Bits from Dennis Lindsey Interview, 5/29
What are the positives and negatives you took away from last season?
It’s amazing when you take a little time, you take a day, you take a week, you take a month, go through the por–post-mortems of the season. And really, each season that, where you’re not the last team standing, it really feels like loss. When I say post-mortem, not to equate a loss with death, but that you have some of the similar emotions.
So to get through that, resolve it, you know, to have those gut emotions, to intellectually look at the numbers, to go back. I find, I learned this from Rudy Tomjanovich. I just got off the phone with him 20 minutes ago, and so, he’s at the top of my mind right now for a lot of different reasons. But Rudy was really good at going back and watching video of our own guys to make sure we fully understood what we have.
A loss, a season of young guys, can sometimes mask, really, what you you have. And so, with that said, you know, to answer your question, it allowed us to view our players performing in different roles, different platforms, their usage rate. Gordon [Hayward]’s usage rate was much higher than it’s ever been. His efficiency suffered.
I think there’s some rationale behind what was going on relative to his efficiency and the system…The great message that we have, I think, moving forward is, is that I think every one of our players under contract, their best basketball’s ahead of ‘em, not behind ‘em.
How much of establishing a defensive mindset is on the front office, and how much of it is on the coach?
You know, you’ll have a certain section of coaches that will say, “Hey, I need better defensive personnel.” …
And it’s interesting. The two better defensive coaches I’ve dealt with in my 18 years in the league, have been Jeff Van Gundy and Tom Thibodeau. And there’s a little bit of irony here, but you know, Jeff basically told us in Houston, “Hey, your job, in my opinion, as personnel people, is to get me offensive talent, and it’s on me to make them guard, to coordinate the defense.” …
They wanted offensive players that could, at m–the bare minimum, shoot if not create. And then have some size, and be of strong character, but it was on them, they felt like, to make [the players] guard. …
But I think at the end of the day, you, the total program, the best programs, in my opinion, in professional sports, really own the fundamentals behind their sport, and so, I think it’s shared responsibility across the board.
How important is experience in your head coaching search?
We have all these criteria, and right now we’ve been so adept to reduce it to 17 criteria, and so Justin [Zanik] and I, when we were walking this morning, we, you know, were kind of laughing at us, that, “Hey, we gotta reduce it.” I’m not sure that I’ll have Greg [Miller]’s, enough time and attention by Greg to go through 17 thoughtful criteria.
Now, let’s reduce it to the critical criteria, and have sub-points underneath, and many time the devil lies in the details and we do need to get in the details…So let’s reduce to the main criteria, and then weight ‘em appropriately as it relates to our organization and community, and you know, our young team. And hopefully we’ll come up with good answers.
But yeah, so, we’re currently going through that process. You know, I would say this. The debate is going on, and I think we’re having stimulating conversation, and again, I’m confident that we’ll come up with a good decision.
So experience is on the list, but you’re not going to say where it is on the list?
Yeah, I filibustered there. Did you notice that?
Ideally, would you like to have a coach in place by the draft?
We’re letting the process dictate the timing, not timing dictate the process. …
As we talked it out, we felt like it was critically important to, given the stakes with this decision, to be really thorough and mindful of our process, and to understand completely, or as completely as possible, the person, the coach that we’re getting.
So we’re going to be very deliberate and again, I’ve stayed away from an arbitrary date. If it’s before the draft, I think there’s some advantages to that. If it’s after the draft, you, there will, it will be for good reason.
Could other teams looking for new coaches dictate your timeline?
There are many very qualified coaches who are good people that fit the Utah Jazz. So frankly, we’re really comfortable with the coaching group.
The group that we’ve talked to initially, if we ne–were ne–were to need to expand that group for whatever reason, we’re very comfortable with that. So supply and demand, we’ve evaluated and we feel very comfortable that there’s a good coach out there.
Is there a leader on the Jazz roster right now, or is leadership something you’ll be targeting in the draft or free agency?
I’ll say this. There’re certain players that we have on the roster currently under contract that have the core characteristics to lead, but maybe they’re not quite comfortable in their own skin as it relates to leading other, and sometimes older, men in an NBA locker room…
There’s many different ways to lead, and I think it’s safe to say that Trey [Burke] thinks he wants to be that guy, but frankly we challenged Trey in a couple different areas, that, “Hey, you say that, but will you be disciplined enough during the course of a year and during your career to really earn that?”
And I don’t think it’s anything that John Stockton and Karl Malone said. I think it had a lot to do with, they knew they needed to follow Jerry Sloan’s lead, let him be, in many times, the leader, and by definition, by John and Karl being so consistent over the years, they, their leadership became stronger.
So, over time, I think words many times can be empty if not followed up by action. So, that’s one thing that we’re trying to stress to our group. I think Derrick Favors, even though he’s very quiet, could be a very good example for many of the young guys that we have on the team. But he’s got to get comfortable with that role.
I think Gordon has some terrific, innate characteristics to lead, and help lead, and share in that responsibility. But again, I think he needs more years in the league to be comfortable in that role.
And certainly we’ll look at some players in the draft that have some intangibles and we may give up on a tangible body for an intangible such as, you know, a great work ethic and the potential to be a good leader. (KALL)