Bits from Randy Rigby Interview, 2/26
Did you anticipate how successful Jeff Hornacek would be as a coach?
No, I, you know, in fact, as we had talked with Jeff and we looked after the opportunity, and kinda knew what the team went through last year, and kinda what he had, kinda coming down the pipeline, we th–anticipated that it was gonna be a lot tougher season than what has turned out for Jeff, and congratulations to him.
What do you look for in a great head coach? What’s on your checklist?
Number one, their character. And, because to me, character defines everything that they’re doing. If you’re a man of integrity and honor, you’re going to treat your players, your other coaches, you’re gonna treat your organization and your ownership with that same type of integrity, and honor. If you’re trying to beat the system, be it with the players or other things, I think it comes back and it finally comes back and haunts you. And so, for us, in the character of that coach is, I think, one of the most paramount things that we’re looking at.
Then, we’re looking at, also, I think their ability to communicate. I think in today’s world, and in, today, in the NBA, when you’re dealing with young players, developing players, veteran players, foreign players, of multi-culturals, from, you know, from China to, over to Europe, I think you’ve gotta deal with an ability to really communicate with these players, on each of their levels. And with, almost like our own families. You don’t treat one person the same as you might treat another one. And you’ve gotta have that ability.
The other thing in, is critical in today’s world is, is they have to have the ability to also, you can’t just be thinking basketball now. They are, were asked to have them in front of our sponsors, season ticket holders, this community. They have to represent this community. And so you have to have them also people who also see and realize the roles that we expect them to play in also being a promoter of the Utah Jazz and this community. And accepting that role. And that’s an, also, key role.
And then the last element, of course, they’ve got to have a passionate love for the game of basketball, and a desire to keep learning and growing and improving in their own skills and their own abilities.
Do you think Gordon Hayward’s slump is due to not coming to terms with the Jazz last summer?
I’m sure there’s a f–aspect to that. And, I mean, all of us are normal and I’m sure, you’re talking about some pretty serious dollars here. And I think, you know, there’s, there are sure an aspect to that.
And then, as we’ve talked to him, hey, that’ll work t–work itself out. And we’ve got time, and there’s a right time and place to deal with that. Right now, let’s just play basketball.
Are you getting the information you wanted about player development?
I think we are getting the information we wanted, and I think we’re learning a lot. I think our players are learning a lot about who they are and their abilities, and there’s a lot of growth in the development that’s going on. I mean, look at Alec Burks and how he started off the season, and now how he’s come along, and where he’s, his development is moving extremely well. I think the development with Derrick Favors.
And they’ve also had to learn how to now stepping up their game from being, playing 20 minutes to now they’re playing 30-35 minutes, and what that does to your body. And unfortunately, sometimes then, you’re getting those injuries because you’re out on the floor a lot more. And then you’re learning how to play through injuries, or, and also, having, coming back from injuries. …
The psyche in the NBA is very interesting, of how you have to de–when you’re dealing with, you know, coming from, really kind of a role player to being, all of a sudden, a starter. And you look at what we’ve asked Gordon to come from. He’s, he was kind of our third option, and now, he’s really our first option.
That’s a major step, and as I’ve talked to our coaching staff, they’re constantly, as they’re talking with, also, with Gordon, there’s, that’s a real step, and, that you usually see, in the league, it takes years for you to kind of move from those different positions, you know, from being a third option to a maybe a second to then a first. And we made him have to do that in one year, and that, that’s a big jump for a player to make.
And really, some growth that is going on. So, we’re seeing the right kind of growth. We’re very happy with the development we’re seeing from our players. I would say this. I think I’ve heard a lot of our fans comment. Look at the development we’ve seen from even a role player like a Jeremy Evans. He’s gone from being, really, way down on our options, to being a legitimate guy coming right off the bench, and really stepping up and performing.
Would the Jazz have interest in James Taft Fredette?
I’m really glad that I’ve got a great staff with Dennis Lindsey and folks that really, their job is literally looking at every player in the league and measuring them, and measuring them against what we have and what we’re trying to accomplish. And I’m happy to say that I can defer that question to Dennis…
If [Jimmer’s abilities, contract and situation] is one that we feel would make the Jazz better, we’ll take the necessary steps to make those, have those discussions. And of course, there’s some ancillary benefits if that was the answer, yes, to this marketplace with his connections with BYU and what he did in this community, which was remarkable. We, I, we, I personally would love to see Jimmer be able to s–have his career keep growing and developing, and so, we’ll see if that means matching up with us or not. (1280)