Bits from Dennis Lindsey Interview, 7/16
Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines
Bill Riley: My partner [Hans Olsen] said he wanted to give you a big hug and I’m just warning you, he broke my ribs when he did it last year.
Dennis Lindsey (in Buster Bluth voice) Hey Bill, I’m trusting you, brother. I’m, Hans looks way too big to be man-hugging. So I’ll give him a little dap from afar.
Riley: ‘Til you get to know him a little better, ’til you size him up, Dennis, the dap is the way to go.
When and why was the decision made to “go young”?
I can’t answer this with the exact date, but this was a conversation that Kevin [O’Connor], and Ty[rone Corbin], and myself, and Randy [Rigby], and Bob [Hyde], and Greg [Miller], and Steve [Miller], and Mrs. [Gail] Miller had, you know, literally from my interview process.
You know, that was the first thought of, you know, the first mention to me that, “Hey, we have some young talent.” And I had to come in and evaluate it, and you know, concur or disagree…
Letting our young players, our young core grow, instead of being support actors, maybe more in primary roles, you know, I think size and defense was a couple areas that we wanted to address. Shooting with Brandon Rush, if we can get Brandon healthy, you know, was a big component. Veteran leadership.
So, you know, we felt like it wasn’t just “go young.” There were multiple levels to the strategy, and look, you never check all the boxes. You know, you want to, but you try to check as many as you can, and then evaluate once the dust settles, and you know, that’s where we’re at right now.
Was Tyrone Corbin involved in the decision to go young?
It was a collective decision. Ty was privy all through the process. He was able to express, you know, his concerns and, you know, his commitments as well. …
We didn’t skip steps. We, you know, we gave Derrick [Favors] just amount, just the amount of playing time that he needed to continue to grow. Enes Kanter got the exact same minutes that Tim Duncan did his senior year. Gordon Hayward, you know, wasn’t, you know, world beater as a rookie, but he took significant steps in Year 2 and Year 3, and now we think those guys are able to lead a, you know, a championship-level defense.
And while they’ll be young in other areas, we think that they have enough upside and growth that they can continue to take steps, and the good thing is, is while they were developing, they were also, you know, they had two winning seasons in a row. They know what a winning culture feels like that.
Now, certainly Ty’s demands of Gordon, Derrick, Enes, are gonna be much greater. Alec [Burks]*, I should say, as well, are gonna be much greater this year than they were last year.
But you know, we needed to take that step, and Ty on many levels realized it.
Strategy and priorities going forward
We need to find out more about our young players, and we have a few young players that are coming up for extensions, and one of the issues that we ran into, where we could get a pretty good level of player, but we couldn’t, when we started looking at, we wanted to take a real sober look at, you know, projections and our reality. …
We’re a small market, and there’s just certain ways that it’s the best way to team-build, and to team-build here, it’s build your foundation through the draft; parlay up via trade, and augment in free agency. …
Can you argue that we made this jump too soon? Yeah, I think you can argue that. You know, we heard this market saying we made this jump towards the young players maybe a year or two too late, and I’m not sure I would agree with that.
How long before the Jazz are back in the Finals?
Yeah, you know, I don’t know. I’ll say this. There’re certain things that, I’m not gonna tell you I have an hourglass. I’ll tell you this. We’re gonna talk about what our objectives are with the young guys.
And first and foremost is building a championship-caliber defense. And building a foundation that, you know, we can get stops on demand…
I think we’re really headed in the right direction, so that will be the first start. And then it’ll be individual development, and a lot of that is, they just have to take place over time, with a 20-year-old point guard; and Alec Burks, he’s, who just turned 22; and Gordon Hayward, who just turned 23; and Derrick Favors, who’s 22; and Enes Kanter, I think, is soon to be 21.
You know, those are college-age guys.
So I can warrant this. We won’t skip steps,* either on the court or in discipline towards, you know, adding to our group on serious basketball players of strong character and mindset, a competitive mindset that we’ll go in and want to compete with, and then, you know, we’ll all be judged on the results. But we’ll be very process-oriented in how we go about it.
* Dennis Lindsey has praised Kevin O’Connor in multiple interviews for skipping steps in the rebuilding process. I wish someone would ask him when he thinks it’s ok to skip steps and when it’s not in running a team; I’d be really interested to hear his answer.
Will you be evaluating Ty Corbin as you would if you had a veteran team*, or are wins and losses only part of the equation?
Greg, and Gail, and Steve, and Randy, and Kevin, and Bob and I are gonna evaluate the coaches on building a defensive foundation. You know, building a disciplined level of play. And development, individual development, of the young guys in a team setting.
So those, you know, we won’t lose fact, or lose sight of the decisions that we made to go young, and I think we’ll appropriately evaluate, you know, the defense, and the discipline, and the development going forward.
* Because Tyrone has done so well with veteran teams?
Evaluation of Trey Burke, Rudy Gobert and Raul Neto
Yeah, so Raul, we’re, you know, we’re currently visiting with his agents, and you know, there’s arguments on both sides of the aisle, on what he, the best place for him to develop. And I think, you know, with one young point guard at this stage is probably enough, but we’re currently, you know, visiting with his agents about potential places here and in the ACB, in Spain, as well.
But we’re very pleased with his natural feel, his intelligence. He has some really skilled, clever play, and we think that he’s gonna be a big part of our future going forward, whether it’s this year or next.
You know, Rudy is just a unique guy, on several fronts, they, he’s a person with, you know, the highest standing reach in pre-draft history, and wing span’s unique, and his ability to be agile at that size is uncommon.
And then many times, like we’ve stated before, you get bigs who make the league because they’re big, not because they’re naturally competitive. And Rudy is naturally competitive.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a drill. It doesn’t matter if it’s a scrimmage, play, you know, over in France, or the summer league play. He just has innate fiber, you know, competitive fiber.
So, he’s never gonna be a guy that’s going to be Tim Duncan or Karl Malone or Hakeem Olajuwon in the post. We’ll continue to work with him on his offense game, but frankly he may just be a finisher on offense.
But if he can be, you know, a high-level rim protector; shot blocker; mobile, active pick and roll defender; very good rebounder; and then improve his offense, improve his finishing, all the while getting strong, we think he has great prospects. …
Clearly, Trey struggled with his shooting. You know, we run different things and if we wanted to perpetuate and maximize Trey, we could’ve put him in much different situations, but Ty wanted to him to put, play out of auto and play out of our UCLA sets, and multiple reads, and that’s much different than what he experienced in Michigan, you know, with spacing, and shooting, and empty-court, or empty-post play.
And so we fully understand, you know, what’s gonna allow Trey and Alec and Gordon to get to the rim, but we also want Trey to be able to run, you know, a lot of the offense that we’ve been running for many years now…
If there’s any real criticism, you know, in development, you know, we want Trey to become a high-level defender, and right now he’s short of that.
You know, there’s some areas that he needs to clean up. We think that his shooting will hold up to NBA standards. What he really needs to work on is finishing in the paint, specifically, off one foot. (KALL)