Bits from Randy Rigby Interview, 5/14
On how analytics were used to determine who would represent the Utah Jazz at the draft lottery
We’ve done a lot of our own analytics even around the draft lottery. And it’s interesting that you’ll find that, ’cause you constantly see Kevin O’Connor on there for us, and nothing happened. Nothing ha–in fact, once we went backwards [in the lottery], and we gave Kevin some real grief for that.
Of course, I was on last year, and no luck changed with that one.
If you actually look at the history of the draft lottery, in the last three times that teams have actually been able to move up, that moving was happened when they were represented by a member of the owner or the owner’s family. And so we thought it was very appropriate.
So we talked with the Millers, and you know, their youngest son, Bryan Miller, had a very close and special relationship, of course, with his father. And we figured we needed Larry’s shining down on us and smiling down on us, and he, and so Bryan Miller’s actually gonna be accompanying Dennis Lindsey and myself back there, will be representing us on the stage…Bryan will also be wearing some good luck with that…
They’ll have 14 seats there, and we’ll be sitting in Seat No. 4. So we’ll be front row. Bryan will be front row there, sitting there.
On preparing for the draft
We’ll see how luck shines down on us. If it doesn’t, we’re doing our homework. We’re gonna be prepared, whatever pick we’re gonna be at. Dennis and our team [including Jerry Sloan] are really working hard in preparing for the draft.
As we know, they’re back in Chicago as we speak. The combine’s going on, and it’s an opportunity that we’re literally checking every box and looking every aspect of players, and doing interviews, and doing everything, all of our homework, to really be prepared for this draft.
Where are you with the coaching search?
As you all know, the Jazz has always made a position that we’re not going to use the media of breaking announcement of who we’re playing, that we just stay away from actually talking about names. If those names surface through other sources, I’m not going to confirm. I’m not gonna deny ’em.
But I think there’s something very healthy to be said that we are active about our process. We feel very strong about, there’s some very good candidates out there. There’s some very great names that, and we’re a very attractive team that people are wanting to talk to.
And we’re going to keep that very confidential, and go about our business of doing what we’ve been asked to do by ownership, what we’ve been asked to do from our fans, and that is, is find the right kind of coach that’s going to be the right kind of tool and instrument in helping us build an NBA championship-caliber team.
So where are you in that process right now? Have you begun interview candidates?
There’s, there, we’re in that process, yes. It’s, I’ll just say that we’re in the process of doing the necessary discussions with all that need to be discussed, from potential candidates to agents to receiving approvals. We’re well in our way in having discussions with all those various types of needed people.
What kind of response have you gotten from candidates on first contact?
You know what, when you talk to various, from candidates, and I’m not talking about just right now. I’m talking about over the last couple of years as well, as you’re talk to agents, as you talk to players, as you talk to potential coaches, potential people who want to be general managers, the first thing that I get out of, as people have done their homework and their due diligence about the Utah Jazz, there’s a feeling. There’s a respect.
And they know your organization, that don’t play games, that are very respectful of the league, respectful of our organization and what it’s meant and what it’s been able to accomplish. And respectful, I think, of them and who they are, and what they, for them to have been deemed a potential candidate, to be, have that conversation, there’s been a real com–respect that goes both ways.
And you know what? It’s been really, I’ve been proud that, to see that kind of respect that the, these people have for who we are and what we’re about.
If you signed John Stockton as your coach, you’d probably have sellouts every night. How much does the business side of the decision come into play?
[The] financial stability [of the Miller organization] is not based on the Utah Jazz…So anything that we see as a benefit from a player or a coach or other, any type of other asset that is, gets benefit from a business standpoint, is really the icing on the cake, or the gravy. But is it not what drives the decision-making that we’re making. …
[We make decisions] that’s gonna help us so that we have the elements like we had in the 90s, that were really these quality coaching staff, team, that really gave us a chance to compete for long term.
That’s what, you know, San Antonio Spurs are enjoying this. Tw–also, with what LeBron [James] and the people in place in South Beach, they’ve got something that has been multiple years in allowing them to compete. And that’s the things that we’re looking for in building a championship-caliber team.
Will money be a factor in the coaching search?
We have the support from the Millers to make that very comment, is that money is not a key factor in it. It’s going to be the right kind of person that is going to fit our standard of what we’re looking for from the Utah Jazz. And so, that’s the wonderful thing about where the Milers are at, and they’ve earned that and deserved it.
If your top choice wants input on player decisions, would that affect whether or not you hire him?
I think the one thing that we have felt very good about as we’ve talked and as we’ll talk with a potential candidate for head coach, is that they have to have a respect for our system. And I think there’s something to be said about having a balance of power.
You have it in a federal government, in where they balance between the Supreme Court, Senate, the House, and presi–and executor, and, the president. And more minds are a healthy thing, and I think sometimes when, you know, I, Detroit can do what they feel is the right thing to do.
But I really have appreciated, as I’ve now really learned about the Utah Jazz in, as, when I became president, of a role of having a front office and enjoying the minds of people such as Dennis Lindsey, Kevin O’Connor, with then, Greg and Steve and Gail. Myself, with then, our head coach, and the coaching staff.
There’s something to be said about having multiple minds and coming on it from different approaches that really helps balance the thinking and helps us come out with the best decision and the best thought process.
Do you have any requirements on what kind of system your head coach will use?
I think we need to be young and progressive based on what is kind of where the game is going right now. Where his philosophy is, where our team is, and so I think we need to give him tho–that kind of leeway and flexibility.
But at the same time, that it is not a one, fix-all solution that he’s gotta be also, we want to also see that this individual is willing to be dynamic and flexible, and, in his mind and in his basketball style.
Do you have any news on the D-League pertaining to the Jazz right now?
We’ve had different relationships. We–It’s something we’re really analyzing, and looking at…I see this league coming in a way in some ways like Major League Baseball, where you see the importance of development of players.
We have used the development of our D-League affiliation, in using it more. I could see us using it even to a greater degree in the future. And that’s something that we’re exploring and discussing. Nothing to announce at this time.
** Randy Rigby on Bryan Miller representing the Jazz at the draft lottery, unintentional dirty quote machine (UDQM): Bryan’s a great guy, and you know, and he’s doing some remarkable things, and he’s gonna have some opportunity, while he’s also back there, I know he’s gonna be visiting with the commissioner back there. (1280)