And if that’s the alternative, you know, we won’t run from that. And we won’t obscure it. We’ll call a spade a spade.
And you know, in some ways everybody is very excited about the young group and you know, maybe that’s a valuable alternative that we’ll choose. The good thing is, is we can react to the results of what’s happening with our team and what’s going along with the different markets around the league when it comes to player acquisition.
What is Alec Burks’ ceiling?
I think his playing time at the point guard position has done a few things. One, I think it’s connected Al* and Ty at a different level. You know, that point guard position and the head coach, you have to communicate, and I think that’s a good thing.
I think it makes Alec, who’s a very quiet personality, even though Alec can be charming and he has a great smile, he’s just a reserved person, and it makes him communicate with his teammates more. I think the point guard experience will be better for him. He’ll be better for it, I should say, whether he’s a guard or a wing full time.
But I think it’s shown us that Alec can play more than one position. I really believe that Alec can play some minutes as a point guard, some minutes as the two, even some minutes as a three with his athleticism and ability to get on the glass…
Alec could have moped. Alec could’ve complained publicly, and Alec and his agent, Andy Miller, were very professional in handling, you know, the early part of the season where he was just an outside rotation player.
* People calling Alec Burks “Al”: Dennis Lindsey
** Given that David Locke said this exact same thing in his Tip-Off today about how Burks never talks and playing point guard forced him to have better communication with Ty, you start wondering whether the Jazz send out “Official Party Line of the Day” emails to team employees. Also, if Burks and Corbin indeed have better communication as of late, did the situation force Burks to have better communication with Corbin, or Corbin to have better communication with Burks?
What would happen if Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter got 35 MPG?
I think the four-man rotation, while it may be difficult in any one game and any one week when all four are available, helps us manage an NBA season. And frankly, right now if you gave Derrick and Enes 35 minutes a game, season after season, you know, after about four or five seasons, we’d have a pretty beat-up 26- [and] 27-year-old.