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Bits from Randy Rigby Interview, 4/13

April 25, 2013
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On the end of the season
Well, you know what? It, disappointing. We always want to make the playoffs, and it was really tough to see the end, season come to an end, and not having accomplished one of our goals, which was to have this team make the playoffs, and go from there.

And so, I thought the team played very hard. We worked really hard the last month of the season. I thought we were right there. We just unfortunately couldn’t put it over the edge, and I think, to me, really, where we lost it, to me, was a little more in the month of March…

But again, you can’t look backwards. We gotta look forwards, and I think there’re some things we can take away from this season though. I think there was very good improvement from a number of our players that, we had, that, which, is something that we can look forward to.

I thought our coaching staff did a very good job in managing some of the, you know, our player personnel, and some of the injuries that we had to deal with, and so I think there was good growth there from our coaching staff. I think good growth from our young players, and I think we’re in a very good position that I’m excited about.

Will the Jazz “skew young” this summer?
Well, I think we’re going to, I think it’s right now a little too early to say that. I think that’s definitely an option that we’re looking at. I think the key thing is, is what we’ve built towards, for Kevin [O’Connor], and for Dennis [Lindsey], is what we’re gonna work, is we’re gonna really hold on.

And that is, we’ve put ourselves in a very good situation to be very flexible and have a lot of options. And I, so I think we need to now look and see what those options will allow us to do. And we’re not going to spend, take the money that we have worked so hard to be in a position to use, and use it unwisely.

If there’s opportunities, we might look at those. If the opportunities aren’t the right opportunities for us, which means we continue to build on, just totally on, being young, we may opt to go in that direction.

Because we’re committed to really making the right moves that’s going to allow us the ability to build, in the right way, towards a long-term championship-caliber team. And we really want that. And I want to say “long term” meaning that they have a long chance of being able to compete as a, for a championship.

What do you think Dennis Lindsey meant when he told David Locke during locker room cleanout that there were things that Tyrone Corbin did very well and some things he needs to see improvement on?*
I think, that very thing, is, I was, having sat in the locker room on almost every one of those games, I’ll tell you, what I’m impressed, Ty Corbin is a Jazz type of coach. He is, has remarkable character.

He has remarkable commitment to his team, and to his players. And also to our organization and this community. He is hard-working. He’s passionate about the game. He is teachable, and doesn’t put his ego in the way of doing what’s right, and best, for the team, and for the organization.

And I think he worked very hard, and I’ll tell you, he’s, you know, when you look at kind of what Ty was put into in those early years, in, literally, in that kind of tailspin we were going through, to have to help stop that, and then also to lose a All-Star guard, with Deron Williams, and then re-, kind of a re-positioning of our team, and rebuilding.

And he’s handled that with style and class, and, plus, doing that coming out of a lockout year. He’s had some real challenges, and he’s handled them at, as well as we would’ve expected, and would’ve asked him to do it, as an organization.

Now, having said that: We think that there’s some steps that we, and I don’t just say Ty, but we as an organization, need to now make. And that is, is we want to be tougher defensively.

And I think, and I think Ty embraces that, and there’s been, we have very good conversations as an organization, as a group, of how we can improve. And one of them is we want to improve defensively. And I think we’re gonna see some very significant moves there, from Ty and our coaching staff, to move in that direction.

On Dennis Lindsey’s transition into the GM position
I tell you what, Dennis doesn’t just sit around. That’s one thing.

I think what you’re saying is, that he has not tried to come in as a bull in a Kanter shop china closet and totally redefine the Utah Jazz.

He’s really wanted to absorb our culture, and make sure that, and I think Dennis is a very good student of it, and understood it even coming in, but I think wanted to be respectful, and understanding, and wanted to really observe, and make sure that what he is seeing, and what he feels, is exactly in harmony with what we as an organization, and what management sees, and so he’s been very supportive, very supportive of also understanding the philosophies and direction from our coaching staff.

Understanding Kevin, and Kevin’s philosophy and attitudes towards basketball, and what should be done. Understanding of what the owners, and front office feel need to be done. That’s, you know, absorbing all those things and making sure, then, as plans are rolled forward, that it then is, it matches those expectations as well. And he’s done a re–a very good job.

Having said that, he is a very good analytical person who really takes data, analytics, statistics, and facts into play as well with that, and historic information, and some of his background.

And he’s had a very good resume of working with some very good organizations and very good programs and bringing what we already have in good, and bringing what he’s had, and adding it together to make us even better.

And then introducing those things, and suggesting those things, to all of us, of things that we may want to consider to make us better. And showing the arguments behind why we should be doing those things. And presenting it, and having the discussion. And then we, we’re making decisions of taking what we think are the right moves, and moving it forward.

On Greg Miller’s position on the NBA Board of Governors
As Greg has been able to become the Board of Governor, and, on the, being the governor, and being involved, it’s been fun to see him being from, and Greg used to also joke about this a little bit, of saying, “Hey, I’m the rookie around the table.”

However, his family is not in any way a rookie, because they’re long-term owners, and one of the most respected owners around the table.

But Greg has been able to really rise to the occasion and be much more, feel much more comfortable, much more involved in discussions. He’s in some very key positions.

He’s, in fact, on the relocation committee that’s right in the dead middle of these kind of analysis [on the sale of the Sacramento Kings], and he’s very much involved in discussions with the other Board of Governors, on these issues, and voicing his opinions and thoughts.**

Very much involved as well in conversations on a regular basis with the commissioner, of talking about issues, both in the league, as well as in our business, and other things. So he’s, I’ve been very impressed with how he’s engaging in this whole process. (1280)

* Dennis Lindsey did say that there are areas that Corbin needs to work on in response to David Locke asking him during locker cleanout to evaluate Corbin’s performance. After saying that, his response digressed away from an evaluation of Corbin:

You know, there, like all of us, you know, Ty’s gonna get very good grades in some areas and then there’s gonna be some other areas that we’re going to ask for improvement on. We just had that conversation.

You know, I don’t think Ty is running for any of that. He’s actually, we had, he and Kevin and I, had a real good talk before our meetings next week, and look, I need to grow. I need to learn. Kevin is still, Kevin’s such a great example for both of us, because what Kevin and I have been trying to do with management and scouting staff is be open with each other, transparent with each other.

Say “Hey, you know, I don’t see it that way on that signing. I think that’s a good contract.” “No, I woulda did it this way.” “Hey, this draft was good and what did you guys do?” And as you would imagine, we’re not agreeing on everything.

And so, you know, Ty, and Kevin, and I will get with the coaches and we’ll listen to them and they’ll listen to us. And we’ll get after it a little bit, and we’ll mention the areas that, you know, the Millers and management want to see improvement in.

And the strength in the coaching group that we have is they have a lot of experience in the league as players, as coaches, as leaders. They’re not gonna run from a challenge.

Locke was then asked by Gordon Monson on 1280 yesterday on what Lindsey specifically said were areas where Corbin did well and areas where improvement was needed. Locke’s answer also digressed away from the original question:

I didn’t think, you know, I don’t know. I would go with, I mean, I think there’s some issues of… [pause] What didn’t he do well?… [long pause] …

I mean, I don’t think there’s any [debate?] that Ty erred on the side of holding, the locker room, together all year by kind of trying to maintain that veteran core. At some point in that process, and I think this is a negative and a positive of the season, it felt like that core rolled over.

And maybe they’re beaten up, they’re all had a bunch of injuries at the time, but whatever reason, you know, if you go back to that pre-Houston stretch, it really felt like they died, right?

So at that point, did he, you know, give them too much rope, and despite his loyalty to them, did they die on him? On the flip side, he somehow got them back, which to me was one of the more impressive things of the year…So on one thing I would say that that was his weakness, but I’d also say that that was his strength.

If anyone knows whether Lindsey actually answered the question, let me know.

** From the Trib three weeks ago:

Representatives from groups competing to either keep the Kings in Sacramento or move them to Seattle made their best pitches Wednesday in New York City to a group of owners that makes up the NBA’s finance and relocation committees.

The committees will offer a recommendation to the full board of governors and its April 18 and 19 meeting, but on Wednesday, the seven-member relocation committee was without at least one member. Jazz CEO Greg Miller did not attend due to another obligation.

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